Food for Thought: The Impact of E-A-T on SEO

seo

Be forewarned, this blog might make you hungry because we’re talking about “EAT”.  And while that could lead many of us to dream about pizza or ice cream or dinner at grandma’s, E-A-T means something completely different in the world of Google.  E-A-T is insider lingo that SEO professionals think about when they’re calculating ways to increase Google rankings and enhance the SEO power of a website.  E-A-T stands for:

  • Expertise
  • Authoritativeness
  • Trustworthiness

These are the elements that Google says are essential to achieve credibility and excellence in your online content.  Gone are the days when cut-and-paste content and mediocre writing are good enough.  These days, lazy content is the equivalent of a terminal virus – it kills your website.

No amount of clever and colorful design can make up for low-grade content when it comes to Google rankings and user experience.  This is particularly true of law firm websites.

A Closer Look at E-A-T

Let’s take a closer look at what makes up expertise, authoritativeness and trustworthiness when creating online content.

Expertise

Highlight the expertise of your lawyers and firm by creating richly textured attorney bios, including educational pedigree, achievements and professional citations or awards.  Be viewed as a subject-matter expert that potential clients and journalists can rely on.  Content should be authored with expertise and agility, and information needs to be backed up by undisputable facts and reliable sources.

Authoritativeness

Ask yourself  – why should users and potential clients listen to me?  What authority do I have?  There are thousands of law firms and web sites out there competing for clients’ eyeballs.  Users make split-second decisions about whether to stay on your page and keep reading or jump to a different page and forget about you.  Your content must grab readers quickly and keep them engaged.  You can’t afford to have content that creates boredom or dissatisfaction.  Replace content passivity with strong action verbs, and tell your readers relevant information that they can’t find elsewhere.  Ditch happy marketing language and focus on clear, concise, informative statements.  Content should speak with authority and command the reader’s attention.

Trustworthiness

Nobody likes a blowhard or a speaker who comes off as shady or less than trustworthy.  Trust is key in getting user buy-in (as well as Google quality ratings).  Positive, credible client reviews and testimonials on your site can boost your trust factor, as can press releases that quote the firm’s senior leadership, show your firm’s involvement in the community and announce events sponsored by your firm.  Any kind of third-party endorsement – clients, media, community leaders – can also increase the perceived trustworthiness of your online content.  And while you’re at it, do a quick review of the back-links to your website – are they links to credible and trustworthy sites?  Eliminate any links that connect to low-quality content or questionable sites.

Time to up your game where quality content is concerned!  Yes, this means a little more time and effort and it may mean hiring a professional writer rather that creating content in-house, but the return on investment is great.  It will help convert website visitors into leads.

Google’s Quality Raters’ Guidelines

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Google has very extensive guidelines when it comes to ranking the quality of online content.  You don’t have to play 20 Questions or roll the dice when it’s time to create compelling, highly readable content.  Instead, familiarize yourself with Google’s Quality Raters’ Guidelines (QRG). Google is pretty clear when telling us how it rates content, articulating the kinds of things that make the grade.  Another great source that simplifies and explains the guidelines is Google’s Quality Raters’ Guidelines: The key to SEO success in 2018 and beyond by Dr. Marie Haynes.  Our Gladiator staff would also be happy to do a quality rating audit of your firm’s online content and make specific recommendations.   For an initial consultation, contact us.

Law Firms Are “YMYL” Websites

“YMYL” stands for “Your Money or Your Life,” which is Google’s way of identifying online content that it considers mission-critical and life impacting.  This content includes legal, medical, financial and transactional websites.  Google holds YMYL content to an even higher standard of quality because it believes users’ well-being and safety and well-being hangs in the balance when they use these sites.  This means all legal online content is going to face the highest level of scrutiny by Google.  So, keep YMYL in mind when spending the time and money on the absolute best content you can create for you law firm website.

Tips for Creating Top-Notch E-A-T Content

Here are some tips that can help increase the EAT-ability of your content.  Pay attention to these elements when you write.

1. Purpose

It’s very important that the purpose of your website is clear quickly.  Above the fold and preferably in the first heading, identify the function and services offered by your firm.  

2. Author

Identify who has authored the information.  The author can be a person, a firm or another organization that is cited, but a clear “voice” or “point-of-view” is essential to creating content that is credible, trustworthy and authoritative.

3. Contact Us and “About”

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This seems obvious, but you’d be surprised how many websites require a Herculean effort to find contact phone numbers and email addresses.  Don’t make your reader work overtime.  Create easily visible tabs with contact info and “About” firm descriptions to enhance your E-A-T.

4. Reviews and Testimonials

Be focused and enthusiastic when seeking out positive client reviews and testimonials.  These brand equity and drive Google quality ratings.  They are essential and should be part of your content planning and intake process.

5. Keep Time-Sensitive Information Updated

We’ve all visited websites with data from 2011 and references to events that happened six months ago.  Ouch!  This never looks good.  Be sure that all of your online content is up-to-date and refreshed regularly.  If you want a potential client to have confidence in your firm, you have to appear to be on your toes.

6. Off-Site Reputation

Your Google rating will be compromised by any links from your website to off-site content that is low-quality, questionable or absent.  This is a blunder that is unnecessary.  Do a quick audit of your site’s back-links and eliminate those that are unprofessional, low-quality or irrelevant.  While you’re at it, do a Google search of your firm’s and attorneys’ names and see what else is out there being said about you on other sites.  You might be surprised.

A Quick Recap on E-A-T and SEO

E-A-T has a huge impact on the perceived quality of your website and, by extension, you law firm.  E-A-T also influences your Google ratings and SEO.  Take 30 minutes and review your website, making note of the elegance and readability of the content as well as checking dates on news releases and data.  Make sure everything is recent and relevant.  Analyze your website’s ease of navigation, which affects user experience.  By ensuring the Expertise, Authoritativeness and Trustworthiness of your content, you’ll do yourself a huge favor in the long-run and increase the likelihood of converting site visitors into leads.

 

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