Way back in 2013 Google released a 160-page search quality evaluator guidelines paper. The document revealed that good content is among the top three webpage-quality factors. It went on to define high-quality content as content that demonstrates a high level of expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness (E-A-T). In August of 2018, Google released an algorithm update, and SEO experts determined that sites with low E-A-T suffered the most from the algorithm update. If you’re looking to optimize your SEO in Omaha or to improve your web marketing, this is an essential read.
Google’s search quality guidelines have identified two types of expertise: Formal and Everyday Expertise.
- Formal: Especially in the medical, financial, and legal industries, a certified professional is considered the most reliable source of expertise. This is because if incorrect information is published in these areas, the chances of putting consumers at risk dramatically increases.
- Everyday Expertise: The Google guide document states “For some topics, the most expert sources of information are ordinary people sharing their life experiences on personal blogs, forums, reviews, discussions, etc.”
The takeaway here is that you won’t necessarily need someone with credentialed expertise to fulfill the “expertise” factor is you’re working with a professional writer or are one yourself.
Authority is all about proving to your audience that the content on your website is legit. If your website falls under the “everyday expertise” category showing credentials aren’t as important. You can show authority by adding the author’s job title to their byline or linking to their professional website or full bio.
- Cite Your Research – If your content creators aren’t “experts” thorough research and proper citation will make up for it. Linked sources is a signal to Google that you’re correctly attributing sources. Make sure your sources are high-quality backlinks.
- A Good Reputation – Reviews, and good reviews are critical. Most people rely heavily on reviews when considering using a company’s product or services. The Google guidelines state “Popularity, user engagement, and user reviews can be considered evidence of reputation.” Responding promptly and providing top notch customer service should be a part of your social media content strategy giving your customers plenty of motivation to leave you a positive review.
Transparency builds trust with your audience. Your website should clearly communicate who you are, how you make money, and that you will do what you say you will do. If you’re accepting payments on your website users need to feel like payments can be accepted safely and appropriately. Your site should have a proper SSL certificate even if you’re not accepting any form of payment. Providing helpful content rather than just trying to sell is another way to build trust.
- Secure & Transparent – Be crystal clear about who you are, what you do, and why you do it. Make sure your site is secure and people know it.
- Be Helpful – The whole idea behind content marketing is to provide value to your audience. Google is continually refining their algorithm with this in mind. They’re also using real people to determine if websites and web pages are meeting these criteria. Your content should either help or teach your audience something about a topic that is relevant to your business. Just trying to sell without giving value first is a trust buster.
The Big Takeaway for Google E-A-T
If you’re thinking that creating content that satisfies the E-A-T guidelines will take time, you’re right. The Google guidelines state it clearly, “We will consider content to be low quality if it is created without adequate time, effort, expertise, or talent/skill.”
The good news is you don’t need to become a content creator to satisfy Google E-A-T. There are plenty of affordable experts you can outsource who can create valuable user experiences for your customers. And before you know it, Google will recognize and reward you.