Generally, pictures are more likely to be shared on most social media platforms. In fact, infographics are liked and shared on social media three times more than any other type of content. For SEOs, higher sharability on social media means more than just opportunities to connect with influencers or engage their audience—it means they can earn backlinks via all the popularity.
Yes, that’s right. Infographics are great for link-building. It worked so well for popular marketer Neil Patel that he wrote posts about it, like this one.
However, popular marketing tactics often work less when every other marketer jumps on the bandwagon. So how can you build links with infographics in the right way in 2018? The following steps will help you do so without much fuss.
There are many ways to perform content research for any type of content you want to create and infographics are no exception. When performing content research for any type of content, you’re looking to answer the question “what are websites in my niche publishing and what is popular with readers?” This will help you decide what type of topics will make your infographic link building campaign a successful one.
There are articles addressing content research for infographics including this one I wrote and two others addressing how to find infographic inspiration and principles for creating infographic ideas respectively.
I noticed that while they address discovering or creating infographic ideas, they do not pay attention to creating infographic ideas for SEO. Sure, since an infographic is visual content, chances are, you can still randomly create one and successfully build links to it. But you’re better off with avoiding trial and error.
Here’s what I mean: several tools exist to help you create content that will do well from a link building perspective, so you’re better off using them in addition to the tactics mentioned in other articles. For example, we all know we can perform a search on BuzzSumo to find popular content. But they have now added features to allow you see the number of backlinks a popular piece of content has.
To further illustrate this, if you perform a domain level search like I did below on Forbes, you’ll discover that you can view the number of links to their popular content and the sharers too (more on this later). Remember that on BuzzSumo you can search for popular content by content type, so finding popular, link-worthy infographics is relatively easy.
You can decide what you see whether to go ahead with an infographic idea or ignore it based on the number of backlinks they have. Also, apart from BuzzSumo, some SEOs swear by Ahrefs Content Explorer for content research, while others prefer a combination of Moz and BuzzSumo. Then some use SEMRush which enables you to spy on competitors or Majestic for SEO.
Whether you’re using one, two, or more tools, perform content research in a way that allows you to make calculated decisions for your infographic link building campaign.
Creating “Skyscraper Infographics”
Brian Dean coined the term “skyscraper technique” and it has been a stable part of internet marketing terms. In layman’s terms, it simply refers to taking a piece of content that has performed well for your competitors and creating something outstandingly better.
There are three steps to creating a skyscraper infographic:
- Find a link-worthy infographic
- Create an even better infographic
- Reach out to the right people to link to it
You can use the info in the content research part above to find link-worthy infographics. Then create a better infographic. This means:
- Create a more thorough infographic i.e one that’s more in-depth than what’s currently available
- Design a better infographic with higher quality graphics
- Create a more up-to-date infographic using current data and information and be ready to update it as needed
While it may be easier to pick one part like say the infographic design to refine, it is recommended that you try to beat an existing link-worthy infographic on all three counts of depth, design, and current information.
For example, check this infographic I created about a big list of infographic ideas.
According to Moz’s new Link Explorer (Open Site Explorer is no longer updated), it already has 99 inbound links from 70 domains. The best part? It ranks for four keywords.
That shows that Skyscraper Infographics work.
The number of links you get to your infographic is important but the quality is more important. Create an infographic so outstanding that even A-list blogs in your niche will readily link to it. In my infographic above, I got links from HubSpot and Social Media Today among other big shots. This obviously boosted its overall ranking since about 70 percent of links I got were from sites with lower domain authority.
Another site has since “out-skyscrapered” me by creating an infographic with 40 infographic ideas while mine has 25. But I was still able to get the links then because mine was the best at the time—I will follow my own advice and update it soon.
Spend time and/or money to create skyscraper infographics because you’ll stand higher chances of building links to them and ranking better on search engines.
Repurposing from old posts
This is an oldie but goodie. If you have already been blogging consistently for over a year, you have some useful content ideas that were popular with your audience and/or even got more search love from search engines.
When you repurpose or enhance existing content with an infographic, readers will engage better with your post. Enhanced engagement will improve your on-page behavioral data, which tells search engines that users love that page and it may improve your ranking.
You can use BuzzSumo or Ahrefs to discover hidden opportunities in your older content especially if they’re already ranking for certain keywords. But if you’re not ranking and you have implemented other SEO best practices, it may be better to visit your Google Analytics.
I believe you already have Google Analytics on your site, so just go to “Behavior” and click “All Pages” under “Site Content” drop-down menu. Scroll down to see your most popular content judging by Pageviews and Average Time on Page.
If your average time on page is little but there are many visitors to a particular page, an infographic can improve your Average Time on Page. Depending on the age of your site or the amount of content you have, and maybe even your budget for hiring an infographic designer, you can try this on two to three posts for starters and see what results you’ll get.
This seemingly little tweak may be an opportunity to get your content to page one of SERPs or rank higher on page one if you’re already there but you’re not no. 1.
After creating an excellent infographic or any other content, email outreach is one of the first steps to putting your content in front of the right people who can share or link to it.
You’re not emailing random people here, but only people who have linked to similar content in the past. Again, any of Ahrefs, Moz, or BuzzSumo is handy here. They will give you sites that have linked to similar content in the past, and these are good targets to reach out to.
To ensure your outreach is effective, Brian Dean recommends that you:
- Use any of the tools above to export all links pointing to your competitor’s content (infographic in this case)
- Remove referring pages that make no sense—primarily forums, article directories, and the likes.
- Email the remaining prospects and ask for a link.
I have resisted the urge to include an email template here, and that’s because they’ve been done to death. In fact, judging by the fact that I gloss over and delete most outreach emails I receive knowing they’re just templates, I can say they’re not as effective as they used to be—imagine sending 230 outreach emails with no link earned in return!
In fact, Tim Soulo of Ahrefs recommends dividing your group of prospects into four groups namely:
- Big fish
- Small fish
And treat each group differently. You’ll find more information on how to do so in the post. It will help you avoid sending out mass templates like this one a friend of mine received which I’m sharing with his permission.
On the surface, it looks okay that’s if you’ll ignore the non-usage of my friend’s name in the salutation, but you’ll see that the sender calls my friend’s service page a “post” and a great read. That clearly shows he probably didn’t even check the content on the page but only sent an email because my friend linked to content similar to what he has created.
That’s an example of what you should avoid. For improved success, you and your infographic must meet these social tactics when reaching out:
- Give them (prospects) something to talk about. This is why you shouldn’t skimp on content research for your infographics.
- Make the experience unforgettable for them. This is where you should avoid templates because top tier prospects have seen and probably receive hundreds of such in a day. Craft memorable outreach emails to avoid having prospects mark your email as spam and to increase your chances of receiving a favorable response.
- Engage them. Respond promptly to any replies you get, and thank them for any shares or link(s) to your infographic.
Of course, it’s impossible to expect all your prospects to respond, but when you do your outreach well, you’ll build more links and more relationships.
Add infographics to your SEO arsenal
Infographics created as stand-alone content or to enhance existing content are a necessary part of any marketer’s SEO arsenal. Compared to blog posts, infographics are still not created enough to completely saturate the internet, especially in some niches. Nevertheless, whether the saturation happens eventually or not, they’re still a gold-mine you should explore.
The question is: will you? Apply the advice you’ve just read to get started.