What is Google E-A-T?
E-A-T stands for Expertise, Authoritative, and Trustworthiness and is used as a concept in Google’s algorithm as one way to evaluate search quality. The first version of this was integrated back in 2014, but it has recently gotten an upgrade. The addition of Experience in the evaluation tool now gives another aspect to what Google will consider to be high quality content. This is a small portion of 127 pages of Google guidelines to determine search results every time a term is entered.
The E-A-T concept previously reviewed the three metrics simultaneously as equal influences of the quality of the content. Now, the E, E, and A, now all come together to build the T for Trust.
Source: Google User Content
How does this affect core SEO practices?
Over the years, Google has become more advanced in detecting the purpose and benefit of every page written on a website. In the earliest days, SEO was all about keywords and visits. Now, it is about quality content and meaning. You will hear SEO experts tell you how important it is to keep a website technically clean and healthy and to consistently write content that matters to your audience. So, what does “matter” mean regarding personal injury law firm websites and content?
Other than the healthcare and medical fields, there are few industries critiqued more on experience, trust, and expertise than the law. Most of these qualifications are a part of your firm’s personal statement and vision. Any content written should keep this as the core focus whether on the website, shown in digital ads, or at any conferences your firm attends.
Putting E-E-A-T in practice
Writing digital content the way you should–not for rankings but for readers–is how you put these new guidelines into practice. Let’s consider the elements individually:
Experience: writing from personal, real-life situations
In order to show experience, writing about your firm, your history of cases, and your client testimonials is priority. Keep your content current, maintain a good relationship with client review platforms by requesting reviews and responding (whether good or bad), and post any awards or big wins on your website or social platforms.
Expertise: writing that proves skillset and knowledge
Your clients are expecting expertise in personal injury law, which can be a complicated process. Communicate in a way that clients can digest easily but remember to back up your statements with credible external links, such as government websites or law journals.
Authoritativeness: building your digital portfolio around your industry
Your clients are researching for the firm that will help them the most. Your business listings, reviews, profiles on lawyer listing websites, and community involvement proves to potential clients that you are legit. Internal and external linking also play a large role in this evaluation, so be selective in choosing websites you link to and are linked from.
Trust: writing to achieve experience, expertise, and authoritativeness provides trust
These elements of writing clearly overlap and come together to build the credibility you need to influence potential clients to reach out. If you are achieving the E-E-A, you are building the T.
Does this help SEO efforts for PI law firms?
While E-E-A-T isn’t considered a major factor in determining ranking, it does raise the bar (pun intended) for law firms to be more deliberate, thoughtful, and cautious of the digital content they publish. If your firm has been doing this all along, anticipate a positive influence on your current rankings.
If you are not seeing movement in your organic rankings or traffic, this concept most likely isn’t the only reason. There are a multitude of factors constantly being tracked that affect your SEO and hiring an expert is your best bet. But if you ever need some good bedtime reading, check out Google’s guidelines for search quality evaluation.