About a decade ago, Google used to consider keywords as the only means to determine the rankings of websites for Google searches. But, as time passed, many websites started keyword stuffing, and this significantly hurt their user experience.
Since then, Google has been coming up with algorithm updates that primarily focus on providing a top-notch user experience. One of the most prominent of these updates is the E-A-T update that stands for Expertise-Authoritativeness-Trustworthiness.
E-A-T, as the name suggests, primarily focuses on offering reliable and trustworthy experiences to Google users. Google first introduced the concept of E-A-T in 2014.
Google uses a variety of signals to determine the E-A-T rating of a website. Based on this rating, Google will rank the websites on its Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs.) This means that E-A-T has a major role to play in your search engine rankings.
If you want to generate consistent organic traffic and convert more users, then this comprehensive guide on E-A-T is for you. Read on to learn some actionable and effective tips that will help you improve your website’s E-A-T rating.
1. Create Trustworthy Content
Most of the knowledge that we have about what affects the E-A-T rating of a website comes from Google’s quality rater guidelines. These are a set of guidelines provided by Google for people who are employed to manually go through websites and rate them based on these guidelines.
One of the most prominent aspects mentioned in these guidelines is the quality of the Main Content or MC. Creating trustworthy and credible content is of the utmost importance to gain a high E-A-T score.
Here are a few ways to create high-quality content for your website:
- Create original content by conducting your own research or surveys. This way, you’ll be able to create original statistics that will be widely shared and referred to both by industry experts and users. People will perceive you as a leader rather than a follower.
- Increase topical authority by creating content clusters. Content or topic clusters consist of one pillar content on the main topic and various clusters on its subtopics. The clusters are then linked to the pillar.
- Keep updating your content so that it always remains relevant and fresh. Google prefers updated content as it offers a better experience to its users.
- Create content that is in-depth and detailed. Any content that you create should be such that the user shouldn’t have to look for any other resource on the web as all the necessary details would be available in your content.
2. Build High-Quality, Relevant Backlinks
Backlinks are one of Google’s most prominent trust signals to evaluate any domain or page’s authority. Backlinks are, in fact, one of the top 3 SEO ranking signals used by Google. Hence, building backlinks can have a massive impact on your E-A-T score.
But, simply creating any backlinks won’t work. In fact, the low-quality backlinks may even harm your Google rankings. You should go after high-quality backlinks. Here’s how you know if a backlink is of high quality:
- Ensure that the domain authority and page authority of the link source is high.
- The niche of the linking domain or the page should be relevant to your content.
- The anchor text should be meaningful and should preferably consist of your primary keywords.
- If the backlink is present in the first 100 to 200 words of the page, then even better.
- The diversity of links and anchor texts also matter.
All these factors should be considered while trying to build backlinks. You can build backlinks through various methods such as email outreach, broken link building, resources pages, etc.
3. Link to Highly Reliable External Resources
Apart from the backlinks, the external links that you add to your website also matter. If you link to spammy websites that do not offer valuable content, Google will not consider your content reliable.
Hence, always pay special attention to your website’s external links. Add links to relevant, high domain authority websites. You can use Moz’s Chrome extension to check the domain authority of websites.
Also, linking to .gov and .edu websites also trigger positive trust signals in your favor. Try to link to high-quality research papers as much as possible. You can add external links to trustworthy graphical abstract papers to improve the trustworthiness of your content.
4. Work on your Author Bios and About Page
Another major factor that Google stresses in its quality rater guidelines is the expertise and trustworthiness of the author responsible for the Main Content (MC.)
Google, as well as users, want to know who is responsible for every piece of content that is put up on your website as the author is the one who is responsible for the credibility and authoritativeness of the content.
So, start by working on your About page. Give a brief introduction and add relevant experiences of all the people involved in producing the content on your website. Add lots of social proof by talking about your experience, qualifications, awards, certifications, etc.
Apart from your About page, you must also include author bios on every page that consists of content. Add the relevant experience of the author, along with a picture to make your content look trustworthy and credible.
5. Focus on Improving User Experience
Google primarily relies on a set of User Experience (UX) signals to determine the E-A-T rating of your website. These UX signals essentially indicate how good of an experience you are offering to your website visitors. Hence, focusing on user experience is vital for improving the E-A-T rating of your website.
Here’s a list of important UX signals that you must focus on:
- Organic click-through rate: This indicates the number of users that click through to your website link after viewing it on the SERPs.
- Bounce rate: This determines the number of users who bounce back from your website without taking any action probably because they didn’t find your content satisfactory. You should work towards reducing the bounce rate.
- Dwell time: This refers to the time that a user spends on your website page. Increased dwell time indicates that you are offering a good user experience.
- Search intent: Every search made on Google has a search intent. Your content needs to match the search’ intent. Only then will the user stick around and go through your content.
You should actively focus on improving these UX signals. Doing this will lead to a better E-A-T rating for your website.
6. Grab Unlinked Brand Mentions Wherever Possible
Apart from backlinks, unlinked brand mentions also matter for E-A-T. Unlinked brand mentions can come from various sources such as citations in organic directories, PR mentions, podcast mentions, etc.
Unlinked brand mentions signal to Google that people in the industry value your content, brand, and work. This indicates that you have established your thought leadership in the industry. Hence, this also adds to your E-A-T rating.
You can gain unlinked brand mentions by giving interviews, going on industry podcasts, and speaking at industry events. You should also work on improving your PR and gain more mentions on various media outlets.
7. Update or Remove Low-Quality Content
Most website owners often ignore low-quality or thin content. But this can significantly hurt your rankings. Low-quality content that adds no value to your website visitors tends to bring down the overall E-A-T rating of your website. Hence, you must try to do something about it.
First, try to identify low-quality content pieces. You can do this by analyzing your website traffic. The pages that do not get any traffic are the ones that you must focus on.
You can try and update these pages by adding updated, relevant information. Try to make it more authoritative by adding more depth to the content. If updating the content doesn’t work or is not possible, you can entirely delete such content from your website.
8. Manage Your Online Reputation
Positive reviews and ratings also contribute to your E-A-T rating. Reviews and ratings indicate the trustworthiness of your brand. These have a positive influence on both Google and your users.
Managing your brand’s online reputation can ensure that you have good reviews and ratings around the internet. You can do this by setting up brand name alerts on Google and responding to positive as well as negative reviews as soon as possible.
You can also create customer service handles on social media and manage your online reputation there. Be quick to respond to any customer concerns and complaints. These factors will together contribute to a better E-A-T score.
Check if people have been commenting and discussing your brands on online platforms like Reddit, Quora, Facebook Groups, and others. Reddit is the most active platform where like-minded people comprehensively discuss topics of all genres. If want to delete your Reddit account, then think twice before doing so.
9. Ensure your Website’s Security
Website security is of foremost importance for building trust with Google as well your users. Ensuring website security is the bare minimum you can do to help improve your E-A-T rating.
You should try to take care of the following to ensure your website’s security:
- Make sure that you have a valid SSL certificate for your business website.
- Remove any broken links from your website pages.
- Perform regular SEO audits and fix any issues that come up on your site.
- Check your search engine console for additional SEO insights.
- Remove any spammy links from your website comments section.
- If your site includes financial transactions, then ensure that you use a highly secure payment gateway.
Today, both Google and users are looking for trustworthy brands that they can rely on and associate with for a long time. Spammy tactics may lead to short term wins. But if you want to stay in the game for long, then focusing on quality is a must.
All the strategies mentioned in this guide will help you bring about a drastic improvement in your E-A-T rating. This will not just increase your search engine rankings but also improve your sales and revenue. So, start working on these tactics and boost the profitability of your website.