Content MarketingLink BuildingLink Building Strategies The Myth of E-A-T and Link Building: Why E-A-T Content Needs Link Building

August 20, 2020by Lindsey Sabado

SEOs talk a lot about Google’s ranking algorithms. However, no one outside of Google can verify the exact algorithms used or even how often they change. As a result, it’s challenging to discern opinions from facts regarding how the algorithms work. 

To avoid such confusion, both beginner and experienced SEOs should continuously refer back to the official information that Google makes public. 

E-A-T (Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness) content is a topic that has generated plenty of disagreement within the SEO community. 

Nevertheless, incorporating the concepts of E-A-T into an SEO strategy can positively impact activities such as link building.

The Misconception of PageRank and E-A-T

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In recent years, a fundamental misunderstanding of Google’s guidelines has led countless SEOs astray. 

Ever since Google introduced the concept of E-A-T content into their Search Quality Evaluator Guidelines, many digital marketers have considered E-A-T an algorithmic ranking factor. 

This is not the case—there is no E-A-T score assigned to content and incorporated into an algorithm. 

The quality raters’ guidelines do not represent algorithm ranking factors. 

If E-A-T isn’t a direct, numerical ranking factor, then why does Google emphasize the importance of expertise, authority, and trustworthiness? 

The concept of creating sites with the qualities of expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness has always been encouraged by Google, long before there was a quality raters guideline. 

The concept of E-A-T was created so that third party search quality raters could all use the same standards for judging search results generated by algorithms that were being tested.

The search quality raters guidelines are a standard that Google requires third party quality raters to use so that they avoid using their own subjective judgment. Google then uses this feedback to check if their algorithms are performing well.

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Many content creators and digital marketers, especially beginners, conceptualize ranking factors as boxes to check off. 

If you treat E-A-T content guidelines as ranking factors in and of themselves, you may be tempted to create E-A-T-centered content and leave it at that. 

However, the idea that “if you build it, people will come” doesn’t apply to digital content. 

Creating pages with well-written text that follows E-A-T principles does not guarantee high rankings unless it is properly promoted. 

For content to secure a top rank in Google search results, a publisher needs to consider more than just expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness. 

Promotional strategies still need to be employed.

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When it comes to creating and promoting E-A-T content, you should treat the pages you develop like any other content asset. This means following best practices for SEO. 

SEO Content Creation: 

  • Matching search intent, 
  • Selecting the right keyword and optimizing accordingly within your title, body text, meta description, first image alt tag, and URL,
  • Writing short, easy-to-read paragraphs,
  • Reaching an appropriate word count, 
  • Including multimedia assets such as video, audio, images, and infographics 
  • Having excellent page design and user experience, and
  • Adding external links to high-authority sites with useful resources.

SEO Promotion: 

  • Running paid ads,
  • Sharing content on social media,
  • Linking to content from your email newsletter,
  • Intuitive site structure and internal linking, and
  • Link building.

The Myth of “If You Build It, They Will Come“: Why E-A-T Content Still Needs Link Building

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While E-A-T is a qualitative metric, link building is a mostly quantitative metric. Google’s algorithms assess the number of links leading to a page or domain and the relevance of the pages that are linking.

The myth surrounding E-A-T—that content is given an E-A-T score that’s used by an algorithm—perpetuates the disconnect between embracing E-A-T principles and employing link building tactics. 

For the best results, digital marketing teams need to coordinate their content development and link building outreach. 

1. Establishing Links to Your Internal E-A-T Content 

If created with expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness, content should improve ranks and land itself on the first page of Google’s search engine results pages (SERPs). 

However, this takes time and may not come to fruition if your competitors also have high-quality E-A-T content. This is where link building plays a vital role. 

To signal to Google the excellence of your content, you’ll need to leverage your E-A-T content to attract links to the content. 

Your link building campaign should prioritize your highest-quality E-A-T content that satisfies search intent for your targeted keywords. 

Fortunately, developing E-A-T content lends itself to successful email outreach. 

Bloggers, publishers, and enterprise websites all aim to provide their readers with accurate information and useful resources. Your E-A-T content should naturally fulfill these criteria for relevant pages. 

When you or your marketing team reaches out and requests referral links, be sure to communicate how your content shows expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness. 

Keep in mind that the most valuable referral links come from high-ranking, high-authority pages that are relevant. 

A few promotion strategies that work particularly well for E-A-T content include pursuing links from well-established resource pages, including targeting sites that link to competitors.

2. Disseminating E-A-T Content with Links to Your Website 

Creating guest posts that follow E-A-T guidelines also makes securing backlinks more achievable. 

Again, focus on bloggers and other online publications that serve their audience with frequently published quality content. 

If the content you offer is also high quality, they’ll be far likelier to publish your content. 

Offering your content to high-traffic websites serves two goals: 

  1. It earns you a backlink.
  2. It directs traffic to your website.

For these purposes, it’s essential that you focus your time and energy on the most relevant and realistic targets. 

To identify relevant sites, always go back to your customer demographic profile. 

  • Where does your target audience spend time on the web? 
  • What broader areas of interest is your niche a part of? 
  • What adjacent niches interest them? 

Once you identify those elements, you’ll be able to find blogs within the niches that accept guest posts. 

An article from Forbes recommends using aggregated blogger lists, Google’s advanced search operators, competitor examples, and third-party tools like Buzzsumo to find potential blog partners.

Guest Posts with YMYL Content 

But for link building purposes, it’s important to note that E-A-T guidelines apply to Your Money Your Life content. 

Like Google, bloggers tread carefully with any content that could influence the “happiness, health, financial stability, and safety” of their readers. 

Before reaching out, ask yourself: could the content you offer impacts readers in this manner? If so, it’s even more essential that you demonstrate to the perspective blog partner the expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness of your writing.

Holistic SEO Marketing and E-A-T

The complexity of Google’s algorithms frustrates many SEOs, business owners, general marketers, and content creators. 

So when Google elaborated on E-A-T in their updated Search Quality Evaluator Guidelines, it seemed like SEO marketing was only going to get more complicated. 

However, having these guidelines spelled out directly from Google should make content creation simpler. 

That’s not to say creating high-quality content is easy, but the acronym does make it more clear what type of content Google sees as valuable and useful. 

Producing E-A-T content isn’t a new, stand-alone project you’ll have to take on. Instead, the principles of E-A-T, if thoughtfully implemented, should fit right into your overall SEO marketing strategy and the work you’ve been doing all along.

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Erik Braunitzer,

Director of SEO

Erik is an SEO power house focused on advanced distribution tactics, technical on-page SEO, and content strategy.

Jon Lightfoot,

VP of Strategy

Jon Lightfoot was founder and CEO of a successful chemical and fragrance company. Upon exiting that role he spent more than a decade agency side and several years brand side wherein he honed robust marketing, strategy and data intelligence acumen. Jon’s strategic marketing initiatives have stewarded healthcare providers, agencies, learning and education based companies, eComm and Fortune 500 companies alike in meeting or exceeding their SEO, branding, performance and audience expansion goals.

Lindsey Sabado,

Content Production Specialist

Lindsey manages the day-to-day management of freelancer writers and editors as well as content production. In addition to holding two BAs in History and English from Binghamton University, she has a Masters in Magazine, Newspaper, and Online Journalism from Syracuse University’s Newhouse School of Public Communications.

Fun fact: Lindsey has traveled to 11 countries and it’s on her bucket list to visit every continent.

James Allen,

PureLinq Developer

James is the PureLinq Developer. He is responsible for building and maintaining the client portal.

Fun fact: James lived in Japan for five years.

April Rink,

Senior Content Manager

April’s position at PureLinq has her overseeing all content production, managing a team of freelance writers and editors, and building out our content guidelines. She has an MA in print and digital journalism from the Newhouse School at Syracuse University and a BA in Communication Studies and Marketing from Cazenovia College.

Fun fact: April basically runs a zoo with a pet rabbit named Lily and two Australian Shepards named June and Hank; chickens coming soon. She also likes to refurbish furniture in her spare time.

Marcus Larabee,

SEO Strategist

If it needs to get done, Marcus can figure it out. He has worked on e-commerce and lead generation programs for a variety of digital marketing projects. These experiences include SEO, PPC, web analytics, minor development, and email marketing.

Fun fact: Marcus, otherwise known as Larabee Live, is a one-man-band that plays all around Central New York.

Joseph Pineda,

Outreach Specialist

Joseph helps to scale up the PureLinq database through blogger research and outreach. He builds white-hat links for high-value content and pages with niche audiences.

Steven Szeliga,

Senior Outreach Specialist

Steve has over a decade of SEO and link building experience. He focuses on building white-hat links for high-value content and pages with niche audiences.

Colin Gacek,

Senior Outreach Specialist

Colin performs link mining and outreach for PureLinq’s clients and brings a high level of organization to manage a large number of link placements each month.

Fun fact: Colin loves techno music and playing video games.