A guest post by Narcis Bejtic.
Learn about EEAT and its importance in creating high-quality content for SEO. Also to understand its role in the age of AI-generated content and how this can improve your website’s score.
EEAT stands for Experience, Expertise, Authority and Trustworthiness. It is a tool that Google uses to rank the listing of websites by order of their quality and relevance. The term is relatively new, coined in the mid to late 2000s.
EEAT is based upon Google’s Search Quality Rater Guidelines. Search Quality Raters (SQRs) is a third-party operator composed of thousands of real people spread across the globe who help Google refine and improve its search functionality.
Google states that the genesis behind the guidelines is ensuring that quality and credible information is the top search result. Although the information from the SQRs does not directly alter any specific internet rankings, the data points generated do assist Google in refining its search algorithms.
This is a process and practice that Google continually works to develop, with the most recent SQR update noted in December 2022.
Expertise on a matter is typically regarded as people with appropriate formal training, qualifications, or certifications focused upon the area they are writing about, which qualifies them as a true SME (subject matter expert).
If you are searching for information regarding a recent medical diagnosis, it would be advisable to further your research via articles published by creditable medical facilities written by real, certified medical professionals rather than a blog written by someone with no formal training or qualifications other than their personal experience and their opinion on the matter.
Google recognises factors such as degrees from real, established, and accredited universities as key indicators of expertise. People who are qualified in a subject and then spend long periods working within that specific subject field is another great indicator of expertise and qualification.
Similarly, speaking at conventions and conferences within your designated area is an excellent method of verifying experience in the field. If you have published material, being referenced by other professionals can vastly enhance Google ranking based on experience and perceived expertise. It could be helpful to have your work peer-reviewed and noted in the topic byline.
Another excellent method of verifying your expertise is to provide detailed information and always include an array of accurately cited sources; this dramatically adds to the ranking criterion. If appropriate, the inclusion of an author biography is also vital.
Biographies can detail education and further education degrees, notable research, speaking engagements, focus on future research, and events they will attend. This method applies across multiple industries and vocations, adding to credibility and search ranking.
Authority typically ranks as the next level above “expertise,” where the author is perceived by their industry peers as being the authority on the subject matter. To build authority, backlinks are essential.
So, what is a backlink? This is a one-way link from another website quoting or pointing out your work as exemplar material and reference.
However, the quality and expertise of the website backlinking your work has to be credible and trustworthy. Also, the site’s topic linking to your work has to be related to the topic. This is the challenging aspect of relevant backlinking, which actually has its own name: domain authority.
When discussing SEO and EEAT, it can be easy to forget some of the traditional marketing and PR activities that lead to adding authority to your brand. Having a strong and vocal social media presence is imperative.
Similarly, publishing regular case studies and interviews can also help drastically with building an authoritative site. Using the support of online influencers within your niche can also help elevate your brand’s online profile and continue to develop online presence and authority.
Another excellent method of building an online presence and authority is to allow users, readers, and past customers to leave a star rating and review.
When the goal is to enhance a site’s authority, there is a clear path forward, but it will entail a strategy and cohesive plan to verify the site as authoritative and boost rankings. Materials must be up to date and maintain relevance – active use of the social channels would also assist this.
Linking all social media and online platforms together is also essential. As discussed earlier, you must use credible and established sources within the work and cite them correctly. The correct way to earn backlinks is to publish polished and authoritative work, which will, in turn, lead to more citations, thus enhancing the site’s authority.
Google’s SQRs (search quality raters) are very focused on the trustworthiness of sites, encompassing the author, content, products, and physical site. Whenever you review a Venn diagram of Google’s EEAT guidelines, trustworthiness is always placed in the centre as all expertise, experience, and authority leads to a trusted site status.
When evaluating a site’s trustworthiness, it is imperative that the site is rated highly by users for its transparency and accuracy and also promotes an excellent user experience. All of the other elements of EEA feed into the success of T – trustworthiness.
If there ever is a conflict of interest, it must be addressed swiftly and shared online. A quick method of doing so is responding directly to a comment that might be made within a discussion forum, social media channel, or via a poor review on your own website.
The Importance of EEAT in SEO and Content Creation
SEO stands for search engine optimisation, and it is the practice of garnering organic and free traffic from the use of the Google search engine. The higher the website ranks on the results page, the more it increases traffic to the site.
In a nutshell, deploying efficient SEO efforts ultimately brings more traffic, leading to increased sales and revenue. LinkedIn writes that the SEO industry garners an 80 billion dollar spend from businesses.
So why is EEAT so important within SEO and content creation? If your site and content are not ranking highly on the Google search pages, then that is a major issue for companies.
Engaging someone in-house or an external third-party company to support your efforts is imperative to adhere to Google guidelines and boost views. There are many very easy steps which can lead your site to rank more highly and improve the general quality of your site.
Some of the hardest hit sites by recent Google updates were classified as YMYL, which stands for “Your Money Your Life.” The reason is that these sites address topics such as wellness, financial health and investments, medicine, politics, and current affairs.
These websites could have long-term economic or other impacts on readers and their families’ lives. For this reason, these sites are heavily focused upon within the Google EEAT SQR analysis.
The Role of EEAT in the Age of AI-Generated Content
Sometimes the use of AI in marketing campaigns can be likened to teachers “teaching for the test.” AI-generated material is being produced not just for the consumer but also for algorithms.
For resource and funding-limited companies, using AI-generated content to produce new material consistently seems like a no-brainer! The rollout of AI-generated content has been both swift and successful.
Education establishments have their hands full in vetting students’ work for plagiarism alongside publishing outlets. Google’s stance on AI-generated work is to rank it low for trustworthiness due to a lack of fact-checking, editing, and authoritative authors.
How to Improve Your Company’s EEAT Score
Now you have a firm grasp on the newly enhanced EEAT guidelines and how the SQR analysis works. Here is a handy recap of all the steps leading to a higher EEAT score and better rankings.
- Promote the degrees and education credentials of anyone involved in your site. This could be included in your bio section (outlined below). Support local alums, mentor current students through training, or offer scholarships. All ties to real institutions, establishments, and philanthropy provide excellent references and significantly add to EEAT verification/ranking.
- As outlined above, websites greatly benefit from using biographies for those involved in the company. This could be a real list of experience and qualifications or a high-level “About Us” page outlining the C-Level management you have in place.
- Conferences, conventions, and guest speaking are excellent ways to verify your EEAT scores alongside a tried-and-true traditional PR/Marketing to boost your company’s authority as an SME (subject matter expert). Similarly, events such as this have great backlinking opportunities; if the material becomes available online, others can cite your company.
- When materials, papers, or articles are published, proactively reach out to an expert in the same field and ask them for a peer analysis of the work. This can be included in the byline and adds significantly to the authority of the work. Peer analysis opens the door to greater exposure and ensures that all angles are explored.
- When sources are used to exemplify work, ensure they are correctly cited and linked. It is excellent marketing practice to contact them and send them a copy. Doing so could lead to greater exposure and the opportunity to be linked on other sites and socials.
- Keep social media platforms and websites firmly linked to one another. From LinkedIn to Instagram, all sites must post the same material.
- Address good and bad PR through public channels, such as commenting on reviews and social media posts. The only bad PR is when customers’ issues and comments are not addressed.
- Backlinks are essential, but continually posting excellent quality work will lead to verified institutions posting about the site, which will happen organically. Keep all internal links up-to-date and ensure their operability.
- Regular posting and work are essential to maintain relevance and keep a pulse on the site. If possible, limit AI tools not parented by a dedicated employee to keep content to the right standard.
Although, at first, the new guidelines can seem overwhelming, when broken down, the guidelines all encompass excellent social media and website practices that will organically lead to a stronger brand presence across all channels.
You cannot apply the steps overnight, and a strategy will have to be implemented to encompass them all to move towards a more robust and trustworthy site. EEAT will not disappear; strong SEO practices and high-quality material production will lead to a better ranking in the long run.
About the author
Narcis Bejtic is the Head of Management and Sales at Content Refined. He has over 4 years of expertise in SEO and content marketing. Narcis has been successfully managing and growing Content Refined over the last 4 years, including implementing AI driven content marketing solutions to help scale clientele.
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