How to perform your own comprehensive EEAT audit (through the lens of a machine)

Machines like search engines have very different definitions to how humans perceive and evaluate experience, expertise, authoritativeness and trustworthiness. And this is what so many people get wrong. So in this guide, I’m going to show you how to:

  • maximise authoritativeness through backlinks, and
  • demonstrate trustworthiness, experience and expertise through content and schema markup.

Let’s get started.

How to demonstrate authoritativeness

Here’s the thing—

Backlinks are the only way to demonstrate authoritativeness.

This means that a website’s homepage, service page, product detail page, product listing page, and informational page need to have backlinks from relevant third-party sources to demonstrate its authoritativeness relative to others websites. And this applies to all types of websites—publishers, financial services, b2b enterprises, service-based small businesses, e-commerce, or niche websites.

However, if you have limited resources, you should focus on acquiring high quality backlinks to your homepage from webpages that:

  1. Are topically relevant to your page.
  2. From a website that is topically relevant.
  3. Receives a significant amount of traffic from organic search.

And if you’re wondering if you need to meet all 3 criteria, the answer is YES.

This is because to demonstrate authoritativeness, your backlinks need to come from a source that Google trusts and this usually means a webpage that performs well in Google search where the topic of the page is directly relevant to the target URL.

This means that backlinks from a page that has zero visibility and no organic traffic from Google search will do nothing to demonstrate authoritativeness—even if the backlink comes from websites with a high DA/DR score.

Additionally, the concept of authoritativeness is relative to other websites. Therefore, you cannot get one or two high quality backlinks and call it a day.

Instead, to demonstrate authoritativeness, it is a continuous process that requires support and buy-in from comms, brand, and marketing as a whole.

So what type of activity is going to land you high quality backlinks?

Link inserts won’t cut it and your typical guest post is unlikely to achieve the success it needs. So in all honesty, digital PR is probably the best way to consistently earn credible backlinks from highly-relevant and highly-visited websites to your homepage and other important pages.

And for larger organisations wth notability, having a Wikipedia page is another way to demonstrate authoritativeness to a search engine. Therefore, if the organisation has an existing Wikipedia page, ensure that it is up to date with factual information that Google and other crawlers can validate on the organisation’s website. And to go one step further, use the schema markup sameAs property on the organisation’s entity home to define the relationship between the Organization entity and the Wikipedia page.

How to demonstrate experience

The whole point of the concept of experience is so that you’re adding a unique perspective to a body of knowledge that already exists. And this unique perspective can be expressed via written text, visualisations, videos, and images.

To successfully convey this to a machine, your content must have clear evidence of first-hand experiences.

This means:

  • The content is not a regurgitation of existing knowledge.
  • The content should add a unique perspective to existing body of knowledge.
  • The content does not read like a direct output of a LLM/GPT/GenAI.

As such, there are two steps to effectively demonstrate experience—

First, the content must be clearly authored by a subject matter expert. Second, the credibility of the author needs to be reflected in schema markup.

But does this mean that every page needs to declare the identify of the author of the content in order to demonstrate experience? And does it need to be an actual person that you name?

No, and no (let me explain).

So here’s the thing that trips many people up—the content should reflect the real-life experiences of a subject matter expert but there is no requirement to specify and identify who the author is. In many cases of large organisations, it is not possible to declare a specific person as the author due to various reasons. And in these situations, the organization is the author.

Similarly, it doesn’t make sense for most webpages to identify the author of the body content—think homepages, service landing pages, about pages etc. In fact, it is difficult to demonstrate experience on most webpage types except for informational content such as blog articles and guides. So don’t stress about trying to demonstrate first-hand experience on pages that don’t actually require it.

At the end of the day, demonstrating experience is about conveying authenticity by giving the audience unique value. You can do this via thought leadership, creating visualisations based on third-party research and data, or presenting first-party data. This is what the concept of experience refers to and this is the perfect segue into the role of schema markup.

Schema markup is the best way to help machines validate the information you have on a webpage. This makes it a no-brainer to help support the credibility of the content by declaring the attributes of the author.

To do this well, I recommend the following:

  1. Having individual author bio pages that become the entity home for each author.
  2. On each of the author bio pages, listing or describing what makes them qualified to be a subject matter expert. This can include their educational qualifications, their work experience, or a list of similar topics they’ve authored.
  3. Using Person schema, replicate the same credentials using schema.org vocabulary (eg, worksFor, knowsAbout) and use the ‘sameAs’ attribute to help machines validate their identify by linking to their social media accounts and other third-party author bio pages. The best way to find ways to link Person schema to attributes is to use the free Schema Paths Tool by Schema App.
  4. Then on the page where the individual is declared as the author, use schema markup to reference the individual’s entity home. Doing so removes the need to duplicate unnecessary lines of code.

How to demonstrate expertise

To demonstrate expertise to a machine, you will need to—

First, clearly identify the author of the content, back up their credentials and experience via schema markup. Then, ensure the same author shows up consistently in search results for similar topics.

Let’s break the above statement down—especially the second sentence.

As you can see, the concept of expertise builds upon the concept of experience. What this means is that you cannot build expertise without first investing in demonstrating experience.

Similar to the concept of experience, expertise can be demonstrated by an organisation and through individuals. Whether you declare the business as the overall author of the content or in-house writers or external writers, what matters to Google is that it can easily (a) identify who the author of the content is so that it can (b) validate who they are, what other content they’ve published, and how well its user base have responded to said content.

Once you’ve done that, the next step to demonstrating expertise is having Google search results recognize the author as having sufficient expertise in the subject matter. And to do this, the author will need to:

  • Consistently publish content on the same topic.
  • Be consistently featured/covered by third-party media on the same topic.

How to demonstrate trustworthiness

To demonstrate trustworthiness, you will need to do four things—

Identify the author of the content, link out to recognised external sources, declare any conflicts of interest that may exist, and ensure any services or products offered by the business are communicated clearly.

To do this well, I recommend the following:

  • Where possible, identify the author of any informational content.
  • Make sure the content is factually correct and that you answer the question as quick as possible,
  • Don’t serve display ads above the fold.
  • Use schema markup to declare the relationship between the content and the business itself.
  • Declare sponsored posts and paid endorsements.

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