Why E-A-T is Vital to Your Content Marketing Strategy
Biologists say: you are what you eat. SEO experts now echo this sentiment because, if your website wants to rank, it needs to remember that it will be judged on how well it can E-A-T. In this case, those letters stand for “Expertise, Authority, and Trustworthiness.”
The acronym E-A-T comes directly from Google’s recently updated guidelines for search quality ratings. These guidelines explain how websites that exude the qualities of Expertise, Authority, and Trustworthiness tend to get marked as examples of high-quality user content by Google’s human-led search quality evaluation team. In turn, these marked pages are used as guiding data to steer search engine algorithms to seek out pages that mirror these qualities, ranking them more highly.
Hence, websites that can understand and adopt the principles of E-A-T will be more likely to achieve consistently higher search engine rankings. Improving the quality and reputation of your site as a whole — or one blog at a time — can, thereby, directly influence your search engine referral traffic and your company’s bottom line.
But how can a website project Expertise, Authority, and Trustworthiness? And what do these qualities even mean? Find out more about how a content marketing agency might use these criteria to boost your ranking by taking a look at the 5 pointers below.
Project EXPERTISE With Complete Bios That Acknowledge Your Body of Work
In conversations, the word “expert” tends to be bandied around as if it carries particular weight. But in reality, we might consider someone an expert as long as they know a great deal more about the subject matter than we do. In this sense, we can all technically be an expert on something as long as we have spent a good deal of time researching it or doing it as part of our regular routine.
Accordingly, you don’t have to sweat about being a premier voice in your field in order to satisfy Google’s definition of expertise. Instead, you just have to have experience in a subject matter along with some accountability that encourages you to seek out the truth.
Writing on a subject for a number of years could, thereby, qualify you as someone who has expertise. You just have to own that title by showing your credentials.
Any user that comes to your site should know who wrote a particular piece of content and what that person’s qualifications might be. Something as simple as giving the author a by-line and a quick bio can be enough to project this sense of expertise. If you have other accolades, such as a high rating on certain publisher sites or a client list with recognizable brand names, then you should be willing to share those with your audience, too.
For branded, owned sites, expertise should be a part of your writer’s individual bios as well as for your brand as a whole. Give people easy access should they want to verify whether your brand has the expertise, and let your credentials be a selling point that tells your audience they’re in the right place to find answers.
Cultivate AUTHORITY by Building out Your Backlinks
Someone who is an authority on a subject has other writers and websites refer to their opinion regularly. Audiences will tend to choose an authoritative source over one that seems less disciplined.
Authority, therefore, has less to do with your individual accomplishments and more to do with your role in the greater online community. It’s in the same sense that a TV show can’t advertise itself as “popular” unless the audience numbers are actually there.
Online, authority can be dictated by review sites, social media presences, and especially backlinks. Backlinks are links to your website from outside sources, and they tend to be a strong ranking factor for SEO. Websites with more links pointing to it tend to be seen as more authoritative, especially if those links come from other websites seen as authoritative and popular.
SEO experts at Moz have even come up with a numerical value to sum up how authoritative your website might be seen by others: your domain authority. Your domain authority can be raised by earning links on trusted sites with high traffic volumes.
Getting guest blog spots on certain publishers is one great way to go about this. You can also go on websites like Quora or popular blogs in your industry and submit comments that contain links to your bio or main page.
Just remember to always provide genuinely valuable information in a way that doesn’t seem sales-y. Otherwise, you could be punished for spam rather than rewarded for great content!
Demonstrate Authority by Becoming a Reference Point for Audiences and Publishers
Another great way to influence your authority score is to write outstanding content that has a high likelihood of earning shares from others.
Ensure that your content strategy embraces both evergreen topics, like basic industry concepts, as well as the most recent news or developments.
For instance, a retail company that sells quilts can describe step-by-step the basic process of making a quilt out of old t-shirts on one of their blogs. On another blog, they can talk about relevant news, such as a quilting festival being held in a major city.
The more high quality and well written these blogs can be, the more likely they are to be shared. Having a comprehensive content strategy and talented writers can, therefore, help a site rapidly gain more links and more authority.
Be TRUSTWORTHY by Protecting Your Audience from Outside Threats
Google has begun actively warning users about sites that don’t have HTTPS encryption certificates by way of their Chrome browser. The search engine itself has also offered sites with HTTPS protections a small ranking boost.
Users who visit your site will tend to trust it more if you can provide markers of protection against outside threats such as these. If you handle personal information or online purchases, you can supplement these trust factors with trust badges that verify your legitimacy. Just a simple badge or disclaimer can be enough to put audiences at ease and signal to Google’s evaluators that you deserve their trust.
Provide Deep, Accurate Information to Gain More Trust
Trust also comes down to how you handle your internal content. Audiences want to see useful information that makes them more educated on a subject. Often, they want to be educated to the point where they can make a decision about their money, their life, or their career.
Don’t take this duty lightly! Put in the time and effort to research your topics, and make a point of getting to the heart of the matter rather than offering a shallow, barely informative take.
Websites that publish misinformation or content that contains little value can lose trust from audiences, so avoid publishing clickbait and definitely do your homework before publishing.
Improve Your E-A-T Factors With Help From an Experienced Content Marketing Agency
Making good content involves many factors that go beyond normal writing skills. Now that Google has put a responsibility on webmasters and content writers to pay attention to E-A-T criteria, every new page or blog must have the long-term consequences in mind in order to make ranking highly easier.
These goals should always aim for a great audience experience no matter what. In Google’s own words: “Our advice for publishers continues to be to focus on delivering the best possible user experience on your websites and not to focus too much on what they think are Google’s current ranking algorithms or signals.”
EverSpark Interactive is an Atlanta-based content marketing agency with experience helping websites project expertise, exude authority, and exemplify trustworthiness. Our technical SEO experts know all of the factors that help websites build up their rankability over time, and our talented writers know how to craft value-packed content your audiences will devour.
Find out how we can help your website E-A-T right and earn healthier rankings and traffic when you contact us today.