Infographics are the new web rage, but did you know that most have hidden embedded links in them? The next time someone offers to allow you to use their infographic or solicits your posting their infographic on your website or blog, be aware that you may be unknowingly promoting their hidden link agenda.
The marketing of infographics with hidden links has proliferated so much on the web that Google is now discounting links from infographics. You can read more on this topic in this interesting article on links and infographics at SiteProNews.
First if you don’t know what an infographic is, here’s one as an example on search engines. They are a visual story that is interesting to look at and contains graphs and data. Usually a site will embed the whole image in a blog post or on a website page. Another view of just the same image so you can see the length.
Here is the crux of the problem:
“…black hat SEO pros saw an opportunity to trick the search engine. They simply create any infographic based on the current trends and link irrelevant text or images back to the target websites. For example, the infographic would be about Euro 2012 but the image of some footballer would link back to a payday loan website. The intention is not to get as many clicks as possible but to generate as many links as possible. So this is how links are hidden behind irrelevant images or text. The links grow as the infographic is shared by real users without noticing the hidden link. While it is no harm for the people sharing the infographic because they find the information good to be shared, for Google a spammy link is being spread which confuses the bots and may make it rank the payday website in the example high based on this.” More information.
As a result, Google has now discounted links coming from infographics. Although you may still want to use an infographic on your website or blog as they can be interesting and informative, remember that when you link to spammy sites, your own PageRank and website authority are impacted by linking out to poor quality sites.
So, just be aware that really interesting graphic you were just approached to put on your website, may actually have a dark side to it. Just be aware of the down side!