SAO, or Search Asset Optimization, is the new frontier of digital marketing. Optimizing just your website won’t cut it anymore. To rank well in search and stay ahead of competitors, you need to optimize all of your digital assets.
What exactly are digital assets? These include:
- Your website content (blog posts, product pages, service descriptions, etc.)
- Social media profiles and posts
- Reviews on third-party platforms like Yelp, Google, and Facebook
- Mentions of your brand on other websites, blogs, and publications
SAO means making sure all of these assets are optimized for search engines like Google. This means:
- Using important keywords in your content, social posts, reviews, and third-party mentions
- Including semantic search terms (synonyms, related phrases)
- Optimizing page titles, meta descriptions, image alt text, and more
- Building high-quality backlinks to your assets
- Encouraging social shares and engagement on your social posts
- Responding to all reviews in a timely, professional manner
The sum of all these optimized assets creates a robust digital footprint that establishes your brand as an authority in your industry. The more people link to, share, and engage with your content and profiles, the higher you’ll rank in search.
SAO is the key to dominating search results now and in the future. While search engine algorithms are constantly changing, the fundamentals remain the same: create amazing content, build a stellar online reputation, and optimize everything. If you make SAO a priority, you’ll stay ahead of competitors and connect with more of your ideal customers.
Why Traditional SEO Is No Longer Enough
Traditional SEO focused on optimizing your website to rank higher in search engines like Google. But as Google’s search experiences become more sophisticated, optimizing just your website is no longer enough.
Your Digital Footprint Matters
With Google shifting to an experience that generates search results based on all of your digital assets, not just your website content, your digital footprint has become vitally important. Everything from social media profiles and engagement to blog posts, news coverage, reviews, and affiliate partnerships contributes to how Google assesses your brand and determines the results to show searchers.
- Build a cohesive social media presence across platforms. Use the same profile images, cover photos, bios, and messaging to strengthen your brand identity in the digital realm. Post regularly and engage with your followers.
- Start a blog and share valuable content. Publishing long-form content on topics related to your industry or products helps establish you as an authority. Optimize content for search and link to your site.
- Pursue earned media coverage. Pitch journalists, bloggers, and industry publications to get featured. News articles and guest posts are a sign of credibility and boost brand visibility and search ranking.
- Monitor and manage online reviews. Respond to all reviews, especially negative ones. Be proactive by starting review campaigns asking happy customers to leave reviews on platforms like Yelp or your Google Business Profile.
- Partner with influencers. Collaborate with bloggers, podcasters, and social media influencers in your niche. Sponsor content, provide products or services for reviews, or co-create content. Their audiences become exposed to your brand in an authentic way.
- Claim and optimize profiles. Make sure to claim or create profiles for your business on sites where customers look for you like Google My Business, Bing Places for Business, Yelp, and industry-specific directories. Fill out all information and keep details up to date.
- Analyze and improve. Regularly search for your brand name and keywords to see what comes up in results. Look for opportunities to strengthen or correct your digital footprint by adding or optimizing content, social profiles, reviews, and partnerships. Consistency and active management will make a big impact on your SAO and search visibility.
Optimizing Beyond Keywords
In the past, stuffing your page with keywords was an SEO strategy. Those days are gone. Google’s AI is too smart for basic keyword tricks. Now, you need to focus on optimizing for topics and themes, not just keywords. Create content around subjects your target audience cares about. Use related terms and synonyms, not just repeating the same keyword over and over.
Leveraging Data for Strategic PR
Link building used to be about quantity over quality. Getting hundreds of low-value backlinks could boost your rankings. Google’s algorithm updates have made high-value, authoritative backlinks much more important. Focus on earning backlinks from reputable, trusted sites and publishers in your industry. These high-quality backlinks carry more weight and are harder for competitors to replicate.
To optimize your brand beyond just your website in today’s search landscape, you need to utilize data to drive an effective PR strategy.
- Monitor what publishers, blogs and social influencers are saying about your industry and competitors. See what content and topics are trending and gaining the most engagement. This data can inform your own content and PR campaigns.
- Track mentions of your brand across the web and in social media. See who is talking about you, both positively and negatively. Engage with those promoting your brand and address any criticisms or misconceptions. Build relationships with brand advocates and loyal customers.
- Analyze how people are searching for and finding your products or services. The questions they ask reveal pain points and opportunities. Create content and PR campaigns targeting these search terms to increase visibility and traffic.
- Measure the results of your PR efforts through analytics to see what’s working and not working. Make data-driven tweaks to your strategy and double down on the most effective channels, messages and partnerships.
- Share data-backed insights from your PR campaigns with internal teams to strengthen future marketing and brand-building initiatives. Data can fuel a virtuous cycle of optimization when used to its full potential.
Optimizing beyond your website requires a 360-degree view of your digital presence and an agile, data-savvy PR strategy. By tracking key metrics, engaging target audiences and aligning teams around data-led insights, you’ll elevate your brand in the new era of search.
Optimizing Your Reviews and Mentions
Pay Attention to Review Sites
In addition to optimizing your own website, make sure you’re also optimizing your brand’s presence on third-party review sites like Yelp, Google Reviews, Facebook Reviews, and industry-specific sites. These platforms are where real customers share their experiences with your business, so they carry a lot of weight.
- Monitor new reviews regularly and respond to both positive and negative ones. Thank happy customers and address any concerns from unhappy ones. Your responsiveness and customer service will be on display for anyone evaluating your brand.
- Encourage satisfied customers to leave reviews. Make it easy by including review links in your email newsletters, social media posts, and on your website. Offer incentives like discounts or giveaways for people who share reviews.
- Build your overall star rating and number of reviews on these sites. The more reviews you have, especially if the majority are positive, the more authoritative and trustworthy your brand will appear to search engines and potential customers.
Improve Your Online Reputation
Pay attention to what others are saying about your brand online and look for opportunities to strengthen your reputation.
- Set up Google Alerts for your brand name, products, services, and industry keywords so you know anytime you’re mentioned on the web. Respond when appropriate to reinforce a positive image or address negative publicity.
- Build relationships with influencers, journalists, and industry experts who may mention or review your brand. Provide them with information and samples in the hope they’ll spread the word about your products or services to their audiences.
- Look for opportunities to be quoted or featured as a source of expert information in relevant publications, podcasts, blogs, and news reports. Media coverage and brand exposure from third-party publishers helps to build trust and authority in the eyes of search engines and customers.
Optimizing how your brand is portrayed and perceived across the digital landscape is crucial. Don’t just focus your optimization efforts on your own website. Make sure your entire online presence, including third-party reviews and mentions, is working to boost your visibility and reputation.
Influence Your Knowledge Graph
Google’s Knowledge Graph contains information about your business, including your company overview, products, services, founders, executives, and more. Claim and optimize your Knowledge Panel to ensure all information is accurate and up to date. Add in images, videos and social profiles. The more complete your Knowledge Graph, the higher you’ll rank in search.
By optimizing all of these digital assets and not just your website, you’ll build greater authority and trust. Your brand will rank higher in search and connect with more potential customers. The era of SAO is here, are you ready to embrace it?