Whatever you think you might know about SEO, always be prepared to drop it. Well, except for great content of course.
Other than that, the techniques of SEO are changing all the time. And we mean all the time.
Google is constantly improving its ranking algorithm. Which means you need to be constantly looking out for new approaches to get that top ranking.
Thankfully, the internet has a great and resourceful community of SEO experts that you can get tips from.
But that still means you’ve got to be on your toes.
Here’s a rundown on one the most important Google updates: the E-A-T update
What is E-A-T?
E-A-T stands for Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness. E-A-T is a standard and guideline for ranking pages that are seeking to benefit the searcher, which is a lot of pages.
Those pages could be about medical advice (which would fall into another acronym you should know about, YMYL), news, information, advice, and much more. For these pages to be ranked well, they need to meet the standards of E-A-T.
Because that’s what Google wants out of a top ranking page.
Here it is, straight from Google’s Guidelines for Quality raters,
“Search results should provide authoritative and trustworthy information, not lead people astray with misleading content.”
Makes complete sense right?
We think so too. Now here’s what you can do to set yourself up with a high E-A-T rating.
Does your content qualify for E-A-T?
Before you go through painstaking efforts to re-do all of your website’s content, take a step back.
Is your content even being evaluated by E-A-T?
The answer is, probably, yeah. A lot of pages are covered by E-A-T. But it can be really helpful to understand why. Knowing why your page is indexed under E-A-T can help you see what you should focus on when optimizing your content.
There are six main types of pages, so let’s have a look (we’re citing directly from the guidelines btw)
Six types of E-A-T pages
Medical advice pages should be “written or produced by people or organisations with appropriate medical expertise or accreditation”, and content should be reviewed by professionals. A great example of successful medical blogging is how this post cites professionals and research while presenting interesting content.
News articles can’t be fake news! These pages need to be “produced with journalistic professionalism – they should contain factually accurate content”. Make sure that you are using backable sources and that they are not convoluted in any way. If you can get review processes, and you show that, your E-A-T will be higher.
Scientific information pages need to be “produced by people or organizations with appropriate scientific expertise and represent well-established scientific consensus”. This one is pretty straight forward – you need to present accurate information, and need to show your qualification.
Financial advice, legal advice & tax advice pages need to “come from trustworthy sources and be maintained and updated regularly”. Since the law changes a lot, outdated legal/tax advice could be really misguiding. To be a great source, keep your content updated and full of expertise.
Life advice pages, such as advice on “home remodelling…parenting issues” need to come from an expert. In the case of some life advice, like a wedding guide, there will be no technical “expert”, but Google expects that you are someone who has enough experience to warrant being an “expert”.
Hobby pages need expertise too! If you write content about knitting, you need to know what you’re talking about. Otherwise, Google will figure out you aren’t delivering good tips to their users.
All of these pages require expertise, and for that expertise to be visible. Citing your credentials, using other reputable sources, and staying consistent with your content are things that will boost your rankings.
There are many ways to do this – you can get doctors to read through your articles on health, or you could use your degree/experience to shine through in niche writing.
Use what you’ve got!
Going beyond credentials
Surprise! There’s a little more to it…
When you are optimising your website for E-A-T you need to focus on more than just expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness. And while that’s what the acronym literally stands for, you still need to go a bit further.
And how do you do that?
By conveying your expertise in a way that users want and can understand.
Let’s say you are writing content for an information page on the poison dart frog. Even if you have a PhD in Herpetology and you wrote your dissertation on poison dart frogs, you can still get a low E-A-T rating.
This is because you need to focus on creating content that actually helps Google users.
A Google search quality rater won’t give your website a good ranking if the information is scattered, unreadable, completely bland, or non-user friendly in some other way.
If you are trying to make content for users that are unfamiliar with your subject matter, then make sure to convey accurate and useful information!
A user won’t find your page on poison dart frogs useful if it contains latin species names and complicated graphs that only other experts could decipher.
So here’s how to assess your content for E-A-T and readability.
A Step-by-step for E-A-T optimization
Decide the purpose of your page
In order to make content that is E-A-T appropriate you should first understand the purpose of the page. Is it an information page for tourists, a blog post for law students, or a niche review of an underground theatre performance?
Either way, before you make your content you should consider how the purpose of the page will impact the language and form of your content.
Put yourself in the position of the searcher – what kinds of questions or key phrases are they using? What do you want to optimise for? How does “poison dart frog” differ from “what is the subfamily of the Ameerega?”
Once you have decided on the purpose of the page, it’s time to do a little research
Research your topic’s search for optimisation
Now that you know the purpose of your page and its approximate audience, it’s a good idea to do some key-word exploration.
You can use sites like Ahrefs or Google’s search engine to see what pops up with your chosen key-words. From this you can get a good idea for what users are looking for.
If the purpose of your content is a lot different than your targeted key-word’s suggestions, then it might be a good idea to tweak your target. It’s always ok to go a little niche.
Remember that Google is ranking pages based on how they match and help the user’s searches. If your topic doesn’t address the questions or curiosities of the user, it’s not going to rank well. Even if you have expertise, authority, and trustworthiness.
Write your content with the user in mind
Now that you know who and what to cater your topic to, it’s time to create great and useful content.
If you are writing for a niche audience feel free to use an appropriate amount of technical terms or insider knowledge. Make sure that you are providing something new – people want interesting content that they can’t find somewhere else. For example, pitching a “beginner’s guide to fly fishing” with basic steps won’t satisfy a fly fishing championship website.
While you can go pretty niche, make sure that your information is being conveyed in a very clear way. No audience will appreciate difficult language. Keep it simple.
Provide a little more information than what the search user wants. If you are optimizing for the search “what is the difference between an espresso and an americano” you should provide distinctions for all kinds of coffee types. That way you can answer the users question and spark some curiosity – which could keep them reading!
Optimise your site for E-A-T
Besides the actual content of your article, you need to make sure that your website is trustworthy and legitimate.
The Google guidelines emphasize that they want the producers of content themselves to be trustworthy and legitimate. Make sure that you are writing stuff you have expertise in, or that you can at least be reviewed and read by an expert.
Not only does this tell Google that experts are writing the stuff, you will be making better content too.
To build authority as a source you should build links and mentions. This will tell Google that you are really great because it means other sites see you as a reputable source. This is a great method to get your ranking up. You can also work this link building through social media and forums.
Make sure that your website has a clear layout that makes it easy for users to navigate. Your website should be secure, have clearly stated policies, legitimate author biographies, and multiple methods of contact. Doing this will make your users trust the website. Make sure that you provide clear and direct communication with users. That way you can build up the authority and integrity of your site.
Stand out with exceptional media
The best informational articles contain useful and attractive media. Especially if you are trying to explain something complicated or bland, infographic, videos, or interactive media is super helpful.
Media will help your content stand out, and will make people want to share and link to you.
Developing your skills in media creation could be a great goal as you move into the 20’s of SEO.
While the SEO world is constantly changing, and sometimes a little challenged by new guidelines, it is ultimately good to see. E-A-T is a great improvement because it safeguards information that is meant to help people. Hopefully, this will lead to better and more trustworthy content in general.
The internet is a great place with unimaginable opportunity. Familiarising yourself with even a little bit of technical know-how can improve your rankings drastically.
Now get out there and E-A-T!