Google’s E-E-A-T is a concept used by search quality raters to evaluate search engine results. E-E-A-T stands for Experience, Expertise, Authoritativeness, Trustworthiness and is part of Google’s search rater guidelines.
Although the concept doesn’t directly influence rankings, it is an important concept to follow for Local SEO because E-E-A-T is based around building trust around a business and its team members.
Here’s how to apply the concept for Local SEO:
Note: These concepts have been applied to reflect the Google Business Profile audit template & checklist, and the guide on how to create local landing pages. However, this guide goes in-depth about the elements that may apply and their importance.
What it means: Google describes “Authoritativeness” with an example for when a content creator or business is a “go-to source” for the topic. This can be authoritativeness demonstrated by the content creator, the main content itself, or the website.
In the context of Local SEO, this can happen in a number of ways…
Examples of authoritativeness:
- A business’s Facebook page might be the “go-to source” for current promotions
- Team member is featured on a local news outlet to share their opinion on a relevant topic
- The business’s website covers a target topic in-depth with product / service pages AND investigational content related to the topic
There are a number of ways for a business to showcase and position themselves as an authority.
How to implement:
✔️ Business info: A great way to influence authority can be ensure accurate business information across the web. This is because it builds trust around the website for general business details and contact information.
- Website – A business’s own website may be considered authoritative if it has complete and updated information about the business and its services. This can include an “about” page with company info, team member pages, contact information / locations, and product /service pages (such as local landing pages).
- Google Business Profile – Set up and optimize your business profile with complete and accurate information such as business categories, contact information, and relevant photos.
- Local citations – Ensure other properties like Yelp, Bing Places, and Apple Maps have been create and are up-to-date with accurate and relevant business info.
- Social profiles – Create and optimize relevant social media profiles like Facebook with accurate and up-to-date information about your business.
✔️ Design elements: A business’s website should be easy to navigate, and allow users to find more information about the business’s history, location(s), contact info, team members, reviews / client testimonials, products / services, and menu (if a restaurant).
✔️ Social following: Creating social profiles and growing a following likely can also contribute to authoritativeness. This may also apply to team members / personal brands of those who are employed by the business.
Pro Tip: If Google recognizes as business’s social profiles and determines them to be relevant, the social profiles will automatically be featured on the Google Business Profile. These can’t be added manually, but adding social profiles to your Google Business Profile can be indirectly influenced.
✔️ Wikipedia presence: Businesses that are notable will be eligible to have a Wikipedia page, which signifies a high degree of authoritativeness and trust.
What it means: Expertise is described by Google as the extent to which the content creator possesses knowledge or skill surrounding a topic.
Examples of expertise:
- Verifiable reviews from customers who had a positive experience with a specific product / service
- Consistent Google reviews being generated with positive sentiment for products / services
- Website content (such as blog posts) have an author that demonstrates first-hand expertise
- Website content showcases subject matter expertise (such as the quantity + quality of posts on the topic)
In some cases, expertise isn’t always something that can be directly controlled. However, there are many steps that can be taken to showcase and / or build expertise within your niche.
How to implement:
✔️ Google reviews: One way to showcase expertise for a business is to consistently generate positive Google reviews. Having other users vouch for your business’s expertise for a product / service will help increase your profile’s visibility and conversion rates. Have a strategy in place to generate reviews on a frequent and ongoing basis.
✔️ 3rd Party reviews: Google shouldn’t be the only source of reviews for your business. You can also generate reviews on relevant 3rd Party sites like Facebook and niche directories (like FindLaw for businesses that are in the legal niche).
✔️ Author bio: One way to increase your site’s topical relevance is to post content about relevant questions. These pages should have an author bio that showcases the author’s credibility (e.g. expertise within the industry). Add an author photo, name, and a bio that showcases the author’s expertise and experience on the subject matter.
✔️ Topical relevance: A website should have relevance around it’s topic(s). This should include content around transactional and investigational keywords with a credible author. Local business’s should have a content strategy that covers all aspects of their topic (such as service pages, subservices, and FAQs).
Pro Tip: Use this Local SEO checklist to further improve your online presence and maximize visibility for your local business.
What it means: Google describes “Experience” with an example for when a content creator or business is a “go-to source” for the topic. This was added to what was originally Google’s E-A-T Guidelines in a December 2022 update.
In the context of Local SEO, experience can be showcased in several ways…
Examples of experience:
- An author bio that includes a significant value for the author’s experience in the industry
- A design elements that showcase numerical values for years of experience / projects completed
- Verifiable reviews from customers who had a positive experience a specific product / service
There are a number of ways for a business to show they have sufficient experience.
How to implement:
✔️ Founding date: An easy way to showcase experience is founding date or years in business. This field should be added when creating your Google Business Profile or retroactively added. If this is a significant figure (e.g. Since 1985 or 10+ years in business), this should be leveraged throughout the website’s content as social proofing.
✔️ Completed projects: Another way to show that your local business is experienced is to leverage numerical values like total # of completed projects or share case studies. For example, a plumber may have only been in business for a few years, but may have 100s of completed a projects. Similarly, a niche law firm may have only taken on a handful of cases, but collected over $500M for clients. These elements should be showcases on relevant pages throughout the website.
✔️ Reviews & testimonials: Acquiring reviews can also be beneficial for showcasing industry experience. For example, who would you believe has more experience; a marketing agency that says they’re the “Best Marketing Agency in St. Louis”, or a marketing agency that has 10 testimonial videos – all from recognizable local businesses / brands? Reviews and testimonials can easily be featured with text or video embeds so that they’re included and showcased on relevant landing pages.
Demonstrating expertise, experience, and authoritativeness will help build TRUST with prospective and existing customers. As a result, your business will likely see increased visibility in Google Search & Maps in addition to converting customers at a better rate.
When building a brand and representing your business online, these are all key elements to keep in mind to build trust with search engines and users – no matter the platform.