In uncovering strategies for 2020, I was struck by an article on MarketingLand.com.
According to marketing influencer and Director of SEO at Path Interactive, Lily Ray, most marketers should be focusing on E-A-T - Google’s response to helpful and useful content. It’s been a long time since I’ve thought about E-A-T, and while it governs most of the content we produce; rarely, if ever, have I considered it as a key feature of our marketing strategy.
The concept is rather simple to understand but it seems very few businesses are considering E-A-T as a major component of their marketing campaigns or content marketing strategies and even fewer making it a focus, particularly going into this next decade.
To better understand the conversation, here’s some background information.
What Is E-A-T?
E-A-T is an acronym that stands for:
Expertise means you need to show the skill of the author and mention it in your content. Expertise is less critical for humor or gossip websites, but it’s vital for medical, financial, or legal websites. The good news is any site that can show their expertise if the content is truthful and useful for users.
Authoritativeness means your ability to show that you are an authority or the authoritativeness of the creator. If your page is a community or a forum discussion, the quality of the conversation drives authority. Credentials are necessary, but so are personal experiences like reviews.
Trustworthiness, as the name state, is rather implied. It’s especially important for eCommerce websites that ask users for their credit card information. Everything about your site should make users feel safe while they’re visiting. As a starting point, you should immediately implement an SSL certificate on your site as at least 70% of first page results are using SSL (it’s one of many scoring signals that Google uses).
Why is E-A-T So Important?
Lily Ray goes on to explain E-A-T’s significance, particularly in the medical, legal and financial fields. “It’s really important to think about E-A-T as part of your SEO strategy.
Nevertheless, I feel her comments ring true regardless of what field you may find yourself in.
So why is having expertise, authority, and trust so important? After all, the Google quality rater guidelines don’t determine a page’s rankings.
Essentially, E-A-T determines a website’s value. Quality raters keep E-A-T in mind when judging how well a site or page provides what they need. They look to see if they’re getting a good online experience and if the content meets their standards.
If the raters feel like a user would feel comfortable reading, sharing, and recommending the content; that earns the site a high level of E-A-T. Ray sums this up stating, “You have to be telling search engines why you should be trusted.”
Think of E-A-T as the reason why users would choose your site over your competitors’. It could have a direct impact on how Google receives — and ultimately ranks — your website.
Implementing strategies to enforce E-A-T within your content also helps to level the playing field. “It’s going to be increasingly difficult to rank, to compete, because a lot of these core updates are resulting in companies that maybe don’t have great E-A-T seeing pretty big performance declines”, states the SEO Director.
Over the last few months in 2019, we’ve experienced 3 major updates that have affected the way we search and the kinds of information searchers are shown. Therefore, it’s incredibly likely, that we’ll continue to see these changes as Google attempt to become more specific. E-A-T may be the only way to ensure people read and engage with your content.
What’s The Impact of E-A-T Moving Forward?
We have established that E-A-T is an important part of Google’s algorithms. A lack of E-A-T makes it very hard to rank. So, does this mean that only sites recognized as authorities can rank well? Is there anything else that can be done?
E-A-T can definitely be improved upon. Here are a few strategies you could implement to your content and marketing strategy:
- Get good reviews
- Get Wikipedia mentions
- Get mentions on authoritative sites
- Get mentions on forums
- Be trustworthy
- Optimize Your About/About Us Page
- Show The Expertise Of Your Company On Your Site
- Manage Your Reputation
- Improve Your Content
- Demonstrate E-A-T on your website
Businesses should continue to produce great quality content with links. Links still play a significant role in ranking websites. If businesses are experiencing changes in their ranking after the update, it is most likely due to their content. Sullivan went on to say in a later tweet, “There’s no ‘fix’ for pages that may perform less well other than to remain focused on building great content. Over time, it may be that your content may rise relative to other pages.”
Producing quality in accordance with Google’s E-A-T proves to be the best way forward. Especially in an ever-changing environment like the world of digital marketing.