You’ve heard it a gazillion times: Google wants high-quality original content. In fact, the large majority of their algorithm updates are designed for exactly that purpose. But, where – or from whom – does that content originate?
The writers, of course. In their 2015 Search Engine Evaluator Guide, Google spends a fair amount of space reviewing specific search engine results and evaluating the “expertise” of the pages’ writers. In other words, Google is telling us that the expertise of “the writer” matters, especially when it comes to your website’s most important pages.
5 Takeaways Regarding Authorship and Google’s Content Standards
Here are some of the takeaways you can think about when planning your 2016 digital and social media content and as you hire the best writers for the job.
- E-A-T. The good people at Google even created a new acronym to illustrate what the goal of social media content should be: E-A-T, which stands for a high-level of Expertise, Authority and T You can bet your bippy this acronym will (and already is) being slung about SEO websites and social media, which is a sign it’s worth paying attention to. The only way to achieve web pages that meet the E-A-T requirements is to ensure the pages’ authors are knowledgeable enough to do the job well. Don’t just take the cheapest writer for the job or look the other way while posting content you know isn’t quite up to par or has a few, “minor” inaccuracies – Google knows.
- “Expert” may not mean what you think. Does that mean you now have to hire a bunch of retired physicians to write web content and blogs for a client who runs a healthcare clinic? No. But it does mean that content must be written by someone who has a better-than-passing knowledge of the human body and its mechanics, and who is able to quickly digest healthcare-related resources to create authoritative content. Your budgets should reflect the level of expertise required to write a specific client’s content.
- Content-quality must reflect the title/subject. This seems like a no-brainer but, when taken in light of the new attention paid to authorship, it means a lot. If the title for a specific web page or blog includes dense subject-matter, Google expects the substance of the article to match. In other words, if your blog is to focus on the benefits of chiropractic care for the treatments of migraines, but the subject matter only skirts over the general science of headaches and chiropractic adjustments, the page’s rank will suffer.
- Use non-expert experts to add a different voice. Going back to Number 2, you don’t always need to hire an expert doctor or scientist to write healthcare-oriented content. Creating an array of voices is a recommended method for capturing a broader target audience, and different topics require different levels of expertise. So, having blogs or web pages written by a person who suffers from chronic migraines and has found relieve via chiropractic treatments, or a wife of someone with a slipped-disk who writes about the challenges inherent in caregiving, is a unique way of using an “expert” voice. While the writers aren’t necessarily “experts” at the science or physiology of headaches and spinal injury, they are certainly experts in their own life experience, and there is inherent value in those voices.
- YMOYL. See! Here’s another acronym for you, proving just how serious the Google algorithms will be at prioritizing content written by expert authors. Google uses the YOML acronym, a play on the popular financial self-help book, Your Money or Your Life, to illustrate the importance of expert writing for pages containing content that will potentially affect someone’s financial or general well-being. If you are giving financial advice, the writer needs to be an expert in finance. If you’re spouting medical advice, the writer should have an expert handle on the relevant topic. If a page dispenses legal advice, the author needs a solid background or serious experience writing for the legal field. If Google determines inaccurate or hyper-generalized information on a web page could have a negative impact on a readers’ health, wealth or happiness, the page will be penalized.
While high-quality content has always been important, the new Google Content Standards will insist that you invest in expert writers who produce authoritative and trustworthy content.
If you haven’t done so already, it’s time to invest in expert content creators who have the education, experience, and subject-worthiness to deliver the content required for you to meet your SEO goals for 2016.
Written by David Kaufer
David Kaufer is Founding Partner and Chief Dynamic Officer of Kaufer DMC. He’s also a huge Oregon Ducks & Microbrew nut, Dad of awesome 9-year-old twin boys, husband, and big Sustainability and Autism advocate.