The year was 2009: content marketers were focused on establishing guest blogging relationships, expanding websites with keyword specific content hubs, and pushing text-heavy whitepapers behind an email gate. Content truly was king and talented writers were in high demand. In a world centered around competing for a search ranking, it made sense to market not only for the viewer, but for the bots and rich text was the best food for search bots at the time.
But in that same year demand began growing for a new type of content: the infographic. This piece of visual content wasn’t new, but it also wasn’t a popular digital marketing asset. Why would it be? It wasn’t crawlable, it couldn’t contain in-line links without the expense of added code, and the very nature of a standalone design didn’t allow for a robust deep dive into a targeted keyword.
This isn’t to say that visual content wasn’t a part of a marketer’s arsenal, but simply to point out that text was our primary weapon and anything lacking rich text seemed moot. Savvy marketers, on the other hand, recognized that content needs were changing. Even though search engines couldn’t crawl it, audiences were craving — and widely sharing — images.
When It Came to Visual Content, Early Adopters Had Tunnel Vision
Recognizing an opportunity for backlinks, many content farms jumped on the bandwagon, spamming the internet with poorly produced infographics to grow their PageRank. Over the next few years though, consumer expectations shifted and search algorithms improved. The links dried up and those same early adopters abandoned the tactic rather than evolving it…