Digital Asset Management: SEO 2.0
Just when you think you’ve gotten a handle on search engine optimization, here comes another term: Digital Asset Management, or DAM, sometimes referred to as DAO, Digital Asset Optimization. It’s possible that this will come to replace SEO as the lingo of choice, but SEO is pretty well-entrenched as a marketing strategy and term. What will happen is that people will look towards DAM techniques before SEO because websites are changing so rapidly and becoming more media rich.
Simply put, Digital Asset Management is SEO for digital media. SEO applies to text-based marketing, on the whole, whereas DAM applies to everything else: pictures, video, music files, and the like. You may already be using DAM as part of your SEO strategy and have put a label on the process. Still, it’s important to separate these optimization strategies out because text and multi-media needs to be optimized separately.
However, before you start lamenting that there’s a whole other avenue of optimization you must learn, the tricks associated with Digital Asset Management aren’t that different than the tricks associated with SEO. Title tags are an enormously important part of SEO, as you’ll see in the HTML tag for this article: the title of the article is in the tag. Pretty simple, and amazingly still overlooked on a number of websites that merely number their articles. So anyone looking to find articles with the tag 7832334 will find it easily. With DAM, each picture, video, sound file, or PDF is tagged in the same fashion.
DAM Increases Traffic
No, getting traffic through Google images is not the best way to build a website’s brand. People searching for pictures on Google images are most likely looking for pictures and will ignore the website (I know I do). But that’s not really the point. Increased visibility in Google images will increase ranking overall and the visibility can’t hurt either. The basic rule with DAM is to turn digital media into text. That means using title tags for every jpg and gif, as well as using metatags to describe the picture.
The same goes for audio files, pdf’s, and the rest. This is true even if you’re hosting jpg’s on a site like Flickr. It couldn’t be easier to write an accurate title tag and keywords on Flickr, so this should be done wherever jpgs or gifs are hosted. Flickr has an added bonus of being indexed not only by Google images, but by Google proper. So if you accurately tag a picture, it can end up in search results. Embedding a PDF in a HTML file is a vital way to allow the PDF document to be searchable by spiders. Tagging that PDF should be done the same way you tag pictures or articles.
Video files are a little trickier. It’s very easy to embed a Youtube file on a website. The problem is that benefits Youtube’s rank more than it benefits a site. Smart digital optimizers will host a web video in many different places: on the site’s own server, optimizing the video with title and metatags, as well as posting it at Youtube and other digital directories. It’s more than likely that the Youtube post will get the most views, but video views aren’t your only concern. You want the video to be indexed by search engines and you want to directly control how the video is indexed.
What this means is that you should provide users way to embed your own video – which means you need the server space to control that kind of traffic. Otherwise, you will lose significant viral marketing capability for the video: even if the video is also hosted on Youtube. It needs to be embed-capable wherever the video can be found. Think of how the Onion or Comedy Central posts videos – using their own server, rather than piggybacking on Youtube.
Think of how a video might appear on a company’s website. While it’s probably a pipe dream to think that such a video could go viral (unless it’s very funny or unique in some way) there are ways to optimize the video so it has meatier content for search engines. The video might be titled, “Learn about our company.” Functionally, that may be what the video is about within he context of the website, but in terms of search engine placement it’s completely inadequate. Just changing the title to “Learn about Company X” is a better to way to have the video indexed individually.
In changing how digital media is indexed, you may need to rewrite you site map to incorporate how certain multi-media can be accessed throughout the site. You need to call attention to each and every piece of multimedia, not just for your viewers, but for spiders scanning what is on the site.