There are three letters of the alphabet that are essential to the online success of your business. Many business owners assume these are SEO, but in terms of Google these are E-A-T, which stands for Expertise, Authoritativeness and Trustworthiness.
The importance of these three little letters basically boils down to this – if your business or your website is about a topic that can directly impact somebody’s life (e.g. finance, health, law), or provides a service that requires knowledge, you should make it clear why you are qualified to do so. This builds trust and shows that you know what you are talking about.
Let’s break it down…
To showcase your expertise a well-thought-out and clear “About Us” section is priority number one. Don’t be afraid to show website visitors who you are, how successful you are and why you offer the service you offer and what qualifies you to share your knowledge. Ideally, there should be more than a brief bio for each person for your business. Links to social media profiles, and details of published works and publications (e.g. books, whitepapers), are just a few of the things that can increase credibility, but it is essential that all if these points are correct, links are working if connecting to other websites and there are no errors or typos. Equally beneficial are case studies and throwbacks to previous projects you have been involved in.
When showing your expertise in your link building campaigns, all the above rules still apply. It is imperative to add the information required to detail who created the content asset, where the information comes from and how the conclusion / statement came about or can be verified. Your campaign’s reach can also be increased if it features quotes or material from a subject-matter expert. A genuine expert typically has a sizable online following on their own platforms. That group could be reached by your campaign. A campaign is also considerably more likely to receive a connection if a credible authority supports it.
Authority refers directly to reputation and cannot be faked, this has to be built over time. If you want to get an understanding of your authority, mentions and branding are essential factors. How do others talk about your brand? In which context are you mentioned? Who mentions you? These recommendations do not have to be from an authority in your industry or sector, customers, business partners and suppliers can all vouch for our authority. Positive customer reviews on external sites such as Trustpilot, are also very effective in building authority.
External links and mentions on other websites are the main metrics used to gauge authority. You can also reiterate what people are saying about your brand on your own website. With a link to the original source, you can mention the positive reviews you receive on sites like Trustpilot or Google Reviews on your site. You could also list any trustworthy businesses or brands that you have collaborated with. Link building and authority go hand in hand; the authoritativeness of your website will rise if it has backlinks from other trustworthy websites in your niche and if your brand is discussed favourably on external websites. Both link building and authority development takes time and effort.
Visitors to your website won’t purchase from you if they don’t trust you. Likewise, Google will not rank your website in searches if it does not believe it to be trustworthy. Even though trustworthiness is a very individualised concept, you may test your own level of trustworthiness by asking yourself if you would trust your website if you clicked on it.
As with any human relationship, a number of factors contribute to the development of trust, which can be rapidly destroyed. The most crucial factor is sincerity. Be open and honest about your identity and activities. Every piece of information on your website must be accurate. They won’t trust you again once they discover a lie! This usually applies to your contact information and About Us page. Give as much accurate information as you can about yourself and your company. Any address or phone number should be accurate, and if a client approaches you, be sure to respond. A disconnected phone line or poor customer service are the only things that could make people less trusting of you.
Brand consistency, professional style and design, and of course the use of good grammar and language are additional crucial elements of trust-building. If your website’s content is a poor machine translation with glaring spelling errors, readers won’t trust it. Also, be sure not to overlook links, pop-ups and ads, these should only be used where appropriate – very few internet users trust websites cluttered with distracting ads.
There is nothing more difficult than this when it comes to your link building campaign: If people don’t trust you, they won’t link to you. This is even more crucial for campaigns driven by data. ALWAYS add methodology and sources to acknowledge where your data comes from and/or how you arrived at your conclusion. If you conducted a survey to gather the data, be sure to include the where, when, who, and how information. Describe the actions you took to analyse the data. If you use statistics from external websites, make sure they are reliable and cite every single source you consulted.
Bad practices and little or no online regulation have made these standards necessary. Get your E-A-T practice right and remember it in everything you do for your business online, it will not only improve your organic rankings. Additionally, it will make any link building campaign easier. People will gladly link to your website when they consider you as an authoritative figure and a trustworthy expert. Also to answer the question “Should I buy links?” The answer is simple, NO! Although it can appear that they can quicken the process, eventually you risk losing all credibility. If you are discovered using sponsored links, your organic links will also lose some of their power, and you will lose respect in your industry. The sale of links on your website operates in a similar manner. Although it could earn you some money right away, it will damage your reputation over time.