Enterprise-level brands often have complex technology packages with integrations that go beyond the website and storefront, including connections to user databases, product management, business intelligence systems, and broader marketing systems, to name a few.
While the complexity of these tech stacks includes more moving parts, it also enables organizations to achieve scalability and consistency at the enterprise level.
It is common for an Enterprise Tech Stack to consist of a Content Management System (CMS), a Content Delivery Network (CDN) and a Digital Asset Management (DAM). In this column you will learn what a DAM is, how it is used and why it is important for your company SEO strategy.
The difference between a CDN and a DAM is pretty subtle. So let’s start there.
What is the difference between a CDN and a DAM?
For some companies, the combination of a CDN and a DAM is not required as optimizations like Cloudflares Polish and Impervas Smart Caching can provide the necessary levels of front-end optimization (FEO).
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CDNs provide static files for optimal load times and faster response times, while DAMs are typically used to store and manage the data behind a product or service (such as images, videos and PDFs).
Some CMS systems like WordPress have an integrated media manager that allows a webmaster to edit metadata and apply optimizations from a central source.
A DAM enables companies to do similar, but on a much larger scale, and not just for the use of assets on the website.
The DAM market is competitive and offers a range of all-rounder solutions as well as solutions for specific platforms such as Salesforce Commerce Cloud, SAP Hybris and Oracle – all of which are e-commerce platforms at the company level.
Ecommerce and retail businesses in general can benefit most from DAMs because they have large product portfolios and they need consistent, high quality product images for all collateral (online and offline).
At first glance, using a DAM allows an organization to control:
- Asset suitability and ensuring that outdated materials are no longer used.
- The marketing team only accesses media for which the company is licensed. This may not sound important until you consider that Google recently removed its 5 billionth URL from its copyright infringement search.
- Make sure the correct internal (and external) teams are using the correct media files.
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How digital asset management supports enterprise SEO
How can a DAM promote corporate websites and their SEO performance? Here are four important ways:
1. Lossless image compression
Similar to CDNs, most modern DAMs offer the ability to compress images without loss.
Lossless image compression is the practice of significantly reducing the file size of an image without sacrificing image quality, thereby reducing the file size that must be transferred when a web page loads.
It’s just one element of successful image optimization for search and user experience.
Search engine optimization is talking about using different types of files like WebP. Codecs, however, consist of lossless compression of various types of files, from JPEG to WebP.
Machine learning is increasing the ability of DAMs to perform these optimizations on the fly, as shown by a joint study by the University of Cambridge and University College London to improve image quality detection.
Typically, lossless compression is done by a third-party tool that removes unnecessary metadata from the image file.
However, one advantage of the DAM system is that image metadata can be entered and managed from a central location.
This means that your DAM administrators know the website’s requirements from an SEO speed perspective and must be configured to meet the requirements.
2. Image size optimizations
When we look at Image Optimization, let’s first focus on the file size of the image and how it affects the loading speed.
For e-commerce websites – where product images are paramount – and in the luxury sector, high quality images are essential.
A DAM that provides images can help reduce the time it takes a page to fully render.
The difference between a full and fully rendered document is that a full document allows a user to theoretically navigate and use the page functionally.
When fully rendered, all elements and graphics on the page have been rendered.
This can be negatively affected by dynamically resizing images on the fly to make them suitable for the user’s device.
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Some website CMS work around this by having the administrator upload images of various sizes that are loaded independently when the size of the user’s viewport is detected.
This is a tedious time saver to restore enough image variations (desktop, tablet, mobile phone).
Most DAM systems can automate this process and automatically adjust the image dimensions (and file size) to fit the user’s viewport.
The advancement of AI also allows the majority of DAMs to see the focus of the image so when it is cropped it will still work and communicate the correct message.
3. Metadata and file renaming
If we want to optimize our images for SEO, we usually recommend:
- Optimizing image filenames to be descriptive.
- Including captions.
- Provision of an ALT picture description.
Doing this on a large scale across a large product catalog and multiple times (if you manually upload different image size variations) is not a good use of time.
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Most DAMs have advanced to the point where they can automatically rewrite product file names and metadata such as alternate text and labels.
This is particularly useful when a large number of the images can be product variants or configurable.
The ability to scale metadata for images in this way helps Google (and other search engines) both process the image content and understand it better.
This can increase the awareness of your images both in image searches and in specific content result blocks such as Recommended Snippets, Rich Cards, and Knowledge Panels.
4. Protection of assets
Images are extremely important in e-commerce and luxury industries, and companies will invest in product images to make sure the products look their best.
This not only serves to improve the initial conversion rate, but also to allow the user the best possible assessment of whether the product can meet their needs, thereby theoretically reducing potential returns.
Most digital asset management systems allow you to automate watermarks on images, videos, and PDFs.
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This can be extremely important in preventing bad actors from imitating your client’s brand or falsely claiming to have products in stock to fool users with fake deals.
This is more common with expensive luxury brands. A good example of this problem addressed in the real world is Barbour, who is actively working to educate their audiences about identifying counterfeit products and counterfeit dealers.
Digital Asset Management & Page Experience Update
Digital asset management will only grow in importance for corporate SEO as Google continues to prioritize page speed and user experience.
Optimizing asset loading is a central aspect of your brand’s strategy to get the best performance from Core Web Vitals this year and in the future.