Imagine if you could tap directly into Google’s secret recipe for ranking highly in organic search. Well, while the exact algorithm remains mysterious, identifying and optimizing something called E-A-T can get you very close.
E-A-T—which represents Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trust—has emerged as one of the most crucial elements for ranking in Google today. This expansive guide will decode exactly how to build and convey E-A-T across every aspect of your website. Follow our playbook, and you hold the keys to unlock greater visibility, lower costs per acquisition, and more qualified organic traffic. Let’s begin unveiling the secrets to E-A-T success!
What is E-A-T and Why Does it Matter So Much for SEO?
E-A-T refers to the collection of signals Google uses to assess the overall quality, reliability and good faith of a website. Higher perceived E-A-T corresponds to better search rankings and visibility.
Google has confirmed E-A-T is one of their top 3 ranking factors. But what exactly does it entail?
The 3 Elements of E-A-T
Expertise relates to your demonstrated in-depth knowledge, skill and proficiency in your field.
Authoritativeness means your site is recognized as a credible and trusted source on a topic.
Trustworthiness encompasses positive characteristics like honesty, accountability, and transparency.
Websites perceived as having greater expertise, authority, and trust on a given topic are deemed higher quality by Google. Thus they earn higher rankings.
Why E-A-T Matters to Search Engines
Google’s core mission is providing the most relevant and useful search results to users. Websites with higher E-A-T better satisfy search intent through:
- In-depth, accurate information from knowledgeable sources
- More credible and factually reliable content
- Better user experience devoid of spam and deception
E-A-T provides Google the heuristic for identifying sites that will likely offer superior utility to searchers.
Make no mistake, optimizing E-A-T is now imperative for succeeding with organic search.
These sections will explore extensive proven tactics to build expertise, authority, and trustworthiness.
Building Expertise: Demonstrating In-Depth Knowledge
Expertise is conveyed by in-depth knowledge and skill demonstrated across all elements of your website. Follow these best practices:
Showcase Credentials of Your Team
Providing bios and credentials of your team establishes you have qualified human experts behind your content:
- List relevant qualifications – degrees, certifications, training, experience.
- Highlight specialized expertise – niche skills, awards, accomplishments.
- Name authors on articles and content whenever possible.
- Include headshots to put a face to your team.
Target In-Depth, Authoritative Content
Publishing comprehensive, accurate, and insightful content displays expertise:
- Write long-form, expansive articles with greater depth.
- Ensure information is fully accurate through fact-checking.
- Cite credible external sources and references where applicable.
- Update old content regularly to reflect the latest knowledge.
Optimize for E-A-T with FAQ Content
FAQ pages directly answer common user questions, fulfilling search intent powerfully. Ensure your FAQ content follows E-A-T best practices:
- Provide granular answers with sufficient detail and steps.
- Make sure answers are fully accurate – test and verify as needed.
- Cite credible sources for statistics and facts provided.
- Update FAQs regularly to reflect new information.
- Structure FAQ content in an easily scannable format with concise Q&As.
Develop Comprehensive Industry Resources
Become a go-to resource by creating dedicated hubs with aggregated knowledge on key topics:
- Offer carefully researched how-to guides and ebooks.
- Compile the most useful industry tools or resources into content like comparison posts and lists.
- Conduct and publish original research – surveys, interviews, analysis.
- Create definitive glossaries defining key terms.
Position your brand as an authority through comprehensive industry content.
Optimize Speed and UX for Expert-Level Accessibility
Making your expertise ultra accessible strengthens E-A-T signals:
- Improve site speed via caching, image optimization, and efficient code.
- Simplify site navigation with intuitive IA and clearly labeled menus.
- Format content for quick skimming through concise paragraphs, bulleted lists, and bolding.
- Provide easily accessed contact details and customer service channels.
The easier you make consuming your expertise, the stronger your E-A-T.
Building Authority: Earning Recognition as a Trusted Source
Authoritativeness derives from respect and recognition earned from others. Some key tactics:
Secure Influential Brand Mentions and Press
Earn links and mentions from established publications and influencers to absorb their authority, such as:
- Journalist roundups and reviews in mainstream press.
- Mentions by industry analysts like Gartner.
- Guest articles at reputable industry publications.
- Interviews with recognized experts in your niche.
Positive brand coverage helps establish third-party validation.
Promote Customer Success and Case Studies
Solid proof of successful outcomes demonstrates your authority:
- Publish detailed use cases of customers achieving results.
- Gather testimonials and reviews from satisfied customers.
- Highlight customer logos/brands after obtaining permission.
- Create case study landing pages that link to detailed examples.
Flaunt Notable Partners, Customers, and Affiliates
Associations with respected brands also boosts perceived authority:
- List major customer wins – especially recognizable brands.
- Showcase strategic partnerships through co-created content and announcements.
- Recruit authoritative industry figures to formally advise or endorse you.
- Enable relevant brands to affiliate with you through outbound outreach.
Secure Certifications and Compliance Accreditations
Third-party standards compliance lends credibility:
- Obtain security, operational, and safety certifications like ISO 9001, PCI DSS, etc.
- Display certifications prominently with logos and descriptions.
- Highlight any regulatory bodies you comply with in your industry.
Independent validation indicates your commitment to standards.
Optimization for Accessibility Conveys Responsible Authority
An accessible, open website suggests reputable authority:
- Mobile-friendly responsive design shows you accommodate users.
- Implement ADA compliant accessibility features like ARIA labels and alt text.
- Support multilingual experiences to serve more users generously.
Prioritizing accessibility reflects your broader societal concern.
Building Trust: Achieving Integrity Through Transparency
Users will only truly rely on sites they view as honest and transparent. Some tips:
Convey Your Real Company Purpose and Values
Clearly communicate who you are, what you believe in, and what you aim to achieve:
- Craft a values-driven mission statement.
- Introduce your founders and team through About pages with photos.
- Celebrate company milestones like anniversaries.
- Profile company culture and what makes you unique.
Sharing what genuinely drives you fosters connection.
Maintain Responsible Contact Details and Communication
Remaining reachable and responsive builds trust:
- Provide multiple contact methods – phone, email, social media, chatbot etc.
- List real people’s names with contact details.
- Share your real business locations through addresses and maps.
- Respond promptly to all user inquiries.
Show Transparency Around Business Operations
Explaining your operations combats assumptions of dishonesty:
- Provide an inside look through company blogs or news updates.
- Outline your content creation processes and standards.
- Explain your business model and how you sustain it.
- Profile individual team members across departments with details about their roles.
Lifting the veil dispels perceptions of secrecy.
Adopt Ethical Design and Content Practices
Demonstrate integrity through your user experience:
- Avoid dark patterns that deceive or manipulate users.
- Ensure your content provides true value rather than thin filler.
- Publish regular corrections and updates to address any dated or inaccurate information.
- Limit ads or pop ups that obstruct user experience.
Proactively Address User Complaints and Issues
Responsiveness to problems convinces Google you aim to operate honorably:
- Remove pages that receive spam or quality complaints.
- Provide help resources to address user problems.
- Promptly respond to negative reviews.
- Offer remedies like refund policies.
Owning and fixing missteps wins back trust.
Measuring and Monitoring Your E-A-T Signals
Once you optimize for expertise, authority, and trust, you need to continually track your progress through:
Monitoring Google Search Console Messages
- Alerts about quality issues, unsafe content, or spurious links require immediate attention.
- The indexing rate report helps gauge access to your expertise.
- The validated structured data report confirms your schema authority signals register.
Analyzing Your Link Profile Health
- Check that new links come from reputable domains to reinforce authority.
- Evaluate contextual link anchor text for trust elements.
- Low-quality links need disavowal via Google’s tool.
- Use tools like SEMrush to compare your domain strength and organic visibility with competitors.
- Analyze competitors link profiles and E-A-T signals for inspiration.
Testing With User Surveys
- Survey users if they find your content authoritative, trustworthy, and aligned to their needs.
- Gather feedback on how you can improve the quality and usefulness of your expertise.
Solicit outside perspectives to avoid insularity.
Ongoing E-A-T Optimization
- Schedule regular E-A-T audits every 6 months.
- Brainstorm new ideas and tactics to continue improving your signals.
- Implement optimizations like fresh UX improvements, new informational content, transparency initiatives, etc.
The Reward of High E-A-T: Greater Awareness, Traffic, and Revenue
Optimizing for expertise, authority, and trust demands significant effort. But it pays dividends in the form of:
- Higher rankings for valuable keywords and increased visibility.
- Greater user engagement as visitors recognize your knowledge and dependability.
- Lower bounce rates as searchers find answers and services they need.
- More word-of-mouth referrals as you build a respected reputation.
- Higher conversion rates as trust in your brand motivates purchases.
By internalizing E-A-T as a central pillar of your culture and operations, your entire business will reap gains. Treat search engines’ emphasis on E-A-T as an opportunity rather than a burden.
Conclusion: Make E-A-T the Cornerstone for Your Future SEO Success
E-A-T’s importance will only increase as Google continues improving search quality and relevance. With this comprehensive SEMburger guide, you now have the key strategies needed to:
- Demonstrate in-depth expertise through content quality and accessibility.
- Build authority by earning trustworthy third-party validation.
- Achieve trustworthiness through transparency and responsible practices.
Make E-A-T Your Secret Weapon Going Forward
You now possess inside knowledge of what makes sites rank highly in Google’s eyes: demonstrated expertise, built authority, and established trust. While the specific ranking algorithm remains ambiguous, optimizing E-A-T provides a highly effective heuristic.
Treat E-A-T as your secret weapon going forward. By ingraining its principles into your culture, processes, and content, you can transform searchers into engaged users, and users into loyal brand advocates. It requires diligence, but the lasting rewards are immense.
The competition will continue vying for those coveted top slots. Gain an edge by doubling down on the core elements Google wants—comprehensive E-A-T. Build it sincerely, promote it prominently, measure it relentlessly. Make E-A-T your not-so-secret recipe for search success.