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Jason Barnard: On Credibility and E-A-T

In this video, Jason Barnard talks about the importance of establishing credibility to your audience first then demonstrating E-A-T to Google.

Expertise, Authority, and Trust Breaks Down What Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy) Calls Credibility

[00:00:00] Slobodan Manic: Now let’s move on to the second thing and that is credibility. We could talk for days about this topic, because this is where E-A-T is. And this is a favourite topic for a lot of SEO professionals. And it’s also one that you don’t really know. It’s foggy. It’s not as clearly defined. There are a lot of things that may or may work. A lot of it is, but there’s still the E-A-T. Is it a ranking factor? Is it not a ranking factor? What do I need to do with all that stuff? 

[00:00:34] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): Yeah, yeah, no, no. It’s a great question. Sorry. I was going to let you finish your question.

[00:00:37] Slobodan Manic: Okay. Okay. So, yes, let’s just move on to credibility. And the basic question here is what do I need to do with my website or add to my website so Google can start taking me seriously? 

[00:00:50] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): Right. As we said earlier, John Mueller was saying, if Google doesn’t understand the entity behind the content, it cannot possibly evaluate the expertise, authority, and trust. I call it credibility. Expertise, authority, and trust breaks it down nicely into three little packages that we can focus on. I think it’s great. And I think Google do a good job of naming things, obviously.

[00:01:12] Slobodan Manic: They sure do.

[00:01:13] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): A lot of experience and much more than I do, but credibility speaks to more people, I think, and saying you need to be credible. You need to be credible to your audience, first and foremost, and then demonstrate that credibility to Google. And that’s the E-A-T. So, don’t just think, how do I show Google my E-A-T? It’s how do I prove to my users that I am credible? And then how do I communicate that to Google? And communicating to Google basically comes down to it, making sure it’s understood you, which is step one. And then that you basically shout and boast about how great you are.

[00:01:53] Slobodan Manic: And be able to back it up and prove it.

[00:01:56] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): Yeah. A hundred percent. Yeah. Yeah. You need to walk the walk and talk the talk and wear the right trousers. I can’t remember what the phrase is.

Building Satisfaction for Google’s Users and Making Google Think You Are Expert, Authoritative, and Trustworthy 

[00:02:06] Slobodan Manic: Something like that. But this is page level, brand level, author level, all of it. It all has to be very website level. It all has to be very credible. And Google is able to figure it out. 

[00:02:19] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): With expertise. I’ve got a client and we’ve built an FAQ section. And we’ve demonstrated how expert we are because people come to the webpages, they get the answer, they’re happy, and so on and so forth. And what we’ve ended up doing is ranking all the short head queries by creating long tail content, where we satisfy every time. And Google thinks, well, and we’ve got no link building at all. There’s no links to these pages from other sites than our own. So it’s a linkless piece of ranking where we’re getting 2,000 visits a day, where a year and a half ago we were getting zero.

[00:02:51] Slobodan Manic: Right.

[00:02:52] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): And that’s purely building satisfaction for Google’s users, who are our audience, and satisfying them, proving that we are the best solution by demonstrating it by the fact that we keep providing this best solution. Google ends up thinking, now this is expert, they’re authoritative, they’re trustworthy because they’re serving my users.

[00:03:11] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): And obviously, the understanding comes before all that, which we had to get it to understand that we could provide the answer. Once we’ve done that, the credibility actually comes a lot through over time delivering, delivering, and delivering.

Start With Questions People Ask About Your Brand and Think About Who You Are, What You Do, and Who Your Audience Is

[00:03:23] Slobodan Manic: And this is a follow up question I had, but you already answered it. Where do you start if you have a new website? So, focus on providing the best bits of information on not so competitive long tail keywords maybe, and then use that as a foundation to build, and then you will rank for the important ones.

[00:03:40] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): Yeah. Never try to hit head terms right off the bat. There’s no point, absolutely no point. But I would actually go a little bit further than that and say, start with the questions people ask about and around your brand. Think about who am I, what do I do, who is my audience, and then what questions does this audience ask.

[00:04:00] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): And then you start with the bottom-of-funnel ones, which are about my brand, about how they’re going to be doing business with me. And then you can move up the funnel to the more general questions and potentially the head queries, but that’s a long way down the line.

[00:04:13] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): I come back to the Brand SERPs. Look at your Brand SERP, sort that out, make sure Google’s understood who you are, what you do, and who your audience is, start answering questions that are fundamental to your brand, and build out from that Brand SERP your entire content and digital strategy.

Jason Barnard (The Brand SERP Guy) on Talking About How the Machine That Is Google Works

[00:04:31] Slobodan Manic: We have a recurring topic today and not what I expected, but to win on Google, you need to forget Google exists. Basically, you need to address your audience and their needs. You need to find what they’re looking for and then respond to those questions. And they just happen to be using Google to find answers to the questions.

[00:04:52] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): The giggle was an agreement giggle. And now you sound like John Mueller with these kind of platitudes about satisfying the user, but he’s right and I agree with him. And what else can he say? And that was the point is even if they’re not there yet, that’s where they’re going. And if you’re asking about ranking factors, I think ranking factors is something we can stop talking about safely.

[00:05:13] Slobodan Manic: Yeah.

[00:05:14] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): Frederic Dubut from Bing, who’s talking about we should be talking about metrics, how they measure the success of the machine that they’re training. And if we look at the metrics they’re using and how they measure it and what data they’re feeding back to the machine, because what they’re doing with the machine is they say, here’s the success that we evaluate the machine. This is what we’re looking for you to do, machine. Off you go.

[00:05:35] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): The machine then tries to do it. They then get the human validators. They call them the quality raters at Google. They get them to rate pages and they feed it back into the machine and say, this is corrective, this was wrong, we’re correcting you, this is right, we’re giving you a sweetie, let’s say, because the machine is a child. And the machine goes, great.

[00:05:57] Slobodan Manic: Machine oil.

[00:05:59] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): Machine oil. Thank you very much. And so, basically, they’re just feeding this corrective data back in. And then the machine goes, okay, I got that right, I got that wrong, this is how I need to adapt now. And they can potentially change what the goals and the success looks like to the machine. And those are what they’re doing. That’s what they’re doing when they’re updating the machine learning. It’s not about, here, machine, this is what you need to be looking at. It’s saying this is a success. This is a failure. And this is what the goal is.

Quality Raters Are There to Criticise and to Compliment the Machine; The Machine Is Still a Child 

[00:06:26] Slobodan Manic: Right. And one thing about quality raters and I don’t know as much about this topic as you do, but they don’t actually drag and drop someone from number four to number one or anything like that on Google pages or Google SERPs. They just, like you said, they pat the machine on the back and say, good job here or this was bad, try better next time. 

[00:06:46] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): Yeah. Sorry, can I just interrupt? Because I think that’s absolutely important. We can pull this out as a mini clip that I would love to push out there.

[00:06:53] Slobodan Manic: Absolutely.

[00:06:54] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): The quality raters do not affect any individual sites ranking. They don’t actually work on the site per se. They’re there to criticise and to compliment the machine. And it is that, as you said, patting it on the back and making it feel good about itself. They are there to work with the machine. So it’s only indirectly they will ever affect any sites. That focus is the machine. They’re the machines. They’re the machines examiners. It’s like at school. The machine is still a child, even if you don’t want it to be a child. It’s going to be a child. They market at its end of year exams. Sorry.

[00:07:31] Slobodan Manic: I was going to say machine whisper, but examiner might be even better. So, yes, but that’s how it is. And again, the recurring topic for anything you do online, if you have online presence like website or anything you’re building online, make it as good as you can for your user. And I’ve spent the last three plus years working in conversion rate optimisation, mostly e-commerce websites.

[00:07:54] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): Right.

After Analysing Everything and Getting All the Data Out, You Need to Make the Leap to Continue

[00:07:55] Slobodan Manic: The number of times I told clients, don’t push your offer because you need to push your offer. Don’t do it like this because you feel like this is how it needs to be done. Don’t worry about average order value or recurring transactions because you want that metric to be higher. Make the best possible experience or design the best possible experience for your users. And that will happen organically. So focus on the end result. Everything in between, that’s tactics.

[00:08:23] Slobodan Manic: Going back to the intro of this episode, that’s the five tactics or it’s not five or zero. I think there’s a million tactics, but the strategy is what you want to achieve. And the only way to achieve that is unless you’re using something, trying to trick your customers. Let’s just put it that way. If you’re being honest with your customers, the only way to do that is to make their experience as good as possible. And that goes with the purchase, the follow-up emails, and all that. So, yes, please go ahead. 

[00:08:53] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): I was going to correct you. So this is the first time we’ve disagreed. No, there aren’t five tactics, but I was saying there were five approaches to tactics, increasingly complex. And when we get to that fifth one, which is analysing everything and getting all our data out and being incredibly clever, we think we’ve nailed it. And we forget that the other hand is over here, and we need to make that leap. And if we don’t make that leap, we’re never going to get that in my personal opinion.

[00:09:18] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): And the thing about it is you are saying users, and I think that’s a really, really important distinction that I love to make. They are your users, but they come from Google’s audience. Sorry. Your audience, but they come from Google’s users. Excuse me. You are asking Google to recommend to your audience, who are a subset of their users, your result, your solutions.

You want to identify which subsection of Google’s users are truly your audience and attract those in because that’s where you’re going to find success.

jason barnard (the brand serp guy)

[00:09:38] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): So, don’t think that you can aim all of Google’s users. That’s useless. You want to identify which subsection of Google’s users are truly your audience and attract those in, because that’s where you’re going to find success. 

[00:09:52] Slobodan Manic: That is a great way to put it. That’s a really, really good way to describe it. Because like you said, you are just borrowing Google’s users.

[00:09:59] The Brand SERP Guy (Jason Barnard): Yeah.

[00:10:00] Slobodan Manic: And they’re becoming your audience. This is the world we live in.

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