SEO 2.0: The EAT Principle

Did you know that 3 out of 4 smartphone users turn to online search engines for answers?

In the face of fierce competition, digital marketers recognize that there is no page more important than search engine results, and that means they need to know everything about how search works and what they can do to maximize brand visibility. It all boils down to achieving top ranking on the Search Engine Results Page (SERP). Better positioning on the SERPs is the primary objective of search engine optimization (SEO).

However, there’s more to SEO than the basics of related keywords, meta data and backlinks. Brands need to dive deeper to ensure content relevancy and value, in order to direct as much traffic as possible to their own web pages.

Google’s idea of quality

Google, with a 87.35% market share, is the preferred choice for customers. That said, only a few brands have managed to optimize content for the platform’s search quality rating algorithms. In their Search Quality Evaluator Guidelines, Google revealed that its page rankings are determined by specific algorithms based on the E-A-T factor. The algorithms are developed based on how Google’s human search quality evaluators rate and identify content quality.

Here’s what you need to look out for:

Expertise

The first criteria evaluates the author’s official credentials against the website and other online sources. A confirmed writer expertise translates to a higher webpage ranking. To be considered as an ‘expert’, brands need to showcase their portfolio and experiences by building a thorough about page, and adding authors’ details in every article. Brands can also raise their webpage ranking on the SERP by hiring an expert to write content.

A key point to note is that the expertise check is dependent on content theme with topics like humor, recipes and house cleaning, not requiring formal credentials of education and training. Authors of these themes are considered to have “everyday expertise” where the creator demonstrates relevant life experiences that are widely shared across personal blogs, forums and social media, etc.

Authoritativeness  

Unlike expertise, authoritativeness focuses on two additional elements, i.e. content and the website. The algorithms search on the reputation of all three elements, and identify the creator/website as the go-to source for information on a specific topic.

Just as the reputation of communications and public relations agencies are supported by commendations and references from clients, your content’s reputation and authority is determined by external linked or offsite mentions in other websites, news, social media, etc. Any content creator or website can claim to be an expert, but getting other authoritative sources to back up or agree with you is a much better endorsement. Google specifically trusts reputable external sources more, even if they disagree with the information shared. So, make sure your content is bolstered by established references and links to independent sources, as this also indicates its value and usefulness to the users.

Trustworthiness

The final ranking criteria scrutinizes the legitimacy of the brand, content and webpage on documented user experience and trust. Google’s guidelines clearly highlight that excessive bad reviews are a sign of low quality which will tank the brand’s content ranking. Brands should quickly address poor reviews and negative customer sentiments, and work towards providing a better user experience with an easy-to-find contact page, and a clear privacy policy and terms of service.  

Usability and User Experience

Keeping in mind that the basics of SEO and the E-A-T criteria are a great way to jumpstart your content visibility on search engine pages, brands should never create content solely for search engines. Some brands make the fatal mistake of ‘keyword stuffing’ by including too many keywords which can damage the user experience. Keywords should be input into the content naturally and with restraint. Content creators must always aim to be effective and beneficial to users. Ultimately, the website’s helpfulness and quality will take the brand to the top of the rankings.

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