trust

Why Is Expertise, Authority, and Trustworthiness Important?

If you’re a business operating in the 21st Century, you will likely have some sort of web presence. And unless you operate solely by invitation only, or you’re a spy agency, you probably want an efficient way for people to find out about your business.

Improving your ranking on Google’s Search Engine Results Page (SERP) is one of the most effective ways of growing your business. After all, the more people that see your website and learn about the brilliant services you offer, the more your list of clients should grow, right?

Understanding EAT

EAT is not about what you had for breakfast. It stands for Expertise, Authority, and Trustworthiness. These are the three concepts that come from the handbook that Google uses to train its very clever employees who evaluate and analyse the algorithm’s results. Real humans make sure that the machine brain delivers the best results for other humans.

Google uses sophisticated machine learning to constantly play with and tweak these three metrics ‘offline’ to see how it can improve the quality of the results it delivers. However, its AI is not so smart that it doesn’t need human review – computers don’t run the world yet!

The data from the handbook is very handy, as it gives us a vital look into how Google decides what the best pages look like. So by understanding this, we can make sure that we’re optimising our pages to jump up in quality ranking!

It’s important to note this is not an exhaustive list of things that will influence SERP ranking – it is a combination of over 200 factors. In SEO, there are no shortcuts – it’s a marathon, not a sprint.

Expertise

This is about demonstrating that you know what you’re talking about. Google needs to know that people will get the information they need if they’re directed to your website.

Google uses different metrics for different niches – the most popular example it gives is a news website that has won Pulitzer prizes. Now, no one is expecting your business to have won internationally acclaimed awards or have star academics contributing to your content (not yet, at least). But what you can do is give as much information about your company as possible.

What types of projects have you worked on? What skill sets do your employees have? Have you got a master’s degree? Put it up. Won a local prize? Don’t be shy – get it posted!

Authority

This is how both the Google rater and external sources evaluate the quality of your content and wider site. This does include user-submitted reviews on websites such as Yelp, Better Business Bureau, and yes, you’ve guessed it, Google Reviews!

As tempting as it can be to use fake reviews to boost this, Google warns against it, and you would be wise to take heed! It’s not known what tactics Google uses to spot these, but it’s always best to play with an open hand so to speak, and avoid getting penalised.

Google also checks if the information on your site appears in the right context. A blog about SEO is better placed on a marketing website than, say, a fishing website. Don’t cast your net too wide!

In terms of authors, authority relates to how many citations they appear on, how many other websites they’ve contributed to, and how factually accurate their statements are.

Google will also consider whether an article is “supported by expert consensus where such consensus exists” – so if you’re going against the status quo on a certain subject, make sure you’ve got (reputable) sources to back you up!

Trustworthiness

Although it can seem like all these factors are very similar, they do have certain distinct features! For Google to rank your website as trustworthy, it should have valid and rich information – you’ll need an About Us (or About Me) page, customer service information, and it’s vital that any transactional pages need to be Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure.

For authors and writers, it’s where you appear on the internet. If you’re posting amazingly rich and perfectly written marketing content on one website, but trying to debunk gravity on another, guess what? Google will find out and will deem you untrustworthy.

To Conclude

Overall, a lot of EAT is simply common sense. If your site is safe and easy to navigate and understand, you’re on track to have a good EAT score. If you’re a small business or a new website, do not fear! Google isn’t out to get you – it knows your site will grow organically with time and accounts for that.

It’s also worth noting that Google works out EAT scores differently for particular niches – so make sure you’re ticking the right boxes for your business type!

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