Content may be king but that doesn’t mean home builders should turn into a content farm for the express purpose of trying to boost your search rankings. It can be difficult to rank at the top of Google these days, but it’s possible with a strong foundation. That’s where Google’s E-A-T principle comes in.
So, what’s E-A-T and why is it important for home builder marketers to understand and follow? Here’s everything you need to know.
What is E-A-T?
E-A-T stands for Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness. Google first introduced E-A-T in 2018 when they updated their Search Quality Rater Guidelines, which were used by human quality raters to evaluate the overall quality of web pages.
Google uses this framework to determine the quality of a webpage’s content. As the leading search engine, recommending websites with relevant and correct information is a priority, especially for searches that can affect a user’s “happiness, health, or wealth.” The more a webpage exhibits these three factors, the higher is should rank.
It’s important to understand that E-A-T is a guiding principle, not an algorithm. However, Google does use this principle to base its algorithm updates.
How E-A-T is evaluated
Here’s how Expertise-Authoritativeness-Trustworthiness is determined:
Expertise: You must be knowledgeable or skilled in a particular area, whether through formal education or training in the field or “everyday expertise.” Expertise is determined differently based on the topic; Google understands that some topics don’t require formal expertise – like design, travel, or fashion. Expertise is doubly important for websites that provide information that can affect the health, wealth, safety, or happiness of a user. These “your money or your life” (YMYL) topics include:
- News and current events
- Civics, government, law
- Medical science and safety
- Information for groups
Expertise also includes the ability to communicate knowledge and understanding on a particular topic in a way that is engaging to people.
Authoritativeness: Not only are you a subject-matter expert, but other people in the industry do as well. This can be accomplished through link building (when other websites link to yours) and the sharing of your content across social media, blogs, or news stories.
Trustworthiness: Trust, or the lack of it, can crash your ranking faster than expertise or authority can build it. Take advantage of online reviews on your website and third-party sites and quickly address negative feedback as soon as possible. Too many bad reviews will signal to Google that your brand is untrustworthy.
Google’s Search Quality Rater Guidelines also includes these additional factors when determining a website’s overall quality:
- The purpose of the page
- Main content quality and amount
- Information about the website or main content creator
- Reputation of the website or the author of the content
Why E-A-T is important for SEO
Google knows that people use the information they find online to make important decisions and wants to make sure they are delivering the information users want (this also keeps users coming back for future searches). Following E-A-T guidelines shows Google you’re a trusted expert within a specified topic and providing relevant and accurate information for users.
How to improve E-A-T
While E-A-T isn’t a direct ranking factor, it can still affect your content’s overall rank. E-A-T tells Google that a website or piece of content is a credible source that offers relevant information to users. It’s just one part of Google’s algorithm that determines how a page or website should be ranked.
Home builders’ goals should be to create and maintain high-quality content on their websites. The common SEO advice for improving ranking is to “create high-quality content” but rarely discuss what makes content “high-quality.” Here are some steps to improve your E-A-T:
- Define your focus: Instead of writing about several different topics, define your target topic cluster and write content focused on that niche. Focusing on a handful of related topics within your industry will not only streamline your content creation but will signal to your audience what they can expect to learn from you.
- Continue to create new quality content: Previously, content creation has been focused on quantity over quality. However, this approach results in poorly written content that doesn’t offer any benefits to the reader. Instead, it’s important to find the right balance of creating and posting relevant and quality information at a regular interval. This can be achieved by creating a focused content marketing strategy.
- Strategically use sources and credits: Boost your authority and trustworthiness by including proper sources and credit when possible. This includes linking to reputable sites or original research, citing industry thought-leaders and other authorities, and creating authorship bios.
- Improve brand transparency: Customers want to know they’re more than simply a bottom line for the brands they support. Builders can build transparency through their content by placing important information in a prominent location, using language that is easy to understand (skip the industry jargon!), using clear titles and headings so readers know what the topic is about, and creating categories and tags to make it easier for users to find related information.
Homebuilders who consistently create content that follows the E-A-T principle will develop a reputation for trust and authority within their industry but will also enjoy the benefits of improved search ranking without needing to stress about Google’s next algorithm update.
Do you need help with your search engine optimization strategy? Graphic Language can help craft a custom SEO strategy that’ll optimize your website so you appear when home buyers are searching for new homes. Contact us to schedule a review of your SEO strategy today.