When it comes to search engine optimization, the landscape is ever changing. Google releases minor changes daily, while search engine strategists aim to continue to maintain and improve their search rankings.
As the rankings shift, some are disappointed while others are jumping for joy! Regardless of your ranking, Google is doing what it feels is in the best interest of the searcher and wants to reward high-quality websites (More guidance on building high-quality sites).
Most of the time, Google’s changes go unnoticed. On occasion, a search algorithm update from Google is noticeable. These large changes are designed to improve search engines and help Google deliver on its mission to present authoritative and relevant content. In the summer of 2019, the “focus on content” update rocked the SEO world and was a significant change (also known as a “core update”).
Even though that update was months ago, there are some key lessons to take away. To be perfectly honest, Google’s “Focus on content” update revolutionized how Kreative Solutions thinks about content from what we ask on our creative briefs to how we coach our clients on their marketing strategy.
How to Focus on Content
When evaluating your content, Google recommends asking yourself questions in regards to:
Content & Quality Questions
- Is the content original?
- Is the content substantial & comprehensive?
- Is the content interesting?
- Does the page title accurately describe the page or post without looking like “clickbait”?
- Would you share this content with a friend?
- Would you find this content referenced by a reputable third-party?
- Does the content build trust with accurate sources and background information?
- Is the website an authority on the topic?
- Is the author an expert?
- Is the content valid and free from factual errors?
- Do you feel comfortable basing decisions off of this content?
- Is the content free of typos and formatting issues?
- Is the content mobile friendly?
- Does it appear that time and effort was put into developing the article?
- Was the content purchased by a mass-produced third-party source?
- Do ads interfere with the content?
- Does the content provide value above and beyond other sources ranking for that search term?
- Does the content seem tailored to the genuine interests of website visitors?
For Google’s full list of recommended questions, please visit What webmasters should know about Google’s core updates
The majority of these questions revolve around quality. If you create fresh, valuable content with your target audience in mind, you are on the right track. If you try to fool Google or create with only the intention of ranking (instead of providing value to your visitors), it is time to re-evaluate your search strategy. There are two ends of the spectrum – the white hats who follow Google’s guidelines closely and the black hats look for quick ways to win (Learn more about White Hat vs. Black Hat SEO).
Often, when reading recent content created by Google, you see the term page quality. Page quality is all about creating posts/pages with a purpose, focusing on E-A-T, the reputation of that content, etc. Google has moved away from the term E-A-T and focuses on the broader page quality.
However, the concept of Google’s E-A-T is still important and one of the many underlying factors in determining page quality. Furthermore, you might have noticed that many of these “focus on content” questions include the following terms: trust, expertise, or authority.
At Kreative Solutions, we find the E-A-T framework is a helpful way of explaining the value of testimonials, showing credentials or certifications, and portfolio/blogs. Prospects always ask,
- Does anyone even look at the About page? Do we really need it?
- Do I really have to collect testimonials?
- Do I need a blog? Or a portfolio?
Yes, to all three questions! Prospects who are truly evaluating your expertise & authority will definitely look at your About page. Ironically, this page is routinely in the top 10 pages in Google Analytics. Testimonials are worth the effort and a valuable way to build trust. It is also worth taking the time to update your blog or portfolio to keep your website content fresh.
Integrate E-A-T on Your Website
To rank high on Google, you need to nurture your brand and your website by integrating expertise, authority, and trustworthiness throughout your website. E-A-T is especially important for companies involved in the health, happiness, or wealth management field.
Keep a broad perspective and see how you can build on your expertise, authority, and trustworthiness on every page of your website. This is a great example of why Kreative Solutions recommends integrating testimonials where they fit best and align with the website visitor’s intent (i.e. add a relevant testimonial to the applicable product/service page instead of having a separate testimonial page).
Here’s how you can apply the E-A-T framework to the content on your website
Think about how you can communicate your knowledge and skills. Demonstrate that the content creator is an expert by incorporating:
- Case Studies
- Portfolios, galleries, or work samples
- Blog posts that provide value, information, or entertainment
- Valuable, educational, or interesting multi-media (images, videos, & podcasts)
- Worksheets, checklists, handouts, or other downloadable content
- Events, workshops, webinars, etc
Focusing on your expertise will bring you one step closer to being a thought leader and your customer’s go-to source for information. Always be factual and truthful.
Demonstrating your expertise goes hand in hand with your authoritativeness. Show the authoritativeness of the website and the creator behind your content by displaying:
- Team and/or leadership photos along with credentials and/or biography
- Board of Directors or Board of Advisors photos and biographies
- Author biographies for knowledge sharing & accurate references
- Certifications or licenses
- Logos of awards
- Press releases or news feed of media mentions
- Statistics that demonstrate competence (i.e. # of completed projects)
- Client logos or names
Showing your website visitors that you are an authority is just the beginning, then you can focus on showing Google that you are an authority.
- Build your link profile (i.e. the quantity and quality of links to your website)
- Create link-worthy content that provides value & is sharable.
- Cross-promote and encourage mentions on other websites
- Get social and encourage genuine and consistent social sharing.
These suggestions will help you improve your domain authority, an important search engine ranking factor. Domain authority ranges from 1 to 100 and helps predict how well a domain will rank in Google.
Show website visitors that they can trust your company by incorporating:
- Third-Party Reviews
- Cross-promotion & reference to third-party sources
- Answers to customer’s frequently asked questions
- Prominently display your contact information
- Membership or associations
Then, take it a step further and show Google you and your website are trustworthy by incorporating:
- A contact form as an easy way to get in touch
- An address to promote legitimacy as an actual business
- Terms & Conditions page to accurately set expectations
- Securing your domain with an SSL Certificate
Trustworthiness is also all about consistency and reliability.
As search engines evolve and customers become more demanding, it is time to focus on content! The importance of focusing on content will not disappear anytime soon, rather it will only grow in importance. Always create with a purpose and with your audience in mind. Google E-A-T is one framework for helping you think of what types of content to include, but it is only a starting point.