When Google released an update to their Search Quality Guidelines this past summer, they made a significant change to the section regarding a web page’s overall quality rating.
The new acronym “E-A-T” was born, which sent the digital marketing world into a tizzy.
(Google also created the acronym, YMYL = Your Money, Your Life pages, but for this blog’s purposes, we will save that one for a later date.)
Google sets the bar high for search ranking and marketing best practices, and keeping up with Google’s ever-changing algorithms and parameters can be quite tricky to maintain. The Search Quality Guidelines document itself is a hammer-to-the-head-164 pages and can be updated or augmented at anytime by the search engine giant.
Side Note: The SQG doc used to be a secret. It was leaked in 2011 and with such frequency thereafter, that Google finally made it public knowledge in 2015 and releases updates to it as they test and revise their methods.
Phew…. But I digress.
What does Google E-A-T mean anyways?
E-A-T stands for Expertise, Authoritativeness & Trustworthiness
According to the Big G, these are the three pillars on which a webpage now must stand. Translation please? Unless you are clairvoyant, your website and its content needs reviewing and adjusting to remain in high ranking on the www.
But fear not! We will break down all three and help set the path for an E-A-T optimized website for your business.
Your content must reflect that you are an expert in your field of business. Users are moving at a fast pace on the internet today and the majority of search traffic is coming from mobile devices. They do not have time for background checks. Google wants to point users to sites that provide expert backed main content (or MC). Filler and fluff will not fly anymore! You must posses expert knowledge of your domain and be able to back it up with your content and accreditations. Legal, financial, and medical companies, this is a must for your search ranking. But the SQG also states, “for some topics, the most expert sources of information are ordinary people sharing their life experiences on personal blogs, forums, reviews, discussions, etc.” These situations are dedicated to the lay person that has credible information to share and Google fully acknowledges that too.
Becoming the authority is all about quality of content and user reviews. Google pays much attention to the quality of a page’s content and what its users are saying about it. Ensure that your site has a review link that is easily accessible and convenient to use. Focus your content to the field in which your business lies. Stray from over-crowded information that is not applicable to your domain. Reviews, ratings, and reputable backlinks are key. Google says, “popularity, user engagement, and user reviews can be considered evidence of reputation.” Long-tail keywords are also valuable assets in building authoritativeness. 70% of all web searches are based on long-tail keywords and optimizing your site for long-tail keywords will put you ahead of the pack when it comes to search. Getting the user to your site and showing valuable and rich content, relevant to their needs, brings authoritativeness to your business’ online presence.
Google puts high stakes on the trustworthiness of a website. You must provide a blanket of trust for your users and maintain it as time goes by. SSL certificates are a first step, no-brainer as 70% of first pages ranking sites have them installed. eCommerce websites need to pay special attention to trustworthiness in order to stay in good standing for search. Any place where a user can input sensitive information or payment methods should be secure and certified to gain the users trust.
Your reputation dictates your trust amongst users.
You must know your demographic so you have a strong understanding of your customers; different groups of people are impressed by different things, so make sure to know your audience to target the right prospective customer.
Google E-A-T’s new guideline doesn’t only pertain to web pages, but is also considered site wide. Your SEO marketing has always started and ended with your website’s health and quality of content. Google has now cemented that construct out into the world, leaving zero reason to not follow these rules and best practices with your online presence going forward.
From the horse’s mouth: Google says that any website or page within found lacking in G E-A-T is a “sufficient reason to give a page a low-quality rating”.
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