So much of your company’s success relies on the customer’s perception of your business. Whether you run a roofing company or a small e-commerce site, your sales are largely dependent on how trustworthy and authoritative your potential clients consider you. This ideology is known colloquially as establishing Expertise, Authority, and Trust, or E-A-T, and is a critical component of SEO. E-A-T can take many forms, from displaying positive customer testimonials to a well-written ‘About Us’ page highlighting your company’s years of experience.
Fortunately, with the right methodology, how customers perceive your brand can be altered to improve your company’s image and visibility.
While there are plenty of articles explaining E-A-T and its importance, few actually detail how to properly establish and execute an SEO strategy to improve your brand’s reception. That’s where we come in. Here at The Media Captain, our team has over 10 years of experience when it comes to Search Engine Optimization, and has become well versed in Expertise, Authority, and Trust. While there are no tangible metrics with which to judge a company’s E-A-T, there are several factors and pages that can directly impact how a customer feels about your brand. Below, our experts have identified the most effective ways to properly formulate and implement an SEO strategy to enhance your company’s E-A-T.
Our Authority on E-A-T
At The Media Captain, we know digital marketing like the backs of our hands. With over a decade of experience, we’ve helped hundreds of local and eCommerce businesses improve their ranks and perceptibility through our SEO strategies. We are proud to have been voted a Top 1% marketing agency in the United States and are dedicated to helping businesses improve their search engine rankings.
When Google first introduced E-A-T into its Search Quality Evaluator Guidelines in 2015, it rocked the known world of SEO. As a leading digital marketing firm, we were taken aback to discover that our very own E-A-T was lacking. We realized we weren’t practicing what we preached when it came to showcasing expertise, authority, and trust, and took significant steps to improve it.
In this article, we’ll explain how we tackled our own E-A-T shortcomings, and how these same methods can be applied to any industry. Understanding these tactics will help you formulate a strategy for your business, just as we did with ours and countless other clients. We’ll also highlight some of the other businesses that excel with their E-A-T, so you have a better idea of which direction to go.
Table of Contents
What is E-A-T
It’s important to understand what Google considers expertise, authority, and trust, and why it values it so highly.
Are You Credible?
What makes your company a credible source? We’ll help you determine if your business is credible and what proactive steps you can take to improve upon this.
Core Pages to Focus On
Some pages and details are more important than others when it comes to E-A-T. Focus on your About Us, Meet the Team, Authors, Accolades, FAQ, and Testimonials pages.
Don’t just implement E-A-T to improve your SEO. E-A-T is also a crucial aspect of a user’s overall experience with your brand.
What is E-A-T?
In SEO, E-A-T stands for Expertise, Authority, and Trust, and is one of the many ways Google determines the value and ranking of a site. While most people in the SEO world know how important Google’s AI algorithm is, fewer know that that very algorithm’s accuracy is constantly being assessed by real people at Google. These professionals, called Search Quality Raters, manually evaluate the quality of Google search results to ensure accuracy and fidelity according to specific guidelines established by the company. The E-A-T terminology, originally introduced in 2015, highlights a set of website quality standards upon which Search Quality Raters can judge a website’s credibility.
According to Google, E-A-T is defined as “Expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness of the creator of the main content, the main content itself, as well as the website.” E-A-T is not something you can rank for, and isn’t tied to any concrete metric. It can generally be understood as ‘how accurate, knowledgeable, and reliable’ your company, content, and website are. While it may not help your site rank better, well-written and high-quality E-A-T pages can elevate your brand past competitors and improve your sales.
Is Your Company Credible?
At the crux of E-A-T is the concept of credibility. Do users believe what your website has to say? Do you offer quality, accurate information that users can trust? The credibility of your company has a significant impact on your users’ perception of your brand, and Google’s determination of your site’s quality. Fortunately, there are a variety of ways to strengthen your company’s credibility and establish authority in your field.
Do you contribute to, or reference, external articles within your industry?
One of the most important concepts to keep in mind when establishing E-A-T is the attribution of knowledge. When you make a statement or demonstrate expertise, it’s critical that you properly attribute that information to a reputable source. Your credibility is directly related to your trustworthiness, and any inaccurate or misleading information can cripple your reliability. By referencing external sources that confirm your assertions, you demonstrate your authority on a subject.
Have you won any awards or accolades for your work?
Anyone can claim to be the best in their industry. Awards and accolades help them prove it. Customers and clients rely heavily on awards and recognition to know who to trust. An accreditation from the Better Business Bureau, an industry award, or any other significant honors can go a long way in establishing expertise and trustworthiness.
Do you have client testimonials and case studies to back up your work?
When it comes to SEO, successful case studies and positive reviews are worth their weight in gold. Potential customers want to hear how effective your services have been for others in similar situations, and are easily swayed by a glowing review. By highlighting success stories, you’re showing just how effective your company can be, and the expertise involved.
Have you been quoted in external articles?
If your expertise has been referenced in external publications, you should highlight that!
Similar to winning an award, recognition from an outside source helps establish your company as an authority in your industry. Potential customers see this and are much more likely to trust your services.
Core Pages to Focus On
When it comes to establishing expertise, authority, and trust, not all pages are created equal. A beautifully optimized service page may rank well for Google but won’t do much when a potential client is considering whether or not your business is credible. There are certain pages and details that you should focus on when improving your E-A-T.
The About Us page is one of the most important when it comes to establishing E-A-T, but can easily be overlooked in an SEO strategy. It is an opportunity to introduce yourself and your brand to your clients; to humanize your business and encourage a personal connection with your customers. Here, you can explain what makes your business unique, what accolades you have won, and why a client should work with you, all critical considerations when showcasing your trustworthiness and authority.
Meet The Team
People like to know who they’re working with. Whether it’s a profile picture, a Zoom call, or a face-to-face meeting, putting a face to a name is a crucial part of establishing trustworthiness. There are so many businesses that don’t showcase their team on their website in an effort to trim content or seem more professional, but it has the opposite effect. People want to know who they are doing business with. Originally, The Media Captain shied away from having a meet the team page on our site. When we had less than 10 employees, we felt it made us look small. Fight that feeling, and be proud of who you are. This is now one of the most visited pages on our site [view our meet the team page].
Many companies have a content team, full of professional writers and experts in their fields. So highlight them! Similar to the About Us and Meet The Team pages, Author pages help to humanize the information being given, showcasing authority as to who is writing the article.
Awards and Accolades
Have you been recognized for excellence in your field? Show your clients! An accolades page is a great place to highlight your accomplishments and demonstrate palpable expertise and authority in your industry. For The Media Captain, anytime we are recognized, we add it onto the accolades page. This also serves as a great sales resource!
Frequently Asked Questions
A well-written FAQ page can be invaluable to a company. In addition to acting as an effective sales resource, a FAQ page illustrates extensive knowledge and experience in your industry. This demonstration is critical to establishing comprehensive E-A-T across your site.
Even the best SEO improvements pale in comparison to a good review. In fact, nearly 90 percent of consumers will read reviews before making an online purchase, and 76 percent say they trust reviews as much as personal recommendations. This makes your review page one of the most important on your entire site.
As much as consumers rely on reviews, they also depend on accredited entities like the Better Business Bureau and Angie’s List to know what companies to trust. Badges and certifications like those from the BBB or Google Ads help showcase your company’s authority, and should be prominently displayed wherever possible.
SEO has changed significantly over the years. Gone are the days when your Google rank exclusively depended on keywords being stuffed into title tags and strategically placed throughout a site. Now, a critical element of SEO is the user experience, or UX. This concept encompasses a variety of factors, from your site’s navigation to your page load speed, and directly affects how your website feels to potential customers. How easily can your users move around your site? How well is your content presented? Is your site safe, and friendly to multiple platforms and browsers?
When you have expertise, authority and trust throughout your site, it will lead to a better overall experience on your site, people will be more likely to trust your business, which should ultimately lead to more leads and new business.
Related Article: 7 Tactics To Turn Your Website into the Ultimate Sales Tool
Making a change on your site won’t impact rankings overnight. According to John Mueller at Google, If you’re making quality improvements, it can take months for Google’s algorithms to catch on [source 1 + source 2]. Now that you have more guidance on the tactics needed to improve your E-A-T, it’s time to get started!