Just the Tip – Expertise, Authoritativeness and Trustworthiness – The Three Pillars of SEO

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Posted on by Jason Cook
Categories: JTT - SEO, Just The Tip

It’s estimated that 63,000 Google searches are performed every second. That’s 3.8 million searches every minute, 228 million searches every hour, and about 5.6 billions searches performed within a single day. And somewhere in the middle of that search maelstrom, is a prospective customer in need of your products or services. Google uses complex algorithms to determine the pages best suited to answer specific queries. Ever-evolving, these algorithms allow Google to assess the topicality of web pages, isolate the most suitable responses, and rank them. Considering the diversity of queries and sheer number of web pages vying for Google’s attention, it’s a massive undertaking. While it can be difficult to tie exact metrics to Google’s algorithms, they have shown how they manually review websites thanks to a document release. So which metrics are used to assess the suitability of content? Thanks to the release of Google’s Search Quality Evaluator Guidelines, we know that key metrics of manually assessing page quality include (i) Expertise (ii) Authoritativeness and (iii) Trustworthiness. So let’s explore E-A-T and get a better understanding of how it improves your credibility and quality of content.


Expertise comes in a variety of forms. In some cases, it’s formal – achieved through education or work experience. In others it might be more personal, acquired over time and through the repetition of daily life. It could also be the result of diligent research. Regardless of where that expertise comes from, it should be tangible in the content you create. Let’s equate a search query to a real world situation. If you were in search of a service provider (electrician, plumber, etc) and asked people you know for their recommendations, there would be certain people whose insights you valued above the insights of others, right? Perhaps they’re more knowledgeable, more experienced or simply more trustworthy. Well, Google approaches search queries in the same manner; they search for the most authoritative source, to help answer your query in the most effective manner possible.


If you ask someone to hand you a hammer, you expect them to hand you a hammer – not a screwdriver. After all, you’ve made a specific request, so you’d expect a specific result. If that person is familiar with tools, they’ll hand you a hammer. They may even hand you the right kind of hammer if you specify exactly what you need. Search works in a similar fashion, delivering authoritative resources to the user based on how effectively those resources have answered a specific query. For your site or page to rank high in search results, Google must identify you (and your contributors) as authorities. You must provide high-quality content (which we’ll discuss further below). The credentials of your content creators should be clearly stated. And when providing factual data, they should cite the source of their research by linking to it. From the perspective of the user, it creates a sense of transparency and allows them to access additional information from the source themselves. It speaks to the credibility of your site and reinforces the original source as an authority. And of course, the decision of any site or page to link to your content validates your content in the same manner.


Quality content serves one purpose: to help the user and improve their experience. It should be useful, informative and organic. In the past, content creators were known to practice ‘keyword stuffing’. They created haphazard content, often with little purpose but include a keyword in the hope of showing up in search. The result was a lack of substance, often phrased in an awkward, non-conversational manner and undeserving of user trust. And as user experiences go, it created a less-informative, less-satisfying experience. Knowledgable, well-researched and intentional content should be your primary goal. And that content should be presented in a personalized manner to ensure that it’s accessible to your visitors. This is a major component of building a foundation of trust with your users, and in an effective SEO strategy. Ensure your website displays trust signals such as SSL, sending resources over HTTPS, and well defined contact us and privacy policy pages. Ultimately, SEO isn’t a light switch. Like trust, it’s a strategy that pays off over time, but understanding these Three Pillars of SEO is crucial in creating a user-centric experience, positioning your website for improved traffic and creating more opportunities to attract, convert and service new customers.