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In light of the recent announcement by Matt Cutts at SXSW there has been a lot of speculation in the SEO industry as to what “over-optimization” entails. Because this announcement has been vague, it forces many SEOs to rethink and reassess their current strategy.

More than ever, SEOs could learn a thing or two from TED; its tagline alone encapsulates what SEOs should embrace in one simple phrase, “Ideas Worth Spreading”. As I think about the industry and the way it’s headed, this concept is more true than ever. Content, products, services and ideas that are worthy of sharing are going to define successful business in terms of SEO and marketing.

There are many things I’ve learned from TED over the years, and I urge you to implement a few things that will strengthen your search marketing campaigns. Before we get into the three things I’ve learned from TED, here are a few metrics from Open Site Explorer. This site has been able to build a strong domain authority with hundreds of thousands of links pointing to it, not to mention the number of shares it has across Facebook, Twitter and Google.

1. Content

The main thing that makes TED a success is the content across the site. Anyone that watches or listens to the talks can vouch for this. If marketers could create content, products or services that people are excited about, it would be shared and linked to naturally. Rather than putting your effort into creating content for the sake of creating content, now is the time to rethink what content is, and understand how it benefits and interests your customer base. TED does an excellent job of this as they have thousands of videos that are interesting and engaging which makes it sharable and linkable.

Blendtec is a great example of a company that has been able to implement a great content strategy. With a very small budget, it was able to create a viral ad campaign to showcase its blenders’ durability in the “Will It Blend” series.

2. Sharability

Once great content is created, it’s essential to make it easy to share. An example of this on TED can be seen here.

TED talks sherry turkle

As you are promoting content or products on your site, it is important to make it simple for people to share. This will increase the likelihood of it being shared across social networks, therefore increasing the visibility of your product/content and your brand. Whether it’s an image, advertisement or just a great guide you’ve created for your consumers, make it easy for them to share across their social networks; this will increase the likelihood of it being linked to.

3. Community

In the TED community for every video that is posted, every site visitor has the ability to easily join discussions and add comments to the videos. This adds another element of engagement to the content they have on the site.

The stronger the sense of community a company creates for itself, the more engaged and attached its consumers will feel toward its brand. The fact that some of these site visitors have made a contribution to the site makes them that much more attached and increases loyalty to the brand. Yelp demonstrates this well, it has been able to create a community around food and local businesses. It has created a platform that facilitates discussion between businesses and consumers. Many people contribute to Yelp and use it as a reputable source of information.

Through these strategic moves, TED has been able to build a strong relationship with their online viewers; therefore, increasing the strength of its brand. This type of strategy will help companies sustain themselves in their industries. Ultimately, links can help you gain rankings and traffic, but for a long-term strategy, it’s essential to build a strong brand for your business, as there is no algorithm update that can ruin your brand.

I am excited for this update as it is going to force SEOs to think with consumers in mind. This will help SEOs be more reputable in the marketing industry. It also forces us to be more creative, and put more focus on social networks, user experiences and consumer relationships.

What are your thoughts in regards to Google’s over-optimization audit and how it’s going to affect SEOs? Would love to see your comments below.