No one understands Expertise, Authoritativeness and Trust like the team at MHC. In this webinar, we will explore ways to improve E-A-T as it pertains to authors on your site. The discussion will be supported by loads of information from Google’s Quality Raters’ Guidelines, and quotes from Google employees and Google documentation. We will also be showing some real life examples that demonstrate what good author E-A-T looks like and how we can improve upon it.
Missed part one? Here is the transcript and video for our first E-A-T webinar.
Author E-A-T Webinar
In this webinar we discussed the basics of E-A-T and then moved on to discuss the following:
- How important is author expertise?
- How can you tell if your authors have E-A-T?
- What is the best way to display author E-A-T?
- How can you build up your authors’ E-A-T?
- Do you even need authors?
- Real life examples of sites that improved with core quality updates after implementing our E-A-T suggestions.
Missed part one?
Here is our first E-A-T webinar with loads of examples and user questions.
Interested in hiring us to help diagnose your E-A-T issues?
You can find out more here about our site quality reviews.
E-A-T Webinar Part 2 Transcript
Alright and we are live! Hi everybody I want to welcome you to this webinar. We are gonna be talking all about E-A-T today and author E-A-T in particular. Those of you who were here in our first webinar for E-A-T probably recognized the set up – we’re here live from our office and then my employees are all very happy to be in the background right?
I wanted to I’m not gonna introduce everybody to you but I just wanted to point out Summar here if you wanted to say hi Summar. Summar’s gonna be moderating our chat today and if you have any questions for the webinar you can ask them in the chat right in the YouTube chat and we’ve got a Google Doc going where Summar’s going to show me the best questions for me to answer.
I should tell you we already have a massive list of questions so we’ll try to pick out the best ones but if you have a question specific to your site or something that we haven’t covered in the webinar, then let us know and we’ll see what we can do to to answer those.
And I’m seeing – wow – those of you ..it still blows my mind, the internet right? That we can see you know – hey from Brazil, hey from Las Vegas, from Mexico, it’s so cool! Anyways, you guys are not here to hear where all of our fans are, you’re here to learn about E-A-T.
So what we’re gonna do in this presentation is I’m gonna give you a little bit of a slideshow with some of my thoughts on E-A-T and how it pertains to authors on your website.
And then at the end of the presentation, we’ll go over two things. First we’re gonna do a little bit of brainstorming on how to improve your author E-A-T and I’m going to ask for some audience participation on that and then at the end we’ll have more time for questions hopefully if we haven’t covered your questions within the presentation.
So let’s see if I can work the technology here and we’ll get going.
So most of you have probably heard about E-A-T and what E-A-T is. It stands for expertise authoritativeness and trustworthiness. And when we first started talking about E-A-T it was over two years ago now. February of 2017 is when I firmly believed that this was really strongly added to Google’s algorithms and we’ll talk about that during this presentation.
If you missed the first presentation and I believe Summar can put a link in the chat for you and once the video goes live we’ll put links down below the video for you to see.
We did do a part one of this webinar and it was all about the basics of E-A-T and so if you’re not familiar with the concept I really would urge you to take a look at that. We also have a full transcript on our website if you’re somebody who doesn’t like to actually watch videos. And so you can learn a lot about E-A-T from there.
I’m going to start off by just doing a little bit of a recap of what E-A-T is for anybody who’s new here, but the main focus in this webinar is going to be about authors.
And one thing that we probably will be doing is doing a part three of this webinar series where we talk about trust. So those of you who are watching this and you have an e-commerce site or even a medical site or any site that really really relies heavily on trust, part three is what you’re really going to be interested in the most. We’ll cover some trust issues here.
We’ll do just a little bit of introduction for those who don’t know you know me. My name is Marie Haynes and you can reach my team and I at email@example.com
We specialize mostly in doing site reviews. We help websites that are affected by Google algorithm updates, Google penalties, we do a lot of link audits as well and if you are interested in having a site review then please do reach out to us.
And we’ve just recently added what we call a light review, so if in the past if you haven’t had the budget for our full extensive review this is something you might be interested in.
And you’ve already met some of my team. We are in Ottawa, Canada. And we really enjoy tearing apart websites and I think most of us are probably pretty geeky in that respect, and we have a lot of fun.
This was at Christmas time I bought John Mueller socks for all of my staff because we spend many many times looking at what John has said and transcribing his notes and yeah. So that’s just a little bit about us and what we do.
Just briefly we’ll talk about what the Quality Raters’ Guidelines are.
So most of you have probably heard of these guidelines by now. I feel like last time we did our webinar this was kind of news to a lot of people that these guidelines exist and that there’s such good information in there.
I’m not going to go over a complete recap of what they are because part one we talked about that. But in general what you need to know is when Google made these guidelines available to the public they basically said look you know we’ve had these guidelines around for a while and I should track back a little bit and say that the main purpose of the guidelines is to teach Google’s Quality Raters’ how to assess quality.
And that information gets fed back to Google engineers so they can say oh we made this change to the algorithm and yeah it actually was a good change and it worked because the Quality Raters’ are measuring the results and we’ve given them this document to say here’s how you assess whether a website is high quality or not.
And so then Google made these guidelines available for everybody and they said the purpose is to help webmasters understand what Google looks for in web pages.
And so that to me, when I read that, I was that really was mind blowing to me that Google has a whole document on what they want to see in terms of quality.
And people argue well you know, the guidelines they’re not the algorithm.
This is a quote from Ben Gomes who is the vice president of search at Google and he said “the guidelines they don’t tell you exactly how the algorithms are working but they fundamentally show what the algorithm should do.”
So my opinion is that if something is in the Quality Raters’ Guidelines, it means that Google is already measuring it or they want to measure it. And so we take all of the information in these guidelines quite seriously.
So let’s kind of jump into some quotes from the guidelines. The first one that I want to talk about is this quote from the Quality Raters’ Guidelines talking about low quality pages and they say that “a page is to be considered low quality if the author does not have enough expertise”. It says the author or the website.
We’re going to talk in this talk about the difference between author E-A-T and brand E-A-T and for some of you this is really really an important thing to pay attention to.
So if the author or the website doesn’t have enough expertise for the topic, or if the websites not trustworthy or authoritative then it’s lacking in E-A-T. And this is something that’s to be considered a sign of low quality.
So let’s take this imaginary situation that this lady looks very very concerned right now because she can’t find information on mortgage loans. Now there’s a reason why I chose this example. Imagine you’re searching for information on a mortgage loan; that’s what’s considered a YMYL topic: your money or your life.
Mortgage loans, you know there’s something that obviously involve finances and you want to make sure that the information that you get is trustworthy information. So if she’s doing a search for mortgage loans let’s say she came up on this article – I don’t know how many of you remember Articlesbase- it actually has gone completely offline now. I’ve disavowed so many links from Articlesbase because it really is not a great platform. It was a platform that people used for link building and we had all of these low-quality articles that were published.
Now the reason why I use this as an example is because this is an example that’s given in Google’s Quality Raters’ Guidelines. And what the Quality Raters’ Guidelines say is this: “the level of expertise of the author of this content is not clearly communicated.”
And so it’s very important that we need to show if you are writing any sort of YMYL content, you need to show the level of expertise of your authors.
So let’s contrast that with this: I did a search for – I think it was for mortgage loans – from Google U.S. this was one of the first results that came up. And so if we look at this, this is from investopedia, most of you have probably heard that name it’s a recognizable brand – I should say these are not clients of ours we just chose this as an example.
Here’s the author of this post his name is Robert Stammers. And so some of you in the questions – we had opened up our form to ask questions about author E-A-T – and some of you asked about how would we be able to determine whether our authors have E-A-T.
So I’m gonna walk you through the process that we use and maybe not step-by-ste, but show you some of the things that we do in order to determine does this author actually have expertise, authoritativeness and trust.
So the first thing I’m gonna do is actually look at his author profile. We’re going to talk about this but we believe that every article on your website in most cases should have an author bio, and it should have a link to an author page.
And so this is the author page for this gentleman and it goes much further this is maybe a quarter of the page and you don’t need to read all this but the point is this man is very very clearly authoritative and you know he’s got the skills to write on these topics.
And the next thing that we’ll do is we’ll take a look on the web. And one great way to do this is to look in Google News. So if you’re trying to figure out whether your authors are recognized as authoritative, here’s something that you can do. Put their name into Google News and I can see that for this gentleman there are a couple of hundred results. And when I look at these results you can see that every one of them you know most of them have to do with investments. And you know he is definitely qualified; he’s somebody who has been quoted as an expert in this area.
So let’s go to another example. This is a medical example and so let’s say that I have the flu and I want to know how long is this flu going to last. This is another example that was in the quality raters guidelines. So if I came across this article you know it looks like it’s not a horrible article, but does it have does the author have E-A-T?
So let’s look at the author here. Her name Jennifer Maughan and if I Google her name, so this is just from organic search, there’s a lot of Jennifer Maughans out there. So I actually added the word health.
I also tried searches with the word flu or medical or doctor, just trying to figure out does Jennifer Maughan have expertise, authoritativeness, trustworthiness to write an article about the flu that I should trust.
And you can see that these results I see her LinkedIn profile which is great. I see her Twitter profile. And these may be other Jennifer Maughans perhaps. The point is that there is nothing on the first page of results that made me say, oh yes this author is definitely qualified to write about the flu.
When I look her up on Google News, again the results that came up had nothing to do with medicine. I’m not sure this is even the same Jennifer Maughan and so you can see the difference here that one site is doing it right and one site you know I wouldn’t want information on the flu written by Jennifer Maughan. No offense if she’s you know – I’ve talked about her in a few talks.. If you’re ever out there Jennifer please let me know I have to maybe owe you an apology because I’ve been using you as an example of an author lacking E-A-T.
I know some of you who are writing or who are listening to this are saying well my authors are in the same boat. So we’re gonna brainstorm on ways that you can help fight against that.
But here’s what the Quality Raters’ Guidelines say about this particular article that there’s no evidence that the author has medical expertise and it’s a reason for a low rating.
So I actually did a Google search for the title of that article which was tips for fighting the flu and you can see that the number one I believe this site had the organic ranking as well as the featured snippet was Web MD.
So let’s look at WebMD and see how that article is. The first thing I notice is there actually isn’t an author. Ao we’re gonna talk about what that means that’s a question that a lot of people have: do I need authors?
But it is medically reviewed by Dr. Ratini here. So if I look if I click on Dr. Ratini, I get this bio. And again, we’re not going to read every single word in the bio but I can see the you know I looked really hard to try to find whether Jennifer Maughan was somebody who was known as having E-A-T in health.
And I can see here that Dr. Ratini is a family practitioner. She’s been seeing patients for a couple of decades, you know she’s actively involved in practice, she’s on staff at a well-known Hospital. This person is definitely qualified to write this.
And so we’re going to talk about medical reviewers and how you can add those because that’s something that can potentially help boost your E-A-T. And so you know this is fine to point out I think it was pretty obvious that the examples that we gave that those sites are lacking E-A-T.
I think most of you can probably understand what it means to be lacking E-A-T but the question is how do we actually make improvements? And that’s probably why you’re here watching this webinar.
So we’re going to talk first about on-page E-A-T in my opinion there’s two types of E-A-T we can look at: one is what we do on our sites and the other is what we do off of our sites.
So first of all, we believe that every single article on your website should have an author attributed to it. And I know what you’re thinking, that wait a second is this a balloon no that’s not what you’re saying but it was a really cool gif to use. And those of you have seen presentations of mine in the past, you know that I use a lot of cat gifs to sort of break up heavy topics like this.
But you’re saying but wait, you know every article should have an author but you just showed me articles that don’t have authors, they just have medical reviewers.
Take a look at this. This is an article from the Mayo Clinic and it’s authored by the Mayo Clinic staff. Now we see this a lot when we do site reviews; will see that authors are I think the most common author across the entire web is this person named admin.
Now in all seriousness though, don’t be using admin as your author name. And so the Mayo Clinic has used just their staff as authors.So does that mean we can do the same?
If you go to State Farm they don’t have any authors on their documents but they obviously have E-A-T. They’re known so as I said that you know that they’re an insurance company. What about IBM? IBM does not have any author information that we could see on any of their posts.
So here’s what the guidelines say: they say that “it is a sign of low quality if there’s an unsatisfying amount of information about the creator of the content.” They want to see clearer information about who created this content.
But here’s the important thing: so this is another example that is given in the quality raters guidelines and I didn’t show the actual – I think I can’t remember which newspaper this is from – but the point is here that there was high E-AT. They could look at the publisher or the author.
So the point that I’m trying to make here is if your brand is a household name, then you can probably get away without having author bios and still be considered having good E-A-T.
So if people know that your brand is synonymous with whatever it is that you’re trying to do, then you probably can succeed just on the E-A-T of your brand. But otherwise, we really all should be trying to have authors that are known as the experts in our field.
We also think that author E-A-T should be shown both on the article page – I’m going to show you an example in a minute – and also on a different bio.
So we like to see just a few lines on the page itself that basically the main purpose of this in my opinion is here for readers. If you read an article about the flu and you see that oh this doctors been treating the flu for decades and she’s seen every possible variation that you know is out there and all these different things, that helps me as a reader to trust the information in the article.
We don’t know whether Google looks at those individual author bios, but we do know that Google has said to do everything we can to try to make it clear who is responsible. So an author bio in my mind makes sense to do this.
The other thing which we haven’t I haven’t actually talked about in this presentation but that we should all be considering is adding schema, author schema.
We’ve been experimenting with SameAs schema to basically say look, my author who writes here is the same authoritative author who writes there.
That’s something that hopefully we’ll have more information on in the future, but the point is here you want to give search engines and users as much information as you can to say yes this is who is responsible for this content and here’s why we think he or she is most qualified to write about it, or is at least somewhat qualified to write about it.
But wait! This is from Google’s own blog. And so Google has their authors but they don’t have any sort of author bio. This link doesn’t point to Kate Brandt’s author page it just says she’s the author. The same here applies for authors as for brands.
If people recognize your authors by name, you might not need an author bio. But otherwise, you should do everything that you can to just give as many signals as you can to say look, this person is super super qualified to write this content.
Let’s talk about this super high quality piece of content. I don’t know if this is a surprise to some of you but Miley Cyrus apparently is dead at the age of 22. This is really really obviously fake news. And we know that Google has been trying to combat fake news and so this is low quality for a number of reasons.
This was given as an example again and the Quality Raters’ Guidelines. And what we see here is that the guidelines say – I mean they say a number of things there’s a lot of issues as to why this is is bad in terms of quality – but one is that there’s an unsatisfying amount of information about the website and the author.
And they even say there is no author. So again, we want to do everything we can to say here’s the author of this post here’s why they’re qualified.
This is another example given from the Quality Raters’ Guidelines that is about a condition called dry socket. I have had dry socket, it’s horrible. If you have dry socket, you are definitely googling for information on how to get rid of it. And this was a screenshot taken from the Quality Raters’ Guidelines and what the guidelines say is there’s no website information and this is your money or your life website, there’s no evidence of E-A-T, there’s no information about who created this, no contact information, no authorship information.
I should add this here – there’s some confusion about authorship and the fact that we no longer have Google+ authorship – just ignore that stuff.
When I’m talking about authorship, I’m talking about having making it clear who your authors are.
So what do you include on each author bio? Definitely stay away from.. we see a lot that WordPress sites will use this very standard here’s all of the posts that this author has written. That’s fine, but you need to have more information on those pages.
You need to – again these are things that are in the Quality Raters Guidelines and the readers are instructed to look for this type of thing. Like does this author have any schooling that backs up the fact that they have E-A-T? How many years have they been doing this? Do they have authoritative mentions?
We recommend that you actually link out to your authoritative mentions. I can’t tell you how often that happens that we ask our when we do our site reviews, we’ll send some questions and we’ll say hey have you been mentioned in the news and people will say yeah we were mentioned in Forbes and in The New York Times and all these places and then we can’t find those mentions.
So we want to do everything we can to make it clear to Google and to search engines and to users that this person is mentioned in authoritative places. And then any other information that explains why this person should be considered a subject matter expert on. So anything that you can do to say that this person is an expert is something that you should be including on their author page.
Just briefly, here is one of the author bios that I have used:
And we talked about the fact that I have so many years of experience, I contribute to authoritative places in terms of SEO, I speak at conferences.
And this was hard, it’s hard to brag about yourself. And so when we put this in my bio you know named one of the top five industry influencers by Rand Fishkin. Why did I put that there? Rand did an interview I think it was with.. might have been Entrepreneur, I’m not sure, and this was a few years ago, he mentioned me.
This is something that the Quality Raters’ Guidelines talked about and we’re going to talk about in a second is the fact that other experts mention you as an expert that can speak to your E-A-T.
And then on our about page, I linked out to all of the places where you can find me. Maybe not all, we should probably update this. But the point is I make it easy for people to determine that yes I have written a lot about SEO, I know a fair amount about my topic and have some level of authority to be able to speak on this.
This is another good example that we give out of how to write an author page properly. This is Alison Doyle from the balance.com. The balance is an offshoot of about.com. And you can see I’m not gonna read through all of her qualifications but she’s darn qualified to write on her topics and they’ve linked out to all of the places that mention her as an expert. So that’s the type of thing you want to do for your about pages.
Now let’s talk about off-site E-A-T.
And so to talk about what we mean here I want to go back to just over a year ago I was at PubCon Austin and I asked a question of Gary IIlyes when he was talking for a keynote talked about how Google measures E-A-T.
And what he said was it was largely based on links and mentions on authoritative sites. And so this is important to note it’s not just links but it’s mentions.
And a large part of off-site E-A-T is about links. And so some of what we’re going to talk about here is actually link building. But let’s do link building in the frame of what the Quality Raters’ Guidelines say.
So here’s a quote from the guidelines they say “the Quality Raters’ are told to find out what real users as well as experts think about a website.” And all over the place they say we want to see are there “recommendations from experts” and this is not only about the website but about your author.
Are other people that are known as authorities talking about stuff that you have done or that you’re off have done? Here’s another quote that says you know we can say oh a “positive reputation can be based on recommendations from known experts.” So these are things that we need to consider.
And here’s a quote from Glenn Gabe actually Glenn is quoting John Mueller in a Google Help hangout where he says somebody asked how do we recover from the March core update? So that was the update that happened March 12th of 2019 and what John Mueller said was he talked about “if the overall view of your site makes it hard to tell that you’re an expert that can play a role as well.”
So expertise is very very important. So how do you build that expertise? How do you get other experts to be considering you as an expert or to be considering your authors as an expert?
One of the best ways is to use HARO- maybe not the best way- but one way that we recommend that’s one of the easier ways is to use the service called help a reporter out (HARO).
And what HARO does is they send you a free email three times a day that connects journalists with sources and so what you want to do is you want to reply to requests where you can get mentioned in authoritative publications.
So if there was somebody looking for maybe a journalist is writing a story on teeth whitening and you’re doing SEO for a dentist, you could say to the dentist okay reply to this HARO request and they could get interviewed in a story on teeth whitening that maybe will appear in an authoritative place.
And so the idea is we want to get our authors names mentioned in connection with their topics that we want them to be known as authorities on.
Ao what about guest posting? Because this is sometimes a way to get authoritative mentions right now. I use this gif saying that it’s not safe which is not completely true. Some guest posting can be okay.
Think about if you were trying to raise your expertise in SEO, then if you can write if you can get a guest post on Moz, on search engine watch, on search engine land, on search engine journal, on SEMRush, those are all places where we could say yeah your name is mentioned on this authoritative blog and you know you could be seen as an expert.
But I know what you’re thinking: well it’s hard to get guest posts on those places, and you’re right – how do you get guest posts on authoritative sites you have to be an authority or you have to at least be somebody who knows what they’re talking about and so probably in the questions we’ll go into this in more detail.
So I’m not saying all guest posting is wrong but if you’re guest posting in a place that allows just about anybody the guest post, has almost no barrier to entry, then be careful.
I thought this was a really interesting example from the Quality Raters’ Guidelines. They list this whole article I think it’s from ezinearticles and the author is not mentioned but this was the author bio and if you want to know how to pop pimples correctly you need to check out the popping pimples right website – that very well I mean you know what I’m talking about here with author bios right?
You generally will say you know so-and-so is from this website and she’s an expert to expert on blah blah blah. And in the past we used to link back with keyword anchored links.
Well here’s what the Quality Raters’ Guidelines say about this author bio: there’s no evidence showing E-A-T. So that’s what we’ve talked about right? I would say this author has been an expert on dermatology since blah blah blah. But it also says – this is what I found really interesting – the about the author section of the paid page has an ad but no information about the author.
I think that they’re actually considering this popping pimples right link an ad. And so you need to be careful if you’re guest posting simply to get links, that’s not the right way to do it.
If you’re guest posting so that you can get your clients mentions in authoritative places and get their work more well-known then that’s the right way to do guest posting. There has to be a serious serious barrier to entry in order for your guest posts to be considered high-quality.
And I really like this tweet the other day from Joshua Hardwick from hreps where he said are you struggling to get high quality backlinks to your website? That’s why it’s still a ranking factor.
I remember when I first got into SEO and one of my first questions in the SEO chat forums was about how to get links and nobody could answer me because everybody who was getting links that were actually moving the needle were they were either paying for them or they were getting low-quality links.And so the types of links and mentions that actually work are things that really are hard to get.
And so I have a few ideas on how we can do this and this is the first time that we’ve done this but I’m actually going to open up the chat here and see if you guys have ideas.
So if you have an idea what I want to figure out is let’s say you have an author who’s not quite known as an authority in their area what are some things you could be doing to get them known as an authority online? And let’s see if any I’ll start off with the first but if any of you have ideas just throw that into the into the chat and I’ve got an eye on the YouTube chat here.
Let’s see here okay so one is to beef up their LinkedIn profile. Right and I should say you know we don’t know exactly where Google figures out it’s not like Google says oh LinkedIn says that this person is a doctor so they must be a doctor. They are likely gathering signals from all around the web to make a clear picture to say oh you know when this person talks it’s usually in reference to dental problems. So you know they can connect like oh this person probably has E-A-T in relation to dentists that type of thing.
Rich Tatum had a good idea he says publish articles in a local newspaper about your niche target I think that’s great I think provided that the newspaper also has an online version.
One of the questions that we had was whether you’re whether you could have off offline E-A-T.
And really you can I mean obviously you people want to see that you’re an expert offline, but if you don’t have it online Google probably can’t measure that.You know we were joking that Google could you know be spying on your phone or whatever but realistically if it’s not in the search results, then it’s going to be hard to see.
But yeah if you’re a local business then reach out to your local paper and say hey I’d like to write something on my topic you know. And the key here is to write something that’s really helpful and not salesy because I’m sure journalists get bombarded by marketers all the time. So this is a really good idea
And then the next one Roxana McDade asked what about syndication as far as getting links?So let’s talk about syndication in terms of boosting your author E-A-T.
This can be a good or a bad thing and it depends on what type of syndication it is. If you are trying to get an article syndicated just so you can build links um so if you know like hey if I publish on this website it’s gonna get spread across their whole network and I’m gonna have 4,000 new links to my content, that’s the wrong way to look at it.
If that network that gives you 4,000 new links also gives you incredible exposure and customers are coming your way and you know people are saying like oh I never heard of this brand but this brand is doing good things then yes that type of thing you can potentially help.
Let’s talk about other ways. So one of one of the ways to get really good – get other experts talking about your content is to actually produce stuff that people want to quote. And a great way to do that is statistics and any kind of data.
If you you know every business has data. We published data on when we notice that there’s an algorithm update. You know we have access to hundreds of clients analytics data and we can we can figure out quite easily Oh an algorithm update happened and so we published that type of thing and that gets us links and it gets me mentions in terms and gets the whole company mentions that speak to our E-A-T in terms of SEO.
Let’s see here. Rich has got some really good ideas here. Local TV especially can build a reputation. That’s a great idea. So I have one client a while ago why we’ve had several clients that were lawyers that would do a segment on the local TV channel that was all about answering questions you know whenever something came up that people had legal questions they would go on the local news and then it’s very important they take that video and put it on their website.
And so that speaks to.. like imagine I’m looking to hire a lawyer and I see this one person who’s been quoted all over major news channels or even local news channels and then I see this other lawyer that nobody’s ever talking about.
I think that that can speak to your E-A-T as well.
And another idea is social. You know who we’ve been really playing around with doing a little bit more in terms of social media lately and you know we don’t know exactly how much of social media Google looks at.
I had a conversation with Gary Illyes a little while back where he told me this cool story. And the story was about JJ Watt. So JJ Watt is a football player and this one Humane Society I think it was or some type of animal shelter, ran this promotion where you could go and for free you could get your picture taken your pets picture taken with JJ Watt.
And then this went all across social media for this particular animal shelter and Gary said that would speak to their E-A-T, provided Google can see the social media.
So if people are talking online all over the place about your brand, even if it’s on social media, this has the potential to speak to your E-A-T. And I know that that’s controversial because Google you know we know that the links from social media tend to be no followed and studies some studies have shown that social media doesn’t really impact your organic rankings but it’s hard to test that because if it improves your E-A-T, it’s not something you would see an impact for right away.
Other ideas for improving your E-A-T for your authors: really anything that can get them mentioned somewhere else.
So guest posting let’s go back to that. One thing would be to start off guest posting on sites that aren’t super authoritative but still they’re legit and they have a readership. And then you can move to kind of the next step up and say hey I’ve already written for these sites and look at my articles you know received this many up votes or you know have been very very valuable.
Because people send me these requests for guest posting that give me no value to me as the publisher. And so then you can get published in a little bit more authoritative place and then when you come to the big names in your industry, it can be more clear to them to say oh yeah this person has written a lot about this topic so let’s have them write for our site as well.
So the main point that I want to make here is: we need to be doing things to get our authors mentioned.
And so I’m gonna break this up a little bit here with a few examples of some clients of ours that we have helped and obviously I’m not going to give away the actual client name but just some situations where we feel like author E-A-T played a role in their recoveries from Google algorithm hits.
This is a client of ours that came to us after they were hit with the February 17th 2017 or if every 7th 2017 update and this update was one where I think they first started using E-A-T signals in the algorithm.
And now this site did as all of our clients have done a lot of things to help recover but we really feel like adding medical reviewers helped this site. So what they did was they had fantastic content written really really well and then they also went out and hired physicians. And the physicians legitimately fact-checked their articles it was very expensive for them to do this, but they have they’re in the type of niche where ranking well can be very very profitable.
So that’s one thing you can do is hire physicians hire people who have E-A-T and get them connected with your brand.
Let’s see here this next one it was a fairly well established brand and they were hit with the Medic update. And this site you know we were we were thinking you’re not really lacking E-A-T because they were known as a recognizable brand, but there really weren’t a lot of signals for Google to pick up on that.
And it’s hard to give away all the details without telling you the whole situation we really want to respect our clients confidentiality but basically what this client did was we had them put stuff on their about page to say we’ve worked with these big brands, we’ve won these awards, they’ve basically just extolled their E-A-T and they’ve been seeing really really nice improvements since then.
They went from ranking on page two or three for their main big-ticket term up to position one two three four those terms. And now we can’t say that’s a hundred percent because of author E-A-T because we recommended other things for them to fix as well, but we do think that that played a significant role.
This is another site with very similar situation where they were hit by the August first update. We recommended a great number of changes but one of the changes was adding authors to each of their posts and extolling their author’s E-A-T. And you can see that on March 12th of this year they saw increases
And then just one other example we have lots of examples like this but this is another site that really went full hog on E-A-T beefed up author profiles, added medical reviewers, they added LinkedIn bios on every one of their authors, they got them to add to their LinkedIn bio that they write for this particular website, and they also linked out to very authoritative places where their authors had been mentioned.
So on the author page they’d say yeah you know he’s written articles that have been featured on blah blah blah – all these different websites. And so they saw nice improvements with the March 12th update as well.
So okay we made it through the presentation. So we’re going to open this up to questions although we have a bunch of questions so we’ll figure out whether we go to the team but are the live questions first or not and probably –
I should just mention this here if you are looking for help with a traffic drop you can reach out to my team at firstname.lastname@example.org
And there’s information on our site audit review plans at mariehaynes.com/recovery so feel free to take a look at that.
So let’s go through some of these questions so my team has been adding some questions to a Google Doc for me so that I don’t have to scroll through all of the chat and I think we’re gonna start with some of the questions that were submitted first and then we’ll we’ll get into some of the chat questions.
So somebody asked what kind of things could potentially negatively affect E-A-T other than obvious things like bad links and thin content?
So this is a really important question because we haven’t talked about trust very much and I do think that links are a component of trust so I think that when – we’ve seen sites now we’ve started filing more disavows – and we’ve seen sites where we really feel like having a lot of unnatural links can contribute to a lower assessment of trust which can affect your E-A-T.
We don’t want to get too much into trust here but I’ll just mention a few things that could negatively affect your E-A-T. One is reviews. And you know we I wrote an article a while back about whether or not Google uses the Better Business Bureau because it’s all throughout the Quality Raters’ Guidelines that they’re told to look at that information and your BBB rating and it’s not that Google says oh this one website gave you an F rating so you must be a negative reputation site, it’s more that Google looks at the sentiment – I think I could be wrong on this – the sentiment of reviews across the web.
There’s a patent that was recently surfaced where they talked about how they could do that. They look at – I think they called it a corpus of reviews – and looked at the sentiment of it. And and so we’re starting to do that with our site quality reviews where we look at the wording that in general when people are talking about your company are they speaking in a positive or a negative light.
And I do think that if you have people saying negative things about your brand online, that can negatively affect your E-A-T.
Another thing can be a lack of reputation can cause us as well if you are your money or your life site, or you want to rank for YMYL queries, and there’s not a lot of reputation information available online, that can be a sign of low E-A-T.
And another one would be fraud a history of not honoring refunds things like that. We’ve seen that and it’s something that’s in the Quality Raters’ Guidelines. We’ve seen specially August 1st a number of sites were hit where there were complaints all over the web from people saying I tried to get a refund and I couldn’t figure out where their refund policy was.
So we’re gonna cover more of that in the next webinar. I’m not gonna say when that was because we thought this was gonna this webinar was going to be wait earlier than it is but we’re gonna hope for that you know at some point in the future.
Somebody asked: does how often a site is site is updated with new content effect E-A-T?
This is a really good question. There’s something in the Quality Raters’ Guidelines about keeping content updated. So if you are trying to rank for YMYL queries and you know your content you have some document that was great five years ago but has not been updated since then, that might be seen as a sign of low quality.
So it depends on your topics. I mean there are posts that are ranking for things in every subject matter that were written many years ago that are still quite relevant. One thing though is if you are a medical site you should be constantly updating your most important posts with the most recent information.
I think if I ran a medical site I would have one person’s job is just to stay up to date with the latest research and keep my pages updated. I think it’s that important.
Let’s see we’ll go to the live chat here’s a question: how important is it to have a medical professional review content specific to their field? Would it be okay for a pediatrician to edit something – oh okay I see what you’re saying.
So if you had a pediatrician on staff and you had an article about see knee surgeries in sports athletes, does it make sense for the pediatrician to – would their E-A-T transfer to that?
Probably you know what this is gonna be a lot of theory for me to answer this. In one sense it’s better than having me write that content, you know it’s better than somebody with no medical degree – although I do have a veterinary medical degree – but you know what I’m saying is it’s better than having somebody with no E-A-T writing it.
We actually had a client that hired physicians and they reviewed their medical articles and they saw a massive improvement on August 1st and then they were hit again on March 12th.
Now this site has particular issues that we think are contributing to this hit but one of the things that I noticed was that their medical reviewers it was this exact situation that they had medical reviewers that weren’t qualified in that particular aspect of medicine.
And we noticed that the sites that were ranking against them were all written or medically reviewed by people who had exactly that E-A-T. So I think the answer to that depends on what is happening in your SERPs.
You know if you’re trying to rank for a particular medical query look at the sites that are ranking number one and are their authors more authoritative than yours? So in most cases again I think it’s it’s good to have a doctor if you can get a doctor that actually has expertise in that area that’s even better though.
Somebody asked: if your site is not YMYL like a plumbing website does E-A-T matter?
Well I’ll say that a plumbing website would be YMYL. Any website that convinces people to part with money is YMYL. Now I mean you could argue there are certain queries that may not be YMYL. I suppose if I was looking you know if I was doing a search for how to unclog my toilet, it does affect my life but it’s probably not a YMYL query.
But if you are a business where people come and spend money at your business then your YMYL. So what was the question again here: so if you weren’t YMYL does E-A-T matter?
This is a question I’ve been trying to get an answer from Google on: exactly what constitutes YMYL? I asked a Google employee once whether – and this is not something you should quote me on because I don’t have this written down anywhere – whether oh this site is severely YMYL whereas this site that’s selling a $2.00 item is only mildly YMYL.
And what he said was that no, you’re either YMYL or you’re not. And so I think almost everybody who’s watching this webinar is YMYL and so and even you know there were some sites that I didn’t think where YMYL and the last update on March 12th – again I had information from a Google employee who said this was a YMYL update – and a lot of sites that we were like I don’t really know if they’d be considered YMYL were severely hit or saw improvements.
So you know I think the whole why my out thing I think if you run a website you should be considering E-A-T. Let’s see what other questions we can we have a lot more questions we can do here
How do things like influencer marketing services or third-party content writers affect the E-A-T of your site?
Okay so we talked about how important it is to have recommendations from experts. And you know influencer marketing can be a way to potentially do this. In all honesty, I have not gone down this road myself you know in a formal way but in my opinion influencer marketing is a lot like what we’re just talking about is getting experts to recommend you and your content.
So I think it can be useful but I think that it has to be legit like you know it’s I can see all these people concocting all these ideas to fake E-A-T I mean we’ve seen it. And we’ve had clients that have made up authors and you know made all these credentials and it doesn’t – we had one client that it seemed to work initially for- but it doesn’t seem to work.
So influencer marketing- well let’s talk about third-party content writers because this is a really really common thing. If people you know big websites they’re not going to sit around and write you know all of their content all the time right. You’re gonna hire writers to do it.
And I think if you are one of these companies that actually farms out writers there’s a big opportunity for you here to start getting writers that actually have E-A-T in different areas. Getting you know here’s our financial E-A-T authors here’s our medical E-A-T authors.
The problem though is so let’s say somebody in a financial niche had somebody who’s known as an expert in finances write an article for your website. It’s possible that that particular article might rank higher for YMYL queries then one that was not written by an expert.
But that author is not likely to build up your at your sites E-A-T unless you can very clearly connect them with your site. And so that’s what we like to see – you know if you can get those authors to say yeah I write for this website and on LinkedIn, in on their own website. The more you can do to connect them with your website the better.
So you can hire authors from these external sources but everything still applies. You know if you have authors that are fantastic writers but really even if they can research like a medical topic well they’re never gonna have the level of expertise of somebody who has been practicing for years and years on this type of thing.
Camp addict: thanks for all your expertise Marie. That’s great. And it’s funny because I’m speaking at Mozcon this year and I realize I’m actually gonna talk about E-A-T and how I built my E-A-T. So I’m excited to talk about that.
And really like if you’re trying to figure out how to build E-A-T for somebody who doesn’t have E-A-T. It’s going to sound kind of egotistical but you can look at what I’ve done. Like I was a veterinarian and I started writing things on SEO and was interested in it and then other experts were like oh this is interesting you know.
So really the key is in getting other experts to recognize that you are adding value to their community.
Somebody wants to know about YMYL sites that are selling products or courses.
Again this is kind of venturing into the trust aspect. You have to be really careful when you’re selling something. We saw a number of sites that were hit March 12th that we believe were hit because it was not clear what the beneficial purpose of their site was. And if your site exists primarily for lead gen and that’s not clear to people, and there’s really not a lot of benefit to – like imagine I’m looking for a roofer and I could go to a roofers web site or I could go to your website and you could give me three different roofers to choose, I know what you’re thinking that yeah it’s good for the user to have choice but most users want to know who is the best roofe.
And so you know you have to keep that in mind that if you exist just for lead gen then it’s possible that you’re gonna have some problems. So if this was your situation what I would do is find ways to add more value, not just saying hey we’ll find you the best roofers but have more information about how to hire the best roofer, you know common questions that people have, how to know if you’re getting defrauded by a roofer, that type of thing, that could potentially help.
How can you tell if your authors have E-A-T?
This is a great question. So I think I showed in some of my searches that I did in this presentation how we do this. But let’s say you’re not sure if your author is known as an expert in their field.
And so what I would do is say okay we want this person to be known as an expert recipes. And so if they’re known as an expert in creating food then you want to start getting their name mentioned all over the place.
So it’s one thing to have fantastic information on your website, about this particular person and how they have created these recipes and they’re known as making the best chocolate chip cookies around.
Well then start finding something. It would be very hard to all of a sudden take a new author and say this person is the best at recipes, but you could take a new author and say this person is the best at chocolate-chip cookies. And then get them known.
So how do you get them known? You get them giving interviews with HARO. Anytime there is something online about chocolate-chip cookies, you get them to jump in to the forum discussions.
Really the whole idea is to just get them known online. And then the other thing would be to have them produce some type of something that would be really helpful in terms of chocolate-chip cookies that doesn’t already exist online.
And it could be stats, it could be again like some data, – infographics sometimes can work although I think the vast majority of people who are using infographics are using them in a spammy way kind of like guest posting. So infographics work provided people are legitimately interested in your infographic.
From a medical content perspective are their core unbiased sites that create the best signals for E-A-T?
That’s really tough. You know what I would say find the sites that are ranking well. And I know I mean John Mueller just tweeted again today and we quote him saying this that like just because a big site is doing something for SEO doesn’t mean that you should be emulating that.
But when you’re trying to figure out E-A-T it’s something that is worth looking at so you know if you want examples Mayo Clinic is you know probably the core you know something we’ve been looking at too is entities and whether sites have a knowledge graph listing, and how extensive the knowledge graph is for them, that type of thing.
So I can’t give you one specific example but honestly a lot of the big brands you want to emulate. Or you can take a step down and just say you know look at my competitors and look at what signals they’re showing in terms of E-A-T and could we do something a little bit better with that.
Somebody asked whether content has to be written by an author with E-A-T or medically reviewed?
So again I think I’ve talked about this but that’s one of those areas that we don’t know exactly what Google measures. And realistically you know somebody who’s really good at orthopedic surgery is not going to spend their entire day writing articles on orthopedic surgery. But they could be reviewing articles.
So I don’t think a medical reviewer is just as good as having a medical author but in many cases I think it’s fine. So I think if you had the choice – well we had somebody contact us the other day and said you know for us to hire medical reviewers it was going to cost tens and tens of thousands of dollars so do we really think it’s worth it? In this situation I said yes, I I do think it is. Because we’ve seen it like if you’re trying to rank medical content without any sort of medical author or reviewer, it’s gonna be really really hard.
One thing we didn’t talk about is the whole idea of everyday expertise. So something that recently came out well the quality raters guidelines actually updated recently, and there was new information in there about everyday expertise. And they changed a lot of the references from E-A-T to say page quality.
And we think that google is going to try to get better at recognizing – or maybe they’ve done this already, maybe this was March 12th we’re not sure – but they’re probably going to get better at recognizing where an article is super valuable even if the author is lacking E-A-T.
So for example let’s say you were just diagnosed with some type of a medical condition. You may want to go to Mayo Clinic or WebMD or somewhere like that in order to find here’s the side effects of the medicines I’m going to be on, or here’s you know the prognosis for this particular condition.
But it’s also helpful to read forum posts from like oh yeah I was diagnosed with this and here’s what I went through or here’s what I found was the best place to buy the supplies that I needed to treat this disease. And so there are places where everyday expertise can really help.
So let’s say that you had a website about a particular medical condition and you actually have that medical condition but you’re not a physician. Then that counts for something, but what we don’t know is how much. And I think it’s probably query based so again somebody who’s searching for information where they clearly want the results the the advice of an expert.
That’s a different story for somebody searching for what is life like with diabetes or with you know a particular condition. So there are places where everyday expertise can be valuable and if you are one of those people if that’s your website, then you need to be displaying or we recommend that you display it on your about page, on your author bio.
And you can say you know so-and-so has been writing about this condition ever since her diagnosis in 19 whatever. You know she has researched thousands of potential treatments like that type of thing. And then I would also put it on your homepage to say we like to see it in the above-the-fold content to say you know here’s here’s why our site is recognized as authoritative, even though you know the content is not – I don’t know if I’d put even though the contents not written by doctors – but you can say you know we have been dealing with this in our lives for years and years.
The problem though is where people you know take these really inexpensive content writers that will write about anything and then try to make them look like they have E-A-T, I think Google can see through that.
Let’s see we’ll do a couple more questions we’re nearing an hour here and we don’t want to go too much longer, that said if you do have further questions you can either reach out to my team by email at email@example.com or you can reach me on Twitter at Marie_Haynes. I’m active most mornings on Twitter and some of you might have noticed I’ve been spending a little bit less time in the afternoons trying to actually get some business stuff done, but yeah Twitter is a good place to reach out to us.
So let’s do a couple more questions here.. if we covered some of these. Let’s see here, yeah actually we covered most of these. You know maybe this is a good place to wrap it up unless what do you think Summar, are there more pressing ones that we should get to?
I think we’re good. I realize we have not gotten to everybody’s question here and once again I greatly appreciate that you took the time to watch this. If you’re not watching it live then you know you can still reach out in the same channels; Twitter and email.
Those of you who are newsletter subscribers, we will be sending out a transcript of this at some point if you’re interested in that.
If you want to join the newsletter it’s maroehaynes.com/newsletter and we keep you up-to-date every week with what Google is doing and also our theories on what different Google statements and announcements mean.
So we’ll end it there and as usual I wish you all the best of luck with your rankings and hopefully we’ll talk soon!