Definitive Guide: Using Infographics to Improve Your Website Authority and Rankings

If you’re looking to increase organic search traffic and improve rankings, you’ve probably thought about ramping up on visual content.

You’re actually on the right track.

For a start, an analysis of 912 million blog posts by Backlinko and Buzzsumo revealed that visual content assets like infographics are ideal formats for acquiring backlinks through referring domains and social shares.

image courtesy of Backlinko

So how do you get started?

Read on below to learn how to create and promote infographics—from planning to execution—for consistent website traffic every month.

This guide is divided into three parts — planning for your infographic content, the infographic creation process, and promoting your infographic.

It’s a long read (with short videos in between) but we promise that it’s going to be worth it.

Why use infographics for more organic traffic to your website

You’re probably wondering why we’re focusing on infographics in this guide.

First off, it’s what we do best here at Easelly, whether it’s through our simple infographic maker tool or team of infographic designers.

It’s worth noting that most of the principles and steps discussed below will also apply to other types of visual content assets.

1. The visual nature of infographics makes them more shareable. 

As to why infographics are perfect tools to help boost your website rankings, Joshua Hardwick of Ahrefs (a well-known toolset for backlinks and SEO analysis) shares two reasons: 

An infographic helps your readers understand and retain your message easily and quickly.

For example, when you hear information, you’re likely to remember only 10 percent of that information after 3 days. On the other hand, if a relevant image is paired with that same information, you are likely to retain 65 percent of the information after 3 days.

listening-vs-listening-and-seeing

From illustrating a complicated process to sharing statistics, the visual nature of infographic content makes it easier for your audience to understand in contrast to written content. 

When your audience finds your infographic easily understandable, they’re also likely to hit the share button.

2. You can embed infographics easily.

For site owners, it’s easy to embed an infographic in a blog post and share them with their audience.

For these reasons, well-designed infographics are powerful tools to attract links to your website and build website authority.

As the number of backlinks to your website grows, your Domain Rating is also likely to go up.

Domain Rating is a proprietary metric by Ahrefs highlighting the strength of a target website’s total backlink profile. Ahrefs have observed a clear correlation between Domain Rating and the number of keywords a site ranks for.

doman rating vs. keywork rankings graph
image courtesy of Ahrefs

The infographic below is an example of a successful infographic that’s getting a fair amount of traffic and referring domains.

example of infographic with high DR in Ahrefs
infographic courtesy of UPMC Health Beat

It’s easy to get this valuable data using Ahrefs’ Content Explorer tool.

Type your keyword (let’s say your keyword is health infographic), and you can sort by  “Organic Traffic” or “Referring Domains”.

Ahrefs Content Explorer - Sort by Organic Traffic screenshot
Ahrefs Content Explorer – Sort by Organic Traffic
Ahrefs Content Explorer tool - Sort by Referring Domains
Ahrefs Content Explorer – Sort by Referring Domains

If you can attract a significant number of links to an infographic on your website, it makes sense to directly link from that page to a “money page” to help improve its rankings.

What’s a money page?

These are pages in your site that drive revenue like sales pages, but people don’t want to link to them because they’re “too commercial” and have little to no value for their audience. For e-commerce sites, that’ll be your product and category pages. For other businesses, it’ll be your landing pages.

Joshua of Ahrefs cites a great example:

Let’s say that you sell antibacterial soaps online. It might be challenging to get links directly to your product/category pages unless someone is a fan of your soaps. But what you could do is create an infographic based on a survey of how frequent people wash their hands.

Chances are, it would make for interesting content that others would want to share – and in doing so, they would link to your site and embed your infographic.

Think of your infographic as your middleman to help build website authority.

Now that you’ve learned why infographics are assets if you want to drive organic traffic to your website and deliver value at the same time, let’s dive into the nitty-gritty of infographic creation. 

Part 1: Planning the content of your infographic

Your first step is to have a clear vision of your infographic purpose. 

Besides your initial goal of attracting links and building authority, you have to nail down your goal in creating the infographic.

Are you planning to present trends and patterns? Would you like to compare products or services?

Watch the short video below to help you come up with a winning idea for your infographic. 

Once you have your infographic creation goal nailed down, your next step is to plan for the content of your infographic.

At this point, you can make a plan based on the following:

A. If you want to create an infographic with original content

B. If you want to support, update, or complement an existing piece of content with an infographic

Planning for original infographic content using Ahrefs

If you prefer to make original infographic content, use Ahrefs to research which topics are popular in your niche.

In other words, what topics are people interested in?

Let’s say you’re an agency in the health and wellness space and you’re helping a client boost traffic through infographics. You have two options.

Method 1: Identify your competitor’s top content using Ahrefs’ Top Content report in Site Explorer.

Ahrefs’ Site Exlorer tool enables you to have an in-depth look at the organic search traffic and backlink profile of any website or URL.

It can help you identify the most popular content on other sites in your niche.

Site Explorer -> type competitor domain -> Top Content

In this example, we use greatist.com, a popular site in the health and wellness space.

Here’s what it looks like for greatist.com:

Site Explorer -> type greatist.com-> Top Content

Site Explorer tool - Ahrefs Top Content sample report

From this report, you’ll be able to get an idea of your competitor’s top content. 

Your next step is to plan for infographic content around these topics. These topics are what your target readers deem worthy of links and engagement.  However, you have to make sure that your infographic content provides more value than the existing piece of content — often referred to as 10x content

For example, if you plan to make an infographic on “Air Purifying Plants” (it’s on the list of Greatist’ top content based on social shares), here are some ideas on how you can make this blog post 10x better with infographics: 

  • Create an infographic of the plants with details on how to take care of them. 
  • Design an infographic that talks about the right air purifying plant if you’re living in a small city condo or apartment. 
  • Make an infographic that shows exactly how these plants clear the air from toxins, etc. 

Pro-tip: Don’t limit yourself to improving a list of ten plants by adding more to the list. It might look better at first glance, but in reality, your new content adds nothing of substantial value to your audience. 

Method 2: Identify content in your niche with the most number of social shares using Ahrefs’ Content Explorer.

Ahrefs’ Content Explorer helps you discover and analyze top-performing content in your niche. You can sort results by organic traffic, social shares, referring domains, domain rating, and traffic value. 

In the examples below, let’s use “hangover food” as the keyword. Next, were’ going to find out which related content has the highest number of total social shares and referring domains.

Content Explorer -> In Title -> Sort by Total Shares 

Content Explorer tool in Ahrefs sample
Content Explorer  -> In Title -> Sort by Referring Domains (Linked Domains)

Content Explorer report sample in Ahrefs

Now that you have a list of content with the highest number of shares and linked domains, you can plan for infographic content around these topics.

With “hangover food” as the keyword, the article “Does Greasy Food Actually Help with a Hangover?” is the right candidate for 10x content because the content in the blog post has more room for improvement.

If you want to create 10x content on the topic on your site, write a more detailed article on the subject and create infographics on the following topics:

  1. The Science of Hangovers
  2. 10 Food Items to Stock in Your Pantry for Your Next Hangover Emergency
  3. X Science-Backed Ways to Avoid a Terrible Hangover

Updating old content with infographics using Ahrefs

Let’s say you’re planning for infographic content for one of your clients in the health and wellness space- Parsley Health. 

You can use Ahrefs to identify pages or blog posts in Parsley Health’s website that you can update through infographic creation. How?

Method 1: Use the “Top Pages” report in Ahrefs’ Site Explorer

Using this tool in Ahrefs enables you to see what keywords your competitors rank for in search and how much traffic each keyword brings them.

Top Pages - Site Explorer example in Ahrefs

From this list, choose at least 3 pages and update them by adding a new infographic.

For example, the blog post with the URL – https://www.parsleyhealth.com/blog/cbd-oil-health-benefits – has 67 referring domains.

Your next step is to add an infographic or visualize each section in the old article.

Adding an infographic improves the usefulness and shareability of your article.  Since the page is already getting a lot of traffic, this traffic will likely l
ink back to the article by sharing or embedding your infographic to their site.

This technique increases backlinks to your top page, and potentially improves rankings even further.

Method 2: Use the “Top Content” report in Ahrefs’ Site Explorer.

The  Top Content report in Ahrefs’ Site Explorer shows you which pages on a given website have the most social shares.

Here’s an example analyzing the top pages on Parsley Health via the most number of shares on Facebook: 

Top Content - Site Explorer

 

In this example, the second page on the list – 5 Essential Blood Tests You Need Every Year  is a good piece of content to transform into an infographic. It has 1,600 shares on Facebook so that means people find it useful. You can make it more shareable with an infographic. 

Whew! Now that you’re done planning for your infographic content, your next step is to make sure that you have high-quality sources of data and information.

Best practices in conducting reseach for your infographic

A well-designed, effective infographic is also a result of the following best practices when gathering information and tranforming them into insights:

  • Explore other perspectives to avoid biased information.
  • Find the central idea of the numbers or data you’ve gathered.
  • Turn your stats and figures into a compelling visual story by coming up with a beginning that captures readers’ attention, a middle filled with rich insights and data, and finally, a satisfying conclusion. 
  • Envision what your infographic would look like by knowing the different types of infographics beforehand.
  • Pull data and information from reputable and validated sources.

The useful infographic checklist below can serve as quick reminder every time you’re about to start an infographic project. 

Part 2: Creating your infographic

You’ve already decided on the topic, information, and type of infographic that you want to create. You’ve made sure that credible sources back your data. Your next step is to design your infographic!

At this point, you have two options — find an infographic designer to make one for you or do it yourself. 

If you prefer to outsource, hiring freelancers is often the case. The good news is you can hire a team of professional infographic designers with quick turnaround times.

If you prefer this option, an infographic design brief is a must to help ensure that you and the designers are on the same page. 

It’s worth noting that briefs are also helpful even if you want to go the DIY route (discussed in detail below). Think of creative briefs as your northern star. 

Making infographics from scratch

If you prefer to go the DIY route, hats off to you!

Whether you have design experience or doing infographics for the first time, here are some valuable tips to get you started.

1. Start with an outline.

Whether you prefer structure or going-with-the-flow when starting an infographic design project, an infographic outline serves as a checklist to ensure that you’ve covered every tidbit of the message or idea that you want to communicate.

2. Be mindful of your infographic color scheme.

Your choice of infographic colors is equally important. It’s not uncommon for anyone new to infographic creation to use too many colors at once. We’ve all been guilty at some point!

Here are some good practices for choosing the best colors for your infographic:

  • Match your infographic’s color to the overall mood that you want to convey in your infographic.
  • Understand the basics of color theory and psychology.
  • Draw inspiration from the 60-30-10 color rule of interior designers.
  • Use your brand colors.
  • Stick to 2-3 colors.
  • Consider accesibility through careful consideration of color contrast.
  • Take white space into account.

3. Write clear, concise infographic copy.

Writing infographic copy is like packing light.

When you’re packing light for a week-long trip, you learn not to take every favorite piece of clothing with you. You discover how to nail a good balance between function and aesthetics.

Here are some good practices for writing infographic content:

  • Write your infographic headline with intention.
  • Craft an introduction that supports your infographic headline.
  • Think of your subheadings as guideposts that will further prompt your audience to read the rest of your infographic.
  • Use text to support your visuals (not the other way around). 
  • Attribute correctly. Add footnotes and sources. 
  • Use charts, graphs, pictograms. Label them correctly.
  • Check for typos, spelling errors, and grammar mishaps.
  • Replace BIG, complex words with simple writing – clear, concise, and relevant.
  • Don’t be afraid to edit, rewrite, or rephrase your infographic copy. If possible, ask a colleague or professional editor to go over your content.
  •  When crafting infographic copy, ask yourself – does the audience need to know this? If the answer is no, kill your darlings.
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