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If you've been immersed in the online marketing world for a while now, you probably remember the days when search engine optimization (SEO) meant nothing more than stuffing your content with a whole bunch of keywords. All you had to do was repeat a key word or phrase and voilà, you were on page 1 of Google.
Thankfully, those days are long gone. Most successful online marketers are well aware of the fact that building spammy backlinks, stuffing content with keywords, excessive tagging and any intent to game the system will get them nowhere when it comes to finding favor in the eyes of Google.
Today, one of the best ways to climb up Google's SEO ladder is to produce high-quality, unique content that will attract a good amount of high-quality links. This is why link-building through original and informative infographics is still as important today as it was when infographics first burst onto the digital marketing scene.
Although SEO best practices are continually evolving, in this post we'll go over an effective method that still works for building dozens of authority links with just a single infographic.
Infographics are still some of the most shared and liked content on the Web nowadays. Despite the fact that there's a good amount of bad infographics out there, this visual content format continues to top the list of the best-performing digital content in 2016, according to Hubspot.
Not only are they extremely popular among audiences of all types, they also have the uncanny ability of making complex data easy to understand, which means they're perfect for building links even in complex industries.
More than any other type of visual content, infographics make boring data come to life through attractive color combinations, icons and charts and graphs. As a general rule, useful and relevant information visualized in a creative way tends to earn more outside links, including editorial and contextual links, than just textual content alone.
If you piggyback on a trending topic or news everyone is talking about, then you're more likely to get picked up by popular bloggers and even big news media sites. The best part of all is that you can easily track and measure how well your infographic is performing by using analytics tools, such as the one built into the infographic maker Visme.
Take, for example, this interactive infographic we created last year with Visme to summarize some of the lesser known facts on political candidate Donald Trump. You can view full-screen version here.
With little promotion, this infographic was quickly picked up by Crooks and Liars, one of the country's most influential political blogs.
One of the most crucial steps to attracting links with your content is creating a truly informative and creative infographic. If done right, a well-designed and original infographic will help you reap the rewards of all the time invested in creating it. To start, follow these steps:
An awesome infographic starts with awesome content. No matter how well designed your infographic is, if it doesn't provide readers with new, relevant, useful or inspiring information, then it will most likely be looked over.
To heighten your chances of getting picked up by the most popular bloggers and biggest news outlets, create content that is completely original and unpublished. But how do you get your hands on exclusive content? Simple. Use your proprietary information or conduct your own poll or study.
For example, if you're in the business of online email marketing, then you could create an infographic using aggregate data such as open rates and unique click rates by industry. Or, if you're an online marketer and are interested in researching trending topics in the last week or month, you could easily access a universe of information on Twitter or Facebook that can be tallied, analyzed and visualized using an infographic.
The next step to creating a really link-worthy infographic is honing in on your intended audience. This is essential to determining your content's tone and theme. For example, if you're targeting young college students, then you probably don't want to assume an overly serious or grave tone. Likewise, your visual theme should take this into account.
Also, ask yourself: What do I want to achieve with this infographic? What do I want to communicate? This will help you develop a focused and effective message that will guide you from beginning to end. Remember, anything that doesn't further your main message has to go; it will only distract the reader and lessen the impact of your visual.
Once you've determined your main message, develop a compelling narrative that will engage your readers from start to finish.
Think of it this way: Your infographic should be a visual map of how you will take your reader from point A to point B. If you provide viewers with an interesting and entertaining journey, then you can be sure they'll arrive at the final destination with full understanding of your main message and the desire to do something about it.
Next, you should define you visual approach. This entails both the overarching visual theme and the specific format you will use.
For example, if you want to create a playful infographic on how to choose your next travel destination, then you could create a colorful flow chart with a lot of personality. On the other hand, if you want to create a sleek, minimalist infographic on global economic trends, then you could resort to a mixed-chart infographic. You can consult our list of 10 infographic types here to decide.
Before jumping the gun and diving right into the design work, you can create a wireframe to carefully plan out where each element will be placed. This bare-bones mock-up will ensure that your infographic flows logically from one section to the next and that it will make perfect sense to any reader.
Finally, you can get to work designing your infographic either by hiring a designer to do it for you or using any of the free infographic makers available online. If you want to save money, online do-it-yourself tools like Visme provide you with free templates that can be customized in a few hours using built-in graphic assets such as icons, fonts and images.
Before finalizing your infographic, make sure you've revised it for grammar mistakes, spelling errors and any other inaccuracy. Also, cite all your sources at the end of your infographic and always include a prominent interactive call to action that will take viewers to the desired landing page.
After all the hard work put into creating a stellar infographic, most content creators drop the ball when it comes to promoting it. If you spent, let's say, a week creating your infographic, then you should spend roughly the same amount of time promoting it like crazy. Here's a rough outline of how to do that:
So, obviously the first step is to post your new creation on your website or blog. To do this in the most strategic manner possible, make sure that you have everything else detailed in this list in place so you can quickly put all the gears in motion once it goes live.
Include both an embed code and a link to your infographic so that viewers can easily post the complete version on their sites or share it on social media. This way, every time someone embeds your infographic on their site, it will display the complete version of your visual and link back to it.
Also, make sure that all social sharing buttons can be easily seen and accessed on your site or blog.
Next, plant small content seeds all over social media channels and see what grows into a viral social sharing tree. To do this, first determine the most fertile ground for your content. Would your content appeal more to LinkedIn users? How about Google+, Pinterest or Twitter users? This is where knowing your audience's interests, needs and reading habits is indispensable.
To make the most of your infographic, execute a drip campaign by posting the most intriguing and revealing stats, figures or quotes. Each day, you can roll out 2 or 3 tweets with these highlights, along with one Facebook or Google+ post per day.
Now comes the part where you really pull out the big guns by reaching out to key influencers and bloggers who can share your infographic with their audiences and increase your exposure many times over.
But how do you do this in a way that guarantees they won't say no or ignore you? Well, you can start by offering them something of value instead of simply asking for a favor.
For example, if your infographic is on the best vegan restaurants in the city, then you can reach out to influential bloggers and writers who have a sizable following interested in vegan dining. You can then send them an email asking them to check out your infographic, which is sure to interest their audience.
Better yet, if you cited the blogger or writer in your infographic, you can mention this in your message. No need to ask for links or attribution in the first communication. Just wait for their response, and they'll likely link back to you if they're interested in posting your content.
The next step is to submit your visual to infographic directories such as Visual.ly. There are dozens of them, which you can check out here.
Most of these infographic directories will allow you to provide a link to the original infographic and a short description of its contents.
Besides contacting influencers in your field, you can also reach out to your contacts, such as colleagues, friends and family members. You never know when a social share by one of your peers may go viral and spark a conversation among their Facebook or Twitter friends.
Also, you want to make sure to contact all of those cited as references in your infographic. Many times, people who are referenced in an infographic as an authoritative source will gladly share your content with their audience.
If your infographic's content and design are really exceptional, you might want to consider submitting a press release. Since journalists follow press releases, especially those with a revealing, valuable, provocative and newsworthy story, there's a chance you might get featured on an important online publication as a result of submitting one. Check out some of the most popular press release sites, such as PR Newswire, PR Leap and PRWeb.
How have you promoted your infographics in the past? We would love to hear about it. Just drop us a line in the comment section below.
Want to boost SEO with high-quality infographics? Visme offers hundreds of professionally designed templates to start with, or you can create your own from scratch. Access 6,000+ icons, hundreds of fonts and millions of images right now.