How to Avoid Getting Slapped by Google’s E.A.T. Update
Has your organic traffic taken a nosedive lately – or if not a nosedive, at least a significant dip?
There’s a reason for that. Google tweaks its search algorithm all the time. Some updates are small and make only a small difference in search rankings. Others are major. And, that’s the case with the E.A.T. update, which caused some previously top-ranked sites to lose more than 50% of their organic traffic overnight.
If you’re familiar with Google’s methods, then you know that they hardly ever comment on updates or share relevant information about them. That means that marketers and SEOs have to guess what’s going on.
That can be tricky, but it turns out that this latest update can be summed up with three letters: EAT. Let’s talk about what they mean.
What Does E.A.T. Stand For?
Google’s E.A.T. algorithm has been given that name because of the three key things it prioritizes. They are:
- How knowledgeable are you (or any contributing writers to your site) about the subject matter related to your business?
- How credible is your business in your industry or niche?
- Can readers trust the content you publish and trust you with their business?
Those three factors – expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness – are things that loom large for consumers. Since Google prioritizes sites that are useful to searchers, it’s really not a surprise that they would find a way to reward sites that demonstrate them.
The trick, of course, is knowing what things Google’s looking at and what you can do to improve your results. Chasing organic traffic was already difficult. In fact, only about 9% of content gets any organic traffic from Google.
How to Demonstrate Your Expertise
The best way to demonstrate your expertise is to update and optimize your author biography and About Us pages. These pages give you the opportunity to let readers (and Google) know who you are and why you’re an expert.
You should have a biography page for every contributor to your blog. Their byline should link to their bio. The bio should include:
- Education and degrees
- Work experience
- Professional certifications and accomplishments
In addition to formal awards and things of that nature, it’s also a good idea to share information about your social following if applicable. Anything that demonstrates that people turn to your authors for advice and information will help you with Google.
The same thing goes for your About Us page. On the page, you can still explain the usual things like how and why you started your business. In addition, make sure to mention:
- The experts you’ve hired to be part of your team
- Any industry awards or recognition your company has received
- Anything that sets your business apart from your competitors
Using important keywords and linking to authoritative sources will help you highlight your expertise.
How to Demonstrate Your Authoritativeness
The next element of E.A.T. is authority. Here are the most important things you can do to signal your authoritativeness to Google.
- Build backlinks to your site. Every SEO knows that backlinks are essential. When authority sites link back to your site, it tells Google that your site is an authority source of information in your industry or niche.
- Offer your services as an authority and do what you can to increase your visibility online. If you write a guest blog or speak at a conference, those things can add to your authority.
- Be a thought leader. Authority doesn’t come from following what others do. If you want to be seen as an authority, you must offer opinions and analysis without worrying about what other people are doing.
Establishing yourself as an authority figure will help to earn you a high place on Google’s SERP.
How to Demonstrate Your Trustworthiness
It’s a common saying that trust needs to be earned. That applies to marketing as much as it does to anything else. In other words, trust isn’t something you can wish into being. You must give people reasons to trust you.
Reputation management plays a big role in trust. When people review your company on sites like Yelp or Google My Business, what do they say about you? How do you handle negative reviews? Do you have quality testimonials on your site? Each of these things plays a role in establishing your reputation online.
The same is true of social mentions. It’s essential to keep track of when and how your business is mentioned on social media.
Finally, you can build trust by having proper security on your site. That means installing a security certificate and using encryption to protect your most important data.
Other Quick Fixes for E.A.T.
In addition to the things I’ve mentioned above, there are some other important steps you can take to make the most of Google’s latest update.
- Evaluate your traffic and delete or redirect pages with low E.A.T. ratings.
- Moderate user-generated content and be careful to label it accordingly, so it’s not mistaken as being representative of you or your company.
- Make sure to present a consistent brand across all platforms. That may mean updating your social media profiles, re-writing content on your website, and re-doing paper marketing materials as well.
- Create E.A.T.-friendly images, such as infographics and charts, to support the information on your website.
As you’re reworking or adding content, keep in mind that Google still prioritizes content that’s written for people, not machines. This isn’t about gaming the system or fooling Google. Rather, you should be honoring the things that they have identified as important while also providing your readers with useful, valuable, and actionable content.
You are what you E.A.T.
It’s natural to be nervous about a major update like E.A.T., but my takeaway is this. E.A.T. is a huge opportunity for local businesses to build their brands and provide their customers with the best possible content while also building trust and authority. In other words, E.A.T. updates can help you attract new customers and make your existing customers appreciate you in a whole new way.
December 29, 2016