SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) is a complex term for a simple idea. In order to make your website appear more frequently on Google and other search engines, you need to do the things that search engines like.
Of course, the reality is that the execution is pretty complex as attempting to manipulate search engines – or portray your business’s website as something it is not – can have the reverse effect.
Google don’t produce a handbook or instructions on how to satisfy their search engine algorithm but they do drop some pretty big hints. One of the most recent and important is EAT.
What is Google’s EAT?
EAT is an acronym and stands for Expertise, Authority and Trustworthiness.
Quite simply, if your business’s website can demonstrate these qualities, you’ll appear higher up and more frequently in Google (and Bing) search results.
The concept of EAT came from Google’s 2018 ‘Medic Update’, so called because the changes to the search engine’s algorithm were presumed to be aimed largely at erroneous medical websites offering spurious advice.
Confusingly, it introduced an additional acronym, YMYL. ‘Your Money or Your Life’ meant that Google was not only interested in your website being relevant but also being factually correct and accurate too.
The significance of YMYL and EAT were that they not only apply to the content but the author – essentially meaning that the website owner should have suitable credentials too. These might be in the form of qualifications, quality standards, accreditations etc.
How does EAT apply to my business and B2B marketing?
Most companies know that appearing in search results has an impact on their business, particularly if you are in a competitive marketplace or competing over a wide geographic area.
So how do you use the principle of EAT to boost your business’s online presence and gain new clients or customers?
Let’s look at each element in turn and make some suggestions.
To be an expert is to have a deeper and broader level of knowledge in a particular subject or area. It’s pretty obvious that a chartered accountancy firm knows plenty about company tax returns – but what indicates they know more than any other firm?
We’ve all been bored to tears by a so called ‘expert’. So, the second part of the expertise equation is demonstrating the knowledge your business has in a way your audience understands and appreciates.
One of the most fundamental elements of optimising a website for search engines is adding new and relevant content. This is most often through a blog or redeveloping core pages. Google rewards website which are fresh, full of information and always growing.
So, beginning with adding a regular blog, how do you demonstrate true expertise in a way Google will value?
Here’s some tips:
- Most businesses know that content should address the search terms or ‘keywords’ people use. However, its important to go beyond the basics. If you can exceed a website visitor’s expectations with the level of information, help or advice you offer, Google may reward you.
- Try to understand the true intent of the person searching. For example, “What is SEO?” can reasonably be interpreted not only as someone looking for a definition, but someone looking for hints and tips on how to apply it.
- Strike a balance between keeping things simple and going into detail. Make sure the salient points are plain and clear, then go into more depth. Try to pre-empt the next search the person reading your content might make. That is where the next blog or links to others come in.
As per the example of an accountancy firm, what proves your firm knows any more about your sector, products or services than your competitors?
For search engine optimisation, the simple answer is that others begin to cite your business’s website as an authoritative source of information. That’s Authority.
There are essentially two valuable ways in which this can be demonstrated to Google and other search engines like Bing and Yahoo.
The first is backlinks. In other words, other websites begin linking to yours as a source of information or in recommendation of the products or services your business delivers.
Of course, most firms are not in the business of simply giving out free advice, as it rarely pays the bills! So, whilst someone quoting or recommending your website is great, it may be more likely that people in your industry or sector simply provide a link to your website instead.
One of the strongest and quickest ways in B2B marketing and SEO to build such links is to create and disseminate press releases, articles and blogs which are then published by news, business and sector-specific websites. The more authoritative the website which links to yours (e.g. the BBC news website), the more authority rubs off on your business’s website.
Whilst a physical link is not always possible – not least because some news and sector-specific websites won’t include them when publishing an article – the simple mention of your name online is another powerful plus for SEO.
If your brand name is mentioned by others when referring to your sector, product or service, Google and other search engines will soon identify the link and give you some kudos.
Though it is arguable, many believe simply having your brand name included in searches for your product or service (e.g. ‘cyber security for Dell laptops’) is another indicator to Google you know your onions.
Trustworthiness is really about online reputation. It is the proof in the pudding that you not only appear relevant and authoritative but you leave a positive feeling with those who interact with your business.
One of the strongest indicators are positive reviews. There are no end of review sites. Many, like TripAdvisor or The Drum, are for specific sectors, whilst Trustpilot and Google My Business are more generic.
As well as reviews, there are some actions you can take for SEO to show search engines your business’s website is encouraging trustworthiness:
- Make sure your website’s domain is secure. Google really dislikes websites which do not use a HTTPS secure server
- Make it clear how people can contact you through your website and make sure your business’s physical address is clear and obvious
- Within the footer of each page consider including:
- Terms of Business
- Cookie and Privacy policies
- Returns Policy (if people can buy through your website)
- If you are detailing products (or services) on your website, include a comprehensive list of specifications, including any relevant do’s, don’ts or safety advice
- If you are sharing knowledge or information, cite the source and include a link
Something nice for Google to EAT
If you want to establish your business as specialists, experts, innovators or thought-leaders within your sector – and encourage Google and other search engines to rank your website highly – you need to optimise EAT.
Though it isn’t a quick process, there are some swift changes and improvements which can be made to kick off the process. Like all B2B marketing, SEO is then a case of doing the right thing – publishing valuable content and sharing it around the internet in a methodical way so Google takes notice and rewards your business.
Full Mix Marketing SEO
Search Engine Optimisation is increasingly important for every business. Post-covid, its importance is only growing as businesses and consumers go online to source even more of the goods and services they want to purchase. As your competitord get more digital savvy, SEO may be critical for maintaining your position, as well as growing it.
As B2B experts, we work with a range of businesses in sectors including manufacturing, engineering, IT, technology, business services and professional services. As a full-service agency, we can provide as little or as much of their strategic, digital and creative marketing as they need, often acting as their entire outsourced marketing team.
SEO is increasingly important, with our team of SEO experts delivering short and long-term optimisation to ensure more people find our clients online, identify their strengths and choose their products or services.
SEO is complicated, but it need not be daunting with our help. If you need help get more clients online, get in touch.