Google's E.A.T. guidelines placed extra emphasis on quality content and link building

You may have heard the term E.A.T (Expertise, Authority, Trust - Google’s search quality guidelines for determining high quality content) bandied about over the last year or so and how it is so important for us as SEO’s to ensure our brand or the brand we are representing is seen as the leading expert in the industry. When E.A.T rolled out in August 2018 many in the industry noticed that YMYL (Your Money Your Life) results were impacted.

But here’s the thing – E.A.T doesn’t just impact YMYL websites such as finance, law and health, it impacts nearly every website where a user will be required to a) in-put personal data and b) spend money.

Abbi van der Westhuizen, Organic Search Manager at McCann ConnectedThis means it is now crucial that e-Commerce SEO’s need to have E.A.T as the solid foundation that forms their link building and content strategies. To help you on your way to developing your own strategy, our Organic Search Manager Abbi van der Westhuizen has compiled this guide to help you build links AND adhere to Google's latest E.A.T. guidelines.


The future is link earning

Let’s step away from the term “link building” because that doesn’t specifically marry up to what E.A.T is about. Yes, we still need to perform core backlink health management tasks such as reclamation - but E.A.T now means we really have to earn those high value links.

We know our content needs to be relevant and informative, but it also needs to trigger an emotional response. The person we are reaching out to needs to think, “I feel safe knowing that if I link to this source it will help the people who read my content” – that is the secret to earning great backlinks.

Four tips to earning links for E.A.T

Being fresh and thorough is key when creating quality content. So, where should we start?

  • Do some housekeeping

Accuracy, freshness and relevancy means we need to constantly review and reactivate our content. Take note of these 5 key quarterly housekeeping chores:

1. If you are an expert in your field, have you stamped your credentials on any opinion pieces?

2. Can you back up any factual claims with sources, citations or links?

3. Is the content too thin? Could you consolidate it or bulk it out to make it as comprehensive as possible?

4. Can you group related content through internal linking to solidify a running theme?

5. Is your content out of date? When last was it updated? Should you update it or delete it entirely – does it have value?

Once you have completed the above you will be able to see where the clear content gaps are. Align this with updated keyword research, particularly for informational search queries and you can reactivate your content strategy for E.A.T.

  • Fact - people love data-driven content

From League Tables to Unique Sales Reports, everyone loves data! Finding a way to create and share data-driven content without giving away the crown jewels could pose a challenge for many of us but there is always a way to bring data to life.

Using tools such as Google Search Trends or running surveys to find out what information our target audiences engage with is key. And if you’re lucky enough to have access to sample data then take advantage of Search Console and Google Analytics.

The secret to securing links using data is the method of delivery. It’s all well and good creating long, articulated blog posts but not everyone consumes information in the same way. Re-purposing the same data into an infographic, video or even podcast can make it much more interactive.

And we must target where our audience hangs out by making use of high-quality forums, social media, email, whitepaper, press, blogs – the list is endless. Just keep mobile in mind as no one wants to zoom in now-a-days. We do live in a mobile-first world after all!

  • People have long memories

The authority in nostalgic content stems from historic information and facts. It also presents a fantastic entry point to working with influencers and expanding our digital PR network.

For example, an e-Commerce site that sells a well-known brand can provide users with a ‘history of’ piece as a logical way of triggering those nostalgic memories.

Reach out to influencers to get their comments on past trends as a basis to nurture important relationships for future content collaborations and let’s position our brand as an expert contributor.

  • Building out to get to zero

The ‘Skyscraper Content’ strategy is still a relevant link building tactic even after E.A.T has rolled out. We just need to be smarter because Google has changed the goalposts.

Usually, skyscraper content involves taking a topic that is doing well in search and creating something bigger and better. While it is still true to do this, we now need to consider a changing SERP-scape with featured snippets and ‘People also ask’.

It’s more about comprehensive content than big content. We need to make sure our content satisfies nearly every conceivable query for that topic and therefore increase our chances to secure that valuable above-the-fold real estate.


If you would like to learn any more about our approach to link earning, or indeed how we could work together, please feel free to contact us here. We would love to hear from you!