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The E-A-T Strategy for Local SEO: Is Your Business Keeping Up?

Have you ever wondered why some local businesses thrive online while others struggle to gain traction? If you're currently investing in Local SEO but not getting the results you were hoping for, maybe the E-A-T strategy is your answer.  A Wordstream survey found that the average local business puts 5-10% of its revenue towards its digital marketing budget, but for larger businesses, that number can climb to about 14%. If you are spending this kind of money on digital marketing then you want to make sure you have a sound strategy.

What is E-A-T?

E-A-T stands for Expertise, Authority, and Trustworthiness. These three pillars form the foundation of Google's guidelines for evaluating the quality of web content. In a digital age flooded with information, E-A-T serves as a benchmark to distinguish credible sources from the noise.

Why is E-A-T so effective?

The effectiveness of E-A-T lies in its comprehensive approach to evaluating online content. Here's a breakdown:

  1. Expertise: This ensures that the content creator possesses the necessary knowledge and skills in the subject matter. It's not just about having a degree or formal education; real-world experience and practical insights are equally valued.
  2. Authority: This is about the recognition of the content creator's expertise by peers, other experts, and the audience at large. Authority is often gauged by the number of citations, backlinks, and references a piece of content or its creator receives.
  3. Trustworthiness: This pillar emphasizes the accuracy and credibility of the content. It's about ensuring that the information provided is factual, well-researched, and free from misleading claims.

For example, consider a health blog discussing the benefits and side effects of a particular medication. If this blog is written by a licensed pharmacist or doctor, it demonstrates Expertise. If the blog is frequently cited by other reputable medical websites or journals, it showcases its Authority. And if the blog provides accurate information, references clinical studies, and avoids making unfounded claims, it establishes its Trustworthiness. Such a blog would score high on the E-A-T criteria, making it more likely to be favored by search engines and trusted by readers.

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1. Establish Expertise in Your Field:

  • Merely claiming expertise isn't enough. It's crucial to demonstrate it consistently through your content and actions. Establishing expertise is about showcasing your deep knowledge, skills, and experience in your specific domain. Here's how you can execute this:
    1. Consistent High-Quality Content: Regularly publish well-researched and insightful content on your website. This not only showcases your expertise but also keeps your audience engaged and returning for more.Example: If you run a health blog, ensure that each article is backed by scientific research. Discuss the latest medical advancements, dissect complex health topics into understandable terms, and provide actionable health tips.
    2. Credentials and Qualifications: Highlight any formal education, certifications, or training you have in your field. This adds a layer of credibility to your content.Example: If you're a licensed pharmacist writing the health blog, display your credentials prominently. Mention your educational background, any special training, and professional affiliations.
    3. Real-World Experience: Share personal experiences, case studies, or anecdotes that resonate with your audience. Real-world insights often carry more weight than theoretical knowledge.Example: In the health blog, you could share patient stories (while maintaining confidentiality) or discuss real-life scenarios where a particular medication or treatment made a significant difference.
    4. Engage with Your Audience: Respond to comments, answer queries, and engage in discussions related to your field on various platforms. This not only builds trust but also reinforces your expertise.Example: If a reader of your health blog asks a question about a specific medication's interaction with another drug, provide a well-informed response, possibly citing medical journals or studies.
    5. Collaborate with Other Experts: Guest post on reputable websites in your field, participate in webinars, or collaborate on research. This not only broadens your reach but also positions you as an authority among peers.Example: Collaborate with other medical professionals on your health blog, inviting them for interviews or joint articles. This brings diverse expertise to your platform and reinforces your position in the medical community.

    By establishing your expertise, you not only build trust with your audience but also enhance your online reputation, making it more likely for your content to be favored by search engines and readers alike.

2. Build Authority through Backlinks:

  • Backlinks, often referred to as “inbound links” or “incoming links,” are links from one website to a page on another website. They are seen by search engines as votes of confidence, indicating that the content is valuable and authoritative. Building authority through backlinks is a strategic process that can significantly boost your website's credibility and search engine ranking. Here's how you can execute this:
    1. Create Shareable Content: Produce content that offers unique insights, is well-researched, and provides value to readers. Such content naturally attracts backlinks as other websites reference it.Example: For your health blog, you could create a comprehensive guide on “Understanding the Side Effects of Common Medications.” Such a resource can become a reference point for other health websites or forums.
    2. Guest Posting: Write articles for reputable websites in your niche. This not only positions you as an expert but also provides opportunities for backlinks to your site.Example: Offer to write a guest post on a renowned medical journal's website, discussing a trending health topic. Ensure you include a link back to your health blog, either within the content or in your author bio.
    3. Engage in Relevant Communities: Participate in forums, discussion groups, and online communities related to your field. By providing valuable insights and linking back to your content (where relevant), you can earn quality backlinks.Example: Engage in health forums like WebMD or HealthBoards. Answer queries, and when it adds value, link back to a relevant article on your health blog.
    4. Collaborate with Influencers: Partner with influencers or experts in your field for interviews, joint research, or webinars. They often have a significant following and can provide valuable backlinks.Example: Interview a renowned doctor or medical researcher on your health blog. They might share the interview on their platforms, linking back to your site.
    5. Use Infographics and Visual Content: Visual content like infographics is highly shareable. Create informative and visually appealing infographics that others would want to embed on their sites.Example: Design an infographic on “The Journey of Drug Development” for your health blog. Offer it to other health sites to share, ensuring they link back to your blog as the source.
    6. Regularly Check and Update Your Content: Outdated content can lead to broken links. Regularly update your articles, ensuring all links work, and the information remains current. This encourages more sites to link to your content as a reliable resource.Example: If there's a new development in a medication you discussed a year ago on your health blog, update the article with the latest information.

    Building authority through backlinks is a continuous process. It's about creating valuable content, fostering relationships, and ensuring your website remains a trusted resource in your field.

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3. Establish Trust with Your Audience:

  • Trust is the bedrock of any successful online platform. In an era where misinformation is rampant, establishing trust with your audience ensures they not only consume your content but also rely on it for informed decisions. Here's how you can cultivate trust:
    1. Transparency in Content Creation:
      • Always cite your sources, especially when making health claims or referencing studies.
      • Clearly mention any affiliations, sponsorships, or partnerships related to your content.

      Example: If your health blog discusses the benefits of a specific supplement and it's sponsored by a supplement company, disclose this information to your readers.

    2. Engage Actively with Your Audience:
      • Respond to comments and feedback on your blog posts.
      • Address concerns or questions promptly and professionally.

      Example: If a reader on your health blog raises a concern about a medication's side effect you didn't mention, acknowledge their input, research it, and provide a well-informed response.

    3. Maintain a Consistent Posting Schedule:
      • Regular updates signal to your audience that you're committed to providing them with fresh and relevant content.

      Example: If your health blog promises weekly updates, ensure you consistently post every week, keeping your audience informed and engaged.

    4. Showcase Credentials and Expertise:
      • Highlight your qualifications, experience, and any recognitions in your field prominently on your website.
      • Feature guest posts or collaborations with other trusted experts in the field.

      Example: If you're a licensed pharmacist, display your credentials on your health blog's “About” page. Additionally, collaborate with doctors or nutritionists for diverse insights.

    5. Prioritize User Experience:
      • Ensure your website is user-friendly, easy to navigate, and mobile-responsive.
      • Avoid excessive ads or pop-ups that can disrupt the reading experience.

      Example: For your health blog, use a clean design that highlights content, with intuitive categories like “Medications,” “Natural Remedies,” and “Diet & Nutrition.”

    6. Feature Real Testimonials and Reviews:
      • Encourage readers to leave reviews or share their experiences.
      • Showcase genuine testimonials, both positive and constructive, to build credibility.

      Example: After discussing a holistic approach to managing migraines on your health blog, feature testimonials from readers who've benefited from the advice.

    7. Stay Updated and Correct Mistakes:
      • Regularly update your content to reflect the latest research and findings.
      • If you find errors or outdated information in your posts, correct them promptly and transparently.

      Example: If a new study contradicts a previous article on your health blog, update the article with the latest information and acknowledge the changes made.

    By prioritizing trust, you not only foster loyalty among your current audience but also make your platform more appealing to new readers, ensuring they turn to you as a reliable source of information.

4. Optimize for Local Search:

  • Local search optimization ensures that your website or business appears prominently when users in your vicinity search for relevant terms. Especially for businesses with a physical presence or those targeting a specific locale, this is crucial. Here's how you can effectively optimize for local search:
    1. Claim and Optimize Your Google Business Profile:
      • Ensure your business is listed on Google Business Profile (formerly Google My Business).
      • Provide accurate and up-to-date information, including your address, phone number, operating hours, and services.

      Example: If your health blog also offers local health workshops or seminars, ensure these events and their details are updated on your Google Business Profile.

    2. Use Local Keywords:
      • Incorporate keywords that are specific to your location in your content, meta descriptions, and titles.

      Example: If your health blog is based in Chicago, use terms like “Chicago health tips” or “best health practices in Chicago.”

    3. Encourage Local Reviews:
      • Ask satisfied customers or readers to leave positive reviews on your Google Business Profile or other local directories.

      Example: After hosting a successful health seminar in Chicago, encourage attendees to share their experiences and reviews on your Google Business Profile.

    4. Engage with Local Communities:
      • Participate in local events, workshops, or fairs. Collaborate with local businesses or influencers.

      Example: Collaborate with a local gym in Chicago for a joint health and fitness event, and promote it on your health blog.

    5. Optimize for Mobile:
      • Ensure your website is mobile-responsive. Many local searches are conducted on mobile devices, especially by users on the go.

      Example: Test your health blog on various mobile devices to ensure articles are easily readable and navigation is user-friendly.

    6. Create Local Content:
      • Produce content that is relevant to your local audience, discussing local health issues, events, or news.

      Example: Write an article on your health blog about “Top Health Concerns in Chicago for 2023” or “Best Places to Practice Yoga in Chicago.”

    7. Build Local Backlinks:
      • Engage with local businesses, blogs, or news sites to earn backlinks. This not only boosts your local SEO but also establishes you as a local authority.

      Example: Collaborate with a local Chicago health food store for a joint article or promotion, earning a backlink to your health blog.

    8. Use Schema Markup:
      • Implement local business schema markup on your website. This provides search engines with more detailed local information about your business.

      Example: Add schema markup to your health blog's contact page, specifying it's a “Health Blog” based in “Chicago, Illinois.”

    By optimizing for local search, you ensure that your content or business is easily discoverable by those in your vicinity, driving more targeted traffic and engagement.

Learn to E-A-T

When local businesses are vying for online visibility, the E-A-T strategy emerges as a beacon of hope. By emphasizing expertise, authority, and trustworthiness, businesses can foster a robust online reputation and draw more local customers. So, is your business ready to embrace the E-A-T strategy?

In the vast digital landscape, where countless websites vie for attention, the E-A-T strategy emerges as a beacon of differentiation. Implementing Expertise, Authority, and Trustworthiness in your online presence isn't just about adhering to search engine guidelines; it's about building a lasting relationship with your audience.

Benefits and Positive Outcomes of Implementing the E-A-T Strategy:

  1. Enhanced Credibility: By showcasing expertise and authority, businesses and content creators can position themselves as industry leaders, gaining the trust and respect of their audience.
  2. Increased Organic Traffic: Search engines prioritize content that aligns with the E-A-T guidelines. This means better rankings, more visibility, and, consequently, increased organic traffic.
  3. Higher Conversion Rates: Trust is a pivotal factor in the decision-making process. When users trust your content or business, they're more likely to take desired actions, be it signing up for a newsletter, making a purchase, or attending a webinar.
  4. Reduced Bounce Rates: Quality, trustworthy content keeps users engaged. They're less likely to leave your site prematurely, leading to reduced bounce rates.
  5. Sustained Audience Growth: As you consistently provide value through expertise and maintain authority, you'll witness a steady growth in your audience base, with more repeat visitors and loyal followers.
  6. Protection Against Misinformation: In an era where misinformation can spread rapidly, adhering to the E-A-T guidelines ensures that your content remains accurate, reliable, and beneficial to your audience.
  7. Long-term Brand Building: Beyond immediate metrics like traffic or conversions, the E-A-T strategy contributes to long-term brand building, fostering a reputation of reliability and excellence in your domain.

In essence, the E-A-T strategy is more than just an SEO guideline; it's a commitment to quality, authenticity, and user-centricity. By embracing and implementing these principles, businesses and content creators not only enhance their online performance but also build a legacy of trust and excellence in their respective fields.

If you want to learn more on how to implement the E-A-T strategy as part of your overall Local SEO strategy, contact 3Bug Media today for a free consultation.

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CEO at 3Bug Media
Gary Shouldis is the founder of 3Bug Media, a web marketing company that helps businesses create 360 Marketing Strategies to dominate their market. His blog is read by over 20 thousand small business owners a month and has been featured in the N.Y. Times Small Business, Business Insider and Yahoo Small Business.