How to EAT your way to the top

SEO Twist wrote a great article back in December that talks about applying Google’s EAT principles to the search engine ranking process. While it’s written primarily for Digital Agencies, those of us establishing our own online reputation would do well to take heed. They say:

We all know that in order to be seen in the top search results, we need to carefully follow Google’s latest system of ranking factors. Fail to meet their standards and you can find yourself suddenly relegated to the lonely, deep pages of results where potential customers won’t find you. In order to stay current, digital marketers need to stay up to date on the latest factors. In June 2014, Google’s full Quality Page Ranking Guidelines were released including over 200 factors contributing to their latest algorithm. Is your Digital Marketing Agency making the most of the latest changes?

Be good enough to E-A-T

The latest changes revolve around one key element – E-A-T or Expertise, Authority and Trust. Google wants to send users to the best topic-based content available. Consequently, they have developed a system of evaluating website content based on the level of expertise of the author, authority the website holds based on reputation, and trust the website exhibits based on secure transactions, complete contact information and transparency.

What it takes to be an Expert

Is your content being written by an expert? Don’t panic! An expert in the eyes of Google is not necessarily a card-carrying, PHD holding, award-winning dynamo. Google wants to be sure that your website offers an experienced source of information, but that information can come from first-hand accounts and informed reviews. There is an increased focus on personal experience. This new algorithm considers it to be of equal importance to formal credentials.

A step away from Metrics

While keywords and links continue to play an important role in SEO, they are no longer the key focus of Google’s ranking system. Creating high quality topic-specific content, relevant to your website’s users is the new way to get on the map, and stay on the map. It’s clear that in order to meet these standards digital marketers should downplay use of on-page ads, links to less-than highly credible websites, and content that is poorly written and/or edited.

It’s all about good Content

The bottom line is that in order to be highly ranked in Google’s eye, you need to provide high quality, relevant content that they can direct users to – free from anything suspicious or pushy. You should be steering away from articles that read like promotions and toward information your readers will benefit from and take an interest in. Each new update in Google’s Quality Page Ranking System is put in place to closer align with what Google considers “high quality”.  Creating good content following E-A-T principles will continue to be crucial as the ranking systems evolve.

Source: Is Your Digital Marketing Agency Profiting from the New E-A-T Ranking Factors? | SEO TWIST

Good stuff, right? So, how to we apply it?

Expertise

Here are some of the good, fast and cheap ways I deepen my expertise:

  • Inoreader: I use Inoreader to track the sites, searches, sources and someday/maybe information I need to fuel my expertise. This is by far and away my most important tool for staying on top of trends. You can find all my Inoreader posts here.
  • Google+ [with Circlecount and Circloscope]: David Amerland, author of SEO Help, says that “Google+ is the only viable shortcut left to you in the semantic web.” If David says it, I believe it! As a result, I focus all my efforts on trying to better understand and use Google+. I find tools like Circlecount and Circloscope useful for finding and connecting with influencers in my field who also use Google+. Far from being dead, Google+ is a vibrant connecting place for people who are actively working on building their online reputation and I believe that Google rewards users who follow EAT principles in Google+.
  • Buzzsumo: Buzzsumo is a powerful tool for finding influencers in your field. You ARE known by the company you keep and Buzzsumo will help you find the experts you should track in Twitter. It will also show you the top content share in your field and how it plays on different social networks giving you a better idea where you might want to spend your time online.
  • Amazon Kindle software: For fiction, there’s nothing like the feel of a paperback between my fingers but for non-fiction work stuff, there’s nothing like a Kindle book. They are cheaper. They are searchable. They are portable and always with me and I can copy and paste relevant sections out of a book and into a blog post or Evernote. Our library also loans digital books through Amazon – maybe yours does too. This will lower the expense even further!

Authority

The best way to establish authority on the internet is to create or curate content on a platform that is optimized for search. Effectively establishing authority online is a matter of not only expressing your thoughts, but also tools, tactics and timing. Based on a recent chat with David Amerland here is my understanding of current best practices:

Website: Your website is the place for ‘evergreen content’ — this is the type of content that remains relevant and high-quality over a long period of time. I use self-hosted WordPress along with the Yoast SEO plugin and I fully optimize my site in alignment with Google’s Webmaster Guidelines and the Google Webmaster tools. Google does want you to get found if you offer real expertise and they’ll give you all the tools you need.

Social networks: Google+ and Twitter are the only networks that are FULLY INDEXED by Google and they offer better exposure to search than your own fully optimized website. “Short pieces, observations and the resharing of content should ideally happen in G+  or Twitter first.” I use Rebelmouse to capture this kind of content and re-express it on my site like this giving my readers the bigger picture of who I am as well as making it easy for them to final all my curated content in one place. If you are linking back to your own site, “your audience needs to feel who you are before they can take the next step which is to leap off G+ and read a post on your blog.”

Everything else: For everything else there’s Tumblr or WordPress.com – great places to post pictures of kittens and bacon or memes!

Trustworthiness

Simply said? Be the Horton of your niche! What? Go back to your Dr. Seuss!

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Get it? Say what you mean and mean what you say! Be consistent with everything you do with your online reputation on the internet…

Parting thought

I have a workflow for thinkers who are looking to build their online reputation and I talked about it with thought leader Ryan Rhoten in a podcast recorded here. Take a listen and come back with questions or feedback. I’m here to help YOU build YOUR online reputation…

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