Nowadays, regardless of what types of businesses you are running, having a website is a must. You need to have a good website to attract potential customers and turn them into actual customers. Have you ever heard of marketing funnel? It describes your customer’s journey with you from the initial stages when someone learns about your business. The end of the funnel is the purchasing stage. To make a customer buy your products, they need to go through different stages in the funnel. And your website plays a vital role in taking your customers through the funnel stage by stage. It helps potential customers find out more about your business. Eventually, it influences your customers’ buying decisions.
But having a stunning website is not enough! For example, you are a good guy. But you only stay at home and never go out to social events. Then how can you find a girlfriend? You are a good guy but you are single. This is because you do not let girls know your existence! Yes, you need to let girls find you! it applies to the world of business too. When you offer products and services, you need to let people know. When you have a good website, you need to let people find your website.
To let people find your website, you need to master SEO (Search Engine Optimization). Because the amount of information online is so vast, so we use search engines like Google to navigate it. Generally speaking, we trust search engines. The higher a website ranks in the results pages, the higher chance we will open it and engage with it’s content. The user believes Google shows the most relevant results. Google has a stake in this as well: if people cannot find what they want on Google, they won’t use it anymore.
This is the reason why Google invests heavily in their search algorithms. They need to determine which sites deserve to rank highly for each query entered into its search engine. Google has to keep the search results fair. So that the sites appearing for each search are there because they are relevant and useful.
If you are a website owner, you need to create a website that Google wants. A website that ranks high for certain keywords and queries. This is the magic trick of SEO. In this article, we’ll explain the successful formula of SEO – EAT (Expertise, Authority, Trustworthiness). And EAT is not just a buzzword. It came from a very important official document called “the Google Search Quality Evaluator Guidelines”. The guidelines give us an idea of what is seen to be a good website from Google’s perspective. To rank well, you need to maintain your website by building its expertise, authority, and trustworthiness.
So what exactly are they?
Expertise is defined by the Oxford dictionary as “expert skill or knowledge in a particular field”. But what does it mean? How are you going to show your expertise in your website?
For example, if you are a self-employed accountant and you have a website to attract potential customers. Then you should create content with your expert accounting knowledge. You also need to know how to express this knowledge in a way that engages people. “Content is king” is a well-known phrase used in the SEO world. You need to create great content that your visitors love. Sounds too simple? Yes it is. It is basically the golden rule of SEO.
But how do you create expert content? Well, find out what your audience is searching for. You need to know what your audience wants. Then meet and exceed their needs. This begins with keyword research.
For example, there are lots of small business owners looking for accountants. They need accountants to properly manage their finances. And they are probably not an expert in accounting. That’s why they are searching online for help. So, you can publish some useful accounting tips for small businesses. This type of content provides value to your visitors. When you deliver useful accounting information in your website, it improves your Google rankings.
But what if you are not a professional, how can you demonstrate your expertise? For example, you are a travel blogger. You run a blog and you need a huge amount of traffic to your blog to generate enough advertising revenue. Unlike accountants, you are not a professional. You do not have formal qualifications. Then how can you show your expertise?
Use “everyday expertise”! Even if you don’t have any formal qualifications in your online domain, you can still be an expert in a field if you have good experience. Your field can be a hobby like cooking, guitar or photography. For example, if you travel across 25 countries, you can publish your experience in your blog. Always bear in mind to write something your audience would love to see. Like travel tips, interesting experience, flight information…etc.
When you have no clue about what to write, always remember to do keyword research. This is a very good way to understand what the searchers want. So you can publish something that is relevant to them and prove your expertise.
Also, don’t make your content too hard to read. Find the right balance between being comprehensive while keeping it simple. Format and layout are important. Use visual aids or media like video or audio. This can make your content more engaging. And you should frequently review and update your website. Providing up-to-date content information is also one of the key factors. For example, if you are running a stock investment blog, but your last update was 5 years ago. Who would want to read a stock market analysis 5 years ago?
Authoritativeness is another key factor. Okay, imagine you have a great expertise in fishing, you publish a website about fishing and you have a lot of useful content. But how can Google trust you?
When other experts or influencers in your field are citing you, it certainly increases your credibility. So, getting links from relevant and credible websites are important. It is a huge factor when it comes to ranking websites. Link building is a very good strategy. It occurs when an agreement is made between two websites to trade links to boost site authority. You can simply reach out to different websites and ask for the exchange. But be careful! Only getting links from authoritative and trustworthy websites will boost your authoritativeness. You have to select the websites carefully.
And if your brand and services are good enough, it may be mentioned in the news or other influential websites. This will boost your authoritativeness for sure! And this is not just good for SEO. When you get enough publicity, it also helps you create a stronger brand.
At the end of the day, you need to create good content to boost SEO. Create good content that people will mention in their own websites and talk about your it. This creates a positive impact in your business.
Trustworthiness is really important in the business world. People buy your products because they trust you. The same applies to SEO. Google gives you better rankings because they trust you. So how can you increase your trustworthiness?
Do you have a clear way to make contact with you on your websites? Do you have a physical office or store address? Do you provide clear instructions, sale policy, and terms and conditions to your customers? Google will look into these factors.
If you’re running a content business, having an author biography is recommended. For example, you’re an English teacher and you run a website to talk about language learning. It’s important to highlight your profile so people know your background and qualifications. Citing external sources where relevant is also a good thing.
Positive reviews on places like Tripadvisor, Booking.con, Facebook, and so on are going to help. Because at the end of the day, you need to please your customers. And when you receive complaints online, make sure you address them properly. Ignoring any negative sentiment around your business hurts your SEO. Google is very clear about this in their guidelines. Too many bad reviews is a sign of low quality!
After learning the concept of EAT, you should have enough knowledge to build and create your own website and content. But before we go, let’s talk about some SEO Don’ts. Avoid doing the below things to protect your EAT!
- Don’t do keyword stuffing
Performing keywords research is important But you should never use too many keywords in your content. Remember, write for humans, not for the search engines. Make sure your content is easy to read and digest.
- Don’t copy another website’s content
Always create unique content. Duplicate content is not something that you should do. If you’re copying someone’s ideas, you are not showing your own expertise. It undermines your authority and trustworthiness as well.
- Don’t link to low-quality websites
Always pay extra attention to what websites you are linking. Linking out to low-quality sites can decrease the value of your website. Never link to untrusted sources.
- Don’t publish low-quality content
You’ll be penalised when your content is very short and incomplete. Also, do not publish low-quality content that is true. It’s important to have a lot of high-quality content on your site.
- Don’t accept spam comments
Having genuine reviews and comments is important. But the sad thing is many comments are spam! You have to moderate all comments before approval. Never accept comments without real names and contact information. Remove spam comments as soon as you realise them. It makes your website less trustworthy.
- Don’t write guest posts for bad websites
While it’s very good to write guest posts on other sites to increase your authority, never write for websites that are not reputable. Don’t waste your time to write for sites that have a very bad reputation!
- Avoid irrelevant links
Don’t be crazy about link building! Links from unrelated websites will get your website penalised by Google. For example, if you have an online shop site that sells yoga clothes, links from fishing sites will not be useful. It makes no sense to have links from irrelevant sites, from completely different niches.
Okay, after learning the basic concept of SEO, you should now be ready to create a great website! Remember, as a content creator, you have your voice. So you should be responsible for the content you create. Especially your content can influence people’s actions. There is a term “Your Money or Your Life” (YMYL). It refers to topics that could directly impact the reader’s happiness, health, safety, or financial stability. Typical examples are finance, news, shopping and health. If you publish content in this field, you need to be extremely careful. Google takes these topics very, very seriously. Because your content can affect people’s lives! These topics need to contain the highest levels of EAT.
In short, SEO is a very cost-effective solution. Nowadays, businesses spend large amounts of money on advertising. But SEO is a great way to drive qualified traffic to your site without directly paying for it. It’s free, effective and direct. Of course, you can still invest in advertising! But if you’re working with a tight budget, SEO is definitely very useful!