Should finance brands be paying attention to Google E-A-T?
Google’s E-A-T guidelines, an acronym for Expertise – Authority – Trustworthiness, were first published in Google’s Search Quality Guidelines way back in 2014. In the years since, these guidelines have been continuously tweaked and updated and are now back in the spotlight in a year of major Google algorithm updates and a renewed focus on user intent. So should finance brands be investing in optimising for Google E-A-T in 2021 and beyond?
Google E-A-T isn’t a ranking factor
It’s important to understand that while the E-A-T guidelines are part of Google’s quality guidelines, they aren’t actively included in Google’s algorithm. So what’s the difference?
In contrast to Google’s ranking algorithm, Google’s quality guidelines are human-reviewed and manually updated. They rely on manual quality analysis of webpages and represent what Google is ideally looking for. The ranking algorithm is composed of hundreds (if not thousands) of ranking factors that combine together to define the SERPs. While some SEO experts are divided, not being a ranking factor isn’t a reason in our eyes to write E-A-T off.
Why financial services should care about E-A-T
Brands and websites across the financial industry are what is known as YMYL (Your Money or Your Life) sites. These are sites that could potentially affect a person’s legal, financial or health status and as a result are deemed by Google to be of higher risk than other sites. As a result, only sites that demonstrate high Expertise, Authoritativeness and Trustworthiness are likely to rank.
Although E-A-T isn’t officially a ranking factor, the steps financial brands could take to ensure they are optimising towards E-A-T align well with algorithmic ranking factors, particularly with Google’s ongoing focus on the user’s search intent. As the search engine continues to tweak its algorithm towards improving user experience, there has been a resurgence in discussion around the value of Google E-A-T with it featuring on numerous 2021 SEO trends lists, including our own.
As the search engine continues to tweak its algorithm towards improving user experience, there has been a resurgence in discussion around the value of Google E-A-T.
How to optimise for E-A-T?
Google E-A-T is a set of guidelines that should be front of mind when producing any kind of financial content – it’s unlikely that a finance site will rank for any key terms if it can’t demonstrate Expertise, Authoritativeness and Trustworthiness. Here are some practical tips that can help:
- Write impartial, clear content backed up by identified experts and clear sources.
- Avoid combining sales and information. Pages that aim to provide information or advice should focus on doing this rather than pushing to a conversion. Try to avoid actively pushing to your product on the same page.
- Avoid ‘persuading’ your reader that your product is the answer to all of their problems – try to ensure your content is always unbiased particularly on informational pages.
Google’s E-A-T guidelines may not be a defined ranking factor but they remain immensely important for finance marketers looking to ensure their content ranks today and in the future as ranking factors evolve. User experience and search intent are at the forefront of Google’s plans; finance brands with high E-A-T scores that can demonstrate they truly understand what their potential consumers are looking for could find themselves ahead of the competition.
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