The Death of the Top 10 List & Rise of the Infographic

by Amy Balliett December 8th, 2011 


Link building is a necessity in the world of SEO, but so is creating great content and getting visibility on social networks. Because of this, list content used to be the go-to option for anyone hoping to tackle all three of these SEO needs. The right topic for a top X list blog post had the opportunity to go viral, get shared on social networks, and get a lot of inbound links... and all for a low price.

While top X lists still have their place in a good content strategy, they have been taken over by infographics. This is because online audiences have become increasingly information hungry while attention spans have drastically dwindled. Infographics solve this problem. A well-designed infographic blends all of the information into a tasty smoothie of sorts, allowing the on-the-go consumer to drink in data without skipping a beat.

Viral Visualization

As I mentioned in my last post, infographics have greatly evolved over a short period of time. The traditional data visualization has now become a type of infographic, rather than being synonymous with the word infographic. Now, infographics have different categories including viral visualizations, data visualizations, flow charts, etc. While all have their place online, the category most likely to drive SEO success is that of the viral visualization.

There are many forms of viral visualizations, but one of the most used is the list-style format. Much like list-style content, top X lists are now being visualized rather than written out. Viral visualizations like TopCelebrityRides, Top 10 ExerciseMythsRevealed, and HistorysMostEducatedSerialKillers all do a great job of turning the list-style blog post on its head.

This is highly beneficial for SEO if executed properly, but a total waste of time and money if not. For instance, posting a list-style infographic on its own, will be helpful to your SEO campaign if promoted properly, but will not do a lot for on-page SEO. To improve your on-page SEO, write a list-style blog post to go along with the infographic. Then you are killing 2 birds with 1 stone by putting both rich content and an infographic on your website.

There are many different ways to promote infographics online, but viral visualizations are very similar to list-content and other forms of linkbait. This means that you can apply the same promotion techniques to a list-style infographic as you would to a top X list blog post. The difference though, is that you will see more success with an infographic than a simple top X list blog post. This is because infographics are far more sharable. Few bloggers will repost a top X list blog post (especially with Panda), while most bloggers will repost a good viral visualization (good being the optimal word).

So what do you do with all of your list-style content already posted? Recycle it! You already have the content, so hire a good designer or infographic firm to turn it into a viral visualization. This is a great way to improve content already on your site and revitalize past successes.

In Conclusion

If your SEO campaign is taking a big hit with Panda or you just cant get the same return on that list post, stop beating yourself up: list-style content is dead and the infographic helped to kill it. Stop putting off infographics for your SEO strategy just because you cant come up with an idea. If you have a list-style blog post, its time to repurpose that into an infographic to get the most out of your content and keep growing inbound links!

Amy Balliett

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.

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3 Responses to “The Death of the Top 10 List & Rise of the Infographic”

  1. Radu says:

    So what are the 10 things about orgasm? I'm joking.
    Is true the TOP 10 should fall and make space for Top 5 :)

  2. Heba Hosny says:

    Great tips, Amy. Infographics are taking the internet by storm and search engines love them. I particularly love your tip about repurposing existing list posts into viral infographics.
    In addition to the SEO tips you mentioned, an infographic is still an image and all SEO for images tips can apply to it such adding keywords separated by "_" to the image file name and including them in the "Alt" tag as well.
    I will be checking your own website soon as I am sure it's loaded with great tips. Good luck in 2012. You are in the right business and I wish you all the best :).

  3. Anna says:

    Infographics? Hm. You nailed it. Most of us are drawn to nice graphics that give us instant information. Can you recommend a good and simple, free infographic design tool?