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Melville, NY (SearchInsider)

With the acronym DAO (digital asset optimization) floating around everywhere these days, it’s easy to wonder if DAO is replacing search engine optimization (SEO). The answer is no; in fact, DAO can best be described as the evolution of SEO, which isn’t dead but just rapidly changing.

Over the past few years, since Google’s “PageRank” started DAO by measuring a site’s popularity – counting every external link as a vote to determine its relevance – the emphasis has shifted from “on-page elements” to a focus on off-site criteria.

DAO is all about moving the focus of optimization efforts from the page text to more relevant assets, such as images, audio, and video. The goal is to help searchers find the most relevant site based on the criteria and content most important to them.

From a bottom-line vantage point, companies must figure out how to best adjust their Internet marketing strategies to maintain a competitive advantage. To find the right balance, they must decide the most opportune way to optimize standard text while also optimizing and promoting their other digital assets.

When is the right time to start making this shift? Now! Search engines already have systems in place to measure the relevance of a Web site’s digital assets. And they are constantly focused on improving them so that they become a more prevalent part of the equation. The only question is how long it will take for users to fully realize that they have these resources readily at their disposal.

The growth of universal search means the kinds of search results SEO consultants have become accustomed to are history, or at least on the decline. So now they need to figure out new ways to optimize any electronic file that can be crawled, indexed, categorized and sorted. This is about much more than just optimizing social media but rather the entire Internet, making all content easier to find via search.

Consequently, businesses today are increasingly producing an array of content for search engines that can be indexed, leaving their success directly linked to their ability to adapt to a rapidly changing market.

To survive, those of us who use search engines to market Web sites must adapt. With such intense competition and money at stake, the leading search providers will continue to improve the user experience.

As long as billions of people continue to use search engines daily, there will be a progression in the modes of optimization we use to improve the visibility of Web sites and enhance their presence.
That makes it necessary for companies to consider all of their digital assets in producing formats that are responsive to search engine and costumer demands.

We can no longer afford to wait for the customer to find us through text optimization and impress them with our other digital assets. Now it is all about matching digital assets with channels of distribution to provide marketers with even more opportunity to reach customers. In this new world, each channel not only drives traffic independently, but improves a Web site’s standard search visibility.

DAO is not just a better definition — it is the future of search marketing.

SearchInsider – June 24, 2008

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