Google could be planning on penalising sites relying on infographics, if an interview with Matt Cutts is anything to go by.
Recently interviewed by Eric Enge, (co-author of The Art of SEO), Cutts admitted that he was not a fan of the displays. Going further, he said he felt the information used was often not useful to visitors and used purely to populate pages with ranking material.
When Enge asked, the search engine’s head of spam said:
“In principle, there’s nothing wrong with the concept of an infographic. What concerns me is the types of things that people are doing with them.
“They get far off topic, or the fact checking is really poor. The infographic may be neat, but if the information it’s based on is simply wrong, then it’s misleading people.”
He went on to say that at some point in the future, it is likely that Google will start discounting infographic links. He argues that the links are embedded in a hidden manner, with no true endorsement of a site given.
If could be a concern for marketers who believe infographics have a role to play. Whilst it is true that some are used incorrectly, it is likely Cutts sees more than is typical of these types, mindful of his job role. Thus, wholesale discounting will penalise valid use.
To ensure that sites using infographics are not penalised though, is a fairly straightforward task.
All it requires is for embedded links to be clearly signposted – ideally at the top of the page. Making them as clear to users as possible, and ensuring their relevance, will go a long way to continuing ranking well.