In the early days of search Google wasn’t all that good at differentiating between content that was well-researched and helpful from content that was topical in nature and basically useless. They have obviously gotten much better and have recently revised their webmaster guidelines placing a greater emphasis on E.A.T.
What is E.A.T.?
E.A.T. is an acronym for Expertise, Authoritativeness and Trustworthiness. It’s a Google proprietary rating that is applied to a piece of content to determine how helpful and accurate it is for a searcher. Google has placed greater emphasis on EAT in its guidelines for what website owners should be publishing on the internet to enjoy good rankings.
An Example of E.A.T.
It can be difficult to visualize what Google considers an authoritative piece of content and one that is not. In general, they look at things like the type of domain, the depth of the content, the sources that the piece is linking to and other factors that would impact user experience with actually using the content.
Here is a simple example from the guidelines featuring two different search results produced by the same query. One has low E.A.T. ratings while the other is much higher.
The top result Google deems as untrustworthy because of the content as well as the way the page is designed and constructed. The presence of ads, the lack of medical expertise, zero contact information, and a low-quality domain influence the decision.
How Do Attorneys Write E.A.T. Content?
The guidelines referenced at the beginning of this article contain instructions for manual reviewers of search results to assign E.A.T. ratings to search results (on page 119). Ironically, an E.A.T. rating does not consider the search query but is almost entirely based on the content itself and who is publishing it.
Unless you’re already an authoritative source for legal information like AVVO or one of the many other legal directories, it just takes time to build up that aspect of the rating (which typically comes from building Domain Authority with linking). Expertise and trustworthiness however are slightly more straight forward. These are elements that can be determined by a human based on the information on the page. On the surface, most reasonable people can quickly tell the difference between a web page that is accurate, informative and well-written compared with a page that is poorly designed and shallow.
- Add contact information on the page somewhere
- Avoid placing ads on blog pages or other pages where your expert content shows up
- Make your content well researched and helpful. This means put a lot of thought and time into it. Use references and link to them. Offer up differing points of view and think about your users first.
- Add an author byline
- Add a date of publication for the content
- Make sure any legal information is accurate (use facts above opinion)
Adding Trust to Your Website
Trustworthiness can be added by leveraging social proof. Social proof is simply an indication to visitors that an attorney has achieved some level of professional recognition as evidenced by the presence of badges or certifications. Reviews and testimonials can also be a strong piece of social proof for lawyers too.
Here are some places where lawyers can get high-quality social proof for their site:
- The Better Business Bureau
- Million Dollar Advocates Forum
- Top 100 Trail Lawyers
- As Seen In designations
- Mentions on top rated news websites
These are not easy designations and links to get but if they were, they would not be so authoritative.
There is no published formula for writing E.A.T. content. It helps to understand Google’s mission and commitment to delivering high-quality results to their users. In other words Google wants you to work just as hard for the visitors to your site as it does by creating high-quality content. This means producing the type of content that could go into famous publications or that visitors would want to come back to again and again because they believed it was the most accurate source on the web for their particular legal concerns.