As a justification for this probable move he cited a few reasons :
“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 also mentioned, “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.”
So to summarize, three reasons why Google might be discounting infographics links in future are :
Infographics could be far off topic in relation to what the business is dealing with
The fact represented in the infographics is really poor – resulting in misleading info
People don’t realize what they are linking to when they republish an inforgraphics
And for these Google might discount all infographic links. Really ?? Are you kidding me? It is completely ridiculous and it seems Google is increasingly getting the God complex.
Google has always mentioned about creating extraordinary content that people would love to link to and now when people have identified a definitve form of such content they want to discount those links.
Let’s take a more detailed look at the points mentioned above..
- Off topic Infographics : Yes, this could definitely be a valid reason to discount the links. If we are dealing with SEO and publish an infographics on the most influential political leaders of the world, there is every reason and justification for Google to devalue any link that the site gets through it and they also have the capability to judge this contextual relevancy of the graphics to the overall theme of the website.
Poor Research Data : How is Google going to determine the quality of the research data ? In an infographics all research data are graphically represented and while Google might have really advanced their capability to read and understand image, I don’t believe it is anywhere close to interpreting graphically represented research data. The only option is manual verification – that is not a scalable and feasible process given the volume of infographics published and also, two different reputable sources could have two different value for same data point, what if Google looks at a source other than the one you used for infographics ? Does that make your depreciate the data quality of your infographics ?
- People don’t realize what they are linking to why republishing infographics : Really ? Webmaster’s and content editors are that foolish ? Someone who maintains a good quality website ( because that is already a prerequisite for the link to be valuable) would definitely be wise enough to know and check what they are linking to. For a second, let’s accept that webmasters are foolish enough to link to a website without checking it. In such case whose responsibility is that ? When I am linking to a website from my site in whatever form, it is my responsibility to check what I am linking to, if I am linking to something wrong / irrelevant / unethical that should go against me and not the site I am linking to. So in this case, if at all Google has to take any action they should take it against the re-publishing website and not the site that created the infographics.
I have worked on several infographics for different projects and website and know for sure an infographics with this data or poor graphics would never succeed ( yes, we tried that too and learnt from the mistake).
How infographics get links ?
Let’s look at how infographics get their links. Once you create an infographic, the first thing that you do it is publish on the social media channels and as it starts getting shared, it catches the attention of bloggers who start republishing. Now the prerequisite here is the infographic getting “shared” and that only happens when it is of certain quality and actually provides some interesting/ useful information for the readers. So if the content isn’t of good quality it wont get shared, neither would it get substantial number of links. And when people have endorsed the infographics through social sharing ( and consequentially by linking) – why does Google have a problem with it ?
Of course there are other ways to get links for infographics, like mailing to bloggers directly, doing press release etc but even there anyone who republishes an infographics would definitely spend a couple of moments to evaluate the quality of it and when Google’s discounting these links seems like a sheer disrespect towards people’s judgement. This is an unbelievable arrogance resulting from Google’s monopoly in the search space.
Is Google Socially Blind ?
Search engines today are increasingly relying on social data and in this case social data could be one of the key indicators of the quality of the infographics. Should we / Do we have to believe that Google doesn’t have access or capability to judge the social response to a page ? and when they see a major positive reaction, isn’t that enough to tell them about the quality of the content ?
The Embed Code Issue
Google can definitely have some problem with the embed codes that are provided with infographics, as that proactively suggests the link and poses an opportunity for the publishing site to get the same anchor text link. However, with Penguin in place it should not be a tough job for Google to work out the anchor text bit. But if there is no embed code provided there will be a ton of people copying and republishing infographics without crediting the original source – what happens then ? We have seen Google crediting authority websites when they republish some great content that was originally created by some lesser known sites and while most reputed bloggers do provide necessary citation to source, I have encountered two cases where two extremely reputed authority sites have published our infographics without any credits ( they did add a link to us, only after we requested them to mention us as the source). For one of those infograpics Google still ranks that authority site above our site even though the original site has received enough links and social mentions. In this situation, can a business investing in creating a good infographics really afford not to use an embed code ?
I look at providing embed code as an initiative to make the content more linkable. If you are creating a good content that you know people are going to love and link to, what is wrong with making it a little easier for them ?
I can understand if they decide to discount links coming from infographics directories as any one can get a link from those but saying that they might discount links that an infographic receives sounds ridiculous. This is as good as saying that we may devalue the organic links that you have earned by creating some awesome content that loads of people loved, linked to and shared.
This is one of those frustrating moments when I really wish that we had a strong competitor from Google that would make them think twice before contemplating such ridiculous steps.