9 of the Best Ways to Take a Bite at Your E-A-T Score

9 of the Best Ways to Take a Bite at Your E-A-T Score

July 13, 2022
(Reading time: 6 - 11 minutes)

You might be wondering, am I hungry? Why else would I be talking about EATing?

Well, if you are hungry to grow your business, focusing on your E-A-T will help you!

E-A-T stands for Expertise, Authority, and Trustworthiness and is what the search engines (Google, Bing, Yahoo) look at to determine help your web page’s quality.

E-A-T is critical because the higher the quality of your web page, the more likely it will show in search results and attract more visitors and traffic.

So let’s break it down. What exactly is E-A-T, and how can you prove to Google that your site has it?

Expertise, Authority, and Trustworthiness (E-A-T)

What is Expertise, Authority, and Trustworthiness (E-A-T)?

In the world of digital marketing and SEO, E-A-T is a combination of three things Google and the other search engines look at to determine the quality of your page:

  • Expertise: This shows your business is an expert on your topic.
  • Authority: This shows you’re a leader in your industry and a good source of information.⁠⁠
  • Trustworthiness: This shows ⁠⁠you can be trusted to provide accurate, honest, and truthful information.

The E-A-T framework is also part of Google’s “Your Money, Your Life” (YMYL) guidelines

YMYL pages are that Google believes could affect the “future happiness, health, financial stability or safety of users.”

In other words, the information on that page has the potential to have a significant impact on the searchers’ life.

What that means is that Google wants to see more evidence that your pages are from a credible and reliable site. These can include pages on or links from sites such as:

  • news websites
  • legal firms
  • medical sites
  • financial advisory sites

It’s a Branding Thing

Branding specialists approach E-A-T from the audience’s point of view, examining how potential buyers (who are also influenced by signals of knowledge, authority, and trustworthiness) perceive your brand.

But, for our purposes as an SEO and Digital Marketing Strategist, I’ll show you how your small business can use E-A-T as part of your technical SEO. 

How to Prove to Google You Have E-A-T

Let’s be honest, Google is an enigma and likes to be mysterious. To their credit, if they weren’t, we as marketers would just ruin it like a hurricane at your beach wedding. Therefore Google doesn’t provide us with any documentation that explicitly outlines their preferred E-A-T signals.

However, there are some SEO tactics that are widely used to help Google bots.

  • Site secured with a Secure Socket Layer certificate or the SSL certificate (the lock icon next to the address in the address bar) 
  • About page
  • Clear and easy-to-find contact information
  • Up-to-date reviews
  • Terms and conditions and privacy policy pages
  • Author names and bios on blog posts
  • Accurate citations (Google Business Profile, directory listings, and links to your social media accounts)
  • Backlinks from authoritative sites

Let's take a look at each of them.

 Site Secured With an SSL Certificate

Site secured with an SSL certificate, so your site’s URL starts with “HTTPS://” signals to Google and your users that you take security seriously and you help to protect the confidentiality and integrity of information flowing between the user’s computer and your website.

This has become so synonymous that users will question if you don’t have it, and so does Google. 

Making sure your site is secure means it’s harder for others (hackers) to spy on conversations, steal information, or hack into private systems.

The bottom line is that it helps you show Google and users that your site is trustworthy.

The About page is one of the most visited pages on most websites. Regardless of what you want to call it, it is hands down one of the most important pages.

An About Page

There are certain pages every small business website can’t be without. Your site needs to give visitors and searchers what they are looking for, including more information about you and your business.

 

People (including business people) do business with other people. Customers like to know a bit about a business, its experiences, ethos, and goals. An About Us page informs visitors of such information. Avoid making it too lengthy or dull - show your company’s human side and let potential customers see who’s behind the business. Pictures of the team in action help.

 

(Source: U.S. Small Business Administration)

The About page is one of the most visited pages on most websites. They might also be called the “Who We Are” or “Our Story” as an example. Regardless of what you want to call it, it is hands down one of the most important pages.

A great About page will help searchers and contribute to all three aspects of your E-A-T.

When you tell your story well, you can show clients, and Google says you have a wealth of knowledge and are a trusted authority in your space.

It’s also your chance to tell them a little about who you are and why they should trust you.

But think of it as speed dating; you only have a few seconds to catch the reader’s interest.

So don’t go on and on about yourself.

Discuss how you can help them and why they should choose you.

Your contact page is another one of the most important pages on your website. Providing clear contact information and making it easy to discover it on your website proves that your offer is genuine.

Clear and Easy-to-Find Contact Information

Your contact page is another one of the most important pages on your website. The contact page contributes more to the ‘T’ in E-A-T and answers the question: Are you trustworthy? 

While throughout history, there have been charlatans, crooks, thieves, and con artists scamming people out of anything and everything. While the Internet has made many things easier, it also made it easier for these unscrupulous groups to scam people. Therefore Google is always looking for signals that you’re a genuine business.

Providing clear contact information and making it easy to discover it on your website proves that your offer is genuine.

You will also want to make sure that you include the following:

  • Phone
  • A simple contact form (first and last name, email address, phone number, and message fields)
  • Map and directions if you have a physical address where you can entertain clients

Up-to-Date Reviews

Up-to-Date Reviews

Like the all-knowing Oz, Google knows when you get good or bad reviews. Therefore another way to boost your E-A-T score is to monitor review sites like Yelp, Better Business Bureau, Facebook, and your Google Business Profile (GBP). You will want to aim for at least 5-10 reviews with an average score of 4.5 stars or higher. Try to get more on your GBP, as that might be where many searchers start. It is also important to note that, with reputation management, it is not only vital for a business to have reviews; it is just as critical to respond to these reviews. 

Does it matter if you reply to reviews?

In a 2018 study published by the Harvard Business School, Replying to Customer Reviews Results in Better Ratings, they found that responding to reviews, both positive or negative correlated with a higher overall star rating.

Google even says:

 

Respond to reviews that users leave about your business. When you reply to reviews, it shows that you value your customers and their feedback. High-quality, positive reviews from your customers can improve your business visibility and increase the likelihood of a shopper visiting your location.

 

(Source: How to improve your local ranking on Google)

So does it matter if you reply to reviews? Yes, it does!

Aside from improving your local rating, responding to reviews is a terrific way to engage your clients and earn their trust. And the quality raters realize that you’re genuine and trying to change things.

Always remember E-A-T and strive to inspire trust.

Your privacy policies and terms and conditions pages prove to Google that it is safe for people to do business with you.

Terms and Conditions and Privacy Policy Pages

Your privacy policies and terms and conditions pages prove to Google that it is safe for people to do business with you, which relates back to the letter ‘T’ in E-A-T.

Here are two big things to ensure they have:

  • You need to clearly state your terms and conditions. This will also help to address any relevant consumer law requirements.
  • Your privacy policy also must clearly state how your small business deals with and stores personal information.

While they may take some time to perfect, having them on your site will also improve its E-A-T and help it attract more traffic.

Author Names and Bios on Blog Posts

Author Names and Bios on Blog Posts

Including the author’s information on your blog entries contributes to the ‘E’ or expertise in E-A-T.

When Google quality raters see a person associated with the information and a bio explaining why they have the expertise to cover the topic, your page is more likely to be seen as a reliable source of information.

As a result, it will be more likely to appear in search engine results (SERPs).

Accurate Citations

Google’s algorithm uses citations to verify a small business’s existence, legitimacy, and trustworthiness. A citation is an online mention of your business details, such as the business’s name, address, and phone number (NAP). Google will look online at relevant and trusted websites for signals it can send to the algorithm that this business exists. These signals have quickly become a key ranking factor for local SEO.

How Important Are Accurate Citations to Local Search Ranking? At Least 90%

There are many business directories and other websites where citations can be found. The major directories are: 

  • Google Business Profile
  • Facebook
  • Apple Maps
  • Yelp
  • Yellowpages

Backlinks From Authoritative Sites

Backlinks From Authoritative Sites

Another strategy to boost your E-A-T is to earn as many relevant backlinks as possible from authoritative websites.

A backlink is also known as an inbound link or a link pointing to your website from another resource. 

There are two reasons why backlinks are good for your SEO. The first one is very obvious: the more links you have pointing to your site from all over the Internet, the more people will click on them, increasing your website’s traffic. This is just simple math.

But that type of traffic isn’t really the biggest reason why backlinks are so important.

Backlinks Are One Of The Biggest Ranking Factors For Search Engines

Backlinks actually aid your website in ranking high on search engine results pages. This means that the more backlinks you have pointing to your website from other highly-authoritative resources, the closer you will be to that #1 spot on the SERPs.

Not All Backlinks Are Equally Valuable

Earlier, I mentioned that backlinks could be coming from practically anywhere. However, that doesn’t mean that they will provide you with the same amount of value if placed wherever.

In fact, the only links that are very valuable for SEO are links from other, high-quality websites. All of the other types of backlinks are pretty much negligible. 

So, what makes a good backlink? There are a few factors:

  • The age and authoritativeness of the website linking to you
  • Its topical relevance
  • The anchor text of the link
  • The number of other backlinks coming from the same page as yours
  • The location of the link on the page

The absolute best backlinks come from topically relevant, authoritative websites that were established a considerable time ago.

What’s an Authoritative Website?

An authoritative website is one that’s seen to be trusted as a useful and credible source of information. 

When one website mentions, cites, and links to another website, it’s like giving it a little vote of confidence.

Search engines will crawl a website’s backlinks to determine its E-A-T score.

Backlinks from a variety of authoritative sites will help you increase your own authority and boost your search engine rankings.

Authoritative Websites Examples

But they could also be other small businesses outside your service area, niche service providers, your local chamber of commerce, or another local small business that you can partner with.

They just need to be consistently trusted and regularly linked to other credible sources.

Start Improving Your E-A-T

Start Improving Your E-A-T

While Google is basically a software program, it is still written by humans and created for humans. The bottom line is that the search engine’s primary focus is to provide searchers with search results that they want to view. Therefore to do that, they will use the E-A-T factors in the algorithm.

If you follow the basic guidelines I have laid out here, you will undoubtedly increase your E-A-T and start showing up higher on the SERPs.

If you need help implementing any of the above items or want to learn more about them, contact me. I have here to help you and your small business grow.

Chad Treadway

Written by:  |  July 13, 2022

Chad is a Partner and our Chief Smarketing Officer. He will help you survey your small business needs, educating you on your options before suggesting any solution. Chad is passionate about rural marketing in the United States and North Carolina. He also has several certifications through HubSpot to better assist you with your internet and inbound marketing.

See Chad Treadway's' bio: cubecreative.design/about/chad-treadway