If you have ever used a search engine like Google, you’ll know that there is loads of content out there. On pretty much any topic that you can imagine. This is great for search engines, as they’re able to show relevant results for any term that people type in. It does, however, require some effort to find out which content fits the search query best. One of the ways that Google rates the quality of content is by looking at E-A-T: Expertise, Authoritativeness and Trustworthiness. In this post, the first in a series of three, we’ll go into the E: expertise. What it is, why it matters and how you can show yours!
What is expertise?
When you Google the term expertise, it will show you the following definition: expert skill or knowledge in a particular field. Another addition to this definition can be found on dictionary.com:
A written opinion by an expert, as concerning the authenticity or value of a work of art, manuscript, etc.
Expertise boils down to how knowledgeable or skillful someone is when it comes to a certain subject. As the definition on dictionary.com mentions, this can be expressed in the form of an opinion about the topic at hand. And because someone’s or something’s level of expertise depends on so many different factors, it can sometimes be difficult to judge expertise.
Why expertise matters for SEO
By improving on the expertise shown in your content, you can achieve higher Page Quality ratings. And higher Page Quality ratings can help you rank higher. Google has actually written quite some extensive guidelines on this. So that’s one very good reason why expertise matters and should be part of your SEO content strategy. But why does Google prefer expert content, anyway? Well, Google wants to provide the best experience possible for its users. And that means making sure that those users’ searches lead to the best results. Results that deliver what they need.
To put it another way: expertise matters for users, and that’s why it matters for Google and SEO. It’s natural to question where your information is coming from. You want to listen to someone who knows what they’re talking about, not someone who’s just guessing at things. For instance, if you’re looking for medical advice, you don’t want results from just any old source. You want information that you can rely on, written by a qualified doctor. Similarly, if you’re looking for skincare tips, you’ll probably prefer content from an experienced beauty blogger or a dermatologist. That’s why Google wants to figure out who has expert content on a particular subject and direct their searchers towards those results.
How Google rates expertise
The way Google sees expertise has a lot to do with the creator of the content. What does Google know about them? And how much care, effort and skill has gone into creating a particular piece of content? The context of a piece of content plays a role, too — the level of expertise Google expects depends on things like the general level of expertise that’s available for a topic and whether it’s a Your Money or Your Life page.
The #1 question: Who’s behind the content?
The main factor that Google looks at when it comes to expertise is where the information comes from. Is it written by someone who knows what they’re talking about? And what is their reputation when it comes to this field? But also, when someone refers to other sources: who are those people? And has this other source been used to back up the page creator’s own expertise, or has their content simply been copy-pasted? The latter, as you can probably guess, will not be seen as expertise.
Expertise depends on context
When you pour time, effort, expertise, talent and skill into your content, Google will consider this evidence for the E-A-T of the page. However, high-quality content can be created by experts, but also by hobbyists and people with everyday expertise. Essentially, the standard that Google holds your page to depends on the purpose and type of content.
For example, when it comes to news articles and informational pages, content must be factually accurate and supported by expert consensus where such exists. These and other YMYL (Your Money or Your Life) pages have a high standard for accuracy and well-established medical/scientific/historical consensus. These pages call for more formal ways to show expertise, like insight into the author’s academic achievements, qualifications, status, and career focus.
On the other hand, Google also considers informal expertise to be a sign of quality content. Writing about your own experiences and giving great advice, showing talent or DIY skills are a form of everyday expertise. And this expertise can be assessed based on the skill level depicted in the content, engagement or user reviews. This is more often the case on pages that are not considered YMYL pages.
How to show your expertise
You want Google to consider your content to be of high quality. That’s why you want to show them your expertise when it comes to one or more topics that you’re an expert in. Although Google doesn’t provide us with an easy checklist on how to show off your expertise, we can use their guidelines to find out what they will look at. Based on this, we’ve got some tips on how to show off your expertise in the content you create.
Talk about what you know
Seems obvious enough, but you should create content about the topics that you are knowledgeable in. Not only will this help your rankings when it comes to search terms around this topic, but writing about what you know also comes more naturally. Sometimes you may feel that what you’re writing about is common sense, but it’s not for everyone. Especially for people that are not in the same field.
Let’s say you do a lot of woodworking at home. Or perhaps you’re a food blogger or own a shop that sells sustainable clothing. Write about that. Write about the best tools for woodworking, the benefits of healthy food or sustainability. Show people that you know what you’re talking about and that you’re passionate about this topic, this is the best way to show your expertise and also get people familiar with your business, hobby or you as a person.
Invest in your content
Whether you’re writing for a Your Money or Your Life page or a more informal page, Google considers high-quality content to have the following attributes: accuracy, comprehensiveness, clear communication and meeting the standards appropriate to the topic or field being discussed. So make sure to create content that people can easily understand and pay mind to what’s happening in your field. But also make sure to present your content in a professional manner.
Add something new with your content
It’s perfectly fine to write about a topic that has already been written about a lot. As long as you put something new out there. Show your expertise by taking a different approach to the topic and don’t be afraid to mention your own experiences. Quality content is all about taking your time for a piece of writing and putting in the effort to create new content that will enrich people’s knowledge on a topic.
Show that your content agrees with other experts
Like we mentioned a few paragraphs back, you’re showing formal expertise when your content is factually accurate and supported by expert consensus on that topic. This is especially important on Your Money or Your Life pages, so make sure to double-check your facts. This shows Google that you’re serious about your content and know what you’re talking about. So even when you’re an expert in your area, it can’t hurt to do your research and reference other experts or well-known sources.
Add sources to your research
When you’ve done your own research and use this to create content, make sure to add your sources. Not only does this show your readers that your claims are supported, but you’re also crediting the people who have worked on that piece of information that you’re now using to strengthen your point of view.
Also, make sure to properly quote these experts and properly reference this information. Simply copy-pasting a few paragraphs into your content is not the way to go. You need to introduce this information and give it context in your own piece of writing. You can use it to support your content, or it can even be the reason that you’re creating new content, but you need to make it yours. Adding these sources properly also tells Google that you’re doing your research and not just using other people’s research to get higher rankings.
Add author information
Whether you feel that your website contains YMYL pages or not, you should consider adding information on your authors. For both Google and your site visitors. By giving information on the career, qualifications, achievements and status of your content creators, you’re explaining why they’re experts in their field. To give an example, when someone’s looking for medical information, it shows expertise when the information is written by someone with a medical degree and experience.
Be mindful of YMYL content
We’ve talked a bit about Your Money or Your Life pages in this blog post. The standard for these pages is higher than the standard for other informational pages. Do you feel that your pages could be considered YMYL pages? Then make sure to work on the level of formal expertise in your content. That being said, showing your expertise in content is always beneficial. Even if we’re talking about pages that might not be held up to that higher standard.
Showing expertise shows your readers that you can know what you’re talking about, and this will build trust between you and them. We live in a world where the competitor is just a click away, so you need to make sure to build a trusting relationship with your audience. One way to do this through your content is by showing your expertise, authoritativeness and trustworthiness in everything you write.
Bonus tip: Schema helps Google understand your content
A great way to help Google understand who you are and what your pages are about is to use Schema structured data on your site. If you’re unfamiliar with structured data, you can read more about the possibilities here. Luckily, you don’t need to be a technical expert on Schema in order to use it — just install the Yoast SEO plugin and we’ll take care of the rest!