Expertise, authority and trustworthiness: E-A-T represents the fundamentals of great content as well as great SEO.
Search engines have advanced to the point where they recognize what human readers have always known: Content created by experts and thought leaders is better than keyword stuffed blog posts painted in broad strokes.
If your client owns the right topics in search and supports that SEO with an educational resource of real value, they will achieve far more effective conversion than simply flooding the zone with keywords.
The progress in search algorithms has flipped the old SEO equation on its head. SEO wins are now a secondary, albeit still vital, goal for top-tier agencies and their clients. Thoughtful, deeply researched content is now king—and E-A-T is its crown.
Own Your Topics
Five percent of all content published on the Internet gets 95% of engagement. That means that brands have to prove their worth to their audience. After all, why should visitors read your client’s blog post rather than hundreds of others on the same topic? To cement their authority on a subject to potential customers, your clients must tick all the relevant boxes within their industry that people might search. (While we wish we could point you to one tool that shows you everything your clients need to rank for within your industry, it’ll require a bit more manual work than that. HubSpot’s Topic Cluster model of auditing content is a great place to start.)
People might reach the blog for content-marketing platform Contently, for example, because a search for “B2B content marketing trends” brought them there. Once readers are satisfied with the knowledge they gain from reading that post, the Contently team is ready to answer any further questions they have about content marketing in the B2B space, from ROI to SEO to best practices amidst a global pandemic. Contently’s content not only advertises the company’s command of the topic; it invites customers to interact further.
In other words, be prepared and able to answer all of the right questions about your client’s product or service, as well as their industry at large.
Trustworthy content comprises a mix of knowledge and experience that audience members can rely on and learn from.
If your client’s content’s only goal is to sell something, readers or viewers will be able to discern that, and thus less likely to trust the brand.
Great content doesn't just close a deal, it educates, inspires, and ultimately provides your intended audience with what they need, not what you want them to buy.
When Animalz published its 2020 Content Marketing Benchmark Report, it included statistics and analysis that readers would expect to see from a year-end industry report. But it also served another, more valuable purpose: It ensured that the company owned each topic that readers might want to explore after reading the report, like content refreshing, movement-first content and what very small content teams need to know to succeed in today’s market. The Animalz team was immediately transparent about where they sourced their statistics in the report, and signaled that if you need to know anything more about content marketing, Animalz is where you go.
Animalz’s report embodied the three parts of E-A-T superbly and showed that the three-pronged principle is a necessary ingredient if you want your target audience to find you. But it’s not just Animalz that is embracing the principles of E-A-T: The acronym is mentioned 135 times on Google’s Search Quality Guidelines. Your client must be recognized as one of the authorities in their niche if they want to stand out on Google searches.
E-A-T: A Virtuous Circle
Even if technology companies had never learned how to monetize algorithms for discovering content across the Internet, E-A-T would still be essential to good content. Readers benefit from well-written content created by recognized subject matter experts. It lets them dig deeper into topics they care about, and associates the brand providing the content with all three of E-A-T’s principles.
Search is essential to the success of online content, of course. On Google’s Quality Raters’ Guidelines, E-A-T is listed as the first characteristic of a high-quality webpage. Content that’s just full of meaningless filler, by contrast, ranks on the very poorest side of the QRG spectrum.
Keywords: You can’t just pump a post full of keywords in order to try to boost SEO. Google’s algorithm can identify that quickly and trying to get away with keyword stuffing will only hinder your quality rating.
Internal links: You must also keep internal linking relevant. Linking helps Google understand a site: Packing blog posts full of internal links that are only marginally relevant or not relevant at all will confuse the algorithm and work against your searchability.
External links: However, keeping links relevant does mean keeping links internal. The strategic approach of linking to as many other places within your site as possible in order to keep users on your site is outdated and ineffective. Linking to strong, authoritative sources that Google recognizes as experts and pointing audiences to the sources that helped you understand the topic you’re creating content about actually helps the authority ranking of your pieces.
Make it meaningful
Delivering content created by experts over content produced by amateurs is a major part of E-A-T. If you’re feeling especially inspired to learn more about E-A-T after reading this piece, you’ll find info from Marie Hayes at the top of your SERP, and for good reason. She’s the foremost expert on E-A-T, and Google recognizes that based on factors like the quantity of content she’s put out about E-A-T and her LinkedIn profile. Trusted SMEs like Hayes are exactly the kind of people that you want to create—or at least byline—content if you want to improve your performance in search algorithms.
You can boost your E-A-T factor by having the author’s bio easily accessible on your site, as well as links to their social profiles or other authority sites. This helps improve their authority and trust by making their expertise very transparent and pointing readers to their additional works.
Finally, get reviews or feedback from readers about your blog posts or topics. Having a monitored comments section for articles helps improve trust while showing readers that their experience with your content is valued and taken into consideration. Quality content has always been crucial, but E-A-T is spelling a new way to do things.
Outbound & Product Marketing Manager