Lee Odden

New Perspectives on Digital Asset Optimization for 2009

daoSearch engine optimization can be challenging enough, especially for large, enterprise organizations rich with digital assets.  They’re also rich with policies, procedures and often times a labrynth of  content approval and publishing processes.

An effort to optimize and promote those assets to search engine bots can be even more challenging than standard SEO. And yet it can also be far more rewarding. The notion of Digital Asset Optimization came out of TopRank’s efforts in early in 2007 to describe for internet marketing clients what new opportunities there were to enable prospects and customers to pull themselves via search to company content.

The fundamental premise for good SEO or DAO or whatever you want to call optimizing content is that: If it can be searched on, it can be optimzed. “Searchability” implies a digital asset is crawled by a search engine bot or spider and subsequently available for sorting within search results when consumers perform queries. As such, each type of searchable content presents an opportunity for optimization and improved visibility where people are looking.

The idea of organizing a company’s content or digital assets as a more holistic way of engaging in SEO has been around for more than a year.  More signifcant benefits of DAO can be extended beyond content used to attract leads and sales. There are other types of consumer search that can drive or benefit business including customer service related content, job listings and news content. Each has it’s own audience to consider and therefore, a different context for optimizing assets.

If a SEO team ensured that jobs, customer service and news content and digital assets were properly optimized/promoted on top of content selling products/services, couldn’t that nearly triple the benefits of the SEO investment? If not triple, it would certainly be a multiple near that.

For example, journalists searching for subject matter experts or researching past media coverage of a subject company are not looking to “buy” products and services. Yet that is the type of content creation and optimization most companies engage in.

Optimizing a company’s news content and digital assets including press releases, video interviews, podcasts, high res photos, webcasts, white papers and past media coverage should consider the context in which the media (jouranlists, reporters and some bloggers) are searching. Optimizing multiple media formats provides multiple entry points into a company’s news content and therefore, a greater likelihood that a journalist will find and use a particular company in a story they’re doing.

TopRank conducted a Journalist Use of Search Survey recently and found that 100% of reporters surveyed, use search to do their job. 91% use Google.com. They also use image search and social media search. We’ll be reporting survey results in another blog post within the next week or so.

Another example involves optimizing FAQ and knowledgebase content. How much could a company save if support could be handled by customers searching Google instead of making phone calls to customer support?  Call centers are not cheap – even when you outsource offshore.

Or what about jobs content? Especially with these economic times, there will be plenty of job seekers using search. Why not make sure job listings and corresponding digital assets are optimized and promoted so your best candidates can find them?

Making it easier for search engines to do find, index and sort content will bring benefits to most companies who make the effort to do so in the form of increased sales, recruiting, and news coverage as well as lower customer support costs. That is the real opportunity in 2009 for optimization efforts.

Additional resources and commentary on DAO:

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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. Hi Lee,

    Great post. One thing I may add is that the organization of digital media assets for companies is extremely important as well. News rooms need to be friendly for the media and act as tools to help them operate faster. There is a good reason that 91% of them use search and that is because the steep decline in media jobs over the last 2-3 years in our country has forced journalists to change their behavior and accept tools like HARO (Help a Reporter Out), Cision, and embrace search. So we must think about where we are driving these roporters once we optimize our digital assets and what we want them to find.

  2. Excellent post Lee. Auditing, managing and optimizing digital assets is critical to a “holistic” seo approach. You are one of the few people that talk about this and we’ve implemented it in most of our presentations as a differentiator. It is also enables a company to get the most “shelf space” on a search engine results page.

    Besides feeding journalists the info they need, dao also enables you to be visible all along the conversion funnel and not just in the purchase phase. Having a video or white paper available when someone is searching for your product or service is critical in the awareness/consideration stage. And as you mentioned FAQs and knowledge base content are important and will help in the oft overlooked phase of the conversion funnel which is the post purchase phase.