Matt Cutts spoke with Eric Enge at SMX Advanced, and Enge has now published the entire interview. In that interview, Cutts reveals that Google may start looking at discounting infographic links.
That doesn't mean Google is doing this right now, or that they definitely will, but...come on.
"In principle, there’s nothing wrong with the concept of an infographic," Cutts says in the interview. "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."
"The other thing that happens is that people don’t always realize what they are linking to when they reprint these infographics," he adds. "Often the link goes to a completely unrelated site, and one that they don’t mean to endorse. Conceptually, what happens is they really buy into publishing the infographic, and agree to include the link, but they don’t actually care about what it links to. From our perspective this is not what a link is meant to be."
I don't think it's much of a surprise to a lot of people that Google would consider not counting these kinds of links. In fact, last month, we ran an article from David Leonhardt, who talked about this very thing.
There are certainly legitimate infographics, just as there are legitimate directories, but there is always that room for abuse, and it could represent something like what Google considers to be a linking scheme (which is against its quality guidelines).
"I would not be surprised if at some point in the future we did not start to discount these infographic-type links to a degree," Cutts told Enge. "The link is often embedded in the infographic in a way that people don’t realize, vs. a true endorsement of your site."
I think that says it all. If you have a major infograhpic strategy that's built for SEO purposes, I wouldn't put too much stock into it moving forward. That doesn't mean, however, that infographics can't still provide value, and certainly spark some quality social traffic.
That's only a small part of Enge's interview with Cutts. Read the whole thing here.