Infographics have enjoyed a boom over the last couple of years, with the addition of Pinterest to the social media world, graphical representation of information is now readily available for everything from mobile phone sales to the amount of alcohol consumed by the Boston Bruins after winning the Stanley Cup.
It makes sense, the average person struggles to interpret reams and reams of data laid out in the typical business reporting style.
Early manifestations of infographics, such as pie charts, made numbers much easier to process. Indeed, research has suggested that human beings process visual information 60,000 times faster than text based equivalents (source: billiondollargraphics.com). It’s why infographics are so effective, appreciated and avidly shared.
The devaluation of infographics
If infographics are so adored, why would you ever consider an alternative, particularly something like SlideShare, an online sharing platform for slide presentations, which exudes echoes of archaic businessmen snoring into their briefcases.
As was summarised in our newsletter, a recent interview with Matt Cutts alluded to their concern that many infographics appear to house misleading links or incorrect information.
It would seem then, that the boom in popularity has encouraged less ethical SEO practitioners to exploit them for underhanded traffic and back link gain. This is, of course, against Google’s principles and so it might mean that the value of embedded links in infographics gets devalued at some point in the future.
Maybe the alternative is SlideShare.
What is SlideShare?
SlideShare’s about us page reads like an award ceremony nomination: 60 million monthly visitors, amongst the 200 most visited websites in the whole world and recently voted in the world’s top ten tools for education and learning, which only makes me feel shame that I haven’t heard about it before now.
Yet, surely they’re just Powerpoints? And aren’t Powerpoints the epitomy of habitual banality, which only serve to evoke memories of staring blankly at projector screens in university halls and boardrooms, praying desperately for a passing meteor or alien invasion to disrupt time enough to make a hasty escape? Why then is this site so popular and why has it slowly but surely dominated the online space of information presentation?
The answer: Google loves SlideShare. And the whole idea that Powerpoint slideshows so are passionately loathed across the world is, I believe, the very core of this relationship. Powerpoints, in their utter mundanity, synonymous only with reading the Daily Mail and watching re-runs of DIY SoS, are so unappealing that to attempt exploitation through poor construction and short cuts is to guarantee its failure.
The only way anyone is ever going to read the entirety of your slideshow, unless they’re forced into the room with you while you’re presenting it, is if it is interesting. More than interesting even, it has to be amazing. And because of this, the steps people have taken to improve their slideshows are impressive to say the least.
Last week’s Whiteboard Friday by Rand is everything you could ever need to know about doing this, and it makes for unbelievable viewing. Gone are the formulaic bullet points, the aneurysm-inducing templates and the chunks of unnecessary information. Now picture focused slides are encouraged with bespoke, consistent and company-centric templates as standard. Humour, engagement and actionable points that viewers can actually do are staples of a good slideshow.
In essence, they tick every box of Google’s quotient for good content. It’s exactly why they’re happy to allow multiple back links, although they are no-follow, from SlideShare’s site that boasts a Domain Authority of 97.
So, in conclusion, you could choose to go with an infographic and risk the future devaluation of your embedded link, regardless of its quality. Or you could invest the time and create a brilliant, engaging slideshow that people want to read and share, from a platform that Google loves.
For me, it’s a no-brainer.SlideShare: Infographics for an 80s businessman? Or a clever, informative and well optimised alternative? by Dave Langdale