By Matt Bertram, Enterprise Seo Consultant at EWR Digital, and co-host of the SEO podcast “The Unknown Secrets of Internet Marketing.”
Are you looking to truly ramp up your organic search result rankings and subsequent revenue during 2021? If so, Google’s E-A-T should be high on your digital radar.
E-A-T stands for expertise, authoritativeness and trustworthiness, and the concept of rating websites is nothing new for top-level SEOs. The concept was first published in Google’s 2014 Search Quality Guidelines, and it has gained more and more importance over the years. E-A-T was mentioned 131 times in the 168-page guidelines for 2020.
To establish E-A-T guidelines, Google has thousands of actual humans manually reviewing various webpages and then reporting their quality analysis to Google.
Yes, actual humans, not machines.
It’s no simple task, but this is the type of work that keeps Google at the top of the search engine game. In October, Google controlled 88% of all search queries. Though E-A-T is not necessarily a direct ranking factor through the algorithms, its data helps Google improve its algorithms.
What you can learn from E-A-T that will help you grow your online revenue. Google says this is especially true for Your Money or Your Life (YMYL) websites, which offer advice or products around medical, legal or finances.
First, let’s quickly describe these three terms from Google:
Expertise: This element focuses on the context of the content providing an expert outlook. It looks at the expertise of the page of contents, not the website’s content as a whole. Though Google is unclear of the criteria, having an expert author or expert opinions within content will likely help you score high in expertise.
Authoritativeness: This element focuses on the authority of the website’s content and the strength of the domain. These rankings arrive from external signals such as qualitative links from other relevant websites and brand mentions across forums and social media channels.
Trustworthiness: This element is similar to expertise but focuses on the trustworthiness of the content in relation to the trustworthiness of the domain. For example, if you had poor and untrustful content across your sales consulting website but then landed a guest post by Jordan Belfort, author of Wolf of Wall Street, the article would appeal to the expertise element of E-A-T but not the trustworthiness of the website.
Let’s move onto some tips that can improve your E-A-T and increase your search rankings and revenue.
Again, establishing a strong E-A-T on your website is not achievable by simply using targeted keywords, having a quick technical platform, and building a few links from reputable websites. You need to follow the guidelines across each page and build out the strongest content possible to feed all Google’s E-A-T demands.
Google outlines many ways to improve your E-A-T. Here are a few of the highlights from those guidelines:
• Does the content contain original information, reporting, research or analysis?
• If content pulls from other sources, does it provide substantial added value and originality rather than simply copying or rewriting from sources?
• Does the title or headline of the page steer away from exaggeration or shock in nature?
• Is this content written by an expert or enthusiast who demonstrably knows the topic well?
• Is the content free from easily verified factual errors?
• Was the content produced well, or does it appear sloppy or hastily produced?
• Does content display well for mobile devices when viewed on them?
• Does the content provide substantial value when compared to other pages in search results?
From my own experience and from other experts in digital marketing, I’ve built a deeper dive into what can help your E-A-T in 2021 and beyond. E-A-T strategies are unique to each niche, but the following can strengthen E-A-T of any website type.
Make sure all is written by an expert or attributes experts within the industry. If a Google reviewer visits a webpage and the blogs are authored by someone not even found on Google, how can they trust that content? This should set the intentions beforehand.
For example, if you’re creating content about real estate investing, searchers will undoubtedly want expertise. Tips and success stories from real estate gurus will provide the energy for such content.
A tip for building truly expert content? Have the most successful and known person become the voice of most of your content, regardless if some work must be ghostwritten. Also, seek known experts within your niche, and ask them to guest post. Think of if you sold chef’s knives and had a top-rated chef contribute content about how to slice various meats and vegetables correctly. That would provide more exposure for the chef and more E-A-T for your website.
Strong And Relevant Signals From Other Online Channels
Another guideline has to do with everything outside of your website itself. This means links pointing to your website (and link quality) and brand mentions in other articles and social media.
Sometimes those brand mentions won’t be linked, but they help drive authority and are recognized by search bots.
Links, brand mentions, and how anyone online is talking about you is relevant to your E-A-T score. If you’re marketing SEO and one of your articles is mentioned on a pest control website, that signal is irrelevant. Actively build relationships with authors and websites that mention you.
Set up Google Alerts for anything related to your brand, from author or company names to the names of services and products you provide. Once you’re mentioned online, reach out and thank them. This will help build trust and influence whether they use your material in the future.
Google has put much energy into explaining E-A-T and outlining guidelines for strengthening it. Many online businesses are ignorant of E-A-T, which is unfortunate. If you want to remain a leader in your niche, take an intense look at your website’s content and signals from other channels.
Take the advice above as an opportunity to refresh your website’s content and SEO to ramp up your E-A-T. The results will allow you to build stronger rankings and revenue and scale your authoritative voice within your industry.