In SEO terms, Google looks at your EAT: Expertise, Authority and Trustworthiness. You know who else cares about your EAT? Your customers!
It’s no secret that Google looks at a lot of factors to determine the sites to return in response to a user’s search query. Among them is the quality of the information on your site. In SEO terms, Google looks at your EAT: Expertise, Authority and Trustworthiness.
But any good SEO professional will tell you: don’t do something on your site just to try to game Google. Create good, valuable content that demonstrates your Expertise, Authority and Trustworthiness to people and Google will respect that.
You know who else respects EAT? Your customers.
Recently, we were preparing a presentation on EAT for a group of business leaders and decided to make it clear that EAT isn’t just about websites and important to Google; it’s also about how your customers perceive your company, your ability and skills, and reflects on whether or not they’ll return to buy from you again – and how comfortable they’ll be in referring you to their friends.
EAT suddenly seems a lot more important than a way to game Google, doesn’t it?
Showcase your EXPERTISE
You’re an expert in what you do, or you wouldn’t make a living doing it! You have education, training, years of experience – and the ability to apply all of that expertise to your customers’ unique situations.
Those are the things that you bring to the table – your value proposition. The reason to buy from you rather than your competitors.
You can demonstrate that expertise on your site by sharing and highlighting your credentials with your customers – let them know how you got where you are today. Tell your story!
You can also showcase your expertise by creating valuable content that demonstrates that you know your stuff – create white papers, case studies, blog posts, infographics, videos, podcasts – content in any format that shows that you’re not a dabbler – you’re a true expert in what it is that you do. Make the content relevant to your target audience. So, videos of you making perfect pasta if you’re a restauranteur, case studies if you’re a business strategist, and so on.
Sometimes the best way to show that you know your stuff is to have conversations about it. So, if you participate in a Reddit AMA, a webinar where you answer live questions, or in a conference panel, be sure to share that with your audience on your site. And if you write a guest blog on a topic within your area of expertise, ensure you’re linking that back to your site.
Remember that there are a lot of faux experts out there. If you’re really an expert, you should be able to show your chops!
Respect my AUTHORITY
All the expertise in the world will only get you so far if you have no authority! What does it mean to be an authority? It means you can articulate your expertise to your customers – they believe your assessment of their problems and the path to resolution. It means that others look to you to lead the way in your field. And it means freely sharing your knowledge with your customers, confident that they’ll want more of it!
So, how do you demonstrate that on a website? Like with expertise, a lot of it has to do with how you tell your story – show off external validation of your skills and abilities by showcase your awards, interviews, publicity to demonstrate that others trust you to walk the talk. And you want to share your knowledge on your site by speaking authoritatively on issues affecting your customers.
Google will reward your authority – and so will your customers!
TRUST is earned, not bought
Ironically, one of the fastest ways to have a customer trust you is to encourage them not to buy a product or service from you! What that means is you’ve listened to their situation, assessed their needs, and directed them away from an opportunity to put money in your pocket. When a customer feels like you’re more interested in helping them than profiting from them, they are more likely to view you as trustworthy.
And that means they are more likely to refer you to their friends – this guy, they’ll say, actually cares about his customers!
That may be easy to do in person, but how do you showcase your trustworthiness on your website? Easy – by sharing what people say about you!
Ask for and share testimonials from satisfied customers who can speak to the level of service, expertise and success of your interactions. And if you can get them to leave reviews on Google, Yelp or similar relevant platforms, that’s another great way to show off your trustworthiness.
But don’t stop at the words of others – walk the talk by writing content that highlights those experiences from your perspective. Tell the story of how you talked a client out of a high-priced solution that would ultimately have disappointed them, in favour of a lower-priced one that fit their needs to a T.
Share stories of customers bringing their problems to you and how you solved them (they don’t all have to be about lowered spending!). Offering a transparent view into your decision-making process can also increase trust. Your customers see how you do what you do and have a higher level of trust in your process and the outcomes they can expect before they spend a single dime.
You are what you EAT, online and off!
So, while EAT is typically thought of a great way to help Google understand your business and serve your site up accordingly, don’t forget that it’s also an awesome way to interact with your customers when they walk into your store, call you for a quote, schedule a meeting, or consume your products or services. We all want to deal with businesses that are experts and trusted authorities in their fields! Your offline approach to business will serve you well online, too.