Lee Odden

Extending SEO with Digital Asset Optimization

Lee Odden     SEO

Digital Asset Optimization

The search marketing industry is rich with acronyms: SEO, SEM, PPC, ROI, SERPs (even LMAO) as well as buzz phrases such as “search engine optimization” and “social media optimization”. Do we really need another?

One of the few things to be counted on in search marketing is that there will be change. That change comes in many forms including search engine algorithm changes (albeit more gradual than large, single events), changes in consumer search behavior and the introduction of evolving search channels such as social search and the semantic web.

With these changes come opportunities whether they are consumer, search engine or marketing driven. “Digital Asset Optimization“ refers to the practice of taking inventory of a company’s marketable, digital assets and implementing a process for keyword optimization and promotion to relevant channels.

How is “DAO” different than “SEO”? Search engine optimization typically focuses on the optimization of a company web site to improve discovery and indexing by search engine spiders as well as organizing content, keyword placement and links to give standard search engines the signals they need to rank pages in favor of the company.

It’s not enough to retain a competitive advantage with search driven online marketing programs though a singular focus on web page optimization. The increasing popularity of media specific search engines and content sharing web sites as well as the advent of Universal search creates a matrix of promotion opportunities.

Consumer search and information consumption trends towards video, interactive and content sharing presents a different set of expectations within the search experience. Content creators and marketers are challenged to meet those demands through more robust asset optimization efforts.

With combined search results, the practice of querying distinct databases such as image, video, blog, news and products and then incorporating them into standard search results presents the most significant change in search engine results page user interface in at least 5 years. The same rules for web page SEO do not apply when optimizing video, images, news or blog posts to show up in Google Universal search results.
Demand for a variety of content types is on the rise.

Search engines want companies to publish more content because it provides them with more inventory against which they can run advertisements. Consumers want more content in varied formats to make smarter decisions about purchase. Internet marketing agencies want their clients to publish more content in order to capture more search engine traffic and online sales.

If an asset can be searched on, it can be optimized. Identifying all the promotable, digital assets available to a web site gives companies that are not content-rich the additional resources needed to be competitive in today’s search environment.

Each web site has digital assets including web pages, images and increasingly video, podcasts, blogs and RSS feeds. A digital asset optimization strategy identifies content in all its forms, formats and intentions and applies filters to qualify what is most promotable. Keyword mapping to each promotable asset (both on and offsite) along with a content promotion plan helps organize and keep accountable the digital asset optimization effort.

Web sites that do produce substantial varieties and quantities of content types gain even more advantage when leveraging digital assets. The challenge is organizing a complex process that extends far beyond optimizing web pages to content produced in various areas of an organization. Coordinating SEO and asset optimization between the web content team, brand managers, public relations, legal, marketing and even different business units/departments can be a real barrier to entry without the expertise and insight that an experienced in-house marketer or internet marketing agency can offer.

It can be argued that the notion of optimizing digital assets is simply an extension of the search engine optimization consulting services agencies like TopRank provide in the same way optimizing social media has evolved into a distinct marketing channel. There’s no doubt that SEO is constantly changing. Paying attention to new search channels, consumer demand for rich media and the need for content types against which to advertise, is a real opportunity for those marketers ready to take fundamental SEO to the next level.

[A shorter version of this post was published on DMNews SearchBuzz]

PoorSo SoOKGoodAwesome (10 votes, average: 3.10 out of 5)

Lee Odden About Lee Odden

@LeeOdden is the CEO of TopRank Marketing and editor of Online Marketing Blog. Cited for his expertise by The Economist, Forbes and the Wall Street Journal, he's the author of the book Optimize and presents internationally on B2B marketing topics including content, search, social media and influencer marketing. When not at conferences, consulting, or working with his talented team, he's likely running, traveling or cooking up something new.


  1. Avatar Dan Shields says

    I guess I am just a little confused. So what can we do to optimize product images.

  2. Hi Dan. Making it easier for image search bots and search engines to find and associate images with keywords is how you optimize images.

    Keywords are used in file names, surrounding text, anchor text links to the image and alt text to name a few. Promoting the images on image sharing sites and using tags/keywords is another way to leverage images as a promotable asset.

    For many of our clients, image search is one of the top 5 referring sources of traffic.

  3. Avatar Dan Shields says

    Ok so I was thinking in terms of photosharing sites because I know we already try to optmizie the other stuff on our sites as good as we can but of course there is always room for improvement. The thing I wonder though if we are to submit product images to Flikr what does that do for us if it doesn’t link back to our sites. We sell products that a thousand other stores sell also so to post pictures of lets say Car Seats on Flikr and tag it up nicely how does that filter back to our site?

  4. Flickr does allow links in the descriptions, comments and notes, they’re just nofollowed. That means no SEO value but traffic is possible.

    Submitting stock or catalog photos of products isn’t going to help if others are doing the same thing. You’d want to find a way to make your images unique and useful in a way that would motivate viewers to click through.

    Adding a link from the image description to the product page is how you would filter visitors to your site.

  5. Lee,
    Don’t forgot about PDF’s, forums, online media placements.

    Been writing an article on this for well over a year.. it’s now like 3 pages.. but it’s a mix of DAO and DAM.. (management)

    However mine is from an Agency perspective..
    things like?
    Where are your .fla files housed for your flash presentations?
    Can everyone in your company access your standardized powerpoint template…?

    take your thoughts, blend on slow speed and then you get the idea..

  6. Lee,
    Great post, I agree with @Paisley, PDF’s, forums, and online media placements are great too.

    Maria Reyes-McDavis

  7. “The search marketing industry is rich with acronyms: SEO, SEM, PPC, ROI, SERPs (even LMAO) as well as buzz phrases such as “search engine optimization” and “social media optimization”. Do we really need another?”

    Hey Lee, in 2006 you used a better term, SEO 2.0! I certainly do not own it. So why confusing people with a new acronym?

  8. after reviewing my article… one more acronym…

    Online Reputation Management

  9. The degree of skill in Digital Asset Optimization is something business clients will soon begin to ask their SEO teams/consultants. If you answer “little” or “what is DAO?”, you show your lack of understanding of this growing SEO requirement. Companies spend tons of time/resources/effort creating some great multimedia information in the form of presentations, document tutorials, and podcasts, so why would they not want them optimized to allow greater search result frequency? Do yourself (and your clients) a favor and immerse yourself in this new SEO aspect. Your overall SEO strategy will thank you.

  10. We are giving clients a DAO checklist, After, they sign a contract and pay the check.. it’s now part of the workflow for our ORM/PR/SEO clients.

  11. Lee – Your comment about Fickr and the nofollow attribute is key to the separation of old school thinking and those who work to unlock and unleash digital content. We get people who look at us as the “SEO guys” and when we recommend Digital Asset Optimization they either don’t want to do it or get annoyed if they don’t get their precious “Link Juice.” When we explain the idea of “ShelfSpace” and “traffic increases” from optimizing their social media content they get bored and point us to some article or forum that talks about how they should be begging for links rather than unleashing the vast stable of digital content they have locked away.

  12. Bill,
    F*** “link juice” just move past it, it’s an old dead seo technique… point your client to google’s link rules.


  1. Internet Marketing Link Love for June 3, 2008 says:

    […] Digital Asset Optimization is critical to online marketing success. Lee of Top Rank blog shares a great post to explain what digital asset optimization is and why its important. […]

  2. […] Lee Odden guides you in Extending SEO With Digital Asset Optimization […]

  3. […] hear of Digital Asset Optimization (DAO)? If you have, good for you. I just came across a very good post by Lee Oddenat Top Rank. The heart of the article can be summized by this paragraph: If an asset […]

  4. […] is a web site owner to do? Diversification as is possible through strategies such as digital asset optimization are the best prevention. Otherwise, PPC campaigns can be run as well as social media promotions, […]

  5. […] SEO 2.0 is not just another hyped term for SEO or SMO. SEO 2.0 is a paradigm shift. It might be Digital Asset Optimization like Lee Odden coined it but it’s certainly not only about “content is king” and SEO for humans […]

  6. […] outlined several advantages to getting your digital assets into universal search.

  7. […] Digital Asset Optimization – Evolved Search Engine Optimization – TopRank […]