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What’s the point of an infographic?
As you all know by now, links are one of the main factors that affect Google rankings. The second thing that affects Google rankings is quality, because there's a ton of complex information on the web—and most of it is junk. The good stuff tends to be really in-depth and pretty complex.
But not everyone is smart and not everyone has time on their hands to read through a 2,000-word (or more) article. For example, I'm not that smart and I definitely don’t have a lot of time on my hands. So if you can take complex information and break it down into a pretty visual, a few things are likely to happen:
- Everyone's going to share your handy infographic on the social web.
- Everyone’s going to link to your infographic in their articles on similar topics.
Keep in mind, this is what happens when you create just one really good infographic. So when you build all these links and create a ton of infographics, like 50-100 infographics, what's going to happen?
Your rankings are going to skyrocket.
Case Study: Kissmetrics Infographics
Neil wrote a blog post on Quick Sprout years ago called Why Content Marketing Is the New SEO and he broke down stats from Kissmetrics on what happened when he published 40-50 infographics. I’ve seen some pretty great stats in my time, and let me tell you—these stats were crazy!
All of Kissmetrics' backlinks mainly came from those infographics. Most of their search traffic and rankings came from those infographics, too.
It would have cost so much more to get the same amount of traffic through paid links or traffic. The results were pretty conclusive: infographics were far and away the best ROI that Kissmetrics ever produced through any form of online marketing.
Where Do You Find Great Infographics for Inspiration?
What goes into creating a viral infographic? Because Neil has sort of pioneered the idea of creating great infographics, a lot of people have tried to emulate it. There are a ton of crappy infographics floating around the internet as a result.
If you want to draw inspiration from great infographics, start at Visually. Check out their infographics; they’re basically an infographic directory. Ask yourself which elements really stick out. Some infographics are just images without real data attached to them. Some have poor layouts and are really hard to digest.
You can check out Dribbble as well. It’s another directory for designers that you can use to search for infographics. I've found great designers there.
The key to success with infographics is to look for the ones that are top-rated and make a checklist of the successful elements that they share. Look at what actually stands out, then compare it to the crappy infographics out there.
How to Create a Viral Infographic
The first step to creating a really good infographic is to make sure you have great data. If you don't have good, complex data that you can simplify, you won't do well.
I go to Upwork, find a researcher to come up with content or topic ideas for an infographic, and then I have them outline the infographic script before I send it to a designer.
Here are a few things that you need to keep in mind when creating infographics:
- Research high-traffic topics. Buzzsumo is perfect for keyword research in your industry and to find the most trending pieces for any given keyword.
- Make sure you add an introduction and conclusion. Infographics tend to be low on text, which makes them hard for Google to crawl. It also makes them hard for readers to digest sometimes. So add an intro in the blog post before the infographic, like this example: Google’s Search Quality Rater’s Guidelines: How to Ensure Your Site Gets a High-Quality Rating! [infographic]
- Don't have more than six main points. If your infographic is on how colors affect purchasing, one of the points could be on the meaning of colors. Another point could be on how men perceive colors versus women. The points all need to flow into a story.
- Use Upwork to find good researchers. Keep in mind that different industries may require different kinds of researchers with different backgrounds. Also, make sure to list your data references at the bottom of your infographic.
- Use Dribbble to find good designers for under $1,000. In fact, you can often find great infographic designers in other countries for around $200.
- Publish the infographic and give it an embed link. That way, people can easily share it in their own content and you can get backlinks. The embed code generator I use is called WP embed code generator.
- Allow for comments. Comments will create more text, because infographics don't have too much text on a page, which can hurt your overall search rankings.
Keeping Your Costs Down
This bears repeating for infographics especially, because on average your costs will be higher than for blog posts.
Back in the day, before decent infographic designers started showing up everywhere, you had fewer options. And then lots of infographic design agencies popped up and were charging anywhere from $5,000 to $20,000 per infographic.
Compare that to what we pay for our high-ranking infographics: about $100 for research on Upwork, and about $200 for design. That’s a lot better than $20,000 for an infographic. You don't have to pay an arm and a leg to get a good infographic done.
Pat Flynn uses 99designs for his infographics. They have a very fast turnaround and you only have to pay for the best infographic designer you choose to work with.
How to Make an Infographic Go Viral
The way to make these infographics go viral is pretty simple.
- First off, you cite your sources and link to those sites.
- Then you find out who shared all those original posts on social media. This is a bit harder to do for Facebook, but for Twitter it's easy to see every single person who shared it:
- After that, you take the URLs of those articles and put them into Ahrefs, which shows you all the people who linked to those articles in other articles.
- Once we have the final list of all the people who shared it and all the people who linked to it, we make the magic happen. We email or Tweet everyone who shared those articles and ask them to share our infographic. Since they shared the original, and ours is even better, it’s an easy win.
Let's say Neil shared the original article. I would go find Neil's email or Twitter handle and say, “Hey Neil. I know you shared this article on how colors affect purchases. I actually just created an infographic on it, and I think your social media followers would love it. Feel free to share this as well.”
For all the people who linked to the original article, I just use a variation of the same message:
“Hey Neil, I noticed that you linked to this article about how colors affect purchases. I actually created an infographic with the same information, plus more. I took info from around the web and included it in my infographic. It makes it a lot easier to understand how colors affect purchases and what colors you should be using on your website to grow your sales. Feel free to add a link into your blog posts if you like it.”
Just by doing these two things, Neil’s Kissmetrics infographics went viral. You don't even need a popular social media account for your company or personal profile to make an infographic go viral because you can piggyback off bigger profiles with more followers.
How to Maximize Infographic ROI
If it sounds like an infographic is a lot of work and has a longer turnaround time, you’re right. That’s why you should always think about repurposing your infographics. There are a lot of people out there who chop up their infographics to make SlideShares or use them in presentations.There are a lot of different ways to use infographics as repurposable assets. Click To Tweet
Don't think just because you spend a couple hundred dollars or a couple thousand dollars on an asset that it's just a one-time use.
Neil did an infographic with Backlinko. They partnered on this infographic around Google's 200 search ranking factors and Neil posted it to his blog. He also repurposed it and created a blog post, then reposted it to different guest blogs that he had relationships with. It did very well.
That’s just one example of how to repurpose an infographic into other content assets. You could also make your infographic into a YouTube video, or you could talk about it in a podcast. The point is that if your infographic does go viral, don’t just sit back contently. Take advantage of the virality, and create more content.
This post was adapted from Marketing School, a 10-minute daily podcast in which Neil Patel and Eric Siu teach you real-life marketing strategies and tactics from their own experience to help you find success in any marketing capacity. Listen to the podcast version of this post below: