The main purpose of search engines is to give the most accurate result every time someone enters a query in the search bar. For Google, the means to this end is constant algorithm updates. Every so often, Google rolls out a new set of rules or guidelines to rank websites, so that, in turn, website owners can come up with content that offers the best search experience for users.
One of those algorithm updates included guidelines for something Google calls E-A-T, which you might have heard of before if you’ve been involved in the industry. Although this isn’t an unfamiliar concept in digital marketing, the idea of optimizing for Google’s EAT criteria has never been more important than ever in helping you outperforming other websites in search results.
What Google Says About EAT
Google released EAT in 2014 as part of their Search Quality Evaluator Guidelines that reviewers use to gauge the quality of pages that offer content via the internet. However, not everyone knew how Google actually used E-A-T to determine what was considered a quality page.
It wasn’t until February 2019 that Google confirmed through a white paper that it works with evaluators who rate content quality in terms of expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness.
Although the ratings do not directly affect the ranking of any one website, Google uses it as a benchmark to keep improving its algorithms so that the search engine can identify high-quality versus low-quality information, and then push content that has better EAT signals up on the search results.
The bottom line? As you can see, none other than Google themselves say E-A-T are very important factors for your site and its pages.
So without further ado, here’s how EAT can take your SEO efforts to the next level!
Creating Content that Google Loves — EAT
As content marketers and search engine optimization (SEO) professionals, you need to wholeheartedly adopt Google EAT. Since Google’s search engine receives the most traffic than any other website—something like 5.6 billion searches per day—you want to make sure that you understand EAT and how it can help improve the performance of your brand online.
The main principle behind EAT is that website owners should produce quality pages with content that ticks all three boxes: Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness.
Over time, as you continue to nurture your brand identity through creating high-quality content, you’ll have a better shot at ranking higher than your competitors on the Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs).
Expertise: The “E” in Google EAT
Expertise is a quality that can be attributed specifically to a person, which in this case refers to yourself as a content creator. By Google’s standards, you need to possess skill in creating content and spend a great deal of effort and time on your content.
Whether you’re thinking of creating expert content or improving the expertise of your current content, these pointers are worth including in your strategy:
- Look for gaps that your content can fill
With content marketing, every piece of content starts with keyword research. By keeping track of what users are searching for on the web, you can draw up a content plan that not only addresses your audience’s needs but also allows you to find other ways of attracting your target market before anyone else does.
You could, for example, try to anticipate the next set of queries that they may have, so you’ll have content ready if and when the opportunity arises.
Forrester reported that the average consumer reads about 11.4 pieces of content before buying a product or service, so it pays to become the go-to source of information for all of your audience’s content needs right from the very beginning.
- Think from the perspective of your audience BUT write from an expert POV
When creating content, one of the rules to live by is to put yourself in the shoes of people who probably have very little knowledge about a particular topic or subject—hence, they use search engines to look for relevant information that can answer the questions they may have.
As such, your content has to be thorough and insightful. You need to be able to demonstrate to your audience that you know every aspect of how your industry works—which brings us to the next item.
- Add: Details, details, details
Unlike fluffy content, the most compelling pieces of content provide lots of helpful and relevant bits of information to drive a point about the given topic more clearly.
Use plenty of illustrative examples and tips, and then draw from your personal experiences to substantiate your story. In fact, Google says the best content creators aren’t only limited to subject area experts or hobbyists but also include people with everyday expertise.
Needless to mention, your content needs to be backed by factual data or additional references, which can help further establish your expert content creator status as you provide accurate information on your site.
Authoritativeness: The “A” in Google EAT
The current version of EAT looks at authoritativeness as a combination of the reputation of your website and of yourself as the creator of the main content (MC). Your website’s reputation will depend on the kind of experience (or content) you offer to search users as well as what experts in your content topic say or think about it. You become the authority when authoritative sites mention or link to you.
Here are a couple of ways that you can prove your own authoritativeness or that of your business:
- Accomplish the purpose of your website. If you’re maintaining a medical website, you want to be able to provide high-quality, up-to-date news and information about the medical field that doctors and health authorities can recommend to the community. The same goes for any other website—it needs to effectively do what it’s supposed to.
- Invest in original research. Creating unique and original content has a huge amount of value and can result in highly reputable sites linking to your findings. Original research sets you apart from other sites that merely replicate information from external sources and, therefore, aren’t really considered uniquely valuable to online users.
- Simplify scientific or technical jargon. Using plain and simple language that everyone can understand is one of the most effective ways to attract links and mentions from other authoritative sites. While it can be easy to obtain links or mentions by paying for them, what you need to focus on is to get recommendations from people because they look up to you as the best in your niche.
Trustworthiness: The “T” in Google EAT
The last criteria in the EAT ruling, trustworthiness is a measure of how reliable your website is in providing accurate information to users. Fake news, inaccuracies, and unsupported claims do not in any way contribute to the trustworthiness of a website and its content (and could be harmful). Trustworthiness also covers online privacy and security, and making users feel safe on your website.
Here are some ways to enhance the trustworthiness of your site, its pages, and its content:
- Highlight positive reviews that you receive. Positive reviews act as votes of confidence for your business, signifying customer satisfaction or good user experience. Visitors are more likely to leave good reviews on your site if you’re responsive to their feedback because people want to see that your company takes customer concerns seriously.
- Make it a habit to back up your claims with facts, data, and statistics. Whether you’re discussing finances, technology, or any other topic under the sun, you need to be able to provide a basis for every and all information you include in your content. Posting content without doing research and fact checking not only can cause people to lose trust in you but also potentially have a negative impact in their individual lives.
- Share info about your business policies. Data privacy and security are as important to Google as they are to online users. To signify that your website is a safe place for people to do business with, lay down the terms and conditions about using your product or service, on which channels can customers reach you, how you use or store their data, and so on.
Develop a Strong Appetite for EAT
Google EAT is a game changer in the digital marketing industry because it makes you truly conscious about the need to provide the highest quality of content for search users. Even if Google finds the need to further update its E-A-T criteria along the way, developing content with strong EAT should be a top priority for your business today more than ever.
Want to get ahead with your EAT game? Ask about Spiralytics’ SEO services today.