How to use Google’s E-A-T to crush your B2B content and maximize long-term growth
What does Google want?
The most common answer: high-quality content.
But, how to define “high-quality”?
Is it SEO-optimized content that focuses on keywords?
How many backlinks are enough?
There are endless questions. And finally, when you solve all that, another algorithm update happens, and you’re back to zero. So, what’s the long-term solution?
Content that offers compounding returns
A well-researched “how to” article can drive hundreds of prospects for years. To get the equivalent ROI from a paid ad for that topic, you’d have to spend thousands of dollars again and again.
So it comes down to creating credible content that offers compounding returns. The kind of content that ranks well and provides tremendous value for the end audience. But how to create such content?
Thankfully, we have the answer directly from Google.
Enter “Google E-A-T”
It’s all about page quality or PQ. As per Google, the PQ rating helps understand the goal of the content. That’s where E-A-T comes into the picture. It stands for Expertise, Authoritativeness, Trustworthiness—a framework to assess content published on Google.
E-A-T is probably the most useful Google algorithm update. It offers the most straightforward framework to create user-centric content without any ambiguity. A significant shift that will change the course of your content creation.
Focus on 3 pillars - expertise, authoritativeness, trustworthiness
That’s how you can rank for the best search terms and reach your business goals. E-A-T framework could become part of every content strategy, no matter your niche. All you need for long-term organic growth is right here, so keep reading.
The origin story
E-A-T was initially designed to ensure that websites rank for the correct term but not at the cost of human safety. That’s because certain web pages should be extra careful about what they publish. More specifically, these are web pages that impact the health and financial stability of users.
All medical and finance websites fall under the “Your Money or Your Life” or YMYL bracket. These are topics that could impact a searcher’s future. For instance, if you’re searching for the correct aspirin dosage for an 8-year-old, you’d only like to see the trustworthy content.
Google wants people searching for these critical issues to reach the right place. That’s how E-A-T came into existence. It’s a foolproof framework to create content the way Google wants. Here’s a quick summary of how to include the 3 pillars of E-A-T in your content strategy.
Expertise means to have sharp knowledge or a specific skill on a particular topic. Google is looking for hardcore expertise or in-the-trenches experiences. The more expertise you possess, the better your content will be.
This effectively means you might need subject experts to explain complicated tech-based topics. This is especially important in the complex B2B tech world. The right approach is to start at the very beginning with keyword research. Keywords will help you decipher what the audience needs. Then meet and exceed their expectations with thorough content.
Even if you’re not a subject-level expert, you should be ready to conduct tons of research. Citing the original sources becomes even more critical in that case. Disclaimers go a long way to redirect readers to reputable sources in the niche. That’s where you should consider hiring niche-specific writers and editors.
Also, it would be best if you created an environment of trust for your readers. For instance, your audience must be able to identify the author of the content. So unambiguous bylines will make your content stand out—both for readers and Google. This is significant for the financial and medical fields.
Last but not least, only knowledge and expertise are never enough. You need to communicate this knowledge in a way that engages your audience. Combine all these factors, and you’ll become the go-to source in your field.
When it comes to authority, there is a lot of undue stress on link building. The links from authoritative websites indeed become a huge factor in Google’s eyes. But links alone are not enough.
The absolute authority is when influencers in your niche are citing you as a credible source. This means that you have effectively risen from being “just another expert.” Simply being mentioned by authority websites in your niche will boost your authoritativeness. So never focus entirely on links.
You need to build your reputation among third parties across the internet. Posting relevant thought leadership pieces on well-known platforms is a significant step.
Use Ahrefs’ Domain Rating or Moz’s Domain Authority Score to know the authority of a website. Then pitch for a high-quality guest post.
Also, Google trusts Wikipedia. So try and get a mention there (although it might take some time, you have to keep trying.)
To rank at the top, you need to nurture your content by building its authority. It’s a slow, meticulous process. A process that’s completely worth it in the long term.
The only real aim of a content creation campaign is to produce answers that the audience seeks. That’s where trustworthiness comes in. It is all about the legitimacy and accuracy of the solutions offered.
For example, most long-form blogs come with a barrage of stats. Linking to the actual source of these stats says a lot about your confidence in your content. That’s a massive signal to readers to trust you with the content that you publish. Any content asset with reliable external references is always rated high by Google.
Here’s another example. Most users (rightly so) are fussy about their financial information. So always opt to use HTTPS and SSL certificates on your website. That’s how your users will feel comfortable offering their email-id for gated content. It’s also a good practice to publish a crystal clear T&Cs page with a physical location of your business. These are powerful trust signals.
Consider Morningstar, a news portal that is also a fintech company. You’ll discover a fun blog filled with financial information at any stage of investing. Their content talks about money, so establishing trust is crucial.
The subject experts on Morningstar rely on information from multiple sources. They also invest in qualitative research. Then, data is conveyed in the form of interactive and easy-to-consume content. As a result, readers feel at home with the entire experience. That’s how Morningstar’s readers look at the company as partners in their investment journey. Seeing the way everyone respects Morningstar, these “trust signals” are working for the company.
There are no shortcuts here. It takes time to create content with expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness. But once you make it a habit, you’ve placed the foundation for long-term compounding growth.
Following E-A-T as a guide means you’re taking a sensible approach to the search content you publish. Think of these as three pillars to produce content that resonates with your audience. Plus, you get to rank for the intended keywords and search terms.
Is E-A-T really a ranking factor?
The three pillars are actually human concepts, so there is a lot that is subjective here. E-A-T might not be a “visible factor” like HTTPS or page speed. Since Google respects quality, E-A-T can be considered more of an indirect factor. As Danny Sullivan from Google puts it, E-A-T is one among “a variety of signals.”
Can you overdo E-A-T?
Don’t stuff every paragraph with external sources. This would be detrimental to the readability part of the entire equation. You don’t want readers to feel stressed and tired of consuming your content. For instance, there’s no need to offer the author’s entire life story in the bio (unless relevant to your content.)
So how much is too much? That’s subjective and something you’d have to decide for yourself.
Here’s the bottom line
We live in a world filled with uncertainty and conflicting projections. In the face of a pandemic, companies are tightening the noose around budgets. Using the E-A-T framework will help you narrow your focus and make a case for content.
In fact, you should try and double down on content. The B2B tech world is facing new challenges every day. It’s the time to help your audience and offer trustworthy solutions—precisely what E-A-T is meant to do.