It’s a big, big question—and regardless of how you look at it, it’s always going to be kind of an individual choice. Whether or not people choose to believe you has a lot to do with who you are… and even more to do with who your sources are.
These days, there’s another crucial element making some of that decision too: Google.
Whether or not your brand, your business, and your website is an “authority” on a topic (whether your info can be considered “truthful” an “reliable”) has a ton to do with how Google sees you.
Your reputation—and, by extension, your place in Google’s search results—relies on your overall reputation with the search engine. That means it’s critical to make sure you’re giving Google (and your audience) plenty of reason to believe you can be trusted.
That’s where the E-A-T is crucial: you need to position your site (and yourself) as a reputable, verifiable source of information. You have to show that you’re not just “experts” and “trustworthy” but also as an “authority”—and the more you do that, the better you’ll be ranked when users come searching.
Let’s take a closer look at the most often-debated portion of the E-A-T equation: “Authority.” Building up your website’s “authoritativeness” may be among the toughest challenges to master… and may offer the biggest value if you get it right.
What Is “Authoritativeness?”
Here’s a thought experiment worth considering:
What’s the difference between being an “expert” on a topic and an “authority” on that topic?
They seem kinda similar, right? But there’s also a difference, too.
One Large Slice of Authority, Coming Up
If you know a lot about, say, pizza—maybe you’ve been to every pizzeria in NYC, and you know everything there is to know about the makings of a great pie—you might consider yourself an expert on pizza.
But simply knowing a lot about it doesn’t necessarily make you an “authority.”
Even though you might know a ton about the history, ingredients, and styles of pizza, that doesn’t necessarily mean you know a lot about making a great pizza.
Say, on the other hand, you undertake that same learning experiment… but add to it a few years spent making pizzas right alongside the best of the best, learning their pitfalls, seeing their successes, and getting your hands dirty—all while communicating your journey along the way.
All that collected knowledge, experience, and wisdom shared with the masses.. that would make you a true authority on pizza. Anyone intent on perfecting their pie would be naturally drawn to your insights to improve their process.
Think about this same strategy with your website copy: it’s not enough to just be super accurate or to have a lot of content on a topic. You need to show that you live and breathe that topic—that anyone who wants to really dig into the subject has to, at some point, go through you for insights.
Hungry for Authoritativeness? Get Ready To E-A-T
Authority is more than just a factor of how confidently you speak on a topic, or how many links you use to prove your point. It’s also about your overall reputation on a subject.
For that reason, “authority” is a hugely valuable asset for a brand or website to have, and one that takes a lot of time and hard work to acquire.
To be a generally-recognized authority on a topic shows that you’ve accrued serious trustworthiness and recognition as a valuable source of information on a topic. That’s why Google and other search engines put such a premium on Authority—and why it’s a crucial part of E-A-T.
Breaking Down E-A-T
- Expertise - Who are you? What have you done? How much do you know?
- Authoritativeness - Combination of the two: both the content itself and the environment in which it exists
- Trustworthiness - Is your info true? Accurate? In accordance with other sources?
Why Does Authoritativeness Matter for SEO?
If you’re thinking you can shortcut the “authoritativeness” building process by focusing all your effort on a small, highly-engaged audience… nice try. But at the end of the day, you still need to prove your authority to make an impact where it matters most: page 1 of your Google search results.
The truth is, building up your authoritativeness plays a crucial role in your search performance.
Authoritativeness is driven by a combination of important factors: how you appear to Google, and how you appear to readers.
- Your audience will have the most recognizable reaction to your authority. Do they keep coming back for more? Do they link to you organically? Do they reference you as a source or expert in public discourse?
- Google will take that public reaction into account and combine with your technical execution - the quality of your site, your site’s security, and your linking strategy.
With significantly built “authoritativeness,” your website will likely be more heavily favored when it comes to search results. But to get there, you have to make sure your content meets the qualifications.
Tips For Adding Authoritativeness To Your Content
Building up your “authoritativeness” is a long and labor-intensive process, and it’s like that way by design. If you’re thinking you can shortcut the process with a few cheap tricks, you’ll likely be disappointed—and may actually do damage to your site’s reputation as a result.
To build up your authoritativeness the right way, consider directing your efforts toward these tried-and-true strategies:
- Give every page on your website a clear purpose. What are you communicating> What should users do with the information you’re providing?
- Add the right expertise, and consider original research (with a focus on transparency) wherever possible
- Remember YMYL! These pages will be ranked more strictly against E-A-T, and so it’s even more important to focus on accuracy on these pages.
- Great content needs good design & best practices to fully meet E-A-T requirements. Consider not just what you’re saying, but how you’re presenting that info.
Still need a hand infusing some “authority” in your web content? We’ve got you covered. We’d love to chat about your tactics, your strategies, and your best path forward.
Get in touch with our team today and let’s make sure your most important content pieces have all the gravitas your readers deserve. That way, they’ll keep coming back for more… and more… and more...
- Conor Snell
- Social Media & Content Strategist