Infographic spam may soon take its rightful place in the grand lineage of splogs, duplicate-content articles and mass directory submissions.
Spinfographics. Get ready, because they about to flood the Internet.
You never heard of “spinfographics” before? It means, well, if you know what a splog is, you will probably understand exactly what a spinfographic is. If, not we had best go back to the beginning.
In the beginning there was Google.
Google created the Internet, and saw that it was good.
Then Google created websites, and saw that it was good.
Then Google ranked websites, and saw that it was good.
And Google told webmasters to make their websites for users, not for higher rankings. But webmasters were tempted, and they took of the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge, that they might be like Google and know the ranking algorithm.
And nothing was the same again. Every time webmasters took another bite of the fruit, webmasterkind would spoil it. The pattern was always the same…
1. Knowledge: A few people discover that they can rank better by adding more terms in the
keywords meta tag.
2. Temptation: Everybody decides to stuff their keyword meta tag so they can rank for everything.
3. A big mess!: Suddenly rankings are scalable, everybody can do it and replicate with ease. Too much quantity, too little quality.
4. Banishment: Google removes keywords meta data from its algorithm.
1. Knowledge: People learn that directory links can be useful for ranking well.
2. Temptation: Some people realize that if they can create tons of directories, they can get lots of webmaster traffic.
Other people discover that if they can auto-submit sites, they can make money for building tons of links.
3. A big mess!: Suddenly link-building is scalable, everybody can do it and replicate with ease. Too much quantity, too little quality.
4. Banishment: Google devalues directory links in its algorithm.
1. Knowledge: People learn that article directory links can be useful for ranking well.
2. Temptation: Some people realize that if they can create tons of article directories, they can get lots of webmaster traffic. Other people discover that if they can auto-submit articles, they can make money for building tons of links. Quickly. Cheaply.
3. A big mess!: Suddenly article submissions are scalable, everybody can do it and replicate with ease. Too much quantity, too little quality.
4. Banishment: Google devalues links from duplicate content in its algorithm.
Then, of course…
1. Knowledge: People figure out that if they spin each article into various versions, they can use the same basic content without creating duplicate content.
2. Temptation: Some people realize if they can automate the spinning process, they can create lots of articles easily from the same content. Quickly. Cheaply.
3. A big mess!: Suddenly article spinning is scalable, everybody can do it and replicate with ease. Too much quantity, too little quality. In fact, so little quality that it starts turning the Internet into a waste bin.
4. Banishment: Google devalues spun content in its algorithm and penalizes heavy users.
We are getting closer. And then…
1. Knowledge: People figure out that keyword rich links in blog content are the best links for ranking well.
2. Temptation: Some people realize how much money they can make by offering tons of in-content blog links for very little work by creating blogs just to sell links.
3. A big mess!: Suddenly in-content blog link-building is scalable, and splogs (spam blogs) are popping up like weeds. Too much quantity, too little quality. Yes, the Internet really is looking more and more like a waste bin.
4. Banishment: Google de-indexes whole networks of splogs and penalizes heavy users. Can you say “Penguin”?
1. Knowledge: Some people figure out that they can get lots of good links by sharing Infographics.
2. Temptation: Infographics galleries start popping up and some people realize there is a market to be made selling “cheap, easy, DIY Infographics”.
3. A big mess!: Suddenly Infographics creation and distribution becomes ______________ . Too much quantity, too little quality. (Fill in the blank. Hint, it rhymes with “shwalable”). Yes, we transition from Infographics to spinfographics.
4. Banishment: Google _________________________ (Fill in the blanks). What do you think Google will do to spinfographers – to webmasters who mass produce and mass distribute Infographics?
Listen carefully, and you can already hear the moaning and groaning on future webmaster forums, as people complain with surprise that their sites have been penalized or lost rankings because they were mass distributing Infographics to artificially boost their rankings.
“But Google says, ‘The best way to get other sites to create relevant links to yours is to create unique, relevant content that can quickly gain popularity in the Internet community.'”
OK, sure. But the pattern is always the same. Huge swarms of webmasters looking for shortcuts, trying to mass produce quality, totally oblivious to the oxymoron of their business model. And they spoil it for the rest of us. Already people are advertising services to create “easy” infographics “in minutes” for a very “cheap” price.
Does this mean the days of Infographics are numbered? I don’t think so. There always has been a place for graphical displays of data. Newspapers have been doing it for decades, and it will continue on the Internet.
However, I am certain that any popular link-bait strategy using Infographics today will be outdated a year or two from now. Smart webmasters will go back to the table and reconsider how to use Infographics to boost their promotions.
Done right, I am confident that these will always be useful for search engine rankings. Just as blog links.
And content spinning. And article links. And directory links. And…well, maybe not meta tags.
Just as in all these previous techniques, webmasters will have to make sure that it is perfectly clear to the search engines that they are not mass-producing, mass-linking or using a scalable or automated method to create or distribute content.
And there is a single strategy that applies to all of these. Don’t do it for the search engines; do it for reaching out to new markets. Don’t ignore the search engines; keep one eye on them with everything you do. But if the main goal of any action is aimed at reaching new markets, you will end up creating and distributing the kind of content that Google wants you to. Or at least that Google is now saying that it wants you to – but that is another scary topic for another discussion.
For now, the key thing is to avoid Spinfographics, because with the Penguin update, Google has shown that it is ready to do more than just devalue scalable links – they are willing to penalize sites involved.