Why do you write? Chances are, you create content because you want someone to read it. Search engine optimization (SEO) is a key factor in determining who and how many people will read your material. Using E-A-T will help you write elite content while boosting your SEO.
E-A-T stands for:
How does E-A-T affect SEO?
The acronym was coined by Google’s Search Quality Evaluator Guidelines. This document helps creators to decipher what Google looks for when it determines where your content falls in the search results.
Quality raters will evaluate the expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness of the content itself, its author, and the sources of information behind it. They look at links, reviews, and even Wikipedia when deciding how important your content is in relation to other related online material.
Content that shows up on the first page of Google’s organic search results receives 91% of all traffic. Traffic dramatically decreases further down the list. If you want to have a good chance at getting your content in front of your audience, then following E-A-T is key. In this article, we’ll dive into how E-A-T can improve your writing and boost your content’s chances of appearing in the upper echelon of Google’s search results.
Expertise is evaluated by the content creator’s level of knowledge or skill level in the field covered by the content. For example, if the article talks about performing open-heart surgery, then a licensed surgeon would be considered an expert that’s qualified to write about the subject. Although an astronaut may be considered an expert in many things, they’re not qualified to write about operating on a human heart.
Raters review a content creator’s expertise, qualifications, and credentials. This is particularly true for Your Money or Your Life (YMYL) topics. These topics can potentially impact a reader’s health, safety, security, happiness, or financial stability, so it’s important that a subject matter expert (SME) is putting out the content.
For some subjects, extensive personal experience may be enough to qualify them as an expert. If the blog covers living with post-traumatic stress disorder, then someone who has been diagnosed and struggles with it every day would be considered to have personal expertise. The greatest difference between these examples of experts is whether they have formal education on the subject they’re covering.
Outside of gaining more personal experience or obtaining the relevant credentials in the field that you create content for, there are some things that you can do to boost the way Google looks at your expertise. Here are four ways to showcase your expertise:
- Write quality and unique content.
- List your credentials, titles, and experience.
- Update your existing content.
- Specialize content and scale it.
High-quality writing will help you to stand out from the competition. Pair that with a unique viewpoint or specialization, and you’ve got yourself a golden ticket to the top tier of search results. When you scale that specialized content, you’ll stand out as the go-to subject matter expert in that area.
Checking the expertise box isn’t something that’s automatic by having the education or title for the field you’re writing in. Expertise in the content area also involves knowing your audience, writing with people in mind instead of solely SEO, and creating a unique voice that can’t be replicated.
Keywords will only boost your SEO if you’re using them the right way and if your readers find them helpful. If your text doesn’t flow well, then your audience may not get past the first few sentences. Growing your reader base will depend on how impactful your writing is.
Perform a content audit. Stale or outdated content will only hurt you when raters are evaluating your expertise. If you’re truly an expert in the field, then you must keep up-to-date information for your readers. You should perform a content audit at least once a year, and when you make updates, be sure to note it in the article.
According to American businessman and New York Times bestseller, Harvey Mackay, “You can’t buy a good reputation; you must earn it.”
Reputation is authoritativeness as far as Google’s concerned. The more people who know you, recognize you as a trusted source of information, and come to you with urgent questions that they need answering, the more authority you have.
Other factors that raters look at when evaluating authoritativeness include the number and quality of backlinks, references to you and your expertise, and reviews. These factors act like votes for your page. Get enough votes, and you’ll win the SEO game.
Building your online presence and reputation isn’t something that happens overnight, but there are some best writing practices that can help you to gain authority. Here are three best practices for writing content that will improve your SEO:
- Write to solve a problem.
- Use research-backed statistics or information.
- Use language that mirrors your audience.
A main reason that an end user looks at your content is because they have a question, and they believe that you may be able to answer it. Your writing, then, especially in headlines, should answer a question or solve a problem. To do this, you’ll need to write concise copy for your business that identifies the problem and gives tips and tricks to solve it.
Quality writing is backed up by research. To demonstrate better authority, use applicable statistics in your writing that are relevant to your topic and link to the actual research.
As you get to know your audience, you’ll learn how they communicate. This may be from comments, reading personal blogs or social media, or even the way other authorities in your industry write. Pay attention to the words they use, the questions they ask, and the comments they make.
Updating or repurposing content to reflect the most recent changes in your industry is also a highly effective way to show that you have authority in your specialty. Bringing this all together in a concise, clear, and organized way will help you gain authority in your field and build trust.
Want to solve your audience’s problems? Scroll to the bottom of an article and study the comments section. Often, readers will post questions that they’re having a hard time finding the answers to. Add the topic to your writing plan and solve the problem. Your authority will skyrocket.
Raters evaluate a content’s trustworthiness by looking at its overall accuracy and transparency. There are no tricks when it comes to trust. The meat of your content is where you’ll build trust. If you have well-researched and relevant information that’s easily understandable, the trust will come.
Make sure your titles, headings, and keywords are all relevant to the topic at hand. Peppering your content with keywords that aren’t congruent with your subject matter will hurt your trustworthiness.
Google’s quality raters look closely at YMYL content when evaluating trustworthiness. They aren’t just looking at quality. They’re evaluating the author and the business. If the quality and expertise don’t align, then the content won’t be considered trustworthy. You can ensure that your content demonstrates trustworthiness by:
- Highlighting the credentials of the content’s author.
- Writing clearly with minimal jargon.
- Creating headlines with purpose.
- Fact checking and citing sources.
- Writing with transparency in mind.
If the author of the content has any awards, special recognitions, or endorsements, be sure to point them out in the text. Highlighting expertise and authority builds trust. Readers want to know that they can trust you. If your writing doesn’t make sense or is too wordy, it will work against you.
Avoiding jargon-heavy material will help readers to understand what you’re saying. Depending on your audience, you can choose how much jargon is necessary or appropriate. Err on the side of less with the assumption that the reader is new to the industry. To check the readability of your text, you can check the Flesch reading ease score of your content.
Headlines need to be relevant and not just eye-catching or click bate. You might be able to fool an algorithm, but quality reviewers will quickly discover the deception.
Accuracy is of the utmost importance. Fact check and cite the sources of pertinent information. Don’t let a lack of transparency hurt your trustworthiness. Be mindful that your content will be scrutinized, and being upfront about your goals, qualifications, and sources is always the best practice.
To ensure that your content is quality, work E-A-T into your quality review process. Train your reviewers to look for it or add the principles behind it into the style guide. Keeping your writing consistent and your voice in sync with your brand will help you cultivate relationships and build trust with your audience.
Even keeping the acronym in the back of your mind while writing and editing can have a huge impact on the caliber of your content. Check out these 9 tips for your quality review process.
You can use E-A-T as a benchmark in your content building process to solidify quality and SEO compatibility. Remember that expertise can go beyond titles and formal education, but for YMYL content, it’s vital that extensive everyday expertise is evident or a thorough background in the topic is apparent.
Solve the problems that are unique to your audience, and you’ll be viewed as an authoritative voice that readers can come back to over and over again. Be prudent in backing up your writing with relevant statistics and cite your sources.
Trust isn’t immediately inherent, but with consistent content that’s accurate and transparent, you’ll demonstrate your trustworthiness. Work with an editor and quality review team to keep your message in line with your brand and mission. Trust is something that you can’t afford to lose.
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