In recent years, there’s been a lot of digital marketing discussions that revolve around one particular topic: E-A-T.
While most digital marketing experts are well-informed about E-A-T and its importance in SEO, those outside the industry are less familiar with this concept.
In the following article, we’ll define E-A-T, highlight its importance in the world of digital marketing and SEO, and demonstrate how website owners can use this concept to their advantage.
What Is E-A-T?
Although it has nothing to do with food, E-A-T does help fuel your digital marketing performance.
E–A-T is an acronym that stands for Expertise, Authoritativeness and Trustworthiness.
Established in Google’s Search Quality Rater Guidelines several years ago, this concept has recently gained more traction.
E-A-T is one of the many ways Google employs to determine the overall quality of a website.
Google’s main function is to present their users with search results that include the most accurate, reliable and trustworthy information.
If the sites Google include in their search results contains content that is outdated, unreliable or is of poor quality, their users may lose confidence in their ability to correctly answer their queries.
For Google to return only quality results they need to evaluate each website’s E-A-T.
How Do Search Engines Confirm E-A-T
Now that we have defined E-A-T and explained why Google uses it to determine a website’s quality, it’s time to examine how Google determines E-A-T.
Google does this by evaluating the content that is included on websites, the creator of the content, and the website itself.
The E-A-T evaluation process involves these key factors:
- Examining the expertise of the author of a website’s content
- Analyzing the authoritativeness of the content, its author and the website itself.
- Confirming the trustworthiness of the content, its author and the website itself.
Since some websites feature content that is less substantive (movie reviews, crafting tips, etc), Google is less critical when evaluating their E-A-T.
However, content on sites that sell products, offer services, report news, or discuss health-related topics are under more scrutiny from Google. This is especially true of websites for local retailers, service providers and vendors.
Why is E-A-T Important For Your SEO?
As we mentioned above, Google wants to produce results that best match a user’s search queries. Beyond that, they also want to assure searchers that the information contained in the resulting websites is accurate, reliable and timely,
Since searchers may be using the information offered by these sites to make important decisions such as buying a new vehicle, starting a new diet or renting an apartment, Google wants their results to be beneficial to their audience.
In the event that their search results contain websites with misleading, inaccurate or harmful content, Google could jeopardize their business.
To prevent this from happening, Google prefers websites that follow the best practices and standards for E-A-T. Websites that follow these guidelines have a better chance of enjoying better placement in search results than poor quality pages.
While not considered a measurable ranking factor, E-A-T does play a significant role in other metrics that Google measures to determine website quality.
So, if a sight lacks E–A-T, these issues can negatively affect other metrics that Google uses to determine search result rankings.
How Can You Support Optimal E-A-T?
As Google continues to update its algorithm to improve the user experience, it’s imperative that websites establish and maintain optimal E-A-T.
This can be done by taking the following steps:
Audit Your Website Content
As previously mentioned, it’s detrimental to Google’s reputation and a website’s credibility if the content that is presented in search results is full of outdated, false or irrelevant information.
To prevent poor quality information from appearing in search results (or prohibiting a site from appearing in results), websites should perform regular content audits.
If you’re not familiar with this practice, a content audit is an evaluation of all the existing content on a website, including product descriptions, company descriptions, blog posts, FAQs, white papers, podcast, videos, and more
Review all of this content to ensure that the information it contains is well written/produced, relevant to the intended audience and their queries, and is up-to-date.
Any content that includes outdated information or is poorly written/produced, needs a refresh to improve its relevance and quality.
Google Analytics (GA) is a great tool when performing a content audit and evaluating a site’s E-A-T.
Accessing this tool provides business owners with a clearer understanding of where their content is performing/underperforming by measuring site traffic, on-page time, bounce rates, return visits, conversions and more.
The information contained in GA is also helpful for the next step.
Repurpose Existing Content
Ensuring that a website offers high-quality content to improve E-A-T isn’t solely related to revising existing content. E-A-T can also be improved with the addition of new content.
While new content is key for website growth, producing it from scratch can be time-consuming for many small and mid-size business owners.
However, business owners can produce new, relevant content by repurposing their existing content.
By using GA during the content audit process, business owners are able identify their high-performing content. They can then take that content and use it in other ways to produce new content pieces that support E-A-T.
Instead of starting from scratch, business owners can elaborate on a popular topic by transforming an existing blog into the basis for a new white paper.
That white paper can be the basis of a new podcast or webinar.
And a component of that content can be used to create an infographic for a webpage that correlates with a product or service offered by the business.
The more relevant and reliable content on the website, the better its E-A-T.
Build Backlinks For Your Website
Another effective way to build and strengthen E-A-T is through backlinks.
Backlinks (also known as inbound links) are links from one website to another.
Getting another website (especially if it’s a highly regarded and high-ranking site) to link to a website, product page, blog, or other piece of content demonstrates the linked site’s credibility to Google.
First, the link from the popular site drives more traffic to the business owner’s site. Since site traffic is a site that Google measures, this new influx of visitors helps improve the business owner’s search result rankings.
Secondly, a backlink from this well-regarded site informs Google that the business owner’s site is trustworthy. After all, a popular site would never link to a poor quality site. Doing so would negatively impact its own E-A-T.
Remember: backlinks are not possible unless the website offers high quality content.
Generate And Respond To Reviews
Mentions and backlinks from influential sites are not the only online opinions Google is interested in.
They also want to hear what audiences think of websites.
Offering users a platform to leave their reviews and comments is vital to building and maintaining optimal E-A-T.
When Google sees authentic reviews from average users, they take these into consideration when evaluating a site’s E-A-T.
And if the site responds to the user’s reviews in a timely manner, then that’s even better. By responding to both positive and negative reviews, the website shows Google that it’s committed to providing the best experience for their customers or users.
One of the best platforms for generating reviews is Google Business Profile as it’s one of the tools many Google users turn to when searching for and vetting local businesses.
Searchers who see websites engaging with their audience via a review platform are more inclined to click on their link.
Seek Guest Contributors
Much like getting a backlink from a well-known site supports E-A-T, so does content contributions from established voices.
Securing a content piece from an influential voice that is relevant to a website’s industry is beneficial to E-A-T.
Although website owners can “cold contact” influencers or leading authorities to seek contributions to their blog, podcast or webinars, the best way to secure guest contributors is to reach out to the sites that have already provided backlinks.
Sites can simply email the content creator who provided the link. After thanking them for the backlink, the website owner can then inquire if the content creator is interested in being a guest contributor in the future.
While not every content creator will accept the offer, there are many who will. Plus, they may even be interested in having the favor returned in the future with a content piece for their site.
When Google recognizes guest contributions on a lesser-known site from a leading expert, it elevates that site’s E-A-T.
Use Other Platforms To Promote Your Site
Driving new traffic to a site is a great way for Google to take notice and adjust their page result rankings.
As previously mentioned, backlinks are a great way to generate traffic. Yet, they’re not the only way to direct users to a site.
Promoting content and offering review opportunities on non-Google platforms are another wall to increase E-A-T.
Not everyone is using search engines to find answers to their questions or information about their interests.
Promoting blogs, videos, podcasts, and webinars on social media, YouTube, Vimeo, Apple Music, and other popular platforms are just some of the many outlets that engage audience interest and drive traffic to websites.
The more arrows pointing to a website, the more opportunities it has to improve its E-A-T.
Let Results Repeat Improve Your E-A-T!
E-A-T is a significant contributor to Google’s overall impression of website quality.
Since expertise, authoritativeness and authority influence the metrics Google measures to determine search result rankings, it’s imperative for websites to follow the best practices and industry standards for quality content, website performance and user experience.
By following the steps examined above, business owners can improve and maintain optimal E-A-T for their website.
Still, putting these practices into effect is a full-time job. Business owners and their staff may not have the bandwidth to consistently perform these actions.
Rather than risk the chance of harming their website’s standing, small and mid-size businesses can benefit from the support offered by a digital marketing agency.
With over 80 years of combined experience, the marketing experts at Results Repeat can create and implement SEO strategies designed to maximize E-A-T.