What was Google’s EAT update and how does this change how content marketing should be written?
In today’s world using the term “quality” is a rather vague description to apply to anything, after all it is something that can be used to describe a chocolate bar, right through to describing a sports car.
It is therefore a term that is overused to the max, and sometimes when it is applied to describe something, well the term is so used, it’s become rather non-descriptive.
So, when you hire a company to start improving your SEO, you might ask them what are they going to start working on first, what’s their plan of action? They may then reply that they need to add high-quality well written content marketing-but what does this even mean? And who decides upon if its quality or rubbish?
Well, this article will cover that issue, we will talk about how Google’s very clever algorithm can detect if the works quality or not. We will look at how Google’s Knowledge Graph will know if the facts are correct, and we will also look at machine learning used by Google, to work out, well is that business providing a sufficient answer to the question? This if you were wondering, is worked out via monitoring bounce rates, time on site, and also whether your business is the last clicked on or not.
SEO and Quality
The interpretation of “quality” can vary greatly from person to person, so this doesn’t really give somebody who is trying to write the content marketing much an idea of what is required when writing say 10,000-word article.
So we thought we’d sit down, put our brains together at our agency and talk about what we think defines a quality piece of well written content marketing. Now, we realise in today’s busy world, that not everyone will have the time to read this article fully, so if you want the highly-condensed version of this article, we have bullet pointed below, the attributes that we think contribute to an article being high-quality:
-Well written (written so that the work is an interesting read)
– It satisfies Google’s EAT criteria
– The work follows Google’s Webmaster Guidelines
– If there’s facts and figures, that are talking about well known “entities” then the information must be accurate, and cross-checkable on Google’s Knowledge Graph.
– The work must be white hat
– The work must offer a full answer to the question
– Must be written so its easy to read
– Must not be duplicated at all
Don’t begin, by simply trying to hit a set word count- this won’t work
This is a problem, not just with businesses both large and also small that implement SEO, but also a common mistake that so many marketing agencies can make as well, that’s to say, they evaluate the competition, notice that they are adding say three pieces of written work every single month, and believe that that this itself is the target. Its not the target, as it’s not about quantity its everything to do with “quality”.
However, if you are simply evaluating your competition on how many articles they’ve written, and how long the word count is on each article, you will be greatly mistaken to think that this is a good strategy for moving forwards. It’s a flawed strategy, as focusing on the quantity of articles, and reaching say 10,000 words rarely means that you will making “useful” work.
As any good digital marketing agency will tell you, it’s not about quantity of the work, it is that famous word again, it’s the quality of it.
Google’s EAT- why you should understand this, before you start optimising your website.
So, let’s get down to the bare bones of the problem at hand, that is what is quality written content? How should it be written? And by who?
Well first things first, let’s examine “Google’s EAT”, now you may have heard this mentioned by many agencies, and this simply stands for expertise authoritativeness and trustworthiness of the written content.
Let’s sum this up this in a nutshell, if somebody is adding written content marketing to your website, it needs to be well written and written by somebody who knows what they are talking about. So, for example, so many businesses think that seo is a piece of cake, yet then add low-quality work, which if done really poorly, can actually result in Google implementing a manual action, or an algorithmic penalty.
For example, a business may hire a copywriter, who’s not paid very much, they then need to write the work in say less than hour- now as a business owner, you should stop here and think, well is the work likely to be well-written? Is the work likely to be researched? Is the work likely to offer a unique perspective? Is the work going to reflect well on your brand? Is the work going to improve your SEO- and here’s the thing, if its substandard work, then no is the answer.
For example, how many websites have you been on, where you read through a blog post, and it is taking you say over five minutes to read, yet you quickly get the impression that it’s written by somebody who hasn’t a clue what they are talking about, and the information is so vague that it offers no useful advice at all? This is the rubbish type of seo, that will damage your businesses marketing. If you want to read more about this, have a read of Google’s Panda updates.
So, let’s say for example the business might sells bathroom products, that business might sell electric showers, many different toilets and roll top Victorian bath’s for example, yet if you’ve hired the wrong SEO business, that simply thinks adding poorly written DIY advice, on to the blog will help, it will not.
For example, when you read the advice, on say “how to fit a shower tray”, you may quickly see that it’s rubbish information- it doesn’t help the user, somebody who wants to actually carry out DIY within their home is likely to come way after the read, and think that was a waste of time. This is the sort of written work that wont help your SEO, it could actually damage it.
Now, this is the type of work you need to avoid, and if your agency is producing this type of work we would recommend changing the company.
Because what is needed is work where it’s obvious a great deal of time has been spent writing the work, and it has been written in collaboration with an expert on the subject.
So, for example, the business might have bathroom fitters that work for the company, which obviously have most likely fitted hundreds of shower trays, they will know the exact way to install a shower tray, some of the pitfalls of installing a shower tray, and how to avoid these when somebody else is installing shower tray.
There are also likely to know through their expertise, the exact tools that you need, such as spirit level, mastic guns, and also screwdrivers.
Their knowledge is invaluable, so you need to sit down with a bathroom fitter, and they can then break down exactly what is needed, and some of the things that need to be done in order to easily fit the shower tray.
This will allow the marketing agency to then write an article that is useful, that actually has expertise, from someone who knows how to carry out the task, so that Google’s EAT, is listened to so that the article can offer really useful DIY advice.
Aim to be the last click (Google’s AI)
What do we mean by this?
Well, let’s say that you are in the city centre, let’s say that you are in the centre of Cardiff, and you are shopping around for a waterproof jacket.
Now there are a lot of outdoor shops, which sell waterproof jackets, however you enter five, you quickly see that they don’t stock the brands that you are looking for.
Yet when you get into the six shop, and they stock the jacket that you want, at the price you want, and they have the size you want, so you make the purchase.
This means it’s the six business that has therefore made the sale, it has provided you with what you want.
Now you need to take the same mindset when you are optimising a website, you don’t want to be the business that somebody looks at, yet doesn’t make a purchase from, you want to be the last click, you want to be company that they visit last, that they make the purchase from, because you have provided the service and the product they want to buy.
Obviously from Google’s algorithm perspective a business that’s visited last, where the shopper spent a long time on the site, obviously sends a positive signal that this business is delivering on what the person wants. We say that because if it’s the very last website the shopper visited, well, its likely that it’s the business which made the sale, and answered the query.
So what you need to do, in a nutshell is this, utilise the expertise that you have within the business, whether its a bathroom fitter, car salesman or somebody that is an expert on chocolate, make sure that you talk to them, that’s when you are writing the content marketing, so that their expertise can be included within the article, so that it is more likely to be useful when somebody is reading the article.
Why should you give away free advice?
This is a question that our SEO consultants get asked very often, that is a business which is heavily investing in online marketing why should the business give away free advice, which they normally charges customers for if that same advice was given in person?
So, for example, you might be a lawyer, you might have a lot of various solicitors that are working at your practice, and you obviously charge by the hour for their services, so why would you then write an article of say a thousand words in length, that also takes many hours of your solicitors time in order to write, and then add this to your blog for free?
The answer is simple, whether you are looking at improving your national or local SEO, if you want to improve your organic SEO, and to get onto the first page of Google, is very unlikely, if not impossible to get a business on to the first page unless you offer quality advice of some sort.
You want to therefore be the expert in your industry, you want to be the solicitors practice that is number one on the first page of Google, to do this you need content marketing
And there’s no point in writing content marketing that is vague, wishy-washy, doesn’t really offer good advice because this is likely to damage the businesses SEO and really what you are trying to do is help your customers, so you can get onto the first page.
However to get their you need often to give away free advice, this doesn’t just help the customers it also gives them a taste of what your business is like, for example do you offer straightforward and to the point advice, that is delivered in a friendly way, that is helpful? Does it show that you are not just profit focused, that you are also concentrating on helping the customers to solve their problems?
Google’s Webmaster Guidelines
Okay, so here’s the thing, although you are writing helpful advice for your customers, you will also have to make sure that you follow and fully understand “Google’s Webmaster Guidelines”.
So many businesses make the mistake of not writing the content marketing in what’s called a “white hat way”, this simply means that they may well be writing in the wrong type of style, for example using really large paragraphs, which can be off putting for a reader. Alternatively, the business may well be using seo methods which flouts Google’s Webmaster Guidelines- this will sometimes result in a penalty being incurred.
For example, you may hire a company to build your backlinks for your company, yet if they do this in the wrong way, which means not following Google’s Webmaster Guidelines or they don’t use what are called “white hat” methods, then this means that simply the business could incur a Google penalty, such as a Google Penguin Penalty- and trust us, you don’t want this, and it shouldn’t be taken lightly neither, as it could get in some instances the whole website removed from Google.
If the business, was to make the mistake, of say using “keyword stuffing” for (don’t use this method) example, the business could incur an algorithmic penalty, it could also be fully removed from Google, so you can begin to see why it’s so important to understand Google’s Webmaster Guidelines, as there’s loads of different ways that SEO can go wrong, and when it does, well, it can sometimes even take years to fully recover sometimes, so only use the right methods, white hat methods.
Get your facts right
Let’s say that you sell a product where there are commonly known facts about the brand. You might therefore want to write an article, talking about for example, the product details, so lets say you stock electric cars, you might write various piece of content marketing, talking about the cars, yet here’s why you need to get the facts right that you add to your site.
It’s well known that Google’s Knowledge Graph and Google’s Knowledge Vault has huge amounts of information on things, notice how use the word “things”, because good SEO agencies now know that the future of SEO is about things not strings.
So, with this in mind, if you were to ask us what attributes makes quality written text (content marketing) for a website, we would say adding “useful” information which follows “Google’s EAT”, we would say that also this needs to include some facts, you must make sure that these are right, so they can be checked on Google’s Knowledge Graph.
Make sure that your content marketing has structure
As you might have already read on for example many other digital marketing websites, people tend to scan read an article.
Therefore, this simply means, you might want to write an article that has many titles, and you might wish to add graphics as well, to help break up the text.
What you don’t want, is to have work which has a really high “bounce rate” so what you will need is to hire copywriters at a respected agency, which will write really good quality work, but make it interesting as well to read.
Because often an article can exceed say 3000 words, yet it could be a rather dull read unless it is broken up with say graphics.
So, what is often needed is to make the written work as interesting as possible to read.