Gemma Fontané recommends that you focus on creating content for human users that demonstrates EAT in 2023, particularly for small or medium-sized businesses that are looking to make a start in new or international markets.
Gemma says: “My number one SEO tip is for small and medium-sized businesses. What I recommend for them is to really work on EAT, especially if you are starting an international strategy.”
Why is EAT going to be particularly helpful for small and medium-sized businesses starting to move into an international space?
“EAT is about showing the expertise, authority, and trustworthiness of a page. It’s not only YMYL content that needs to demonstrate EAT, but also websites that want to sell internationally or want to sell in a new market. It allows you to target your new audiences and gives you the opportunity to explain your products to them and the value of what you are offering.
SEOs working in these businesses should be asking themselves what their website is currently doing, what style of content they have, what quality of content they have, and whether their content is primarily made for humans.”
Why is it important for SEOs to ensure their content is primarily made for humans? How do you determine whether or not you’re doing a good job at that?
“Whether you’re working on EAT at a local or an international level, it’s important to remember that you’re writing for your user - for human beings - and not only for the sake of being first in the rankings.
You need to do topic research that covers all your users’ needs and create the right content that is focussed to them. It’s not enough to only do keyword research and just work on the keywords that you can find through your tools.
You should be working on content that is going to be useful for your users and is going to help them to resolve their needs, whether that’s related to products, services, or comparing to other products, other websites, or other stores. Focus on intent.”
What are your thoughts on using extensive automation to produce content? Would you ever use AI to generate content?
“No matter what market you are in, if you are using AI-generated content it is likely that it is not going to be focused on the human user, but only on ranking in search engines. I highly recommend creating unique content that is original and targeted at your users. Don’t aim to just have a lot of content on your page and a lot of pages, without a focus on your products.
Never use AI to generate content if you want to build EAT on your website. Maybe it’s a good source of content if you have other objectives, but if you want to show expertise then it’s important that someone with a lot of knowledge on the topic is the one writing about it.”
Why is trustworthiness important and how do you establish if an article is likely to be trustworthy?
“You should be asking yourself; would you trust the information presented in this article? What would your users think? First of all, is the content written by an expert? You need to validate that the author is someone that really understands the topic.
It’s also important to work on the videos and images on your page, especially when you want to try to sell internationally. Users may not know who you are in a new market, they may not know that you’re a store because you don’t have a physical store in their country, for example.
That’s one of the reasons why it’s important that your content has a lot of trustworthiness, and you have a lot of content, images, links, and references that explain - in the best way possible - what you are offering,”
Can you build trust from a third party, by having someone that is a frequent publisher of content in your industry publish content on your website, for example, to quickly build up authority based upon the fact that Google knows who they are?
“That is an option, although it depends a lot on the sector that you are in. There are a lot of factors to take into account.
My recommendation is that you create great content that’s going to be spread around, and that people are going to share easily. You might not need to be the one looking for a third party and finding the experts. If you create really good content from the beginning, and content that’s worthy of being spread around, then maybe they are going to come to you.”
In terms of establishing EAT, what does it mean to create trustworthy original content?
“Originality is very important when you’re trying to build trust and authority. You should be asking; does this article provide original content, original reporting, original research, and original analysis? It’s not enough to be publishing original articles, you actually have to be conducting the original research yourself as well.
If you found your information through a book, through an article, or through another page, it’s really important that you are linking your sources too. It’s rare that you will be the only one that knows all about a single subject. You are not the first, so you need to reference the others.
You should share where you are getting the information from so that your users know that you’re not just making it up. It shows that your opinion is strong because you have a lot of knowledge about this topic.”
If you represent a small or medium-sized business and you don’t have significant amounts of authority on your website already, but you’ve done some great research, where should you publish that?
“If it’s possible to publish it on your own website, then that would be best. Other people may then reference it, but you need to be the one in control of your content and your research. I would strongly recommend that you publish your own research and your own data on your website, and then look for other people to share it and spread it around. You need to be the expert on that topic.”
How do you make sure that your site is perceived as trustworthy for doing things like getting a customer to give their credit card information to you?
“When you’re starting an international strategy it’s important that people trust you, especially now that there is a lot of competition in marketplaces and big websites. They need to look at you as more than just a small website that might sell them a product - they need to believe that there is someone behind the page.
Do your research on the markets that you want to start expanding into. Check all their payment methods. Whether it’s credit cards, PayPal, or whatever, it’s important that people are used to the payment method that you are using and that they trust that there is someone behind the website.
Create a really good, specific About Us page with information about the store, the team, the products - everything. Also, create a Frequently Asked Questions page with answers that are not only about the products but also about things like international delivery, because that may be a way that you’re going to sell your product.
Make it easy for your users to trust you. Whether that’s through your payment methods, reviews, or other tools that help you to build confidence, it’s really important that you have that trust.”
Should SEOs be encouraging customers to write reviews on your behalf, or should this be a fairly organic thing?
“Positive reviews should be an organic thing, however, there are small actions that you can take that will bring more in. For example, when you are selling a product, or when you are delivering it, you can include a small message explaining how the product works and telling them where they can come to ask questions. It’s not directly asking for a review, but it’s encouraging them to comment on the product.”
In relation to the content itself, how important are videos and images? Should every piece of research content also be available in video form and have images to accompany it or does it depend on the piece and the intent that you’re trying to serve?
“I would 100% recommend using images and videos to complement all your content and all your information. It’s particularly important when you are trying to sell a product.
Images show the quality of your product. Especially if you’re selling internationally and people don’t know what the product looks like, it’s important that they can imagine it completely. It will help you to have higher rankings and higher visibility on search engines.
Videos are a good way of showing users how your product works and how they can use it, or it can be a way to compare your product with other examples.”
How do you go about benchmarking how well you’re performing for EAT?
“It depends a bit on the strategies that you’re implementing. To measure whether you’re achieving your goals you can focus, for example, on the number of referrals that you are getting. You can look at whether that’s increasing or not, but especially at whether you are gaining referrals around the subjects that you’re covering.
To analyse whether you are becoming an expert or not, you can look at the new contacts that you are making - perhaps with journalists or other content creators online. You can look at the reviews and comments that you are getting from your target countries, and you can look for an increase in the number of people contacting you through the website, or an increase in sales in a specific country.
Last but not least, you can look at whether your rankings are improving or not, especially for the pages where you are focussing your efforts.”
What shouldn’t SEOs be doing in 2023? What’s seductive in terms of time, but ultimately counterproductive?
“The worst thing you can do is create low-quality content. Content is not only a piece of text trying to rank on the first position of Google. It’s a way to turn to communicate your brand, it’s a way to explain who you are to your audience, it’s a way to explain your products, and it’s a way to persuade and convince your audience that you are providing something valuable.
Content is almost everything. I highly recommend that SEOs stop creating low-quality content in 2023 and start focusing their efforts on better content. It’s going to help you to build your brand and improve your results.”
Gemma Fontané is Founder of denadal.cat and you can find her at tiodenadal.online.
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