Building credibility for your financial services website

Computer keyboard, with an SEO key

Richard Cowdery

Lead Digital Developer

Posted on March 4, 2019

SEO experts agree that well written and relevant content that answers search intent is the key to improving your site’s search ranking. And, you’ll be pleased to know, it still is.

However, it will come as no surprise to find there’s a lot more to it than that! In this post we’re going to go dig a little deeper into how Google assesses pages and provide some practical suggestions as to how content creators and web designers can improve the ranking of our pages.

SEO is tricky to get right. We’re not privy to how the Google search algorithm works exactly, but we do have SEO practitioners testing theories and Google themselves releasing guidelines and explaining best practices. For a while now we’ve also been able to read up on the document Google issue to their search quality raters. Yes, they do use human beings to assess the quality of sites too.

E-A-T ( Expertise / Authoritativeness / Trustworthiness )

Google’s E-A-T concept is one important way in which the search quality raters evaluate pages. The guidelines set out by Google provide the sort of traits a good website should have. Let’s run through each term and get a basic understanding of what they mean.

Expertise

Your content should be written by experts in the field. Individuals with plenty of experience that have an excellent understanding of the subject at hand. It should be fact checked, up-to-date and sources should be cited and linked to if necessary. That goes for older content too, so don’t forget to do regular reviews of the content on your site.

An expert in the field isn’t necessarily going to be a great writer, so you’ll need to work with copy-writers and editors to make sure the quality of what you post is high. You don’t want to put people off with poorly written content littered with typos. That shows there’s a lack of attention to detail in the work you do. Visitors to your site may project that lack of care onto the veracity of the information on the page, if not the way business is conducted.

Content writers don’t necessarily have to have a list of doctorates or degrees to prove that they’re experts, but it does help for certain industries where there are clearly professional qualifications an individual should be expected to have, or associations to which they might belong.

This is where another acronym that Google defines as YMYL comes in. YMYL stands for “Your Money or Your Life”. This touches on all aspects of the E-A-T principle as it makes the general point that pages that have topics that could potentially impact your health, happiness or wealth should be of a very high standard.

For example, if your content talks of finance, legal or health matters, your content needs to be extremely credible, written by people with experience of the topic being written about. Which brings us to…

Authoritativeness

The best way to illustrate that content is written by an expert is to tell your readers who they are, what their job title is and what qualifications they have. Write an informative biography about them. Link to other relevant websites they may be associated with. Above all, don’t be shy in promoting the talented individuals working on your site content.

If you don’t happen to be an expert in a certain field, you can still write about that topic. Just make sure you link to the research and sources you are using to make your points. Just be sure the sources you back-link to show the same expertise, authority and trustworthiness.

Trustworthiness

When a visitor arrives at your site, don’t put them off by a bad user journey, lacklustre performance, or annoying pop-ups (just to name a few potential irritants). The page the visitor lands on should answer their search query and if there is further content on the page it should in some way be complimentary or relevant.

Your business details should be easily found, with company name, address, phone number and a contact email address easily findable. A ‘contact us’, and ‘about us’ page, provide plenty of opportunity to talk about your business and provide a simple way for people to contact you.

Business awards won, ISO standards you work too and industry bodies you belong are other ways in which you can prove the legitimacy of your business. List and link them so credentials can be easily checked.

The ultimate aim here is to make it easy to see that a company is legitimate and worth doing business with.

Summary

There’s a lot of content in the guide that Google sets out for its search quality raters to work from, and this article just scratches the surface. There’s a lot of nuance to the topics we have touched upon, and a lot more we haven’t even mentioned.

And let’s not forget the hundreds of other signals that Google is receiving from your website! SEO often comes across as a daunting subject. But if we take a step back and look at what Google is trying to do – index great content, written by experts and served by websites that we can tell are legitimate – it’s not so hard to comprehend.

If you’re serious about learning more, there are hundreds of helpful resources out there on the internet. Talisman itself, with many years of SEO experience is also on hand to help you plan your SEO strategy. Drop us a line.

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