Have your content and… EAT it? Right, it’s not a pun, we promise – EAT is a real thing when it comes to SEO and digital marketing. And although this concept has been around for nearly a decade now, it still has the power to puzzle even the most seasoned SEO expert.
So, what exactly is Google E-A-T, how do you apply it, and why is it so vital for your business? Let’s find all this out together in our guide.
What Does E-A-T Mean, Anyway?
Like many other concepts in digital marketing (think about SEO, for example), E-A-T is actually an acronym. It stands for Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness.
In a nutshell, it’s a series of guidelines that Google established back in 2018 in order to evaluate the quality of web pages. But what happened in 2018, exactly?
Let’s take a quick step back and introduce the concept of YMYL (Your Money, Your Life) pages, first. A YMYL site indicates a website that contains information that can, potentially, have an impact on the reader’s health, happiness, and financial well-being.
Because of this, Google crawls these pages in a much stricter, more rigorous way. In August 2018, Google released an algorithm update that ‘punished’ web pages that did not demonstrate a strong E-A-T, while rewarding those that did.
The result? Over 40% of the affected sites were healthcare, medical, and fitness pages, hence the name ‘Medic Update’.
Since then, it has become paramount to provide tangible E-A-T features in order for web pages to rank well, attract more views, and generate more leads and conversions. As you might have guessed by now, the core of E-A-T is content quality.
According to Google, these are the essential factors that prove a page’s overall quality:
- Page purpose.
- E-A-T- (expertise, authoritativeness, trustworthiness)
- Content quantity and quality.
- Reputation of the website and its creator.
Why Is E-A-T So Crucial for SEO?
The answer to this question is simpler than you might think. E-A-T is vital for SEO because it’s just another piece in the jigsaw puzzle of the online user experience. Over the years, Google has continued to reinforce the importance – centrality, even – of users when it comes to SERP and rankings.
By following E-A-T principles, web pages can further enhance the value they provide to their audience. With E-A-T, websites can establish credibility, reliability, and worth.
Because of this, you should create your SEO strategy by keeping a strong focus on E-A-T SEO.
How To Boost Google E-A-T SEO
Now, how do you go about applying E-A-T SEO best practices to your own business website? We have prepared an essential guide right below.
1. Keep Your Contact Details Visible and Up-to-Date
It’s always good to start simple, so the first step you’ll want to take is ensuring that your website includes easy-to-find, accurate, and current contact details.
Not only will Google penalize you if you don’t include them, but nobody will be able to get in touch with you and potentially become a paying customer. This shows that you probably don’t care enough about your business or your audience.
2. Create Great Content to Build Relevant Backlinks
As we mentioned, content quality is king, when it comes to E-A-T. Creating original, informative, and compelling content without fluff or keyword stuffing is a no-brainer.
This type of content – posted in a regular fashion and, preferably, in long-form copy – will gradually earn you visibility and authority in your field, and lead other relevant, authoritative websites to provide you with valuable backlinks.
With backlinks, you can further boost your credibility and worth, and reposition yourself as a leader in your area. Just remember: before posting anything that contains links, always ensure that those links actually work.
If they don’t, take immediate action to fix any broken links, or your SEO will suffer.
3. Update and Review Your Content Regularly
A website with captivating, creative, and convincing content is great. But what happens when that content is outdated, no longer relevant, or downright incorrect? Not so great anymore.
Let’s say, for example, that your logistics business has developed a new inventory tracking app. Surely, you’ll want to promote it through some exciting content, right?
Go for it. The more useful information you provide on anything new and innovative about your brand, the better your E-A-T scores on Google.
4. Earn Mentions from Trusted Websites
Backlinks are one way to reinforce authority, but they are not the only tool you have. For example, getting mentions from other trusted, authoritative, high-value sources can increase your E-A-T scores.
The plain and simple mention of your brand name, for example, is enough to give your business a boost. Of course, this needs to happen across a series of trusted websites, but anything on this list counts:
●Writing a guest post for a high-value website.
●Interviewing an industry leader.
●Appearing as a guest on a podcast (or hosting one).
●Speaking at an event (or hosting one).
●Teaming up with influencers.
●Sponsoring charity events, online challenges, or fundraisings.
5. Team Up With an Industry Leader
By now, you have probably guessed that the more you provide expert content, the better Google sees you. In particular, Google seems to be very fond of content that is written by a creator who has specific qualifications or credentials.
This, in fact, helps to show industry expertise, know-how, and credibility. Think about many healthcare websites, for example. Because they belong in the YMYL category, those that rank well (Healthline, WebMD, Verywell, and so on) often partner with medical professionals to write or review their content.
So, whatever sector your business operates in, try to link up with an industry expert with substantial knowledge of the subject matter if you want to boost your E-A-T scores. Ideally, this should be someone who has either worked in the field for a long time and has a way to demonstrate their achievements, or someone with a solid academic background.
6. Verify and Show Off Credentials
Now that you have secured an industry expert to participate in writing some of your web content, how do you prove that they are truly credible and authoritative? Google wants you to provide their credentials, too.
First of all, it’s important that you check the person’s credentials yourself and figure out whether they are truthful and relevant. Then, remember to include a snippet about your contributor’s qualifications at the bottom of the article that they have written.
This can consist of just a few lines summarizing their career, studies, and achievements. You should also add any awards or recognitions they might have won, and provide any links to their own web pages and social media accounts.
7. Interact with Your Customers
Another excellent way to enhance your E-A-T is by communicating with your online audience. This can take many forms: from responding to customer reviews, both positive and negative ones, to answering questions and comments on blog posts.
You can also try to promote online reviews for your brand’s products or services by offering free samples in return. Doing so will help you engage and interact more meaningfully with your customers, and Google will reward you for that.
Remember that this customer-first mindset should be extended to your entire organization. While direct customer service might not be within the main finance department functions, for example, it’s still important to get your entire company on board.
The bottom line? If a customer raises a concern or complaint, you’ll need all hands on deck to try and resolve it ASAP. If they highlight how awesome your brand is, make sure someone from within your company is ready to acknowledge their feedback with an engaging, authentic response.
8. Boost Authoritativeness with the Right Domain
Our last, but not least important, tip to boost your E-A-T score is all about domains. Choosing a trusted, verifiable, and secure domain for your website, in fact, helps to demonstrate, and increase, your authoritativeness.
For example, let’s imagine that you are an Australian business selling healthy, organic, plant-based snacks. Because your target audience is likely local, having an .au domain presence will instantly show that you cater to people in that region.
Many business owners who are about to launch their first website often wonder ‘How much does a domain name cost?’ Well, the answer is a bit more complex than one standard figure. Several factors determine the price of a domain name, but one thing is for sure.
Because of how important having a trusted domain name is when it comes to E-A-T, you don’t want to opt for ultra-cheap options. View it as an investment that will eventually get your business to thrive.
It’s also worth mentioning that you can often get a free email with custom domain. This can further reinforce the authoritativeness that you provide to both your audience and Google.
When it comes to page views and rankings, quality is probably the single most crucial aspect. Google knows it, and that’s why it established a series of guidelines to determine a web page’s expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness (E-A-T).
By incorporating E-A-T best practices into your overall SEO strategy, you will succeed at ranking higher, boosting traffic, and converting more leads into customers.
How We Increased a Client’s Leads by 384% in Six Months by Focusing on One Topic Cluster [Case Study]
The author’s views are entirely his or her own (excluding the unlikely event of hypnosis) and may not always reflect the views of Moz.
Content marketing is an essential part of any SEO strategy. Without it, how are you going to attract customers looking for answers to their questions, and who are potentially in the market for your products or services?
At Tao Digital Marketing, we’ve recently generated some great results for one of our clients operating in the business financial space, The Insolvency Experts, mainly by focusing on just one “cluster topic” that was a huge money maker for them.
When looking at six month comparison stats (August 2021-January 2022 to February-July 2022), we’ve achieved the following:
Leads: 95 to 460 (384%)
Clicks: 4,503 to 23,013 (411%)
Impressions: 856,683 to 2,033,355 (137%)
Average position: 33.4 to 23.6 (increased almost 10 spots)
This was mostly achieved by absolutely hammering one topic area: company liquidation. In this case study, we’re going to explain how we did this step by step, so that hopefully you can generate similar results for your own business!
If you really break it down, the objective of all SEO consultancy work is essentially the same: increase the number of leads for a business. This was our ultimate goal.
It’s not just as simple as that, though. We all know you can’t get to number one on Google overnight. So, like other SEO geeks out there, we tracked our successes through additional factors such as clicks, impressions, and average position, to show our efforts were worthwhile.
In January this year (2022) our goals for the next six months were as follows:
Leads: Just over double from 95 to 200 (110%)
Clicks: 4,503 to 13,500 (around 200%)
Impressions: 856,683 to 1,700,000 (around 100%)
Average position: 33.4 to 25 (around eight spots)
Insolvency Experts’ audience is primarily directors of UK businesses that are going insolvent, closely followed by business owners looking for financial advice. The majority of Insolvency Expert’s cash flow comes from formal insolvency processes, such as liquidation, administration, and CVAs (Company Voluntary Agreements), so it was really important for us to push these areas.
1. Research “company liquidation” search volume and related queries
We first picked this client up in November 2020. Initially, our focus was on the basics: updating all the top level pages (such as service pages and guides) to make sure they fit the intention of the user and clearly explained the services that Insolvency Experts offer.
Researching what works well at present
One of the pages that our content team updated was their company liquidation guide. After updating, the page started to perform very well in the SERP, and ranked at position #4 for “company liquidation”. Clearly, this sort of content was working, and we wanted to hit it even more.
After pulling some research together, one of our strategists proposed the idea of a “Company Liquidation Content Hub”, as the company liquidation guide was ranking for a lot of long tail questions:
After cross referencing with the monthly search volume for these questions, she added some of these as H3s within the guide to see how they would perform. They resulted in so much more traffic that she decided they warranted their own individual guides, hence the idea for the hub. This would mean we weren’t putting all of our eggs into one basket, and that we could also internally link all of them together for users wanting to read more.
Users that are further down the marketing funnel don’t want to scroll down a huge guide to find the answer to their specific question, and we were certain that this would positively affect bounce rate. We therefore made sure that nine times out of 10, the H1 contained the question that was being answered.
In order to further target those at the bottom of the marketing funnel who want to speak to someone quickly, we placed regular “Contact Us” CTAs throughout the content so that they don’t have to scroll right to the bottom of the page to get in touch with Insolvency Experts.
Undertaking a competitor analysis
We also conducted a competitor analysis on this topic, focusing on three key players in the industry that were all ranking well for the phrase “company liquidation”. We found that the key competitors had the following:
Competitor A – 38 indexed articles on liquidation
Competitor B – 23 indexed articles on liquidation
Competitor C – 47 indexed articles on liquidation
Insolvency Experts only had six indexed articles on liquidation at the time, so it was clear we needed to be on their level – this was an obvious content gap.
Pitching the content hub to the client
We suggested this idea to the client alongside a forecasting spreadsheet created by our founder, in order to justify the resource that was needed to push the client as high as possible in the rankings for company liquidation.
This spreadsheet broke down a huge list of keywords alongside monthly search volume, average click through rate for positions 1-10 on the SERP, domain authority of competitors who are currently ranking for these keywords, and average conversion rate on the site at the moment.
This unique formula would then allow us to explain to the client that for X amount of work, we predict we can get you to position X in X timeframe, and this would result in approximately X annual revenue. After pitching this to the client alongside infographics and current performance statistics, they told us they loved our ideas and agreed to let us go ahead.
2. Plan the content after client approval
After the client gave us the go-ahead, the next step was to plan all of this work based on search volume, and therefore priority order.
It’s easy to get lost in all the data within SEO, so it was incredibly important for us to have a solid plan and timeline for these changes. Topics were going to range from How to Liquidate a Company with No Money through to Administration vs Liquidation.
How we communicate planned works to our clients
In order to orchestrate clear communication between ourselves and our clients, we create a Traffic Light Report, which is a live Google Sheets document detailing all work to be undertaken for the current and next quarter. This is split into sections for technical SEO, content, and digital PR/link building (the three pillars of SEO).
This includes justification for each change we make, as well as a link to any live changes or documents. It also details when this will be done and if the action is with us or the client. The tasks are coloured in green for live changes, yellow for action needed, orange for in progress, red for anything on hold and clear for not started.
Here’s an example of what the content section of Insolvency Expert’s traffic light report looks like for their current quarter (July-September 2022):
Scheduling the tasks
We then scheduled these topics for our various content writers to work on using our project management software, ClickUp. Within each task we placed a link to a skeleton document consisting of H1s, H2s, and H3s, as well as a title, meta description and keywords to include.
3. Write the content while implementing technical SEO
By this time it was around April 2022, and it was time for us to fully attack the content portion of our task list. Since then, we’ve written 18 pieces of content around company liquidation, and still have quite a few left to go before we consider this area of focus complete.
Analyzing as we go along
Once we covered the big topics in the first couple of months of writing, we started to use Low Fruits to find smaller queries which are estimated at around 10 or fewer monthly searches. We’ve had a lot of success targeting lower search volume phrases, as these users seem to be more focused and lower down the sales funnel, so are more likely to be better engaged and convert better. A lot of the time they are pleased that you have answered their very niche question!
The below is a screenshot from a keyword analysis. We trawled through hundreds of keywords to pull out the ones relevant to the client.
We then used Low Fruit’s Keyword Extraction and SERP Analysis tool to give us further details on a select few key terms.
These terms are shown as having a search volume of either 10, less than 10 or 0. Of course, we know that this is still hugely important to cover, and targeting these will bring in a very niche reader who is much more likely to convert due to the nature of the long-tail queries.
Finalizing the hub
Our plan is to finalize the hub this fall, and ensure that everything is internally linked. There will also be a menu change to make the addition of the hub very clear. See screenshots below for the current hub vs. how it will be presented once all content is ready (screenshot taken from their staging site in Kinsta, our hosting platform where we make design changes so that the client can approve them before they go live).
Current ‘hub’ in the menu:
How the hub will look once all content is complete:
As part of our content process within ClickUp, we have a recurring task to check a new URL in Google Search Console two weeks after upload. This allows us to see if we have the “Google Spike of Acceptance”, which is a sharp incline of impressions/traffic indicating that the content will do well, before it falls then slowly rises again.
If we don’t see this spike, we carry out multiple checks, including: Is it an orphan page? Are there any technical errors? Is it indexed? If it is not indexed, we push the URL through Index Me Now.
If the issue is just that the piece isn’t getting picked up, we will take another look at the content to see if there is something else we can do to improve it, e.g. tweak the H1 or expand the content.
4. Build links to the relevant pages and homepage
We wanted to really hone in on generating links for our company liquidation page. The page has 36 backlinks, many of which were built through link building efforts. This was largely done by working with business site publications and creating natural anchor text that would help with certain keyword rankings.
As well as building links specifically to the company liquidation page, we also built links to the main URL in order to boost overall domain authority. This was done through answering queries through platforms such as HARO and Response Source, as well as working with the client to create relevant, time-specific thought leadership pieces. Here’s an example of a HARO request we responded to, the topic being “Recession-proofing tips for small businesses”:
Although the site’s domain authority tends to fluctuate between 30-33 depending on links lost and general algorithm updates, the links to specific pages have still resulted in an increase in rankings, detailed further below.
Results compared to objectives
Although we knew that our strategy was going to work well based on our experience with our other clients, we were very pleasantly surprised by the huge positive effect our work has made, which enabled us to smash the targets we set!
Goal: Increase from 95 to 200 (110%)
Result: Increased from 95 to 460 (384%)
As a result of creating incredibly useful, lengthy content and placing regular CTAs throughout the content, we managed to almost quadruple the amount of leads coming through to the client in the space of just six months.
In the six months before our liquidation project began, our Leads Dashboard within WhatConverts shows that Insolvency Experts had five liquidation leads via phone call and 10 leads via their contact form on a liquidation-focused page.
In the six-month period since we’ve been working on the content hub, they have had 38 liquidation leads via phone call and 52 leads via contact form on a liquidation-focused page.
Result: 660% increase in phone call leads and 420% increase in contact form leads.
Previous six months:
Goal: Increase from 4,503 to 13,500 (around 200%)
Result: Increased from 4,503 to 23,013 (411%)
By creating highly relevant content that matched the user’s search intent, we managed to almost quadruple the clicks over the space of six months, doubling our original 200% goal.
The site has received 29,400 clicks overall across the past 12 months. Below, you can see the huge spike in clicks and impressions from January onwards when we really started to focus on the liquidation content.
Goal: Increase from 856,683 to 1,700,000 (around 100%)
Result: Increased from 856,683 to 2,033,355 (137%)
Again, by creating highly relevant blogs, Google started to understand the relevancy of our content, so the number of impressions hugely increased. Along with the 137% increase above, over the past 12 months (August 2021-August 2022) the site has received 485,000 impressions for the query ‘liquidation’ alone.
The main company liquidation guide that we updated had a total of 732K impressions over the past 12 months, too, with a huge spike from February onwards, when we updated the guide.
Goal: Increase from 33.4 to 25 (around 8 spots)
Result: Increased from 33.4 to 23.6 (increased 10 spots)
This increase is due to the relevancy of our content and the amount of keywords each piece ranked for. As mentioned, the main company liquidation guide has worked incredibly well, ranking for 181 keywords, 67 of which are page one (37%). It now has the number one spot for the term “company liquidation”. See below for an example of queries the page is showing up for.
The page also shows up for six featured snippets as a result of us implementing FAQ schema.
335 clicks and 93,663 impressions have come from the FAQ rich results alone.
In the six months before we updated the guide, it pulled in around 650 clicks and 227K impressions. In the six months following, it brought in around 1,180 clicks and 382K impressions. We’ve practically doubled clicks on one single guide.
As mentioned, this particular piece of content has 36 backlinks, and actually ranks ABOVE the official UK government company liquidation guide, which has a domain authority of 93 (about 60 higher than ours). Clearly, we’re meeting the searcher’s intent and giving them what they are looking for.
In the six month period before we started work on liquidation, Insolvency Experts had an average click through rate of 0.5%. Over a six month period of us working with them, this more than doubled to 1.2%.
Another success worth noting is that 3 out of 6 of our latest articles have an average page view duration of between 9 and 10 minutes! The other half are averaging around 5 to 6 minutes, which is still very good. Clearly, users are wanting in-depth information on this topic.
The “What happens to a director of a company in liquidation?” guide, which went live in May, is now the fifth most clicked page on the site. when filtered on GSC by the term “liquidation”.
Overall, we’re extremely pleased with the results we generated, and so are Insolvency Experts — the company liquidation department is now inundated with queries and they are rushed off their feet!
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