If the organic traffic to your website has dropped since June 2019, the reason is likely to be a straightforward one: Google's Expertise - Authority - Trustworthiness update, or E.A.T.
With the new update, higher-quality content leads to better rankings. What makes for better quality content, is set out in the Search Quality Evaluator Guidelines published by Google.
The Search Quality Evaluator Guidelines are applied by Google's human evaluators, who look at search results for different queries, and rate them with quality scores.
Google uses these scores to improve its search algorithms. The new changes made to the guidelines place greater emphasis on E.A.T.
When you improve your E.A.T. score, you improve your search rankings. How do you do that, however? Here are tips.
Publish all content with author names and biographies
According to the Guidelines, Google now tries to understand who is behind a website, as part of assessing its E.A.T.
Google is now especially careful about making sure that YMYL (Your Money or Your Life) pages, are created by subject matter experts. YMYL pages are pages that allow users to perform financial transactions, or obtain information to do with money or their health.
Google wants to be especially careful making sure that such pages are trustworthy.
If you have a product page or a landing page, and it allows people to perform financial transactions to buy products it's YMYL.
While you can't have an author's name and biography on a product page, you should add contact information for the business, and customer support information.
For blog posts, it's important that the authors be known experts in their field. Google's Guidelines offer the example of a wikiHow page on how to invest in stocks, an example of a low-quality page.
While there are editor names, there are no author names or biographies attached to the page. Author names and biographies are critical to high rankings. Check out Google’s John Mueller Answers Whether Author Bio is Necessary.
You need to create personal branding
Google's Guidelines caution Google's human evaluators that information about an author's expertise may not always be available.
They are encouraged to look for third-party reviews that vouch for the expertise of an author, rather than information published on their own website.
This means that every author should invest in creating a great personal brand on the internet.
While lacking a personal brand doesn't automatically mean a lower score, authors with great brands do get high scores.
To develop a great personal brand, you need to possess a strong social media presence and interact with both your audience and with important influencers in your industry.
Your content should also be placed on well-known websites. The better you are at these things, the more you will be endorsed by third parties, and gain in overall authoritativeness.
Cut down on the low-quality content on your site
When a site has content by multiple authors, Google's Guidelines state that its human evaluators should evaluate each page individually.
Websites get consolidated E.A.T. scores, as well, however, based on the number of authoritative pages that they contain. If you want your website to score high, you need to remove content by authors who are not authorities in their field.
While removing pages from your website can cause Google to take your search ranking down by a few spots, it can also help you improve your reputation in the long-term.
Alternatively, you could let a page stand, but rework it with new content by an expert author, and publish the expert author's name and credentials.
Not all pages need a subject matter expert. An About Us page on your company's website wouldn't need an expert author, for instance.
The website's owner could consider himself an expert on the subject of his company. Content you writes on the About Us page would be considered authoritative.
As long as a page isn't a source of YMYL-type information, ordinary authors are considered acceptable.
Get technical security for your site
The Trustworthiness in Google 's E.A.T. requires more than quality content. It also needs a secure website. It isn't just shopping and banking websites that need a secure connection, now.
Chrome marks all websites without HTTPS as insecure. Investing in trust seals for your website is also a way to earn points for being trustworthy.
With Google's new update, the authoritativeness of a website and its content are more important than ever before.
To ensure that you aren't penalized, you need to incorporate these four ideas as you develop your website. If you are struggling to get back your rankings, contact our SEO agency.