5 Reasons Why You’re Failing to E-E-A-T While Link Building

By Dmytro Spilka

Are you struggling to see the results that you’re looking for when link building? For many marketers, underperforming strategies can stem from failing to E-E-A-T while building their presence online. 

E-E-A-T stands for Experience, Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness, and is a framework used by Google for assessing the quality of content on websites. 

Arriving as part of Google’s Search Quality Evaluator Guidelines (SQEG), which helps to evaluate the effectiveness of Google’s algorithm updates, E-E-A-T isn’t necessarily a direct ranking factor for the engine, but a critical part of the SEO credentials of websites

The principles of E-E-A-T are about more than simply ranking for relevant topics on Google and can actively improve the quality and credibility of your pages, leading to higher SERPs and reaching a wider, more engaged audience. 

Ultimately, even though E-E-A-T isn’t a direct ranking signal, all link builders should incorporate its principles into their SEO practices as a means of actively ensuring that they’re meeting Google’s expectations for quality and relevance! In this post, we reveal 5 reasons why you may be failing to E-E-A-T while link building – and what to do about it!

How to Showcase E-E-A-T Pedigree Online

Before we get to grips with the common pitfalls of E-E-A-T, let’s first look at what Google really means by its guideline principles for experience, expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness, and how they impact link building: 

  • Experience: Is your content demonstrating first-hand or life experience surrounding a topic? Here, Google expects websites to share genuine experiences of industries, products, or services. If you’re using product reviews to build backlinks, is it clear that you’ve used the product? Can you add a genuine experience to your copy?
  • Expertise: Does your link-building offer insights from genuine experts? Whether you’re guest posting using content that positions yourself as an industry thought leader, or are linking out to an ‘industry expert’, it’s important that any designated experts are clearly defined by their credentials. 
  • Authoritativeness: Are you or your links a trusted source for information? If you’re discussing complex topics like monetary policy, linking directly to the Federal Reserve serves as an authoritative reference, rather than somebody’s travel blog.
  • Trustworthiness: Are your content, website, and sites you’re linking to trustworthy? Whether you’re building content or linking to another website, be sure to audit the credibility of the information you use or reference. Incorrect contact information, website security certificates, or the use of out-of-date data can undermine Google’s perception of trust in your pages. 

E-E-A-T is a major part of the link-building process because you’re actively building bridges between your website and other platforms with their own interpretations of the framework. This means that you should constantly keep these principles in mind to assess whether your backlinks are leading to pages that play well with Google’s algorithms. 

With this in mind, let’s delve into the reasons why E-E-A-T could be causing your link-building strategy to fail: 

1) You’re Choosing Quantity Over Quality

We’ve all been there, especially when it comes to link-building. For countless guest posters, it can be tempting to adopt a quantitative approach when creating content to generate backlinks. 

However, shoe-horning irrelevant links and creating quantity-over-quality articles at volume in a bid to grow your reach can actually be detrimental to your E-E-A-T credentials. 

Here, it’s worth prioritizing quality that can seamlessly include experience, expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness where appropriate while linking out to authoritative and trustworthy sources. 

While a key component of link-building revolves around including backlinks to affiliates, contemporaries, or partners, it’s imperative that you keep things relevant. Your link could be more enticing with an important metric about conversion rates in eCommerce, but it won’t be worth much to your audience or Google if the backlink takes them to an uncited blog about something largely unrelated. 

Although it can be difficult to keep this pitfall in check when you’re feeling pressured to deliver more link-building content or guest posts, it could be worth utilizing tools like Readable or Grammarly as a means of keeping your overall commitment to quality in check. 

With a real-time grading system, platforms like Readable may not be able to actively audit the strength of your E-E-A-T adherence, but it will serve as a timely reminder to keep your commitment to quality and relevance as a priority at all times.

2) You’re Failing to Build Valuable Links

The core component in building your authoritativeness and trustworthiness can directly impact the way that you build your links. 

While your link-building process can throw up many different and diverse opportunities, you should always adopt a qualitative approach that matches your wider SEO goals. 

With this in mind, it’s important that your outreach strategy targets websites that Google values as a high-quality link.

To do this, you can use tools like Ahrefs or Moz to analyze the domain reputation (DR) or domain authority (DA) of your target websites to gain a better understanding of how Google perceives them. Higher DR or DA sites are valued as quality websites which helps to reaffirm your own website’s E-E-A-T credentials by building links to what’s considered trustworthy and authoritative pages. 

On the flip side, linking out to low DR or DA websites can offer little or no added value to your own website’s authority in the eyes of Google, and could even damage your SERPs if Google determines that you’re linking to spammy or link farming sites. 

Although you can always enlist a link building agency to do this for you, but one excellent way of ensuring that you use both relevant and trusted links is to use tools like Ahrefs to analyze the quality of the websites you’re building backlinks to. 

Ahrefs can also be great for identifying new valuable link-building opportunities. To do this, you can explore a high DR/DA website within your niche, and assess whether its existing backlinks could be of use to your website. 

The platform also allows you to categorize your backlink opportunities by their domain rating, meaning that you can always ensure that your outreach and pitches are allocated to websites that will offer value in return. 

3) You’re Forgetting to Cite Reputable Sources

    If you find yourself shoehorning a link into your content that isn’t completely relevant to the point you’re making, you’re already fighting a losing battle. 

    The world of link-building can throw up many challenges in terms of the websites that you decide to reference. However, it can do your E-E-A-T principles the world of harm if your content creation strategy fails to offer appropriate citations to support key talking points and hypotheses. 

    When guest blogging, the emphasis will often be on you to prove yourself as an industry expert to new audiences. Although it’s imperative to avoid creating an echo chamber around your content by only showcasing your own point of view. 

    As a rule of thumb when guest blogging or creating content for link-building, always look to include reputable industry voices to shape your arguments and to turn a good blog post into a great one, seek out counterpoints or opposing views from trusted sources to analyze. 

    4) You’re Not Adding First-Hand Experience to Content

      First-hand experience is revered by Google, and is an excellent tool for driving audience engagement online. 

      When building guest posts, be sure to showcase your industry expertise by sharing your first-hand experiences within a relevant niche, or look to other experiences from primary sources to include as a social proof. 

      The power of social proof can’t be understated in modern SEO, and it can offer a comprehensive insight into products, services, and experiences in a more trustworthy manner for audiences.  

      Crucially, Google appears to share the same opinion, so when you’re conducting link-building through guest blogging, always look to cater to the experience and expertise aspect of E-E-A-T by including your voice or amplifying that of other trustworthy sources online. 

      5) You’re Devaluing Your Content with Spammy CTAs

        The core facet of Google’s E-E-A-T framework is to identify quality content online, and too many marketers lose sight of this when they’re looking to sell their brand through link building. 

        Spamming call-to-actions (CTAs) when guest blogging can not only flood content with irrelevant links but can also devalue the content as a whole. 

        Link-building practices can be more functional when you’re seeking to build your visibility online, rather than simply selling products or services. 

        However, if you’re looking to add a CTA as part of your wider link-building strategy, it’s best to create a relevant landing page that encompasses the product or service you’re seeking to sell as well as relevant information that can help to add value to your guest post. 

        E-E-A-T While Link Building Wrap-up

        While E-E-A-T can seem like a nuisance for link builders, it’s best to view the framework as a great quality control challenge to overcome. 

        Experience, expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness will always help to enrich your content and improve the quality of your link-building prospects, and remembering to E-E-A-T can help your SEO and SERP potential to grow. 

        Just remember to map out how to add E-E-A-T principles to the content you create before getting started on a guest post and you’re likely to see your outreach prospects grow along with the DR/DA of the host websites that you can build meaningful relationships with.

        For more information on finding success as an SEO affiliate, feel free to check out our resource on affiliate marketing keyword research or learn how to create a blog with ClickBank Accelerator.