How to optimize infographics for search and social media

People love to share infographics, but a few behind-the-scenes tweaks could help yours get even more traction.

Careful research, interesting content and unique design make a great infographic, but without effective distribution and search visibility, your efforts will go to waste.

Here are five tips to ensure your infographics get the Google juice and social shares they deserve:

1. Choose a descriptive file name and alt attribute.

Google crawls file names as well as Web pages, so a short, descriptive title is crucial. Avoid keyword stuffing, and keep the title relevant. “Coke-vs-pepsi-infographic.jpg” is much better than “infographic362.jpg.”

The alt attribute is an HTML element that stands in for images when a page can’t display them. It also provides search engines with a semantic image description. A good alt attribute would be “Coke vs Pepsi infographic.” It’s simple.

2. Consider a landing page.

You could just post your infographic on your blog, but why not promote it with a specially designed landing page, as well? It should include:

  • An H1 heading.
  • A short description (one or two paragraphs).
  • Social share buttons.
  • An embed code.
  • A Facebook comments plugin.
  • A link to your homepage.
  • A newsletter signup.

This setup makes it easier for visitors to share your infographic on their websites or social media profiles. The easier your infographic is to share, the more inbound links you’ll get (provided the infographic is worth sharing).

3. Use specific search terms.

The best content is relevant and valuable. Unfortunately, you can’t be relevant and valuable to everyone at once, so choose your topic carefully.

Do you sell pet food online? That’s great, but it’s unlikely anyone will share an infographic about dog treats. An infographic about the effects of cat ownership on mental health is more likely to make the Facebook rounds.

More specific search terms have lower keyword difficulty and less competition. This means you have a better chance of ranking highly on Google for a niche topic than an umbrella term.

4. Be honest and transparent.

Infographics are not Trojan horses; if you use them to smuggle irrelevant or misleading links onto other sites, there’s a good chance future algorithm updates will penalize you.

Google’s Matt Cutts says he “would not be surprised if at some point in the future [Google] did not start to discount these infographic-type links to a degree.” Don’t game the system.

5. Make it mobile.

Last year Facebook said 48 percent of its daily active users used mobile for access. If you expect people to share your infographic on social media, make it mobile friendly. Test your infographic on multiple devices, and remember that although screens may be small, resolution is usually high.

While great for desktop engagement, interactive infographics are likely to alienate your mobile audience. However, some experts expect that to change as mobile devices become more equipped to handle them. Will infographics still be popular? We’ll have to wait and see.

Lily Bradic is senior ghostwriter and digital strategist at Digital Media Ghost. A version of this article originally appeared on Social Media Today.

This article first appeared on in Sept. 2014.

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