Business owners today understand that, in order to reach consumers, they must be online. And the core of their online presence is their website.
But not all websites are created equal. Google is the king of the search engines, so keeping Google happy with your online presence is incredibly important. Believe it or not, Google is taking stock of each website's expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness and using that information to decide how the website will perform in search engine results.
All of this means it’s vital that you create and maintain a website that adheres to Google’s standards for assessing a website’s quality. Want to make sure your website’s making a great impression on Google? Keep on reading!
Who’s Judging My Website, Anyway?
The answer to this question is twofold. Google actually has thousands of people who act as search raters. These folks are given a lengthy document with evaluation guidelines (which Google has made public) and asked to rate given website pages based on those factors.
Of course, even with thousands of raters, websites are always changing, so there’s no way humans alone can handle this task. That’s where Google’s algorithm comes in.
What’s the Deal with Google’s Algorithm?
Google also uses a complex algorithm to assess websites. It takes into account over 200 factors, and exactly what this list of factors includes is not publicly known. However, between leaked information and some educated guesses, people have compiled lists of the factors they assume are on there (see Backlinko’s attempt here).
Of course, with hundreds of factors, it’s not particularly practical for you to optimize for each and every one of them – you’ll spend every waking second just working on your website! It’s much better to take a high-level approach, which is where E-A-T comes in.
You Gotta E-A-T!
E-A-T is Google’s shorthand for the three broad categories it thinks about when evaluating websites: expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness. Google wants to be sure that if your website is performing well in search results for a given term, it’s the most useful possible result for that consumer’s given need.
This means that your site should be high-quality, provide a clear solution to the consumer and an easy way for them to get in touch with you, and should make the consumer feel safe about doing business with your company. The kind of questions you should be thinking about when trying to fulfill Google’s E-A-T requirements are:
- Does your website establish you as a leader in your field?
- Is your content produced by people with the appropriate credentials and knowledge?
- Is that content regularly cited and linked to on other websites?
- Does your business have reviews, and are they – for the most part – good ones?
- Do you make it easy for consumers to get in touch with you via phone or email?
- And does your website have security features, like HTTPS?
Where Do I Start?
If this all feels overwhelming, that’s understandable. Fortunately, there are some small steps you can take to ensure that your site is hitting the right SEO marks and making a good impression.
Start with search. Before consumers get to your website, they’re entering keywords into Google, hoping to find a solution to their problem. If you want consumers who most desperately need your solutions to find your business, you’ll need the strongest set of keywords for your site. If you’ve never done it before, now is the time to undertake keyword research and planning.
Once you’ve been found, you must make a stellar first impression. Trustworthiness is one of the major SEO visibility factors, so your site must display markers of trust from the get-go. Adopting HTTPS on your site is the first step to making consumers feel safe in handing over their personal information to your business.
After consumers start looking at your site, is it easy for them to find what they need? All of your pages should have your contact information clearly displayed.
Sometimes it’s easy to forget, but Google is a business, too. They want to be sure they’re providing their consumers with the best possible search results for their queries, so it’s up to you to put your best foot forward and impress Google with your website. If you can do that, you can increase your chances of getting in front of consumers searching for your products and services.