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1000 666 Rebecca Moss

How E-A-T impacts your link building efforts

For the past two years there has been an acronym that kept SEOs around the world on their toes; SEO and Digital PR agencies are no exception: E-A-T. It has been around since 2014 but it only was towards the end of 2018 that it became more obvious that those three aspects have a direct impact on a websites’ rankings in Google Search. It stands for Expertise, Authoritativeness and Trustworthiness. But what does that mean?

Book with words "From the real experts". Photo by Rita Morais on Unsplash

Photo by Rita Morais on Unsplash

Expertise

If we take this whole discussion offline: Would you trust the medical advice your neighbour gives, or would you rather ask somebody with a medical degree? If you have a question on your tax return, would you ask your taxi driver for advice or rather see an accountant? Would you let your roommate take photos of your products or would you rather hire an experienced and skilled photographer? Well, the same applies online. If your business or your website is about a topic that can directly impact somebody’s life (e.g. financial trading, medical or legal advice), contribute to public opinion (journalism for example) or provide a service that requires knowledge, you should inform your readers and clients why you are qualified to do so. It builds trust and shows that you know what you are talking about.

How to show expertise on your website

A clear About Us page and author profiles are the first and foremost thing to do. Tell readers who you are, why you offer the service you offer and what qualifies you to write the things you write. If you have a legal website, tell them where you got your law degree. If you have a medical website, tell them where your authors got their knowledge from and what scientific evidence they can provide. If it is financial trading, list the experience your authors have in trading, financial markets and technical analysis.

Ideally, there is more than an author bio for each person publishing for your business. Social media profiles, activity in specialised forums, an own expert blog or publications (e.g. books, whitepapers), are just a few of those things that can increase credibility. It goes without saying that the information must be correct! If you are lying about education and experience, you will never be able to be trusted as an expert.

Equally beneficial are case studies of previous work where you state what you have done, why you have done it in that particular way and why it was successful.

Expertise in your link building campaigns

The same applies to link building campaigns. Add the information as to who created the content asset, where the information comes from and how you came to your conclusion/the statement you make. If your campaign contains quotes or information from an expert in the field, it can also increase your reach. A true expert usually has quite some following on social media or own platforms. Your campaign could reach that audience too.

Apart from that, it is much more likely to get a link if a respected expert stands behind a campaign.

"Product Review" in scrabble letters.Photo by Shotkit from Pexels.

Photo by Shotkit from Pexels

Authoritativeness

Authority refers directly to reputation and is built over time. If your website is the go-to resource for a certain topic, you are the authority in the field. It is almost impossible to measure authority. However, there are some clear indications. The most important one are links to your websites. All link metrics, DR in Moz, DA in Ahrefs or TF in Majestic refer directly to backlinks coming from authoritative websites.

If you want to get an understanding of your authority, mentions and branding are equally important. How do others talk about your brand? In which context are you mentioned? Who mentions you? Those references do not have to be from another authority in the field, but also your customers or business partners can contribute to your reputation. Positive customer reviews on external resources (e.g. Trustpilot) help building authority.

How to show authoritativeness on your website

Authority is mostly measured externally through links and mentions on third party sites. What you can do is replicate what is being said about your brand on your own website. The positive reviews you get on websites like Trustpilot or Google Reviews can be mentioned on your website with a link to the original source. If you have worked with other reputable companies or brands, you can mention them on a partners page.

Authoritativeness in your link building campaigns

Authority is directly related to link building. If your website has backlinks from other reputable sites in your niche and if your brand is mentioned in a positive way on external websites, it increases authoritativeness. Building authority, just as link building, takes time. It does not come overnight.

What you should not do is try to manipulate it by building PBNs or buying links. At JBH, we strongly advise against these tactics. It might seem as if they can speed up the process, but sooner or later you might lose all credibility. If you are being caught for paid links, also the organic links will lose their impact and you can never become an authority in the field. The same is true for selling links on your website. It might bring you some short-term cash but will hurt your reputation in the long-term.

Two pairs of hands holding each other. Photo by Pixabay from Pexels.

Photo by Pixabay from Pexels

Trustworthiness

Let us perform the same test as for expertise and take the question offline: Would you buy a property that you cannot find on a map because the address is incorrect? Do you buy from a shop on the high street that shows different prices in the shop window than the prices on the shelf? The same is true for your website. If visitors do not trust you, they are not going to buy from you either. If Google does not perceive your website as being trust-worthy, it will not rank your website in search.

Trustworthiness is a very subjective measure and if you are unsure about it, just ask yourself: would you trust your website if you looked at it for the first time?

How to show trustworthiness on your website

As with any human interaction, trust is built as the result of a multitude of things and is destroyed quickly. The most important aspect is truthfulness. Be transparent about who you are and what you do. All information provided on your website must be true. If they catch you with a lie, you will never be trusted.

This refers mostly to your About Us page and the contact information. Provide true information and as much about yourself and your business as you can. Any address or contact information should be correct and if a customer contacts you, make sure you reply. Nothing could hurt your trustworthiness more than a disconnected telephone line or bad customer service.

In the same way that customer reviews can help with authority, user-generated content can help building trust. Make sure you monitor any comments left on your website and respond in due time.

Other important aspects of trust building are brand consistency, professional layout/design and of course proper grammar and language use. Readers will not trust your website if your content is a bad machine translation with obvious spelling mistakes.

We spoke about case studies to show expertise. Part of transparency is to also mention the failures and the things that did not work. Nobody is getting things right all the time. If your success seems to be too perfect, you might also lose trust.

Not to forget are commercial links, pop ups and ads. Use them wisely and only where appropriate. Would you trust a website that is cluttered with ads that distract from the content?

Trustworthiness in your link building campaigns

This aspect can be summarized in a very simple way: If people don’t trust you, they won’t link to you. Simple as that!

It becomes especially important for data-led campaigns for link building. Place a methodology and sources below the content or the infographic where you state clearly where your data came from and how you came to the conclusion you made. If you ran a survey to collect the data, provide the details about where, when, who and how. List the steps you went through when you analysed the data. If you took statistics from third party websites, ensure that those are trustworthy and list every single source you used.

When you contact journalists and distribute your content, mention who you are and how you can be contacted.

E-A-T for link building

If we look at all those recommendations once again, it becomes obvious that those should be part of a good editorial standard. Unfortunately, bad practices on the internet have caused for those to be forgotten over time and many publishers need to be reminded again. If you get your E-A-T right and remember it in everything you do for your business online, it will not only improve your organic rankings. It will also facilitate any link building campaign. The moment you are a trusted expert that is perceived as an authority, others will happily refer to your website with a backlink.

BrightonSEO front window
1024 538 Jane Hunt

BrightonSEO: What we learned

BrightonSEO is a twice-yearly search marketing conference that welcomes 4,000 SEOs from across the globe to listen to some of the world’s top search marketers discuss the future of the industry.

For their September event, the conference chose a slogan of ‘Understand algorithms, understand the future’ and, of course, this meant they had a Back to the Future theme. Kelvin Newman, the conference’s founder, even came onstage to open the conference wearing a pair of Nike self-lace shoes and carrying a pink hoverboard.

 

the Delorean at brightonSEO

Source: Twitter

 

The conference bought in professionals from all backgrounds in digital marketing to give some great talks and share their keen insight into various aspects of the industry, covering everything from voice search to content strategy.

 

Key takeaways from BrightonSEO:

  • Web design is an important element of SEO. It helps build trust with your audience and provides them with a better user experience – user experience metrics (such as time spent on page) are having a greater ranking influence than ever before.

 

  • Inputting clients first party data into Facebook audience insights can give you insight into their audience, such as who they are, what they’re interested in and what they’ll engage with.

 

  • FOI (Freedom of Information) Requests can be used to gain access to public information that can help with idea generation and pitches to journalists.

 

  • 78% of online audiences are already watching Facebook Live videos.

 

  • Finding broken links to your competitor’s site and offering to replace them with your own content is a great tactic for keeping link building cheap.

 

  • When pitching to a journalist, don’t assume who their audience is, study their publications media and what you find might surprise you – The Daily Mails audience is 78% millennials, 68% mums, 6/10 are foodies.

 

  • Reputation is a ranking factor.

 

  • Related videos and Browse/Featured sections on YouTube are bigger sources of traffic than organic search.

 

  • For every 10 organic clicks on the SERPs, there are 8.8 searches that end in no clicks.

 

  • Google is monopolising its advertising space and trying to answer queries in the SERPS so now is the time to make your website the centre of your campaigns.

 

Rand Fishkin's Keynote at BrightonSEO

Source: Twitter

Highlights

Even though his talk encountered a few technical difficulties, Rand Fishkin’s keynote was one of the standout talks of the day. He covered the future of SEO, focusing primarily on the SEPRs, in a funny, if not slightly cynical 30-minute presentation, that delivered a ton of interesting insights into how Google has started taking advantage of its over 90% search market share.

 

Other highlights included a look into Data Journalism by Ross Tavendale, Marie Haynes dive into Google’s Quality Raters’ Guidelines and Laura Hogans presentation on Using Your Competitors For Free Links.

 

Want to learn more about optimising your content for search results? Check out our post on why content auditing is essential for SEO

featured snippets
1024 1024 Jane Hunt

How to write your content for featured snippets

Attracting attention and generating traffic through the SERPs (Search Engine Result Pages) is harder than ever before…

Competition is fierce, with more and more brands prioritising SEO in their quest for increased online exposure. The number of organic links that Google shows has also decreased in recent years, chiefly because it wants marketers to buy ad space instead.

But these two obstacles often pale into insignificance when compared with another aspect of the SERPs – featured snippets.

 

What are featured snippets?

Featured snippets are certain search results that appear above organic links on the SERPs. Also known as answer boxes or ‘Position 0’,  featured snippets aim to give the user an immediate response to their search query without having to click one of the links.

A featured snippet

 

Even though featured snippets provide users with a quicker, easier, and better search experience, the fact you don’t need to browse other results is somewhat concerning for marketers.

 

Search Engine Land also reported that:

  • One page’s click-through rate jumped from 2 to 8 per cent after appearing as a featured snippet.
  • Revenue from organic visitors landing on the same page saw a 677 per cent

Therefore, the value of featured snippets is clear to see. But how should you write your content for featured snippets?

 

1. Identify the questions your audience are asking

Featured snippets are commonplace when the searcher asks a question, specifically with the following prefixes:

  • How do/does
  • How to
  • What is
  • Why do/does

So, take the time to think about the kinds of questions your audience are asking. You should already know the topics or themes they’re interested in, so pop these into Google and see what comes back.

Use search suggestions for featured snippet contentAnother excellent resource is Answer The Public – literally a search engine that finds out what questions the public are asking.

 

Answer the Public results

2. Write content to answer questions

 Now that you know what your audience wants to know, start brainstorming content ideas that specifically answer these questions. As content marketing and SEO guru Neil Patel puts it:

“If your content doesn’t answer questions, it won’t get into the featured snippet. That’s all there is to it.”

For example, with this very article, we’ve chosen the title ‘How to write your content for featured snippets’, not ‘Writing content for featured snippets’ or ‘Appear as a featured snippet by writing your content like this’.

Google’s search algorithms are constantly crawling sites to find content that best answers user questions. Once they do, they’ll promote them to featured snippets.

Types of featured snippet

3. Maintain your focus on quality

Google’s complex ranking system, which gives precedence to high-quality content, still applies for featured snippets.

This means your content must:

  • Comprehensively cover the subject
  • Be informative, interesting, and engaging
  • Put the user first
  • Feature essential on-page SEO (headings, bullet points etc.)

 

4. Provide the best answer

Sounds simple, but by providing a better answer than your competitors, you’ll stand a greater chance of being a featured snippet.

Pretend to be a potential prospect or customer and consider what you would want to read, as well as what keywords and phrases you’d use.

Cover additional questions relating to the subject, break answers down to a basic level, assume your audience knows nothing whatsoever, and use visual content to support what you’re saying.

 

5. Consider FAQ pages

Create a FAQ page that explicitly answers your audience’s most common questions and Google will know useful information is contained within. This is especially true if questions use the same wording as your audience.

Make sure that your FAQ page contains all relevant questions, is well-formatted with in-depth answers, is easy to navigate for a positive experience, and always provides value.

If you want to appear as a voice search result, FAQs are the way to go too.

 

Did you know that 40.7% of all voice search answers come from a featured snippet? Find out more as we explore why voice search could be the future of content marketing.