In less than 4 years, Killer Infographics has grown from 2 to 24 employees, worked for over 250 global clients, and produced nearly 4000 successful pieces of visual communication. This isn't meant to toot my own horn... it's meant to exemplify just how important SEO is in growing a business. When my business partner and I decided to dive deeper into the infographic industry, we looked to SEO tools to determine what keywords people were searching in the space. It didn't take long to see that the phrase "submit infographics" was extremely popular, and the domain name was up for grabs at only $9.99. At the same time, we loved the name Killer Infographics, so we bought up that domain along with dozens of others to get started. Within a few hours, we launched SubmitInfographics.com and traffic wasn't too far to follow.
The Pre-Panda & Penguin Keyword-Rich Domain Advantage
SubmitInfographics.com was launched in September 2010. We associated the name Killer Infographics to it and used the site in 2 ways: first as a user-generated infographic gallery (which it still is today) and second as a blog to evangelize infographic design. Because we were living in the days before Google's Panda and Penguin updates, we ranked for the high-traffic phrase "submit infographics" almost immediately. It took only a few weeks for our visitor numbers to spike from 10 daily hits to thousands. I should note that keyword rich domain names are still a plus, but this kind of traction doesn't happen as quickly these days.
Content is Always King
While our domain name helped us gain an initial foothold in the space, our growth was earned through content. Rather than simply posting infographics to the site, we wrote detailed reviews of each design in hopes of evangelizing the proper use of visual communication and sharing with readers the best ways to visualize data and information. We even included some of our own designs and put them through the ringer as well, to raise expectations. To be honest, reviewing other infographics helped us grow and evolve our own expectations, ensuring we could begin to look at designs with a completely different eye. Our intention was never to become a design agency, because my background has always been SEO and my business partner's background is in business development. In other words, we aren't designers. Despite this, just a few weeks after launching Submit Infographics, someone whom we reviewed reached out to us. They weren't happy with the review we gave and said, "If you think you can do better, then I'll pay you to design infographics for my clients."
Domainers, SEO Agencies, & Infographics
While SEO helped us get noticed, we of course had to start practicing what we preached. We began by working with some freelance designers that I already knew. We took on the challenge of the first client and won them over. In Q4 2010 we completed 14 projects, 12 of which were for that client.
By January 2011 (just 4 months into working for clients), we completed 40 more infographic designs due to order volume. We had 2 types of clients at the time: SEO agencies and domainers. Domainers were early adopters of infographics because of their unique content value, and SEO agencies were (and still are) using infographics for the same reason. Given our marketing backgrounds, we were a perfect fit for this clientele. Over the next few months, we designed our first 300 infographics, building our portfolio all the while.
Subdomains & Thought Leadership
Nearly 9 months into business, we decided it was time to diversify our client base. We knew that the best way to do this was to launch our own online portfolio to attract new customers. Unfortunately, the keyword "Killer Infographics" had little traffic volume at the time while our domain SubmitInfographics.com had traffic and domain authority. Because of this, we decided to put our portfolio in a subdomain of SubmitInfographics.com instead of launching Killer Infographics on its own. This decision was great because it led to almost immediate ranking with link juice passing through the main domain to the subdomain.
In addition to this, we began focusing on writing targeted content. For example, we wrote an article optimized for the keyword "infographic design agency" and put out a white paper about marketing infographics. We were quickly ranking on page 1 for dozens of key terms. It didn't take long for leads to start coming in through our website.
Branding & Growing Up
By 2012 it was time to make a change. Our client base no longer consisted of domainers and small agencies. We had grown to become the agency of record for large PR firms, Fortune 500 companies, and global SEO agencies. Given this, we decided it was time to put Killer Infographics on its own domain, create a much better brand (starting with a logo designed by an actual designer instead of me), and separate ourselves from the site that had helped us grow. Because Submit Infographics is a user-generated site, it was becoming harder to build a design agency brand while associated to it. Too often we had clients thinking that we designed everything on the main domain instead of differentiating our subdomain portfolio of work from the main domain collection from submitters. We didn't want this confusion to continue, so we launched KillerInfographics.com and 301-redirected all of the subdomain links to our new portfolio to ensure we didn't lose the link authority and history we had earned with our original portfolio.
Our Foundation of SEO
Killer Infographics has grown into the business that it is because of SEO. We began by capitalizing on a keyword-rich domain, building great content, and patiently waiting for the right time to push traffic to our brand domain. Over the years, we have launched a number of websites under the Killer Infographics brand. Each site is dedicated to visual communication in some way and has a strong foundation of SEO behind it.
Amy Balliett is the co-Founder of Killer Infographics, a globally leading infographic design< agency located in Seattle, Washington. Killer Infographics has produced thousands of viral infographics, motion graphics and interactive infographics for a global clientele including Microsoft, Starbucks, the BBC, Adobe, and more.