Digital Footprint Optimization

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Digital Footprint Optimization (DFO) is the practice of promoting a brand or product online through various efforts, from Search Engine Optimization (SEO) to cultivating positive associations across articles and social media. The purpose of DFO is to make a brand or product more likely to be noticed organically and to make the first impressions and visible discussions positive. DFO is practiced by corporations, charities, political and religious organizations, among others.

Search Engines[edit]

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is the most visible aspect of DFO, consisting of a series of practices from keyword placement to backlinking aimed at making a website or product rank highly in the unpaid results on related searches on search engines. Other aspects of DFO will typically benefit SEO as well, as any discussion or posting of links will increase engagement with the brand, causing it to rise in SEO rankings.

Social Media Engagement[edit]

Often the first impression people get of a brand or product is through social media, such as Facebook, Twitter or Reddit. This impression can often be influenced, either by astroturfing or through more direct efforts such as promoting favourable posts and articles, maintaining an online presence and responding to customer feedback, claims, and grievances, etc.

Astroturfing and paid advertising allow the brand to set any tone and narrative they wish, while active and open engagement involves interacting with customers and others who already have experience with the brand. While some interactions may be escalated to involve customer service to resolve a customer’s issues, the main purpose of engagement is typically to form the perception of potential customers who previously had no or limited experience with the brand, to avoid them seeing only negative claims with no rebuttal. Social Media Engagement also allows a brand to direct potential customers to articles that educate them on a subject or portray the brand in a positive light.

Widespread use of Digital Footprint Optimization[edit]

DFO is a many-pronged approach to growth, and many of the individual tools have their own, long histories, while others are newer. SEO is a well-established branch of marketing, and often critical to the growth of a new or small brand, even a local store or restaurant. Astroturfing is harder to measure as unlike direct advertising it is not easy for a third party to identify specific posts and articles that come from the brand. However, enough data exists to show that it is a very common approach to improving a brand’s image or affect change. Today, many different companies, non-profits, and even political and religious groups use organic online interactions with outsiders to enhance their brand and reach potential audiences.

References[edit]


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