Has your website experienced the significant drop in organic search traffic this year? 2018 has been an impactful year for Google algorithm updates on the organic search rankings for sites in multiple industries and verticals. Are you frustrated at this fact since you’ve been writing new content for your site and focusing on best practices for SEO? You’re not alone.
Downward organic slide
In many cases our team has not found any glaring cause/effect that we could tie to the organic drop, which in some cases exceeded 60%, especially in the healthcare space. Regarding seeing any recovery from your drop in organic visibility, you won’t surge back in a few weeks, and you probably won’t in a month or two either. It typically takes months of hard work to significantly improve the quality of your site, including improving overall content, UX, mobile responsive presentation, technical SEO, aggressive or deceptive advertising, and more.
For this article though, we are going to discuss E-A-T. Digging into our clients’ websites and learning more about Google’s recent updates, our team focused more on Google’s search quality evaluator guidelines regarding E-A-T, which refers to the Expertise, Authoritativeness & Trustworthiness of your web site and content.
E-A-T is an important criteria when evaluating your site, as Google is looking to correlate the expertise or reputation of the creator/author of your website’s main or primary content. The authoritativeness or trustworthiness of specific pages on your site or for your website overall, is extremely important in the eyes of Google, as it indicates whether a page can convey or achieve its purpose well. If the E-A-T of a specific page or site is quite low, visitors to that site cannot or should not use the main content of the page, as it fails to achieve its purpose. This is especially true for YMYL sites, defined by Google as “Some types of pages could potentially impact the future happiness, health, financial stability, or safety of users. We call
such pages “Your Money or Your Life” pages, or YMYL.”
The Google guidelines are really clear in saying that it should be obvious who is responsible for the information on a site:
OK, enough of the generic text talk, what does this mean for my website? What can I do?
Reversing any changes for your organic visibility will not happen overnight, it will take time effort and diligence. For some of our clients we have seen positive movements but again it takes time, but positive efforts should eventually be rewarded.
Action Item 1 – Who is the author of your content?
So if the author of your website and/or blog content is completely unidentified and nowhere to be found, it’s not good news for the owner of the website. It’s difficult to build the ‘authoritativeness’ of your content when it’s not clear who the author is. So take a look, does your primary content on your site have any attribution, meaning no “about the author” blurb or author box associated with posts?
If not, change it. Be transparent and clear on who authored your content. Your authors should be clearly referenced and if possible your authors should have some kind of positive reputation online, such as on other blogs, or in your industry, etc. While this isn’t always possible, it can be a good differentiator as Google would prefer that the writer should be featured on various online publications, or perhaps have an online reputation in your field or on your subject matter. So it is not recommended to add a fake persona as an author that has no online authority or visibility anywhere else online.
Examples of posts with clear visible authors:
Examples of posts with generic or not actual authors
Action Item 2 – Do you have an About Us page?
This may seem obvious, but nevertheless shouldn’t be overlooked. Building the E-A-T of your site includes being clear on who the organization or entity is behind the website and it’s content. If you don’t have one, or if it is buried as a subpage or is pretty thin on content, you might consider creating one or elevating/expanding your existing one. Even if you are selling products or putting out information and your organization is, in your opinion, not the main focus of your site, still add it.
Think of an About Us page as a way to showcase your ‘thought leadership.’ Who are you, what is your mission, who are your people? This in turn can have trickle down effect of improving the visibility of your other online content.
So now you have some to dos….
It may not give you any consolation, but a large number websites are in the same boat as you. Google is constantly looking to refine its search algorithm to give people the content they are looking for, and to match them with the sites and content that are authoritative. The days of writing and posting generic ‘keyword focused’ content with no authorship online, and hoping to get a significant organic boost from it, are likely behind us.
So take a look at your site and content, and if you’d like to discuss how Gazz Consulting can help, we always provide free consultations, so we’re happy to discuss.