SEO to DAO – Evolution or Revolution?
DAO (Digital Asset Optimization); with the acronym DAO floating around everywhere these days it might lead you to wonder; is DAO replacing search engine optimization? The answer is no, in fact DAO can best be described as the evolution of Search Engine Optimization (SEO), SEO isn’t dead, but it is rapidly evolving. Over the past few years emphasis has shifted from a focus on “on page elements” to the off-site criteria. It began with Google’s PageRank. PageRank is defined as a link analysis algorithm that assigns a numerical weighting to a website, with the purpose of “measuring” its relative importance on the World Wide Web (wikipedia.com 02/12/08). In simpler terms, Google counts every external link to a website as a vote for that website, it also measures how relevant each one of those voting websites is to the content of the linked website; in essence we are measuring the popularity of a website. What does PageRank have to do with DAO? DAO is all about moving the focus of our optimization efforts from the text on a page to more relevant assets of a website regardless of where that takes us. It is about helping the searcher find the most relevant website based on the criteria and content that is important to them, not just the text on a page.
The bottom line is that companies need to figure out how to best adjust their search marketing strategies to maintain a competitive advantage. The best way to achieve this is to focus the right balance of your resources on standard text optimization as well as the optimization and promotion of all other digital assets. You might be wondering when is the right time to start making this shift. The answer is: right now! The search engines already have their systems in place to measure the relevancy of a website’s digital assets and they are constantly focusing on improving these systems and making them a more prevalent part of their search systems. The only question is how long it will take for the users to fully realize that they have these resources at their disposal.
Both Google’s Universal Search and the new Ask3D interface show users more information from more sources (news, images, products, video, etc) in the first page of results than we have ever seen before. This shift in how search engines present the search results illustrates the need to consider more media types than standard text documents. The growth of Universal search means the kinds of search results SEO consultants have become accustomed to and have been optimizing for are either on the way out or on the decline. Figuring out new ways to optimize any electronic file that can be crawled, indexed, categorized and sorted is where the opportunity lies. This is about allot more than just optimizing social media, it’s about “the big picture”, having the ability to optimize the Internet as a whole, making all content easier to find via search rather than simply having to rely on text documents. These days it is becoming more common for businesses to produce an array of different content types, and search engines are doing their best to index that content. A search engines success is directly related to its ability to adapt to changes in the market, this means that those of us who use these search engines to market our websites must adapt as well. With such intense competition, and so much money at stake, the leading search providers will continue to make the user experience better thus making it easier to find whatever it is we seek.
The trend in search is shifting from optimizing for a slow, relatively dumb engine, and is moving towards a highly sophisticated integration of elements, including image, video, consumer reviews, social networks, and more. This means we must begin to adjust what needs to be optimized from the platform to the actual asset itself. This is what makes DAO the future of Internet marketing. DAO views the platform as merely the vehicle which carries the content directly to the searcher, as opposed to SEO which focuses almost solely on bringing the platform to the searcher, and waiting (or hoping) for the searcher to discover the content. For example, by understanding how videos can be optimized, a search campaign can be successful on Google or YouTube. So, the future of SEO as defined today is destined to change. The days of success being optimization for 10 text links on a standard results page will be over soon.
As long as there are search engines, there will be some kind of optimization for improving search engine visibility. Companies need to consider all of the digital assets that they have to work with in order to give both the search engines and the customers the information they’re looking for in the formats they’ll respond to. Optimizing comprehensively starts with an inventory of a company’s digital assets. Text, images, audio and video should all be considered when determining what we need to optimize, we no longer need to wait for the customer to find us through text optimization so we can impress them with our other digital assets. Matching digital assets with channels of distribution provides marketers with even more opportunity to reach customers since each channel can drive traffic independently as well as improve a websites standard search visibility. Digital asset optimization is not just a better definition of the future of search marketing; it is the future of search marketing.