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10 Big Ways Infographics Benefit Your Content Strategy

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10 Big Ways Infographics Benefit Your Content Strategy


If you want to share information with someone, tell it to them.

If you want that person to retain that information, tell a visual story with an infographic.

Infographics are an aesthetically pleasing way to summarize data and share information in a more compelling, engaging way with content consumers.

They can tell a story that captivates readers in a way words alone fail to accomplish.

And, for those concerned with infographics being a thing of the past, infographics have had the biggest increase in usage among B2B marketers in the last four years and was at 67% in 2020.

Marketers, too, agree with the power of visuals.

In fact, 49% of marketers rate visual marketing as “very important” to their marketing strategy; 22% consider it “important”, and 19% say that their strategy is nothing without visual content.

Looking to elevate your content strategy past your standard text and graphic elements?

While there is a wide range of benefits of using infographics, we’ve narrowed down our top 10 reasons to incorporate them in your content strategy.

1. Infographics Can Improve Decision-Making

Visuals speed up the rate at which information is processed.

The quicker you process information, the faster you can make decisions.

This can be beneficial when presenting complex ideas, such as breaking down academic research in an easily digestible manner.

The mind processes information in pictures much faster than it does in words and humans tend to be visual creatures inherently.

If you are trying to understand something complicated, infographics help your brain work through it quicker.

This, in turn, helps your business communicate its end goal quickly and more effectively.

2. They Increase Your Content’s Exposure

Compiling research is a timely endeavor that can take plenty of resources.

Additionally, once this research is completed, you must invest time in analyzing the data and determining key statistics.

From there, designing an infographic based on this data is yet another step in the process of creating a compelling visual.

While not every infographic requires original ideas, the effort you put into creating your infographics is sometimes not duplicated but rather shared by others.

Your organization can be best promoted when your content and visuals include useful and meaningful information for viewers. Increase your potential reach by publishing infographics that are:

  • Relevant to your audience.
  • Visually appealing.
  • Adhere to your brand guidelines.
  • Convey complex information in a simple format.
  • Tell a compelling story worthy of sharing.

3. Enhances Content Shareability

Infographics should not only be easy to consume, but easy for readers to share.

To improve your infographic’s sharability, your business should:

  • Enable highly visible social sharing buttons.
  • Add an embed code button.
  • Submit to infographic sites (here are 20 to help you get started).
  • Send it in your monthly newsletter.
  • Include infographic snapshots or share specific sections to include on social media, in blog posts, and in press releases.
  • Share with related influencers and social media accounts.
  • Get more mileage out of your infographic (don’t be afraid to share your infographic more than once).

4. Infographics Can Build Brand Credibility

Creating interesting and informative graphics can help people learn more about you or your business and be seen as a voice of authority.

By positioning yourself as an expert in your industry, you not only become a thought leader but also build credibility for your brand.

Become a trustworthy source by crafting an original infographic, power-packed with useful resources and relevant images.

To build credible infographics, leverage the following tips:

  • Create a well-designed infographic that’s talk-worthy.
  • Establish a strategy for executing a compelling infographic and staying consistent.
  • Publish your infographics on relevant sites with high domain authority.
  • Draft content that an average user can consume; don’t overcomplicate things.
  • Share your infographics with trusted influencers in your industry.
  • Keep your infographics professional by using skilled graphic designers to create them.

5. They Complement Your Branding Strategy

In order for your content marketing strategy to be successful, it needs to align with your brand’s message and identity.

If someone sees an infographic on your site or on third-party sites or social platforms, they should be able to tell that it came from your company because of its unique design.

When done right, your target audience will be able to discern your brand’s infographics from others.

Customize every aspect of your infographic, from colors to fonts to text placement to align with your branding.

By doing so, you’ll build brand awareness and raise your credibility among your audience.

6. Infographics Can Build High-Quality Backlinks

Link building enables your business to rank higher in Google’s organic search results.

However, links must come from relevant, quality websites with authority in their own right to propel your business forward in search.

Even sites that may not be accepting guest post contributions might be interested in publishing an infographic as an alternative.

These sites may also be interested in including a link to your infographic in a piece that’s already published when relevant to the content.

This means you get to build high-quality backlinks and strengthen your domain authority on your end while driving user engagement on their end.

Infographics have proven to be one of the more effective backlink generation tactics for many brands and can be for your brand too.

7. They Help Improve Your SEO

Infographics are an effective tool for driving more traffic to your site, improving your ROI, and increasing conversion rates.

Consider the last few infographics you’ve seen, and where you saw these.

Infographic images are used extensively online for various purposes including email marketing, blog posts, social media ads, etc.

You’ve likely seen one while browsing on your phone or desktop today.

Additionally, infographics are one of the most versatile types of content for any business and can greatly improve visibility.

They’re easy to create, share, and use across multiple platforms. And when done right and with the right promotion, they can help increase engagement and conversions.

To boost your website’s visibility on popular search engines, add alt text, a title, and a description of the infographic.

There are several different ways to improve SEO, but one way to get started is by making sure your infographics are shareable.

If they’re shared often enough, then people may link to them from their own sites and pages, improving your chances of appearing higher in search.

8. Infographics Help You Tell A Story

Infographics can help people understand complex concepts by using visual aids such as charts, graphs, or diagrams.

They can use both images and text in a visual format to explain concepts.

They’re often used for marketing purposes but they can be useful when writing articles or sharing research too.

However, if an infographic doesn’t tell its viewers something new, they’ll quickly tune out.

Instead, the infographic should strike a balance by using text that tells a compelling story and relevant data to create an effective and attractive visual.

Consider how the average person reads a book from start to finish.

Intriguing stories have a clear structure, focus, and purpose. So, too, should your infographic.

9. It’s Easy To Track Results

As with any marketing effort, you’ll want to invest time and resources tracking how well your infographics perform.

While some of your marketing initiatives’ performance can be ambiguous and hard to measure ROI, this isn’t the case with infographics.

In a perfect world, every infographic you create will present plenty of key takeaways, in a clear and succinct format.

But, some may hit the mark more than others.

With the right tracking in place, it can be relatively easy to determine how your infographic marketing efforts are performing to improve and scale in the future.

To gain a better understanding of how your infographics are performing and how to improve, you must create a landing page for each infographic.

Use an analytics platform to determine traffic sources, the user’s site behavior, and page visits.

Perform a reverse image search to determine what sites are using your infographic.

You may want to consider contacting websites that have posted your content but haven’t linked back to you for permission if they’re not doing so already.

10. Infographics Enhance Readability

An infographic can help readers easily digest text-heavy content and makes the content easier to understand for visual learners.

As we become an increasingly visually focused society, as evidenced by the rise of social media platforms such as Instagram and TikTok that rely heavily on visuals, if we cannot scan through the text quickly, then the content isn’t leaving as much of an impact.

A benefit of infographics is they convey a largely visual story and align with the greater majority’s learning preferences.

To improve your infographic’s readability:

  • Use attractive colors that adhere to your branding.
  • Test a variety of layout options to determine which resonates best with your audience.
  • Develop a basic template to start, and expand once ample A/B testing is performed.
  • Avoid crafting a lengthy blog post and focus on the most critical information instead.
  • Ensure you’re creating an appealing infographic, rather than churning out many mediocre infographics for the sake of creating more content.

As evidenced above, there are many notable benefits of infographics and they continue to drive qualified traffic, help a brand be seen as an authority figure, improve SEO efforts, enhance knowledge retention, and more.

They’ve also proven to be a piece of content that inspires audiences more than text-based content alone.

Whether you’re just getting started with developing a simple infographic or you’re a seasoned pro, they are a type of content that belongs in any marketing strategy.

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Featured Image: KatePilko/Shutterstock





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How to Block ChatGPT From Using Your Website Content

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How to Block ChatGPT From Using Your Website Content

There is concern about the lack of an easy way to opt out of having one’s content used to train large language models (LLMs) like ChatGPT. There is a way to do it, but it’s neither straightforward nor guaranteed to work.

How AIs Learn From Your Content

Large Language Models (LLMs) are trained on data that originates from multiple sources. Many of these datasets are open source and are freely used for training AIs.

Some of the sources used are:

  • Wikipedia
  • Government court records
  • Books
  • Emails
  • Crawled websites

There are actually portals and websites offering datasets that are giving away vast amounts of information.

One of the portals is hosted by Amazon, offering thousands of datasets at the Registry of Open Data on AWS.

Screenshot from Amazon, January 2023

The Amazon portal with thousands of datasets is just one portal out of many others that contain more datasets.

Wikipedia lists 28 portals for downloading datasets, including the Google Dataset and the Hugging Face portals for finding thousands of datasets.

Datasets of Web Content

OpenWebText

A popular dataset of web content is called OpenWebText. OpenWebText consists of URLs found on Reddit posts that had at least three upvotes.

The idea is that these URLs are trustworthy and will contain quality content. I couldn’t find information about a user agent for their crawler, maybe it’s just identified as Python, I’m not sure.

Nevertheless, we do know that if your site is linked from Reddit with at least three upvotes then there’s a good chance that your site is in the OpenWebText dataset.

More information about OpenWebText is here.

Common Crawl

One of the most commonly used datasets for Internet content is offered by a non-profit organization called Common Crawl.

Common Crawl data comes from a bot that crawls the entire Internet.

The data is downloaded by organizations wishing to use the data and then cleaned of spammy sites, etc.

The name of the Common Crawl bot is, CCBot.

CCBot obeys the robots.txt protocol so it is possible to block Common Crawl with Robots.txt and prevent your website data from making it into another dataset.

However, if your site has already been crawled then it’s likely already included in multiple datasets.

Nevertheless, by blocking Common Crawl it’s possible to opt out your website content from being included in new datasets sourced from newer Common Crawl data.

The CCBot User-Agent string is:

CCBot/2.0

Add the following to your robots.txt file to block the Common Crawl bot:

User-agent: CCBot
Disallow: /

An additional way to confirm if a CCBot user agent is legit is that it crawls from Amazon AWS IP addresses.

CCBot also obeys the nofollow robots meta tag directives.

Use this in your robots meta tag:

<meta name="robots" content="nofollow">

Blocking AI From Using Your Content

Search engines allow websites to opt out of being crawled. Common Crawl also allows opting out. But there is currently no way to remove one’s website content from existing datasets.

Furthermore, research scientists don’t seem to offer website publishers a way to opt out of being crawled.

The article, Is ChatGPT Use Of Web Content Fair? explores the topic of whether it’s even ethical to use website data without permission or a way to opt out.

Many publishers may appreciate it if in the near future, they are given more say on how their content is used, especially by AI products like ChatGPT.

Whether that will happen is unknown at this time.

More resources:

Featured image by Shutterstock/ViDI Studio



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Google’s Mueller Criticizes Negative SEO & Link Disavow Companies

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Google's Mueller Criticizes Negative SEO & Link Disavow Companies

John Mueller recently made strong statements against SEO companies that provide negative SEO and other agencies that provide link disavow services outside of the tool’s intended purpose, saying that they are “cashing in” on clients who don’t know better.

While many frequently say that Mueller and other Googlers are ambiguous, even on the topic of link disavows.

The fact however is that Mueller and other Googlers have consistently recommended against using the link disavow tool.

This may be the first time Mueller actually portrayed SEOs who liberally recommend link disavows in a negative light.

What Led to John Mueller’s Rebuke

The context of Mueller’s comments about negative SEO and link disavow companies started with a tweet by Ryan Jones (@RyanJones)

Ryan tweeted that he was shocked at how many SEOs regularly offer disavowing links.

He tweeted:

“I’m still shocked at how many seos regularly disavow links. Why? Unless you spammed them or have a manual action you’re probably doing more harm than good.”

The reason why Ryan is shocked is because Google has consistently recommended the tool for disavowing paid/spammy links that the sites (or their SEOs) are responsible for.

And yet, here we are, eleven years later, and SEOs are still misusing the tool for removing other kinds of tools.

Here’s the background information about that.

Link Disavow Tool

In the mid 2000’s there was a thriving open market for paid links prior to the Penguin Update in April 2012. The commerce in paid links was staggering.

I knew of one publisher with around fifty websites who received a $30,000 check every month for hosting paid links on his site.

Even though I advised my clients against it, some of them still purchased links because they saw everyone else was buying them and getting away with it.

The Penguin Update caused the link selling boom collapsed.

Thousands of websites lost rankings.

SEOs and affected websites strained under the burden of having to contact all the sites from which they purchased paid links to ask to have them removed.

So some in the SEO community asked Google for a more convenient way to disavow the links.

Months went by and after resisting the requests, Google relented and released a disavow tool.

Google cautioned from the very beginning to only use the tool for disavowing links that the site publishers (or their SEOs) are responsible for.

The first paragraph of Google’s October 2012 announcement of the link disavow tool leaves no doubt on when to use the tool:

“Today we’re introducing a tool that enables you to disavow links to your site.

If you’ve been notified of a manual spam action based on ‘unnatural links’ pointing to your site, this tool can help you address the issue.

If you haven’t gotten this notification, this tool generally isn’t something you need to worry about.”

The message couldn’t be clearer.

But at some point in time, link disavowing became a service applied to random and “spammy looking” links, which is not what the tool is for.

Link Disavow Takes Months To Work

There are many anecdotes about link disavows that helped sites regain rankings.

They aren’t lying, I know credible and honest people who have made this claim.

But here’s the thing, John Mueller has confirmed that the link disavow process takes months to work its way through Google’s algorithm.

Sometimes things happen that are not related, no correlation. It just looks that way.

John shared how long it takes for a link disavow to work in a Webmaster Hangout:

“With regards to this particular case, where you’re saying you submitted a disavow file and then the ranking dropped or the visibility dropped, especially a few days later, I would assume that that is not related.

So in particular with the disavow file, what happens is we take that file into account when we reprocess the links kind of pointing to your website.

And this is a process that happens incrementally over a period of time where I would expect it would have an effect over the course of… I don’t know… maybe three, four, five, six months …kind of step by step going in that direction.

So if you’re saying that you saw an effect within a couple of days and it was a really strong effect then I would assume that this effect is completely unrelated to the disavow file. …it sounds like you still haven’t figured out what might be causing this.”

John Mueller: Negative SEO and Link Disavow Companies are Making Stuff Up

Context is important to understand what was said.

So here’s the context for John Mueller’s remark.

An SEO responded to Ryan’s tweet about being shocked at how many SEOs regularly disavow links.

The person responding to Ryan tweeted that disavowing links was still important, that agencies provide negative SEO services to take down websites and that link disavow is a way to combat the negative links.

The SEO (SEOGuruJaipur) tweeted:

“Google still gives penalties for backlinks (for example, 14 Dec update, so disavowing links is still important.”

SEOGuruJaipur next began tweeting about negative SEO companies.

Negative SEO companies are those that will build spammy links to a client’s competitor in order to make the competitor’s rankings drop.

SEOGuruJaipur tweeted:

“There are so many agencies that provide services to down competitors; they create backlinks for competitors such as comments, bookmarking, directory, and article submission on low quality sites.”

SEOGuruJaipur continued discussing negative SEO link builders, saying that only high trust sites are immune to the negative SEO links.

He tweeted:

“Agencies know what kind of links hurt the website because they have been doing this for a long time.

It’s only hard to down for very trusted sites. Even some agencies provide a money back guarantee as well.

They will provide you examples as well with proper insights.”

John Mueller tweeted his response to the above tweets:

“That’s all made up & irrelevant.

These agencies (both those creating, and those disavowing) are just making stuff up, and cashing in from those who don’t know better.”

Then someone else joined the discussion:

Mueller tweeted a response:

“Don’t waste your time on it; do things that build up your site instead.”

Unambiguous Statement on Negative SEO and Link Disavow Services

A statement by John Mueller (or anyone) can appear to conflict with prior statements when taken out of context.

That’s why I not only placed his statements into their original context but also the history going back eleven years that is a part of that discussion.

It’s clear that John Mueller feels that those selling negative SEO services and those providing disavow services outside of the intended use are “making stuff up” and “cashing in” on clients who might not “know better.”

Featured image by Shutterstock/Asier Romero



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Source Code Leak Shows New Ranking Factors to Consider

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Source Code Leak Shows New Ranking Factors to Consider

January 25, 2023, the day that Yandex—Russia’s search engine—was hacked. 

Its complete source code was leaked online. And, it might not be the first time we’ve seen hacking happen in this industry, but it is one of the most intriguing, groundbreaking events in years.

But Yandex isn’t Google, so why should we care? Here’s why we do: these two search engines are very similar in how they process technical elements of a website, and this leak just showed us the 1,922 ranking factors Yandex uses in its algorithm. 

Simply put, this information is something that we can use to our advantage to get more traffic from Google.

Yandex vs Google

As I said, a lot of these ranking factors are possibly quite similar to the signals that Google uses for search.

Yandex’s algorithm shows a RankBrain analog: MatrixNext. It also seems that they are using PageRank (almost the same way as Google does), and a lot of their text algorithms are the same. Interestingly, there are also a lot of ex-Googlers working in Yandex. 

So, reviewing these factors and understanding how they play into search rankings and traffic will provide some very useful insights into how search engines like Google work. No doubt, this new trove of information will greatly influence the SEO market in the months to come. 

That said, Yandex isn’t Google. The chances of Google having the exact same list of ranking factors is low — and Google may not even give that signal the same amount of weight that Yandex does. 

Still, it’s information that potentially will be useful for driving traffic, so make sure to take a look at them here (before it’s scrubbed from the internet forever).

An early analysis of ranking factors

Many of their ranking factors are as expected. These include:

  • Many link-related factors (e.g., age, relevancy, etc.).
  • Content relevance, age, and freshness.
  • Host reliability
  • End-user behavior signals.

Some sites also get preference (such as Wikipedia). FI_VISITS_FROM_WIKI even shows that sites that are referenced by Wikipedia get plus points. 

These are all things that we already know.

But something interesting: there were several factors that I and other SEOs found unusual, such as PageRank being the 17th highest weighted factor in Yandex, and the 19th highest weighted factor being query-document relevance (in other words, how close they match thematically). There’s also karma for likely spam hosts, based on Whois information.

Other interesting factors are the average domain ranking across queries, percent of organic traffic, and the number of unique visitors.

You can also use this Yandex Search Ranking Factor Explorer, created by Rob Ousbey, to search through the various ranking factors.

The possible negative ranking factors:

Here’s my thoughts on Yandex’s factors that I found interesting: 

FI_ADV: -0.2509284637 — this factor means having tons of adverts scattered around your page and buying PPC can affect rankings. 

FI_DATER_AGE: -0.2074373667 — this one evaluates content age, and whether your article is more than 10 years old, or if there’s no determinable date. Date metadata is important. 

FI_COMM_LINKS_SEO_HOSTS: -0.1809636391 — this can be a negative factor if you have too much commercial anchor text, particularly if the proportion of such links goes above 50%. Pay attention to anchor text distribution. I’ve written a guide on how to effectively use anchor texts if you need some help on this. 

FI_RANK_ARTROZ — outdated, poorly written text will bring your rankings down. Go through your site and give your content a refresh. FI_WORD_COUNT also shows that the number of words matter, so avoid having low-content pages.

FI_URL_HAS_NO_DIGITS, FI_NUM_SLASHES, FI_FULL_URL_FRACTION — urls shouldn’t have digits, too many slashes (too much hierarchy), and of course contain your targeted keyword.

FI_NUM_LINKS_FROM_MP — always interlink your main pages (such as your homepage or landing pages) to any other important content you want to rank. Otherwise, it can hurt your content.

FI_HOPS — reduce the crawl depth for any pages that matter to you. No important pages should be more than a few clicks away from your homepage. I recommend keeping it to two clicks, at most. 

FI_IS_UNREACHABLE — likewise, avoid making any important page an orphan page. If it’s unreachable from your homepage, it’s as good as dead in the eyes of the search engine.

The possible positive ranking factors:

FI_IS_COM: +0.2762504972 — .com domains get a boost in rankings.

FI_YABAR_HOST_VISITORS — the more traffic you get, the more ranking power your site has. The strategy of targeting smaller, easier keywords first to build up an audience before targeting harder keywords can help you build traffic.

FI_BEAST_HOST_MEAN_POS — the average position of the host for keywords affects your overall ranking. This factor and the previous one clearly show that being smart with your keyword and content planning matters. If you need help with that, check out these 5 ways to build a solid SEO strategy.

FI_YABAR_HOST_SEARCH_TRAFFIC — this might look bad but shows that having other traffic sources (such as social media, direct search, and PPC) is good for your site. Yandex uses this to determine if a real site is being run, not just some spammy SEO project.

This one includes a whole host of CTR-related factors. 

CTR ranking factors from Yandex

It’s clear that having searchable and interesting titles that drive users to check your content out is something that positively affects your rankings.

Google is rewarding sites that help end a user’s search journey (as we know from the latest mobile search updates and even the Helpful Content update). Do what you can to answer the query early on in your article. The factor “FI_VISITORS_RETURN_MONTH_SHARE“ also shows that it helps to encourage users to return to your site for more information on the topics they’re interested in. Email marketing is a handy tool here.

FI_GOOD_RATIO and FI_MANY_BAD — the percentage of “good” and “bad” backlinks on your site. Getting your backlinks from high-quality websites with traffic is important for your rankings. The factor FI_LINK_AGE also shows that adding a link-building strategy to your SEO as early as possible can help with your rankings.

FI_SOCIAL_URL_IS_VERIFIED — that little blue check has actual benefits now. Links from verified accounts have more weight.

Key Takeaway

Yandex and Google, being so similar to each other in theory, means that this data leak is something we must pay attention to. 

Several of these factors may already be common knowledge amongst SEOs, but having them confirmed by another search engine enforces how important they are for your strategy.

These initial findings, and understanding what it might mean for your website, can help you identify what to improve, what to scrap, and what to focus on when it comes to your SEO strategy. 

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