While many people find push marketing tasteless and annoying (and perhaps a signal of poor product quality), the truth is that most successful sites have relied on the person launching them already having some combination of status + influence + distribution + connections, or they used push marketing for a while to build that following and awareness.
The easiest SEO answer to obscurity or lack of awareness (assuming the on-page SEO & site structure are solid) is to think territorially & dominate a niche where you can own the idea. This is a great article on that front.
Also, since Wikipedia copied, regurgitated, and sometimes introduced errors in content from a commercial site (which you don't consider trustworthy), it is obviously not any more trustworthy.
It will be interesting to see how this evolves over time. One of the things I don't like about the idea of 'tv unplugged' aka the Hulu Model, aka the Netflix model, is the idea that ads you don't like could follow you from channel to channel without you being able to switch. This evolution of Google's strategy between revenue, value, and antagonizing advertisers has great depth and complexity to it which will take time to play out.
Next up, the great 'unflowering' where all of the useful information gets locked up behind paywalls and the 'free' information you can get on the internet is about as useful as the 'free' information you can get from those papers that are free at the coffee shop.
Pieces may go behind paywall (like our site or iTulip) but they both still share lotes & sites like KhanAcademy offer tons of great accessible content.
The big issue though is that in most markets people have to get a bit shook down before they find what they need. I remember thinking that search and ads were going to be huge when I bought Inktomi & DoubleClick stock during the last stock bubble. I of course got my head served on a platter on that, but it was cool to get into search a few years later & be right that time. The Google IPO gains made up for the losses on the earlier bets, but everything comes down to timing & then just sticking with something you believe in.
The first site you find in any category won't likely be the best one, just the one which is the most heavily marketed. But the same was true before their was a web.
The hard part with paid content is that the more common it becomes the harder it is for Google or other ad networks to take a big slice of the value chain. For that reason I see the move to paid online content being a slow one (outside of niche b2b sort of environments).
"The Google IPO gains made up for the losses on the earlier bets, but everything comes down to timing & then just sticking with something you believe in."
Yes, but Google's performance in the last 5 years hasn't been stellar (from a stock perspective, instead what might have been dividends is being banked by the company, which is another rant) The tricky bit is understanding why Google and not Altavista or Yahoo? Not because they didn't have traction and penetration, but I believe because they didn't understand the economics of what they were selling.
Imagine that Zog the caveman starts getting trade goods for pies made out of mud. He's thrilled and others get into the mud pie business, but one guy realizes that the pies that people want are round and hard and so he also gets into the mud pie business but only makes his pies out of hard fired clay. He becomes the dominant mud pie seller and runs the other guys out of business. Could they have prevented it? Sure they could but they needed a better understanding of how and why customers valued their mud pies.
Google got there sooner and it gave them a tremendous advantage, but at the same time, to completely abuse the metaphor, they realized they had an elephant's tail and knew when to step aside when the crap came out. But they still struggle with elephantness, or at least they did 12 months ago :-)
To out it as an equation...
increased weight on domain authority + rel nofollow + premium adsense feeds = Content farm problem
Their latest update left a couple other big exploits open as well.
As far as faulting using an infographic as a format goes, people are more receptive to them than textual articles.
Sure some people do exploitative crap about total junk & have spammy storyboards put together by total strangers for $20, but the above was a storyboard that came from someone who has watched how search has evolved over the past ~ decade, with literally 20,000+ hours of experience in the SEO game.
I could write a 9000+ word article like http://www.seobook.com/relevancy/ but generally the market is more receptive toward infographics. As a marketer it is generally easier to go with human nature than to try to fight it. That is marketing 101 ;)
And since people do exploit infographics for links, sure it can seem cutting edge to label anything in an infographic as 'spam' (or some such), but if you could find me another online document that has described everything on that page with better clarity & in a way that is easier to consumer faster I would be quite surprised.
My point about infographics is although they may indeed deliver a message effectively, they are infamous for being used as link bait to game SEO.