SEO, the E-A-T acronym, and Data Driven Marketers’ white hat strategies: A practical guide for agencies
SEO is one acronym that businesses and marketers have been getting more familiar with, and for good reason—there’s a lot that goes into SEO marketing, but, unlike PPC ads, search engine optimization doesn’t cost a penny. Instead, SEO focuses on improving content and targeting specific keywords. As an agency, you can easily add SEO in your clients’ marketing plans and deliver a lot of benefits to their business:
- The only cost of SEO relates to your work. (It’s a no-pay-to-play channel!)
- When done properly, SEO will also improve website UI/UX and customer experience.
- With the right team and strategy, SEO can have long-term success and help your clients build brand equity.
- It boosts web traffic (more relevant users).
- It increases your authority and credibility.
- It provides actionable insights.
When it comes to leveraging SEO, there are good tactics (white hat SEO) and bad tactics (black hat SEO). White hat SEO helps sites rank higher on search engines, while black hat SEO does the opposite. (Sure, you may see a fast increase in rank, but Google can strip 97% of your organic traffic if they catch you).
When it comes to developing good SEO tactics, there’s one acronym you really want to focus on: E-A-T. The E-A-T acronym stands for Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness. Essentially, a page’s quality is determined by how well it delivers on these three elements. The better the page quality, the better the SEO.
We only use white hat SEO practices at Data Driven Marketers, and we implement E-A-T in our marketing strategies. We’ve found that it’s key to effective SEO. Partner with us to learn more.
What are good SEO practices?
There are plenty of good SEO practices that will help you rank higher on search engines. These tactics are called white hat SEO. Here are some of the white hat tactics Data Driven Marketers follows:
- Having a mobile-first design with an SSL certificate
- Claiming your Google My Business profile to optimize for local search
- Focusing on good UX design principles
- Conducting keyword research and implementing a keyword strategy for existing and new web pages
- Developing quality schema markup
- Optimizing and maintaining a Robots.txt file and organically acquiring relevant backlinks (links to other sites)
- Developing high-quality and unique content
- Making sure it’s not developed by AI or found elsewhere on the web (It should be close to 100% unique!)
- Hiring a subject matter expert or industry professional to develop the content
- Writing content that customers ask for or the data show
- Not stuffing it with keywords
- Using descriptive meta titles, meta descriptions, and alt tags
- Implementing CTAs and focusing on good user design and customer experience
- Optimizing for a fast loading time
Delivering white hat SEO means considering the customer’s needs and optimizing for them. Data Driven Marketers makes it a priority to only use white hat SEO tactics in our SEO strategies.
What happens when you don’t follow good practices?
If you follow bad SEO tactics or black hat SEO, Google can penalize you. In some cases, this can cause you to lose up to 97% of all organic traffic. To discover precisely how much traffic you could lose, you’ll want to work backward in Google Analytics. One place to look for this information is under Acquisition > All traffic > Channels. Here you can see “organic” listed out and the number of users on your site within a given time frame. Slice that number by 97% and recalculate the total traffic on your site. When comparing time frames, you’ll likely see a decrease in traffic.
Good SEO is E-A-T
Another white hat tactic (or process) is E-A-T. How does E-A-T relate to SEO? Let’s dive a little deeper into what each of those letters stands for and how it might impact your clients:
- Expertise. Google wants your site to have content written by subject matter experts. They need to have experience or insight into a particular field to fit this qualification. If your clients aren’t focused on expertise with SEO content writing, the site will likely not rank high on Google and other search engines and/or you may only see some articles and webpages take off.
- Authoritativeness. Authority is all about reputation, particularly among other experts and influencers in the industry. When others see an individual or website as the go-to source of information about a topic, that’s authority.
- Trustworthiness. Trust is about the legitimacy, transparency, and accuracy of the website and its content. It takes into account content accuracy and citing or backlinking to legitimate sources. If you or your client are developing inaccurate content and/or you’re linking to irrelevant and spammy sites, you can expect a low trust score.
Google advises following E-A-T principles to improve ranking on search engines. For full details on how Google assesses a website, check out Google’s 2015 Search Quality Rater Guidelines. At Data Driven Marketers, we ensure our clients’ websites are optimized by focusing on meeting E-A-T standards.
What are Google’s Search Quality Raters guidelines?
Google’s Search Quality Raters guidelines can come in handy when trying to evaluate your client’s site. Essentially, there are many guidelines your site should follow, but these are the main takeaways: Is your site meeting your user’s needs, and does it have a high page quality? Google’s quality raters are people looking through thousands of sites and verifying that they meet these standards. They also consider how Google’s algorithm works. Google’s algorithm is constantly updating, so the raters need to have consistent guidelines that help them evaluate sites.
Ways you can achieve E-A-T in SEO
There are several methods you can follow to meet E-A-T standards in SEO:
- Get credible sources or hire content experts like Data Driven Marketers to write your pieces. (We hire and manage subject matter experts for agencies!)
- Build quality backlinks on relevant niche and industry sites. If you’re working with a local business, build local citation and backlinks to local directories.
- Get and respond to reviews you receive. Encourage customers to write reviews that demonstrate they trust your business.
- Share your credentials, rewards, and other credible differentiators.
- Keep pages updated with relevant content and frequently optimize them.
- Make sure your site is secure with SSL certificates and malware monitoring.
- Use structured data/schema markup to provide more context about your content to search engines.
Hire our SEO team to “fill in the gaps”
Managing SEO, let alone content, is time-consuming and takes away from your main service offerings. Hire Data Driven Marketers to “fill in the gaps” with SEO, providing your team with expert SEO guidance, subject matter experts, and reliable fulfillment.
Data Driven Marketers’ white hat strategies
At Data Driven Marketers, SEO is an all-hands-on-deck process. We include account managers, generalists, SEO analysts, SEO strategists, and subject matter experts when creating and executing a white hat SEO strategy. Together, we know we’re providing your clients with expert SEO strategy and subject matter expertise.
To ensure our content is authoritative, trustworthy, and wanted by customers, we coordinate customer surveys and evaluate top questions in search results to develop content topics. We also use MarTech tools to determine what keywords we should target, and we use our customizable, white-label templates to document the strategy. We never use any black hat tactics because they’ll hurt your client’s SEO ranking.
To maximize the results (and to help your agency), we keep track of algorithm changes, E-A-T factors, and more to ensure we follow white hat tactics. Our approach may take three to six months to see results, but that means long-term SEO success for well-designed websites!
Final thoughts & tips
We can all agree—SEO is necessary. However, following white hat tactics is critical for retaining organic traffic and driving no-pay leads. When it comes to evaluating E-A-T, look at your client’s page quality and content. What can be improved to boost expertise, authority, and trust? If they’re lacking E-A-T factors, then Google’s Search Quality Raters won’t favor your site.
Here are some quick tips to improve your clients’ SEO:
- Conduct a mobile-friendly test and redesign the site to be mobile responsive.
- Implement an SSL certificate.
- Claim and optimize the business’s Google My Business profile.
- Remove any duplicate or copied content from the site.
- Add CTAs throughout the site.
Data Driven Marketers can help your agency expand your service offerings while utilizing white hat SEO tactics that result in sales. Lean on our team to develop white hat strategies, implement new keyword and content plans, and to manage all things SEO.