Today’s Ask An SEO question comes from Fadi, who asks:
When Google says human first, does that mean we should search for other articles with high backlink profiles rather than keyword research when trying to find a topic to discuss?
Google has told us we must provide content that exudes experience, expertise, authority, and trust – commonly referred to as E-E-A-T – if we want to rank well.
But how do you know if your content has E-E-A-T?
How do you even know what to write about?
Let’s dive in and answer these questions.
What Is E-E-A-T?
So, let’s talk about E-E-A-T – how can we make our content exude experience, expertise, authority, and trust?
These are the four things Google cares about regarding the content on your page and how it affects rankings.
Google wants to ensure that the sites it shows in its search results are legit and trustworthy.
So, it looks at things like the experience of the content creators.
Do they have a background in the field they’re writing about? Have they worked in the industry? This stuff matters to Google.
Google cares about expertise. It wants to see the people behind a site know their stuff. It wants to see evidence that the content is accurate and reliable.
Expertise can be anything from formal education to real-world experience.
Authority is a big deal for Google. It wants to see that a site is respected and trusted by others in the industry.
We can demonstrate authority through awards, citations, or positive reviews from other experts.
Finally, trust is a huge factor for Google.
Google wants to be sure that the information it is showing its users is legit and not shady. It looks at the transparency of the content, how accurate it is, and whether the site has a good reputation for being honest.
All this stuff might sound common sense, but Google takes it seriously. It has a whole set of guidelines for its raters to follow.
So if you’re trying to rank your site, check out these guidelines and make sure your site meets the E-E-A-T criteria.
Are Backlinks A Good Way To Measure A Site’s E-E-A-T?
SEO pros traditionally view links as an essential metric for determining a site’s relevance and rank-worthiness.
However, relying solely on backlinks to measure a site’s E-E-A-T is not necessarily a viable strategy.
It is crucial to understand that not all backlinks are created equal, and some can even be detrimental to a site’s ranking if they come from low-quality sources.
Search engines like Google have evolved to focus more on the quality and relevance of a website’s content and reputation than the number of backlinks it has.
A site that ranks well because of high-quality content and a positive reputation is more likely to provide value to its users than one that relies solely on backlinks.
Overemphasizing backlinks can lead to unethical practices such as link farming and purchasing backlinks. These practices can result in search engines penalizing a site, causing it to lose its ranking and reputation.
So when Google says “human first,” it doesn’t mean looking for the site with the most backlinks.
Read the latest Google Quality Raters Guide and understand what Google is looking for in your site’s content.
Look at the content on the sites that are ranking and ensure your content is clearer and exudes E-E-A-T better than your keyword competitors.
When we dive into the “Human First” ethos, it emerges as an encompassing vision of delivering exceptional user experiences through valuable, pertinent, and engaging content that conveys expertise, authority, trust, and transparency.
This shift in focus underscores an important reality: our messages are meant for humans, not algorithms. We must solve problems, answer queries, and engage in genuine dialogue.
Does this shift indicate we should focus on articles with high backlink profiles? Backlinks are, undeniably, a significant cog in the SEO machinery.
They signify the perceived authority of a website, suggesting that the content is worth its salt in the sea of information on the internet.
But should keyword research take a backseat in this scenario? Not in the slightest.
Keyword research is a compass that guides us toward our audience’s needs, queries, and search patterns. It’s a critical tool in our arsenal that helps us understand user intent and deliver content that aligns with it.
The reality is that these two strategies aren’t rivals. They are allies in our quest for an all-encompassing SEO strategy.
Consider this: you unearth an article with a high backlink profile, and you’re tempted to create a similar piece.
But without keyword research, how would you know if your audience is actively searching for this information?
Conversely, finding a golden keyword is only half the battle; If your content doesn’t provide value, you’re unlikely to garner the backlinks that signal quality to Google.
It’s also important to understand that your backlink analysis tool does not know what Google knows.
Sites that engage in large-scale link-buying schemes will seem to have a significant backlink profile on your tool.
Google may be discounting the majority of the purchased links.
You need to analyze the sites with large amounts of backlinks. They could just be doing a poor job of link-building.
Google’s “Human First” approach calls for a harmonious blend of both practices.
It’s about crafting content that satisfies user intent (highlighted by keyword research) and ensuring it’s valuable and worthy of being linked to (as indicated by a high backlink profile).
In the grand scheme, Google’s “Human First” philosophy isn’t asking us to abandon tried and tested SEO practices.
Instead, it nudges us to remember why we employ these strategies in the first place – to serve the human user.
In this light, the mastery of both backlink profile analysis and keyword research becomes an indispensable part of an effective, human-first SEO strategy.
In summary, while backlinks remain essential to SEO, they should not be the sole metric for determining a site’s experience, expertise, and trustworthiness.
Instead, SEO pros should focus on building a solid brand reputation through high-quality content and ethical marketing practices.
By prioritizing these factors, businesses can achieve sustained success and build a loyal user base that trusts and values their offerings.
- Google E-E-A-T: How To Demonstrate First-Hand Experience
- Google Answers if Links or Content Determine E-A-T Scores
- Google Ranking Factors: Fact or Fiction [2nd Edition Ebook]
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