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Building 100% White Hat Infographic Links At Scale

25 min read

Introduction

This post is based on the private workshop we ran for our clients at the 2019 Chiang Mai SEO conference. We demonstrated how we landed 28 links over Ahrefs domain rating 20 for our CBD client, all via infographic link building. This post will show you fully transparent, how you can do the same.

Note: We landed over 55 links in total, but only 28 were over DR 20. As a bonus, we also submitted the infographics to over 40 infographic and statistic sharing websites, which provided an excellent natural mix of no-follow links and referral traffic. We even landed a client who contacted us to have one made!

By the end of this post, you will be able to:

  • Find out the science behind crafting gorgeous infographics without breaking the bank that will get accepted by site owners
  • Use Ahrefs to reverse engineer every infographic placed in the last three years in your niche
  • Use this strategy for your client and affiliate sites to get links for almost next to nothing (just the cost of having it designed)
  • Resell these links, for example, our CBD client paid £100 for every successful placement over DR20. Which resulted in us being paid £2800 for the campaign for an infographic we designed in-house
  • Create powerful look-alike outreach lists to X10 your efforts and reach more targets
  • Tailor outreach CSV files with different embed codes to spread link juice across your website rather than just your homepage or the blog page
  • Using our provided templates run cold email campaigns to land infographic placements

Infographic Ideation

Infographics are a great way to visualize data and provide massive value for readers; you want something that someone straight away will look at it in awe and think, “I want to share this.”

We’ve achieved this by combining up to date and accurate data, content, and premium design to get placements like clockwork.

Webmasters are desperate for high-quality content, and with the right strategy in place, you can provide real value and, more importantly, get a heap of links back to your sites in return.

By remaining on top of the latest trends and only sharing the most relevant and recent data, this will significantly increase the chances of placement. You could create the most beautiful, shiny infographic with the most eloquently written content, but if no one is talking about the topic in the matter, then what is the point of it?

Our methodology is straightforward, and I’m going to show you how we found the best content topics, infographic examples to update and borrow inspiration from and more:

Exporting All Placed Infographics In That Industry

You can use Ahrefs content explorer to check out the infographics that are out there based on your surrounding topic. We have taken it a step further and upgraded to the $999 plan to get EVERY infographic for the last 3 years. The $399 plan offers this functionality too. We want this to get more infographic URLs to reverse engineer the linking targets to mail to later on 😉

Using content explorer, you can export the strongest sites that discuss the topic at hand as well as seeing the current infographics that are circulating.

Quick trick for this in content explorer. Add title:”[infographic]” to your search 🙂
Joshua Hardwick – Head Of Content @ Ahrefs

Search for your niche like so, adding the operator above for more accuracy, but in the ideation phase, generally researching what type of industry content is garnering the most shares and backlinks is crucial to crafting a successful infographic.

You can then press export and get the list of URLs in a CSV file. By exporting all of the URLs, you can then use Hunter which is an email scraping tool to bulk export all of the emails from each of these sites. This will provide you with a base list of emails to then reach out to.

Ahrefs Keyword Explorer

Utilising Ahrefs’ Keyword Explorer is another way to leverage your infographic strategy. Although a paid tool, it really is an essential part of any SEO strategy. Keyword explorer allows you to find the topics being discussed and searched online with the accurate monthly search figures to go along with it. Again, using CBD Oil as an example, I’ll show you how to find content topics that will enable you to craft a sharable infographic.

With this, it will produce a list of related queries and questions that will allow you to see what terms are being searched for and more importantly, how many people are searching for it. The more people that are searching for that related term, the more there is a need for the information to help answer the particular question.

You can then click any of those keywords and drill in further for more ideas.

Using Lists Of Placed Infographics

Not only can we reach out to the websites that have placed the infographic, but you can also leverage these URLs by plugging the infographic post into Ahrefs and generating a list of URLs that have linked to that placement too and reaching out to them.

Google Search & Trends

Google search operators for finding winning infographics also yield a tone of examples, hacking this with Scrapebox and mass running the URLs in Ahrefs for DR using SEOToolsForExcel can produce even more targets. Here are some example operators:

  • “industry” + “infographic”
  • best industry infographics
  • “industry” intitle:infographic
  • “industry” inurl:infographic

Reverse Image Search

To find further places infographics have been featured, you can run a reverse image search on Google. Head over to Google and select “images” and then on the images page press the camera icon in the search bar to then paste the image URL, or if you have saved the infographic, upload it.

You’ll then be able to paste into a notepad all the websites that have placed the infographic or embedded it.

Google Trends is a great way to find topics worth discussing. I’m going to use ‘CBD Oil’ as our example in this instance but it’s a strategy you can use for any kind of niche.

 

By searching this, it will provide you with a list of related queries. We like to get creative and find current trending pop culture angles, that when gamed right, can help propel the virality of an infographic or any content marketing campaign — anything from rappers using CBD oil to drug usage facts at festivals to sell tents.

For this particular campaign, we chose to focus our content and infographic design around ‘how to use CBD oil for pain’. You can even click the topic and find out which regions nationwide and globally are talking about the topic in hand. This is an angle you can look to take your outreach efforts which I will discuss in more detail in the ‘winning angles’ section of this blog.

Infographic Design

Along with creating the right content based on what people are talking about and searching online, it is crucial that you find a designer that you can trust.

The design is the make or break of your outreach campaign and finding someone that ‘gets it’ is vital. It is important that you carry out the necessary research not only to find a suitable designer but to get an idea of the kind of design principles used in the niche you are working within.

Good Design Is Key

Finding the right colors, fonts and styles within an infographic are essential to getting your message across properly. You need to ensure that you get your brief right and use the best examples in order to get the best design from whoever you choose.

Use Premium Fonts

Using premium fonts like Gotham, Futura PT, Proxima Nova and Gilroy are rare and used by high-end graphic design companies. These will really make your infographic pop. A great free alternative to use is “Montserrat”

Combining an excellent brief with a great designer will ensure that you get the most out of your infographic campaign.

Finding Designers That “Get It”

Hiring a designer online can have its pros and cons. It may ultimately work out cheaper, but you cannot guarantee quality all of the time. If you know someone who has experience with a top graphic designer, I would certainly recommend this instead.

We opted for having a full-time in-house designer, so our fully managed SEO clients could be sure of the same high-quality design consistency every time.

If you can’t hire in-house, there are sites like Behance, Dribbble and Fiverr where you can find a designer online. We wouldn’t recommend using Fiverr only because the quality is questionable. But it’s worth mentioning as sometimes you find some gems.

It’s a good rule of thumb to check out existing industry-specific infographics on those sites. You want to find designers who have a strong portfolio and having a list of example infographics ready to go; So you can transparently say to the designer, “Can you produce something as good as this if not better?”

We also recommend paying 50% upfront via PayPal with buyer protection and the rest upon completion.

Finding Credible Sources

Finding credible and accurate sources of information is vital to the success of your outreach efforts. It is all well and good building a design that’s nice to look at, but if it doesn’t make sense or is inaccurate in terms of its factual content, you don’t stand a chance in landing any successful placements.

Ensure Your References Are Up To Date

You should always make sure to check the dates of the information you use to ensure it’s still relevant. Finding new and updated studies is always a good idea.

Validating Your Sources

You must validate your sources, and there are a few ways in which you can do so. You want to make sure that the opinions are not biased and that there is no other intent than to provide facts for its readers.

Use Government & Educational Studies

Looking at the source links is an excellent way of validating your content. For instance, .edu, .org, and .gov tend to be non-profit or government organizations, and the chances are that this information will be up to date and credible.

If you cite these kinds of sources too, it helps to validate your infographic content further.

Place all these sources on the footer of your infographic and keep them in a list later on once we email them to let them know the study has been featured in an infographic when looking for mailing opportunities.

Emailing Your Prospects

Ensuring that the right people are being hit up is a crucial step in landing successful placements for your campaign.

Making sure that the content is relevant and the infographic design is better than what they currently have will help your infographics land, but if you do not have the right list of people to reach out to, then all of your hard work goes out of the window.

Building Look-Alike Outreach Lists

Crafting these lists based on successful placements of winning infographics. Getting into the mind of the person that placed the infographic, why was it placed? How can we do the same? What decisions and journey did the person go through to want to put that infographic on their website?

Once you can answer these questions, it becomes extremely easy to build out huge target mailing sheets and do bespoke custom mailing angles for each one, to seriously maximize placement volume and land some epic links.

I’ve already spoken about how you can use Ahrefs content explorer to find sites that have placed infographics on them by simply searching ‘your niche title:”[infographic].’ You can then export the full list of URLs and through Hunter, you can mass export and get access to the full list of emails that you can reach out to with your updated content.

Outward Thinking

Going back to our CBD outreach campaign, we didn’t want to reach out solely to CBD related sites and limit our link placement opportunities. We know that a lot of athletes use CBD, so we built another mailing list to reach out to fitness sites and built an infographic based on how CBD helps with injuries.

Again, using the same methods discussed earlier to source the URLs and get as many email targets as possible. You need to be thinking of multiple ways to land links and how you can get the most out of each potential avenue.

Using Ahrefs To Find More Emails


You can use keywords explorer to search for the keyword you/your client is looking to rank for. You can follow these steps as a way to try and land links of their same standard, either by offering an infographic, content piece, paying for the link or all 3. To do this:

  1. Search for your main topic in keywords explorer.
  2. Scroll to the bottom of the page to see who is ranking for that particular phrase.
  3. Go to your top competitors and click the link to their Backlinks.
  4. Ensure you click the ‘one link per domain’ option.
  5. Ensure that the list of links is all ‘Dofollow’.
  6. Ensure that all of the links are blog links.
  7. Sort by DR and export the list.

You can then strip the sites down to domain level and then run them through Hunter to get the emails. You know that they are linking to CBD sites in this instance and through your mail campaign, you should be able to make an exchange for a fee or with some value to add to their site in order to get a link. They’re willing to take the content off you if it’s good enough because they are receiving all of this free of charge. Another interesting angle that we know is proven.

As standard, we use methods like this in our fully managed SEO campaigns to cast a wider net of infographic link opportunities.

Embed The Infographic On Your Site

Don’t forget to craft a new blog post on your website showing off your infographic and paste the embed code below it so other people can share it.

This will provide a hub for your content piece so you can mass share it across infographic websites and design websites like Dribbble and Behance to increase the chances of it being picked up organically.

Mass Mailing Software

For mass mailing, we use Lemlist and Mailshake these tools enable us to make hyper-personalized email campaigns as efficiently as possible with scheduled mass mail merge emails.

Our personal favorite is Lemlist, purely because of the live real-time tracking features it has and the superior hyper-specific image template functionality. Take a look at this hilarious example where Guillaume Moubeche uses Starbucks coffee cups to use the text replacement of their name on the embedded photo.

When it comes to using cold emailing software, you need to ensure that you are getting the most out of your campaign with your mail copy. This is where the campaign is won or lost and a poorly written email can really throw all of your hard work in the bin. We recommend these tutorials on cold emailing before using our templates, firstly this one by Gabriel Sim over at Undrcut Digital and this one by the guys at Authority Hacker

Preparing Your Mass Mailing Sheet

To use mass mailing platforms, you have to create text replacement CSV files. We have provided this on for you on our Google Sheets, download a copy to your hard drive, and then, using Hunter and the original lists you harvested from Ahrefs earlier to populate the fields.

Harvest More Data

We outsource data harvesting to virtual assistants, but you can easily find someone on Fiverr to amass thousands of potential targets than to mail. Make sure they are harvesting the data manually for 100% accuracy.

Spread Link Juice Around Your Site

Before mailing, we ensure the “embed code” field is different every 40 lines.

Check out the embed code we’ve added below. We send an embed code to the majority of our email targets to get a link back to our home page.

Using the same infographic, we then change our target URL to make sure that the links are distributed evenly across our site in a single campaign.

This method has worked well, and the results have been insane. The idea being every 40 people get a unique embed code (make sure you stick to branded and safe anchor text! You don’t want 40 people placing the same exact match link to your website)

You can use the code for yourself:

Embed Code 1

<img src=”yourinfographicurl.jpeg” width=”1000″></p><br/>
<p>Link Building In 2020 [Infographic] – An infographic by the team at <a href=”http://www.agencybacklinks.com”>Agency Backlinks</a> who provide SEO reseller packages.</p><br/>
<p>

For the next lot of 40 individuals, we want to send them a different follow-up embed code to spread link juice across the whole website; we then change this for every 40 individuals.

Embed Code 2

<img src=”https://yourinfographicurl.jpeg” width=”1000″></p><br/>
<p>Link Building In 2020 [Infographic] – An infographic by the team at<a href=”https://www.agencybacklinks.com/buy-guest-posts/”>Agency Backlinks</a> who provide link building services.</p><br/>
<p>

Email Templates For Your Sources, References & Link Targets

You can import these text replacement lists as a CSV to Lemlist or Mailshake and then build your mail copy around these example templates.

You remember those sources we found earlier? We want to email them then and let them know we have used their data on our infographic and gave credit to them. We also want to nudge them into placing it themselves, as obviously, those links would be ridiculously powerful.

Use our template below:

Hey {{their name}},

I’ve recently designed an infographic that I put live yesterday, and I cited {{their website}} as a reference. You can check out {{name of infographic}} here: {{link to infographic}}.

I’m a regular reader of your site, and your information helped me massively. Do let me know if you want to share it with your audience and I’ll send over the code

Thanks,

{{your name}}

Give Value To Industry Leaders

You should also reach out to other sites within that particular industry, and you can offer incentives like free descriptive content, products, or discounts to help leverage a deal for them to place. Heres our template for that:

Hi {{their name}},

My name is {{your name}}, and I work for {{your intended target site}}. (Then give a small introduction to your business, USP and what you do exactly).

We have designed a useful infographic entitled {{name of infographic}} that we believe could enhance some of your articles. (Talk briefly about why it would be perfect for their site and link to some content pieces or an example infographic they already placed).

I have reached out to you individually because I feel like it would be beneficial to your audience and would benefit both parties in spreading the message and engaging with our audience. (Again, reword all this not to sound generic and use industry buzz words and based tribal knowledge, or it will scream spam)

I’ve taken a look at {{their website URL}} and tailor-built this design in a way that will convey the message you want to get across most effectively.

Take a look at the design and let me know what you think. I think it would be a great addition to your site. Whether you use it as a standalone piece or you see the opportunity to embed in an existing article, it makes for a hugely informative piece that will be sure to capture the imagination of your site visitors.

The copy and paste codes are located below. Simply copy and paste the code on the corresponding page: {{infographic embed code}} (You can offer a free incentive, potentially pay for the placement if needs be or a discount of some sort).

Let me know if there’s anything else I can do to help.

Best wishes,
{{your name}}

Our Brief Infographic Email Template

Check out our mail template for one of our clients below; please don’t be that guy who uses this word for word. We go super brief and detailed on them as an individual and use the follow-ups to send them the code. We don’t want to spam people:

Hi {{name}},

Firstly great to connect! My name is Linda and I work for my family business {{your clients name}},

I’m reaching out to you because I have a brand new, updated visual content piece that I’d love to share with you to use on your website.

Check it out and let me know what you think: {{embed link to infographic & content}}

Please let me know if you are interested {{name}}. Would appreciate your feedback

Thanks for your time {{name}}.

Best wishes,

Linda
YourClient.com

Ensure You Send Out Follow Up Emails

Pretty much 60% of our mailed campaigns end up replying or placing on the follow-ups. Site owners get hit up a lot. If you want to stay on top of their inbox within their busy lives, then follow-ups are a must. 70% of all sales email chains stop after email #1. We opt for 3 follow-ups.

You can experiment with more emotional provoking subject lines and split test them on the follow-ups to get a feel of what works and what doesn’t, this cold email guide covers follow up emails extremely well with actionable templates.

(Image Source)

They Want Money For Placement

If they reply saying there is an editing cost, and the site has clean OBLs and lots a generally good neighborhood and reputation online, a small price to the editor is fair; but we never buy links. We can make broader and bigger outreach lists or offer them something else.

We’ve hacked this by sending a free product alongside the embed code to sweeten the deal. Asking for a delivery address and shipping them a $50 bottle of CBD motivates them to paste the infographic straight away as it reduces any friction from the site owner and increases the value offering dramatically.

Send Free Stuff To High Priority Editors

As a rule of thumb sites over DR 40, getting a gift or value add alongside the embed code could be something to consider.

In general, we only opt for free links by giving massive value to the site owner and showing them an awesome infographic, but in general, sites that place them for a cost are littered with low-quality guest posts and infographics. A quick “site:yourtargetsite.com guest post or contribution” will show this.

Using Negative Replies To Tailor Your Pitch

If you get super aggressive or negative responses, don’t worry. That’s just part of the game; Each one can be seen as a positive to tailor your pitch.

See what the objection is and why they don’t want to use the infographic themselves. Is it a design flaw? Is your content not up to scratch? Carry out some investigative work and see what the issue is with your offer.

Objections Are Gold

This will allow you to improve your offering as well as your mail copy and through AB testing, you’ll be able to see which campaigns worked well and which ones didn’t.

People just want quality and if at any stage of your outreach efforts or design work falls below their standards, it is going to have a knock-on effect on conversions. Ensure that your design and content is the absolute best and combine this with an efficient mail campaign aimed at the right targets, you’ll be well on your way to landing some powerful placements.

Winning Infographic Examples

To wrap up this post, here are some excellent infographic examples and the types of websites they have been placed on.

The Business Of Healing With CBD By Best CBD Oils

This particular article, written by Rose Leaden, talks about ‘The Billion Dollar Business of CBD’ and she has featured this particular infographic produced by Best CBD Oils to reiterate the points she discusses.

The bright colors used in this particular infographic will help to keep the reader engaged with the article. Combining a vivid yet considered design with factually accurate statements is a formula for success and providing your design is of a similar standard, there’s no reason for you not to reach out to these sites and land placement of comparable authority.

Note: You can check out where else the infographic has been featured by searching ‘the business of healing – best CBD oils + infographic’.

You can view the infographic here

Beginner’s Guide To Cryptocurrency By Best Accounting Schools

This guide designed in particular for beginners means that as an author, you want to try and communicate your key points as best as you can without alienating your reader, especially if they are new to a particular industry.

Again, using colors and fonts, you would associate with the crypto industry, and combining this with an easy to navigate design will help you land more success with your infographic outreach efforts.

Note: A well-designed beginner’s guide can be hugely beneficial for your brand exposure if you can bring in a new audience as well as land authority placements. Keep your information accurate, make the design easy to follow, and check out what the competing infographics are doing right and wrong in terms of the design and language used.

You can view the infographic here

Traffic Congestion By TomTom

Niall McCarthy has leveraged TomTom data, the Traffic Index, to produce the infographic for Statista to which he contributed it to Forbes. I added this one as it’s not the most visually stimulating infographic, but the data and facts are fascinating and engaging to readers. The target sites you could reach out to are pretty much limitless.

Note: A quick Google search for “The World’s Worst Cities For Traffic Congestion” + “infographic” shows 55 places the infographic was naturally picked up after being placed on Forbes.

You can view the infographic here

Bonus Tips

Stack the steps in this guide with these nuggets to amplify your reach further:

  • Go no longer than 10000 pixels when designing your infographic.
  • Don’t overfill the infographic and make use of white space. Don’t allow your message to be lost within the sea of content. Make it look natural and easy to understand.
  • Create a killer headline that will catch reader attention.
  • Use a press release as a way to engage in news platforms. Just like your audience, the press is after content that engages, and a press release is another advantageous angle you can use to get your content out there. Adding a visual aid can often be the difference of a press release succeeding, and it not.

See that wasn’t so bad, was it? Hopefully, this will give you a minimum standard to abide by and get the creative juices flowing! Drop us an email or a message on the live chat if you need any support implementing. Happy link building and don’t forget to share this post 😉

James Gregory

James Gregory

James is passionate about unlocking the full potential in people and helping them scale their agencies.