The past few years have given rise to a trend known as “click baiting”, a form of false advertisement where the anchor text or the article’s title is intentionally sensationalized or misleading to increase traffic to the website. The content is often dubious, mediocre, or completely unrelated to the title. The rise of clickbait and fake news is a growing concern for users and may even have dire consequences. Search engines have improved their algorithm to filter out these kinds of web pages while boosting sites with credible, truthful, and high caliber content. These are known as authoritative content.
Authoritative content is important for your business’ website for the exact reason we mentioned earlier. Without authoritative content, your website’s rank on search engine results pages will suffer. Search engines are important for website visibility because most people use search engines to look for specific businesses and products. If your site is buried under your competitors, the likelihood of users patronizing your business decreases significantly. To gain an edge in the online space, you need to rise on the search engines.
We asked an SEO agency to weigh in on their thoughts, as well as some tips and tricks on authoritative content, and they gave us some valuable insight into the matter.
The importance of expertise, authority, and trustworthiness (EAT)
EAT is a shorthand coined by Google and is one of the core aspects of its Search Quality Evaluator Guidelines. These guidelines are used by those who manually review pages pulled up by search results. Pages with a high EAT score get pushed to the top of the rankings, while those with a low EAT score get bumped down.
When evaluating a website, Google asks several fundamental questions based on 3 criteria:
- Expertise: What are the credentials of the website owners? What are the credentials of the authors of their content? Google might flag sites as suspicious if the author doesn’t have the necessary qualifications to be writing articles on the topic. For example, would you trust an article about dental care when the author has no prior education or experience in dentistry? Reviewers will also consider if the organization or business that owns the website has any accolades, as this potentially adds to the credibility of its content.
- Authority: How are third-party sites rating this website and its content? Is their content relevant to the site as a whole? Are the authors widely cited and recognized? Websites publishing content on topics they have no authority in are also considered suspicious. Why would a website primarily focused on cooking recipes publish articles on car repair or home improvement? Search engines also monitor what external websites have to say about a website. If there is a high volume of criticism on its content, it may signal them to decrease your search rank. Authors are graded on this criterion based on the quality of their writing, how prolific they are, and the number of citations they have.
- Trust: Is there a way to validate the business or organization behind the website? Is their website secure? Do their authors have a history of peddling fake news? Security and transparency are paramount in certain industries like journalism, eCommerce, etc. Users should have the ability to verify and contact the company or organization by having access to a clear About Us or Contact Us page. Any transactions or user information input happening within the site must also be done under secure networks. The site’s authors should also be trustworthy. If most of them have a reputation for writing clickbait articles, then that will have a negative impact on site rankings.
Tips on creating authoritative content
Now that you know the importance of authoritative content and the main criteria for judging whether certain websites are authoritative, your next step is to learn how to make authoritative content.
- Offer novel insights
Instead of using misleading clickbait titles on your articles to generate user traffic, pique your audience’s attention by writing articles with new information on certain topics. Tackle common topics from a different perspective. Use your unique and personal experiences to your advantage. Genuine writing resonates better with the audience and may move them to recommend your content to others. When giving your articles a title, choose one that is clear and representative of the content. Do not stuff the tags or body with irrelevant keywords in an attempt to increase traffic. Focus less on baiting the search engine and more on engaging your audience.
- Build a positive reputation
A positive image is key in generating authoritative content. If people and websites who are not affiliated with you are praising your content, it sends signals to the search engine that your website deserves a boost in the search rankings. There’s a lot of work involved in building and maintaining a positive reputation. You’ll have to consistently put out quality content and run background checks on your content creators, but the outcome is well worth it.
- Invest in professional-level content production
Hiring content creators with the right educational background and credentials is important because users are more likely to trust articles when the author is an expert on the topic at hand. If you also plan to create videos, invest in high-quality equipment and production to give your audience a pleasant viewing experience. If you don’t have the resources and manpower necessary to create the content you envision, consider outsourcing. An SEO agency could have the services you need to make your ideas a reality.
Your website is a representative of your company, and when your website boasts high quality, credible, and curated content, it boosts the image of your brand in a big way. Users will be more likely to patronize your business, recommend you to their social circles, and come back in the future. It takes a lot of effort and resources to make authoritative content, but you will be rewarded with increased traffic, as well as the respect of your peers and the trust of your consumers.