How to Optimize Infographics for SEO
November 20, 2013 - SEO
If you’ve been following along with my trifecta of blog post around everything Infographics SEO then so far, I’ve tried to convince you that infographics are great for SEO and why infographics need more optimization than text content. Now, if you’ve been drinking my kool aid, then the next step is to go over how to best optimize your infographic for SEO. That, and I have a bridge to sell you…
Google: “Your Infographic Sucks”
Whoever said that “a picture is worth a thousand words” wasn’t speaking to an SEO.
(I’m sure that clever anecdote has been used before, but it’s brand new to my brain, so it stays.)
Your infographic may distill pages of well-researched, snore-inducing data into the equivalent of a Harry Potter trailer, or your graphic may transform a complex concept into a visually appealing graphic, but when your un-optimized graphic goes in front of a search engines, it’s just another image that can be rendered in less than 40 HTML characters.
Your infographic may literally have 1,000 words on it, but if you’re not optimizing it for SEO, then it’s not worth squat to search engines.
Wiyh SEO, images are limited to a couple dedicated optimization properties. Good luck representing all that great research and content within the image filename and ALT tag (see below), but that doesn’t mean there aren’t other methods for squeezing as much optimization out of your infographic as wan can. We can indirectly optimize the graphic by using SEO best practices on the page that the graphic lives on and optimizing for sharability (not really a word).
Step 1: Determine Keyword / Page Location
Before you start applying SEO to your graphic – you’ll first need to set up the foundation for the optimization.
- Keyword Research: As with any SEO campaign, keyword research is your first step. Identify your target keywords or keyphrase that you’d like your infographic to rank well for. You’ll include this keyword in your optimization.
- Location of Landing Page: I recommend placing your infographic within the subfolder of the related product, category, etc. For example, if Amazon was to create an infographic about USB thumbdrive usage in the last decade, the location of that landing page would look something like this: http://www.amazon.com/products/thumbdrives/usb-thumbdrive-history.html (not a real link)
This way, when the infographic is shared and linked to by other websites, the SEO authority will not only be passed to the landing page (/usb-thumbdrive-history.html), but will also benefit the directory of that related product section (/thumbdrives). This is opposed to placing and sending the links to your blog, or hosting your infographic on third-party sites like Visual.ly or Slideshare.
Step 2: Apply SEO Best Practices
Now that we have our target keyword(s) and identified the location of the landing page, we can now start working toward optimal search engine visibility for your graphic.
Image Optimization: As mentioned above, there are two true ways to optimize images:
- Image Filename: This is straightforward – rename the infographic filename to best represent the content of the infographic – and find a way to naturally include the target keyword.
- Image Alt Tag: Within the HTML code of the image, include the alt tag to provide descriptive content to better explain the content of the image. Basically, it’s the text alternative to the image.
* Don’t keyword stuff. Use the above tactics intelligently.
On Page Content: Here’s a list of page properties that can be leveraged to optimize the content around your infographic. Ensure that your targeted keywords are included in the following:
- Meta Title
- Meta Description
- Internal Links from related content
- Text content around graphic
That’s pretty straightforward SEO – if you need more details as to how best to SEO images, you can check out my blog post on image optimization.
Step 3: Include Tools That Make Sharing Easy
There’s more to infographic SEO than just keyword research, meta tags, and surrounding the graphic with related text. The key to infographics is their sharing potential and with that, are tools that make spreading your infographic as easy as possible. So before you blast it out on Twitter, ensure you’ve considered the following:
- Social Share Buttons: You’ve seen these everywhere – they’re icons represented by the company’s logo. These social widgets normally display how often a piece of content has been shared, and allows readers to easily share the content with just one-click. At a minimum, your landing page should include these.
- Facebook Open Graph: OG tags allow you to control how Facebook displays your content. When your infographic is shared, Facebook uses Open Graph metadata to determine what title, description and thumbnail image to display. Standard infographics are long, so they don’t format well on Facebook – this is where OG tags are especially important. Use Facebook’s debugger tool to see how Facebook will display your content, and adjust your metadata accordingly.
- Embed Code: Embed codes allow other blogs and websites to to copy and paste your graphic onto their sites by providing HTML code. Embed codes are great for SEO because they allow you to influence the text and how the site/blog links back to your site. Learn more about how to create an embed code.
It’s Worth the Effort
Ok, that’s a lot, but it’s well worth your time and effort to do right by your quality infographic. The payout can be huge. If creating, optimizing, and sharing an infographic is in your future, here’s a handy checklist you can reference to make sure you’re covering all your SEO bases.
This is the third blog post in a series about SEO and infographics I will be presenting at Dreamforce 2013. Post #1 discussed the sharability of infographics and how social benefits SEO. Post #2 talked about why SEO is needed for infographics.