Ever since Google’s major algorithm update in 2018 (AKA “the medic update”), several SEO professionals have been obsessed with ‘E-A-T’, which stands for Expertise, Authority, and Trustworthiness.
The reason for this industry buzzword’s growing importance and popularity is simple – it represents the kind of content Google wants to reward with prominent SERP positions.
But what exactly is E-A-T content? And how can it improve your SEO? Here’s everything you need to know.
Even if you are an expert by the Oxford dictionary’s definition – very knowledgeable about or skilful in a particular area – this isn’t enough to get traffic flooding to your website from Google.
One key challenge is communicating this knowledge or skill in a way that attracts and engages people. You also need to understand what information your audience wants to know about, and how to deliver it in the right way.
In order to create expert content, try to do the following:
- Research what your audience is searching for and attempt to meet their needs. This requires keyword research.
- Understand the searchers intent behind the keywords and phrases you discover during research.
- Understand what stage your searchers are at in their journey as a consumer or as somebody involved in your industry.
Taking the time to understand which stage your searchers are at is especially important, as those who are new to the subject matter won’t appreciate industry spiel or technical jargon.
Once again, having authority online is much different to having it in real life. Essentially, you need other experts or influencers in your industry to cite your website as a key source of information.
With any luck, your name will become synonymous with relevant themes and topics, helping you transition from expert to authority.
To judge your level of authority, use the following KPIs:
- Inbound links to your website from relevant and authoritative websites – In today’s online world, there is no better endorsement that a website can get from another website owner than a link.
- Being mentioned in the news or on authoritative websites – Although not as influential as links, you should still strive for mentions.
- Moz Domain Authority score – This will give you a good idea of your current level of authority and which websites are linking to you.
- Majestic ‘trust ratio’ score – This is another reliable gauge of authority and trustworthiness – the closer to 1.0, the better.
- Social media shares – Despite the fact social media isn’t a ranking signal, content that is widely shared is a good sign of authority.
- Strong brand identity – If more and more people are searching for your brand name, especially when attached to a relevant industry keyword, then your authority will skyrocket.
- Wikipedia page – Getting a Wikipedia page isn’t easy unless you’re a recognised person or brand. But seeing as it comes up within the Google raters’ guidelines, its definitely something worth striving for.
Expertise and authority can significantly boost your rankings, but trustworthiness (or rather a lack thereof) can give significantly hinder them. Failing to limit or manage negative sentiment around your business online will lead to serious penalisation by Google.
Even though you’ll want to prioritise the creation of great content, you should also take the time to address any complaints before it adversely affects your brand. Google is explicit in its guidelines that too many bad reviews = a sign of low quality.
In order to improve your trustworthiness, encourage customers to leave positive reviews on Google as well as places like Tripadvisor, Trustpilot and Facebook.
When it comes to your website, do the following:
- Make it easy for visitors to contact you
- Associate it with your physical location I.e. your office or shop
- Have a term of business or T&Cs page that is easily accessible for users
- Ensure that your website’s domain is secure. Along with keeping the data of users safe, the correct implementation of HTTPS is very important to Google.
- If you’re selling products online and accepting financial transactions, have a clear refunds and returns policy.
- Ecommerce businesses should also try to include comprehensive specifications of their products and include any safety advice that might be relevant.
- Include author biographies and cite external sources when publishing knowledge-based content. Outbound links to authority sites is a good idea too.
Despite the fact there’s no real shortcut to expertise, authority, and trustworthiness, once you do achieve a high ‘E-A-T’, it will be difficult to get knocked down from the top spots of Google.