July 10th, 2012 / Search Engine Optimisation

Will Google Discount Infographic Links?

WebProNews reports that Google is considering discounting infographic links and then links to an interview with Matt Cutts, head of Google’s webspam team. But Mr. Cutts doesn’t say anywhere in the interview that Google is considering discounting such links.

Still, I’d say that assuming they might consider that at some point in the future would be a fair assumption based on the comments that Mr. Cutts does make.

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.

Google has discounted links in the past because information was misleading. They want their search results to be quality results and if information that is misleading rises to the top, those results will fail the quality test.

The other thing that happens is that people don’t always realize what they are linking to when they reprint these infographics. Often the link goes to a completely unrelated site, and one that they don’t mean to endorse. Conceptually, what happens is they really buy into publishing the infographic, and agree to include the link, but they don’t actually care about what it links to. From our perspective this is not what a link is meant to be.

This is an even bigger no-no. If people decide to republish an infographic and the embed link points to another website where the infographic is not published, that’s truly misleading. It’s also quite nefarious. I would not blame Google one bit for discounting those links.

Any infographics you create will do better if they’re closely related to your business, and it needs to be fully disclosed what you are doing. The big key is that the person publishing the infographic has to know, and agree with, including an endorsement to your site as attribution with the infographic. Even then, there is reason to believe that the link is more about the barter to get the infographic than a real endorsement of your site.

This is an interesting take. Mr. Cutts’ final statement leads me to believe that Google is aware that people who republish infographics don’t always necessarily endorse the site those infographics were originally published on. They like infographic and in order to use it agree to link to a site that they may not otherwise want to link to. But I question whether that is enough to discount the link on.

Webmasters really should take greater care in examining links. If you see an infographic on a website that you can’t endorse, then don’t use the infographic. Don’t pay for the infographic with a link to a site that you can’t get behind.

The interview also has some other great information in it that can help your SEO efforts.

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