- Background color
- Background image
- Border Color
- Font Type
- Font Size
So, we all know that Google is constantly evolving its algorithms and rolls out regular updates to keep its search experience optimum, keep marketing professionals on our toes and improve user experience through its search portal.
Since April last year, we have found a lot of our analysis and conversations are revolving around the E.A.T update. The update was released in August 2018 and focused improving rankings for websites that could demonstrate Expertise, Authority and Trust within product and services online
As with any Google update there are winners and losers, and techniques adopted or rejected by SEO agencies and a need to share data at an industry level to determine best practice moving forward. Here we will break down some of our findings.
We touched on the overall definition of E.A.T earlier – but here’s some further detail for you.
Expertise — How knowledgeable the site owner or content author is on the subject matter they talk about. This is especially important for the aforementioned YMYL sites, not so much for gossip websites or similar. Are you an expert in your field?
Authoritativeness — The websites online profile in general and how google can perceive your brand to be positive or negative in the public eye. Are you an authority figure on your subject matter? Do you have some reviews somewhere that say you aren’t great and you don’t provide a good service (or the opposite).
Trustworthiness — Relating to the sites quality and ability to be trusted by a user. Specifically, elements around data and site security etc.
YMYL – what is and what is its relevance to E.A.T?
These guidelines were released as an addition to the earlier YMYL update focusing specifically on healthcare sites, which if you aren’t sure stands for
Specifically defined by google as pages or websites that have an impact on the “happiness, health, financial stability, or safety of users.” Examples that they give include:
· Shopping or financial transaction pages: webpages that allow users to make purchases, transfer money, pay bills, etc. online (such as online stores and online banking pages).
· Financial information pages: webpages that provide advice or information about investments, taxes, retirement planning, home purchase, paying for college, buying insurance, etc.
· Medical information pages: webpages that provide advice or information about health, drugs, specific diseases or conditions, mental health, nutrition, etc.
· Legal information pages: webpages that provide legal advice or information on topics such as divorce, child custody, creating a will, becoming a citizen, etc.
· News articles or public/official information pages important for having an informed citizenry: webpages that include information about local/state/national government processes, policies, people, and laws; disaster response services; government programs and social services; news about important topics such as international events, business, politics, science, and technology; etc. Please use your judgment and knowledge of your locale. Keep in mind that not all news articles are necessarily considered YMYL.
· Other: there are many other topics that you may consider YMYL, such as child adoption, car safety information, etc. Please use your judgment.1
So what is the significance of E.A.T with regards to YMYL and these types of websites?
E.A.T is effectively an extension to the YMYL guidelines and further defines what the Google’s algorithms will be evaluating when considering where your website should be positioned within the search results.
Ultimately, E.A.T can be summarised as trusted quality, and in order to build trusted quality, your SEO strategy needs to be more than just on page enhancements and an offsite linkbuilding campaign – it needs consider the different between a page that users what to use to know something and whether want to do something (such as buy a product or service)
Considering E.A.T, what should our SEO strategy look like?
Your SEO strategy should be an all-encompassing, 360 degree strategy, that considers:
- Who your target audience/s are
- What your target audience/s needs to complete a desired action online (and whether your site currently offers this)
Business offering & credibility
- Why your business can be trusted by these audiences
- How your website demonstrates your businesses ability to be trusted (security, accreditations, iso standards, testimonials, reviews etc)
- Is there opportunity to improve this trust
Relevancy & Usefulness
- Detailed, relatable content to a users search query (how to guide, Q&A answers, video content)
Content & Digital PR
- What is your communication strategy for the year ahead?
- How are you utilising PR to expose your communications to your target audiences via trusted online websites (more than just a link building campaign, this is about getting market reach)
- Are you connecting with social influencers that can help share your communications (think Instagram, twitter, tik tok)
Google search quality guidelines All of these guidelines in essence are covered within a document google released giving guidelines to its 10,000 strong quality raters – individuals worldwide that assist in checking and rating the search engine results pages.
In essence, E-A-T requires auditing and planning of your business strategy as a whole. It is no longer safe to just consider how to get people online to convert and you should be considering how your business is perceived and trusted.
How can you measure your websites E.A.T?
As always, there is no clearly definitive way to measure your websites performance against such algorithms or guidelines. We recommend keeping an eye on the usual metrics, such as
- Domain authority
- Page authority
- Keyword visibility
My website isn’t in the medical or financial sector – does E.A.T still apply to me?
Whilst Google clearly states within its guidelines document that these guidelines primarily apply to medical and financial websites, at Polaris we believe its good to follow these guidelines regardless of your sector, as they are all indicative of providing website users with a website experience that’s informative, trustworthy, safe, and secure.
Keith Hodges, Head of Search at POLARIS, is an SEO expert with over 8 years experience in the industry. Heading up the search team at Polaris, the SEO agency specialises in campaigns for clients in the B2B, Retail and Services sectors. Keith enjoys technical SEO and the ever evolving landspace that is organic search, keeping up to date with changes in the industry and how these changes impact client accounts.
SEO agencies are always trying to stay ahead of Google updates and changes, and as we move towards a future of AI, 360 Data and UX led campaigns – what can be expected from SEO in 2019?
Website speed and performance has always been important, and load times should always be targeted at below 2 seconds. What’s more, the delivery of assets from the server need to be smooth and clear for web crawlers to identify ease of understanding and use.
A core element of this is server wait time. The longer a server takes to respond to a request from a user, or web crawler, the higher chance they’ll move away from your site before it even loads. If this keeps happening, particularly from a crawl perspective, a website will lose rankings.
Key areas to focus on here are hosting, delivery of HTML code and web structure (both from a folder/page and crawl map perspectives).
Security – SSL and HTTPS
Much has been made of the ‘little green padlock’ over the last 12 months and it essential that web owners and SEO agencies work together to acheive a seamless transition to HTTPS by the year end. Ecommerce sites and payments portals which already have HTTPS attached to them are no longer going to be good enough to maintain user and crawler trust.
The focus on security from Google, and the ongoing increases in ranking weight this has, means that all websites should be HTTPS as standard ASAP.
Upon setting up a new SSL certificate ensure that your SEO agency work on redirects, Htaccess rules and updates to internal content – this will mean maintaining rankings long term and if carried out correctly removes the risk of dropping traffic or leads into the business.
SEO, PR and branding have all previously sat seperately from each other. However, core algorithm updates which allow web crawlers to better understand web reputation, branding and how a website meets user intent means SEO should sit alongside marketing strategies for a business, not as a bolt on.
Marketing in 2019 is likely to be driven by SEO data – keyword research, buying trends, multi-channel conversions – that allow everybody in the business to make informed decisions on marketing and business metrics.
What’s more, with SEO data at the core of the work, and agencies using sophisticated software to deliver campaigns, the ROI of SEO has never been greater (and potentially, never been more important either).
Schema and JSON
We’ve written extensively on Schema/JSON in the past as championing manual, extensive and well structured data is going to be essential to campaign success in 2019.
While it is possible for web owners to use pre-built templates, the strength of data comes through an SEO agency and web development team working in tandem to improve how structured data is read and interpreted by search engines.
New focuses for this will be people, services and FAQ.
Keith Hodges is the Head of Search at POLARIS, an SEO agency specialising in campaigns which drive leads for the B2B sector.
Read more on POLARIS agency's blog here
"As an SEO Agency that has been operating for over 10 years, we often get asked about the value and importance of a service that can at times feel time and budget consuming as we progress towards KPIs and ROI achievements. According to the founding father of Microsoft Bill Gates: “If your business is not on the internet, then your business will be out of business.” The statement is quite loud and even controversial, but still, the Internet is an excellent opportunity to tell about your business as many people as possible. One of the main advantages of this channel is that, if you have a time and a certain persistence it can be quite cheap."
- highlights Keith Hodges, Head of Search at POLARIS, an SEO agency specialising in campaigns which drive leads for the B2B sector. He is specialised in building successful SEO campaigns and growing brand audiences for clients in the travel, E-commerce, healthcare and B2B sectors. SEO guru and well known online marketer.
Email marketing is a challenge for any business – open rates, engagement rates, click throughs and final commitment are all metrics that need to be measured and improved on so that the magical ROI figure increases as we require. Depending on the size of your business, your marketing will be at a certain level of maturity, and depending on the level of maturity, there are a number of different solutions for email marketing, but what is the right solution for your business?
Setting up a start-up business last year, one of our clients was utilising a free email marketing system to send out email newsletters every month to their database of contacts. After a discussion about email marketing, we got the client to make the realisation that email marketing is much more than just sending out a monthly newsletter. There are several factors to consider:
- Nurturing new email data
- Profiling email data
- Understanding content appetites
- Creating thoughtful, engaging content
- Understanding which metrics are important to success
- Measuring performance and performance that matters!
When using these types of systems for your email marketing strategy, you will be able to setup funnel options which will send scheduled emails based on responses and actions to previous emails, funneling recipients down the paths you desire. For example, you may want to send a specific targeted email to those interacting with your emails and clicking onto your website. Similarly, you may want to target those that aren’t interacting at all but have been a client of yours in the past.
When using Martech platforms you can send automated emails that resonate with a specific audience. If a prospect keeps clicking on a certain page of your site, you can track this and an automated email will be sent to them offering a discount on this particular service, for example.There is definitely room to utilise email marketing automation for b2b companies aiming to push sales and secure clients.
Keith Hodges is the Head of Search at POLARIS, an SEO agency specialising in campaigns which drive leads for the B2B sector.
Carolina Jaramilo is the Paid Media Manager at POLARIS, an SEO agency specialising in campaigns which drive leads for the Ecommerce, B2B, Travel and Healthcare sectors.
Full version of an article is availablehere.
Keith Hodges is the Head of Search at POLARIS, an SEO agency specialising in campaigns which drive leads for the Ecommerce, B2B, Travel and Healthcare sectors.
Full version of an article is available to download below (PDF format)