How Digital PR can positively impact E-E-A-T signals
In the eyes of the search engine, being able to demonstrate first-hand experience is more important than ever, which is why in December of 2022, Google upgraded its concept of Expertise, Authority and Trust (EAT) with an additional “E” for Experience.
The ‘E-E-A-T’ acronym was then formed, with the four core signals ultimately acting as a benchmark for the search engine to evaluate a site’s performance against.
Brands now need to not only consider, but demonstrate each of the following areas:
- Experience: Illustrating direct, real-life involvement within the industry you operate in
- Expertise: Highlighting knowledge, qualifications or relevant understanding around a specific subject
- Authority: Identifying as an authority within your niche through authority signals
- Trust: Building and demonstrating points of honesty and reliability
The role of Digital PR in E-E-A-T
There is a significant focus on how brands can optimise their websites to support sending signals of E-E-A-T, but often the role that an effective Digital PR strategy can play in supporting E-E-A-T can be overlooked.
Digital PR prioritises creating a digital footprint for brands – building credibility and awareness within target audiences. A successful Digital PR strategy should use a brand’s in-house experience and expertise to create trustworthy campaigns and stories which in turn position brands as authorities within their sectors.
Illustrating Experience Through Digital PR
Experience is the newest addition to E-E-A-T, specifically focusing on a brand being required to demonstrate experience within their topic or niche.
There are several ways that Digital PR can be used to build signals of experience off-site; with case studies, interviews and product offering reviews all sending such positive signals.
Real life case studies are stories directly from a member of the public, offering the opportunity to highlight the experience of an individual. Such studies are a fantastic way of humanising a product or offering, something which is invaluable to journalists as they provide tangible evidence to the consumer. In parallel, case studies also offer the opportunity to show the search engine real people and their experience with your brand or subject matter.
Similarly, getting your brand’s product, service or offering featured within online reviews or round ups is another fantastic way of illustrating experience. There are several high-tier publications, such as Good Housekeeping and The Independent, which have teams specifically for the purpose of reviewing and ranking products and offerings; this in turn highlights yet more real-people’s experience with your brand.
Showcasing Expertise Through Digital PR
One of the most tried and tested, but also one of the most successful forms of Digital PR, is taking an expert-led approach.
Expert-led Digital PR sees relevant experts within a brand’s business highlighted, with topics that said experts are genuinely qualified to provide advice or opinion on then identified.
Having the qualification or direct authority to speak on a certain topic within the media is absolutely key. Experts need to be able to add genuine insight to a conversation that is highly relevant to their brand, and speaking on topics that aren’t relevant to your brand or offering can actually have the opposite effect when it comes to sending expert signals to the search engine.
Expert-led Digital PR can come in several forms, though the most commonly used is that of quotes and comments. This approach can be both planned and reactive; planning in commentary around a specific topic or conversation that’s either evergreen or seasonal, something which comes up year after year, or reacting directly to emerging and trending news stories with expert advice or opinion.
All of this works together to showcase your brand’s experts and topical expertise to both the consumer and the search engine too.
Building Authority Through Digital PR
Perhaps the most obvious causation between Digital PR and E-E-A-T, securing brand mentions and backlinks through Digital PR is still very much an active way of sending signals of authority to the search engine.
By featuring your brand in credible and respected media titles, not only are you improving the authority seen by the consumer, but you’re also telling the search engine that a well-established title has confidence in your brand and offering.
It’s important to note that the days where sheer volume of links is an indicator of authority are gone, relevancy of coverage and links is now the ultimate key when it comes to building authority through Digital PR. It needs to make genuine sense for a publication to be linking out to your brand, so it’s important to consider if the publication has a strong affiliation with your brand and offering as well as if the topic itself that the article is covering makes sense for your brand to be involved in the discussion.
Not only this, it’s also important to understand why a journalist would want to link to your brand. Links are only included within editorial content if they add genuine value to a topic, or act as a citation for a source, so ensuring that the page you’re asking a journalist to link to also makes sense within the context of the piece is key.
Therefore, taking all of this into consideration, if a well-respected, highly relevant publication has chosen to link to your brand, the search engine should see this link as a vote of confidence in the brand itself, ultimately building authority.
Establishing Trust Through Digital PR
The last and arguably the most important factor in E-E-A-T, trust is something that every brand needs to demonstrate, and this is an area that Digital PR can support in.
In general, earned media is a hugely positive signal of trust, particularly if the coverage and links acquired highlight brand experience, and expertise along the way too, so if you have an effective Digital PR strategy in place, you should be building trust with both consumers and the search engine as a direct result of this.
That said, there are some specific Digital PR tactics that can fire even more positive signals of trust. Incorporating data into your Digital PR campaigns is one of the best ways that you can build trust, as data brings a strong element of credibility to a campaign which without it could be seen as subjective. All relevant data-points can have a positive impact here, but if you’re able to own the data, for example through a unique study or analysis, this can further drive signals of trustworthiness.
These are just some of the ways that Digital PR can positively impact E-E-A-T. By having an effective Digital PR strategy in place, your brand can bolster its signals of Experience, Expertise, Authority and Trust, not only to the search engine, but direct to consumers too.
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