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Is OAO the Next Big Thing in Search?

Posted on the 20 February 2014 by Marketingtango @marketingtango
online audience optimization OAO

Just when you began to dream in keywords, Google radicalized its algorithms, essentially killing search engine optimization (SEO) as we know it.

From its ashes, online audience optimization (OAO) is rising.

“Before getting too squirrelly about another Three Letter Acronym, let’s get grounded and think about what’s important,” urged Erik Sherman, writing for Inc. magazine.

The good news is that OAO is a simple concept.

As Georgina Lopez of Amplify media+marketing explains it, “OAO takes advantage of high-quality content to create a consistent web-wide presence and generate consistent new and repeat visitors to your site.  OAO combines the best practices of SEO, along with social media, content sharing, engagement mechanics and branding.”

The not-so-good news is that OAO takes time and commitment. It can’t be automated, like so many SEO tricks that prompted Google to reevaluate its algorithms.

For integrated marketers eager to master OAO, Sherman offered two suggestions:

Know Your Audience

You may not know them by name, but can you define the collective personality of your target audience? Sherman outlined a model: “Not only do you need to know how they talk, which lets you better guess how they might specifically look for what you offer, but you also need to understand what they find funny. What scares them. What is important to them. How they think. Until you do, they’re only marks and you do nothing more than run calculated cons. After you do understand them, they’re real people and you might find yourself caring a bit about them. Good — care more!”

Translate Caring into Specific Actions

Just as you do thoughtful things for your significant other, family members and friends, find ways to show your online audience you really care about them.  “Emotion isn’t an abstract concept, but something that drives behavior,” Sherman advised. “Let the same thing happen in your marketing after you start to care about the audience.”

For inspiration, Sherman pointed to Linda Ruth’s nine steps for OAO, which include focusing on the brand, employing engagement mechanics and gamification techniques, and integrating your mobile strategy.

If you’re intrigued by the concept of gamification as a means to get closer to customers, read our guide, “Let Customers Play Games and Win Their Loyalty.”

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