What Really Matters When It Comes To DAM and SEO
The foundation of search engine optimization (SEO) starts with the content that makes up your pages. Digital assets like images and videos can add SEO value to your website pages when they have keyword-relevant information associated with them and are published in the appropriate format and size. Often, managing images for SEO can seem daunting but a digital asset management (DAM) system makes it easier to optimize all these crucial SEO factors at scale.
That’s because DAM features enable you to fill out the specific digital asset SEO details that build maximum value on a page once they’re published. You can use a DAM solution to do tasks such as standardize file names; add alt text to images and videos; and resize your assets to optimize page load speeds.
Here are the main things to consider when it comes to using DAM to support your SEO strategy.
How do digital assets improve SEO?
Digital assets (like images and videos) can improve SEO by increasing keyword density and overall relevance on a page. They also improve the user experience by providing relevant visuals and contextual information — especially on e-commerce product pages. When optimized for SEO, images and videos can boost your page rankings and help you reach more potential customers.
Imagine a product page that features several product images and a few explainer videos. Each of those digital assets has a file name and alt text that can be crawled. They also have file sizes and formats that affect page load speeds. When you optimize all of these aspects you help boost rankings for that product page on Google and other search engines.
Google images account for 22.6% of all internet searches and they make up 62.6% of all searches on Google Web Search. That means people will find your images and videos apart from your product pages too – if they’re optimized contextually with the right keywords. With a DAM system in place, it’s easier to get the most SEO value from your images, videos, and other digital assets.
How DAM improves SEO for images and video
A DAM solution makes it easier to tag, organize, and optimize images and videos for SEO purposes. Additionally, DAM platforms integrate with e-commerce sites and content management systems (CMS) to help streamline the process of preparing images and videos for SEO. Not only does this make it easier for your customers to find your products in the end, it also helps your internal teams streamline their content workflows.
One of the most important aspects of website SEO is page load speed. According to Google, the probability of bounce increases 32% when page load time increases from one second to three seconds. A large video or an image-heavy product page could easily take three seconds (or more) to load if you haven’t optimized formats and file sizes for specific web browsers.
DAM systems can optimize the size, format, and resolution of digital assets automatically to increase page load speeds. And these systems allow you to name your files consistently, add relevant alt text, and manage asset-specific features — like adding transcript text in custom metadata fields for videos.
When you combine DAM with a CMS, the benefits start to stack up.
How a DAM and CMS work together
Many people confuse DAM and CMS, and it’s easy to do, but they both handle content for your website and other channels in different ways. Ideally, you’ll use a DAM system to manage and store your original hi-res creative assets (e.g., PSD, AI, and TIFF files), then your web team accesses web-optimized embed codes for web-friendly formats of those assets via an integration with your CMS. Acquia DAM (Widen) embed codes can also be programmatically adjusted via the image URL if something needs to be changed on the fly
While it’s not required to get the job done, companies that use a CMS without a DAM system tend to run into some common problems:
- Assets are scattered, difficult to find, and not everyone has access to them, slowing down the production process and increasing the potential for errors.
- If an image is broken on the website, you need to track down where it's located. With a DAM system, you know where to look, can set up workflows to notify content authors ahead of asset expirations, see licensing information, and keep track of versions.
- Have to manually resize and save multiple images to fit specific web page dimensions (one image may need three or more sizes across different page layouts or social channels, like a thumbnail preview, header, or square format).
When you integrate DAM and CMS you address the problems above and enjoy other benefits including:
- Faster page publishing from your CMS
- More ways to search for an asset (e.g., by keywords, categories, SKU, other metadata, and file name)
- Integration options that make assets accessible in your CMS from within your DAM system — No need to download files from one system and upload them to another
- Expiration dates for licensed content controlled in the DAM platform (e.g., annual renewal dates)
- The ability to see if an image is used online and replace or version image files to avoid broken links
- Automatic notification workflows to give teams warning ahead of an asset’s expiration date
- Reduction of storage costs by paying for storing the original file in the DAM solution’s cloud storage — don’t waste money on maintaining duplicates in multiple systems or all of an asset’s variations
- Dynamic file resizing that saves time and storage
- Easier SEO optimization at scale
SEO best practices for digital assets
So what matters when it comes to SEO for digital assets? Generally speaking, you want to ensure your digital assets are properly sized and compressed for web performance, and accurately labeled with descriptive file names and alt tags. This helps search engines crawl and index your website content, increasing your chances of appearing in relevant search results.
Here are some best practices to consider when it comes to digital assets and SEO.
1. Main components to include for image and video SEO
- File size. Make sure your images and videos are optimized for the web – not just in terms of quality but also file size. High-resolution images and videos take longer to load, which can hurt your SEO efforts. Additionally, if your files are too large, they won’t be indexed by search engines at all. In Acquia DAM, users can opt to choose the “web” setting that will select the optimal format that is most appropriate and efficient for your channel based on the characteristics of the asset.
- Image and video formats. Different image and video formats are better suited to different purposes. For example, JPEGs and WebP are great for photographs while GIFs and SVGs are typically used for animations. And SVGs are usually the go-to for vector graphics too. When selecting the right format, make sure you consider how each format affects file size, as mentioned above. While you can choose a file format based on your needs, if you opt to use the “web” setting as mentioned above, Acquia DAM will automatically choose the most appropriate format for the selected asset so you don’t have to. (Note: SVGs are not included in the “web” setting options and require manual selection.)
- Image compression. Compressing your images will help with file sizes and load times which supports your SEO efforts and improves the user experience on your website, but getting the right balance of image quality and file size can be tricky. To make this process easier, by default, Acquia DAM will choose the ideal compression setting for you. Minimizing any noticeably visible signs of compressions regardless of the format you use.
- File names. When saving an image or video file, give it an appropriate file name that accurately describes what it is and reflects your target keywords.
- Image alt text and video descriptions. Alt text is a key part of image SEO – it’s a short description of the image that appears when someone hovers over it. This text also provides additional context for search engines to index the file, helping it appear in relevant search results. Similarly, adding a video title and/or description with applicable keywords is also important for SEO.
2. Metadata, file names, alt text, and SEO keywords
Metadata from an internal DAM site isn’t crawled by Google so your DAM metadata doesn’t equate to SEO keywords. But you can put keywords in the file name of the images that your CMS will default to. Or, you could build a pre-built or custom API integration to pull your image alt text from a custom metadata field.
It’s important to give your digital assets keyword-relevant file names early in the digital content lifecycle because alt text and source URLs are derived from the file name. If you’re using Acquia DAM, you can still update file names later in the process — either individually or in batches via CSV import. Once you update file names, your embed codes will generate with whatever the current file name is.
3. Understanding how the domain in the embed URL impacts SEO
This is a common question from Acquia DAM users and the short answer is, it’s not harmful. Google even recommends using a content delivery network (CDN) which means the Widen (Acquia DAM) CDN address in embedded files won’t negatively impact a page’s SEO. If you fill the file name and alt text with keyword-relevant text, the image and video embed URLs will add value to your pages.
E-commerce benefits of using a DAM system for SEO
A DAM platform can be extremely helpful in streamlining e-commerce content tasks. Not only will it help you organize and store your digital assets, but it can also provide tools for editing, compressing, and optimizing them. This makes it easier to ensure that each image and video is properly optimized for SEO. By enabling you to quickly access the right digital assets, you can use them to create compelling product descriptions and visuals that will attract potential customers.
In addition, a DAM platform can also help you track the performance of your content across different channels. For example, you can track the views and conversions generated by each image or video. This data can then be used to inform your content and SEO strategy, allowing you to better understand how certain types of content are performing on search engines.
Here are the benefits you can expect by using a DAM solution for SEO:
Create a 360º view of product content. See what your customers see – before they do. Centralize all the assets and information that represents your products. Keep track of changes and always distribute the latest version.
Publish your up-to-date assets. Keep track of asset versions. Plus, update once and your asset is automatically published across all share and embed links. It’s a big time saver!
Self-serve access. Empower your teams – no matter their region or time zone – to find what they need, when they need it. Share permissioned access to your DAM system, curated selections via portals, or individual assets.
Transform and reuse content. Convert images, videos, and audio files to other formats on the fly. Set up common conversions for social media, slide decks, and web pages or crop and resize as needed. No design tools required.
Build digital experiences with your best assets. A tight integration with your content management system (CMS) sets the content foundation for your digital experience platform (DXP). It makes it easy for website editors to find web-friendly formats of digital assets to build websites, microsites, and mobile applications. Plus, developers can integrate Acquia DAM across tools using the DAM API.
Automate manual processes. Use metadata to power your workflows. Set up no-code, rule-based automation to notify users when new content is available. Use artificial intelligence -(AI) powered auto tagging to apply metadata.
Get started with DAM
Ready to support your SEO strategy with a DAM system?
For businesses with a lot of digital assets, a DAM platform can be an invaluable tool for organizing, storing, and managing your images and videos. Not only does it help you streamline content workflows, enable collaboration, and secure your content, it’s a foundational tool in optimizing digital assets for SEO.
Once you use a DAM solution to scale digital assets organization, your business can focus on other SEO-supporting initiatives to move up in the search rankings faster.
If you want to see how our solution, Acquia DAM, can help you take control of your SEO optimization take a self-guided tour, get in touch with our Advisor team for a personalized demo, or request a free trial today.
Note: This article was originally published on Widen.com.