In August 2018, Google announced a new algorithm update called Medic, and since that time there’s been a lot of buzz about E-A-T. E-A-T stands for Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness. According to Google’s Search Quality Rater Guidelines (QRG), E-A-T is one of the top five ranking factors Google uses to evaluate website content. As a matter of fact, E-A-T is so important it is mentioned 186 times in the QRG.
Google has maintained the focus for websites should be to build great content and provide a good overall experience for users. In the past, Google has indicated websites need relevant content, high E-A-T, mobile-friendliness, and fast page load time (less than 2 seconds) to receive better rankings.
Google continuously updates its algorithm on an almost daily basis. In addition, they release Core Updates several times a year. Through AI and machine learning, Google is now able to rank content according to its quality standards.
In order to get your website content ranked in Google, your content needs to be focused on getting into the minds of your target audience (parents), thinking about the questions they want answered, and the intent behind their search.
Here are seven ways you can demonstrate E-A-T and rank your content higher in Google searches.
Focus on search intent
Google is getting better at understanding the intent behind search queries. This means when a parent types in “enroll in Sunshine Private School”, they understand the intent is most likely transactional, as opposed to a query like “are private schools better than public schools” which is most likely has an informational intent. In other words, in the first query, the parent may be ready to enroll or at least fill out an inquiry form for Sunshine Private School, but in the second query, the parent is most likely at the initial stage of gathering information about private schools in general.
Google recognizes four types of search intent:
- Informational – searcher is looking for knowledge
- Commercial – searcher wants more information about a specific institution, product or service
- Transactional – searcher is ready to buy something
- Navigational – searcher is looking for something online
Here are two tips for addressing search intent in your content.
Make sure you understand the search intent of your target keywords by running a Google search to review the top-ranking pages for your keywords.
Improve the user experience on your website
Websites need to demonstrate they offer a good experience to users, otherwise, the site might be penalized. Check Google Search Console to make sure you improve your page speed, navigation and use high-quality visuals.
Update your content
In today’s competitive world, it is vital you continually evaluate, update and republish outdated content.
To update and optimize your outdated content, you will need to:
- Understand and use Google Analytics and Google Search Console data
- Conduct a content audit on your website
- Update your content with new information
- Optimize your target keywords
- Understand how to optimize for SEO
- Add new and improved visuals
- Republish the post by changing the “published” date to the current date. This updated date will bring the post to the top of your blog feed and will also be highlighted in SERPs.
Build authoritative backlinks
Link building still is an important part of an SEO strategy. The reason is because Google sees backlinks as a “vote” for the site’s authority. There are many tactics for building authoritative backlinks, but here are a few tips:
- Create link-worthy content
- Track your competitors’ backlinks using SEO Coach
- Analyze the links to determine how recent the backlink is and the page that’s linking to your competitor
- Make sure you have relevant, beneficial content you can offer whoever is linking to your competitors’ page
- Send an outreach email about the added value you can bring to the existing page. Offer something in return for the backlink, such as sharing on your social networks or including it in your newsletter
Optimize author bios
Since Google focuses on Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness, they do consider the reputation of the author of each article on your website. Google looks at who writes your content and their expertise, authority, and trustworthiness.
Be sure to optimize internal as well as guest blogger bios. Here are a few tips:
- Keep bios short, between 50 – 100 words
- Write in the third person
- Include a professional headshot
- Make sure the bio represents a real person
- Don’t write a “goofy” bio – keep it professional
- Include reasons the author has authority, such as credentials
- Include a link to where the author can be found online, even if it’s a social media profile
Use stories and testimonials
Success stories and testimonials are not just good from an E-A-T perspective, but testimonials from thriving students, successful alumni, and satisfied parents will reduce potential parents’ anxiety surrounding enrolling in your school.
Parents like the reassurance of knowing how wonderful your school is as well as how their student can benefit from attending your school.
Build your school’s brand
Building your school’s brand will go a long way toward establishing trust with parents. Branding includes managing your school’s reputation in a world of misinformation.
But building your school’s brand can be challenging because it takes time and effort to establish trust and counter negative comments or reviews.
One aspect of building a positive school brand is publishing helpful resources that rank high on the E-A-T scale.
In the process of building your school’s brand, you’ll notice your website ranking in many searches. That’s a surefire way to tell your school is an authority in Google’s eyes.
Conduct keyword research
If you want your school website to show up higher in search results, you’ll need to master the keyword research process.
And there’s no better SEO tool for school marketing keyword research than SEO Coach – DIY SEO Software for Schools.
SEO Coach will help you build an SEO strategy – even if you don’t already know anything about SEO! That’s because SEO Coach walks you through the process. With SEO Coach, you will:
- Find the right keywords for your school
- Discover new content topics
- Analyze the competition
- Improve your content
- Build a local organic SEO strategy
Another really great feature of SEO Coach is the guidance you will receive. Each month, you will receive a to-do list of your next steps, including simple instructions. SEO Coach will help you improve your technical SEO, discover backlinks, conduct a backlink analysis, improve your page load speed, and much more!
E-A-T and other Google ranking factors are important for all websites. From resources like the QRG to other Google resources on how search works, Google has provided marketers with many cues about how important expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness are to search rankings.
Try to improve your school’s website by utilizing the seven tips listed here to give your content a better chance of ranking higher in Google’s search results.