E-A-T, an acronym for “expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness,” is one way Google interprets the quality of a website, which impacts rankings in the Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs). Google has a team of search quality evaluators who each use the E-A-T guidelines to manually check a set of webpages and report their findings for Google to use in improving its algorithms.
Google’s evaluators consider:
- The E-A-T of the main content of a given webpage
- The website as a whole
- The credentials of the creators or contributors of that website’s content
The most up-to-date version of Google’s Quality Guidelines includes 135 mentions of E-A-T in the 167 page document, so it’s no secret that the search engine takes this concept seriously. It’s their way of combating misinformation, disinformation, and fake news and fortifying the legitimacy of their search engine.
And none of this is particularly new information—We’ve been talking about E-A-T for a while. But what we haven’t been talking about are sure-fire, concrete ways that sites can fully leverage E-A-T for SERP success—until now. Here we’ve laid out actionable steps, debunked E-A-T myths and misunderstandings, and assured you that it’s all attainable for your business.
Reinvigorate Evergreen Content
This is the content on your site that, like evergreen trees, stays fresh year after year. When we’re talking about evergreen content, we’re typically referring to posts or pages outside of the service pages—think along the lines of frequently asked questions, a particularly strong and lengthy how-to blog, encyclopedic information, reference guides, client testimonials, or product reviews.
There’s a reason this content stands the test of time: it’s strong, well-written, and provides value to your customers. That’s why we think it’s a great idea to squeeze every ounce of success you can out of these resources that you’ve poured so much time and effort into. Consider adding new metatags to this evergreen content to help users and Google understand that it’s still relevant. The benefits are twofold: for one, you’re providing fresh content for Google to crawl on a page that it’s probably not returning to often. And, you’re giving yourself a chance to reevaluate your search competition for that particular resource.
So first, determine what your top performing, highest value evergreen content is. Next, conduct competitive research in the SERPs to determine what kind of materials your competition is providing, and how they’re writing metadata about their resources that may be similar to yours. Then, devise a plan to do it better.
Fully Leverage About Pages and Author Information
This one’s all about authority. Traditionally, About pages on websites are not seen to have as much SEO value as product, service, location, and other info-dense landing pages on your site. However, SEOs have started recognizing the power of About pages to appeal to Google’s interpretation of the business’ authoritativeness.
If you can point to awards, accolades, recognitions, or honorable mentions your business or its key players have accumulated, you should 100 percent be publishing that information on your site’s About page. This is one of the most actionable, tangible ways to feed Google a crystal clear indication that your business is legit.
And speaking of key players in your business and their accolades, another clear way to appeal to E-A-T is to create and optimize bio information for your team members. In some sectors like law, financial planning, and the like, this is more important than in others like retail, but the sentiment is the same across all industries. Having strong bio pages that establish your team members as experts in their area with consistent photos across the entire site for each individual enables Google to fully understand the legitimacy of your business, and you can be rewarded for that in the SERPs.
Prioritize Technical SEO for E-A-T Signalling
At a glance, it doesn’t appear that technical SEO, like backend website and server optimizations, could do anything to appeal to Google’s E-A-T interpretation, but we’ve identified a few ways. For one, using Schema.org markup can reinforce what the content on your site is already pointing to. It clarifies to the Google algorithm what any human person would gather easily.
Schema.org markup is a form of microdata, which is extracted and processed by search engines to “provide a richer browsing experience for users.” Basically, it creates an enhanced description of your web page that Google is more apt to understand more quickly than your content. This enhanced description is comprised of machine-readable tags that tell Google what it’s looking at.
If you’re a financial planner, for example, and Google is crawling your team members’ bio pages, you can use Schema.org markup to indicate CFP, CPA, CFA, and other distinctions that point to your authoritativeness and expertise, and you’re speaking to Google in their own language rather than waiting and hoping for the search engine to translate and interpret our own written language.
This is, of course, one facet of a multi-faceted approach to appealing to Google’s E-A-T initiative. This can’t be a replacement for technical SEO auditing or working toward any other SEO objective. To be most effective, it all has to be baked together into the same pie.
Partner with a Team of SEOs
When you’re ready to start getting the traffic your site deserves, we’re ready to hit the ground running. Get in touch with us today to learn more about how your business could benefit from our SEO services.