Introduction

Learn how to leverage your employees’ to enhance your SEO.

Increase traffic and sales by improving the authority of your brand.

Large companies are usually sitting on a mass of untapped authority and expertise in the form of their employees’ credentials and accolades.

There exists a huge potential to assign and direct this authority to your website.

Here we take you through the power you have in your people, how to leverage that to improve your rankings and how to scale it in a large organization.

CONTENTS
User Behavior Metrics

1. People power

Coordinating marketing activities and using your workforce to produce and share content as well as assign authority helps to break down silos and improve communication within your organization.

Social Meida Marketing

2. What is EAT?

Expertise, Authoritativeness and Trustworthiness (E.A.T) [1] are concepts that are important to establish and associate with your website.

Google My Business

3. How you can use EAT

It starts by making sure that all employees have filled out detailed social media profiles with links to your company website.

Blog Posts

4. Policy and Procedure

In large organizations policies and procedures need to be put in place to ensure that something collectively gets done in the manner by which it was intended.

Internal Links

5. Shhh non SEOs and marketers might be your best content team

Your teams that deliver and produce your end product or service speak the language of it more naturally than an SEO or a marketer. These people may actually be your best content teams.

External Links

6. Guidelines for your team

When you open up your content generation base within your company, you need to provide effective guidelines and instruction on what content to generate and how to do so.

Mentions and Citations

7. Accolades and endorsements

This is the time to brag! Make sure people know every little thing helps and not to be shy about listing their accolades.

Reviews

8. Mentions and citations

In all cases where there is an unlinked mention, we should reach out to the resource and ask for a link attribution to the appropriate page be it author, product, brand, or company.

Reviews

9. Suppliers and industry events

Industry events and sponsorships of any conferences or exhibitions are very valuable as they are highly topically relevant.

Reviews

10. LinkedIn and social media

LinkedIn is one of the main social media channels used by professionals and as such is one of the main profiles and channels that needs to be used for this to work.

Reviews

11. Coordination at scale

For this effort to be effective at scale in a large company, having a solid plan, guidelines, procedures, and most of all clear and consistent communication will be very valuable.

Reviews

12. Training

Training will also be a necessary part of this strategy for it to be fully effective.

Reviews

13. Summary

This effort provides a great opportunity to engage and invigorate your employees while telling the world what is great about what you do.

Reviews

14. References & Resources

Follow up on all reviews with a positive note thanking the customer.

1. People power

This is where marketing and HR come together.

Leverage the power of your teams to turn your website into a beacon of authority.

Coordinating marketing activities and using your workforce to produce and share content as well as assign authority helps to break down silos and improve communication within your organization.

Asking your employees to use their credentials to help with your marketing efforts empowers people and is good for morale.

By letting people be creative and share and generate content helps to recognize and nurture rising and unrecognized talent.

2. What is EAT?

Expertise, Authoritativeness and Trustworthiness (E.A.T) [1] are concepts that are important to establish and associate with your website.

Leveraging these powers that your employees undoubtedly have can be a major advantage for your business.

The corporate message may be - “ask not what your company can do for you but what can you do for your company” - to slightly paraphrase the famous quote!

What Google Says about EAT

E.A.T [2] is one of the most important factors affecting a website’s Page Quality rating. Here are some points about E.A.T to consider, according to Google’s Search Quality Evaluator Guidelines.

“For all other pages that have a beneficial purpose, the amount of expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness (E-A-T) is very important. Please consider:

  • The expertise of the creator of the MC.
  • The authoritativeness of the creator of the MC, the MC itself, and the website.
  • The trustworthiness of the creator of the MC, the MC itself, and the website.”
(page 19, Google Search Quality Evaluator Guidelines) [3]

Your employees may well be experts in their field and have distinguished careers. This expertise is very valuable to your business.

That expertise adds credibility to your site, especially YMYL (Your Money or Your Life) websites.

“Anyone who wants to continue to rank well in search engines needs to keep up with the constantly changing landscape of SEO. Especially Google’s major algorithm changes are always a cause to re-evaluate your strategy. The E-A-T algorithm update is no exception, specifically if you run a YMYL site. It is another step by Google toward providing searchers with the best, most relevant and most trustworthy results.”(Schäferhoff 2020)

Expertise

Expertise is developed and demonstrated over a period of time. It is usually related to experience although that is not always the case. Expertise is demonstrated with a clear and deep understanding of a topic.

An expert in a field usually knows the answers to questions without the need to refer to a manual or look something up. Experts are usually, but not always, specialists.

Quality Raters Guidelines (QRG) offers a prime example of having expertise in this next example. Lisa Belkin’s popular parenting blog “Motherlode: Adventures in Parenting” is a great example of content with expertise. The blog is published in The New York Times newspaper (authoritative) which has been around for a long time in the publishing world. It’s a newspaper that many respect. Lisa Belkin shows expertise as a parent and parenting expert in this article (“Should Strollers Be Banned?”) [4] about strollers.

According to QRG, the site is a great example of authority because it has...

  • A satisfying amount of high quality MC
  • Very positive reputation (website)
  • Specifically, high E-A-T and positive reputation for this specific blog and author (page 23, QRG) [3]

Authoritativeness

You may have employees who have been involved in the development of industry standards or serve on boards, panels or special interest focus groups. They may well be established authorities in very specific niches.

QRG offers a prime example of high authority in this next example. This is the Chicago Manual of Style’s FAQ webpage about abbreviations. Chicago is one of the most popular governing bodies of literary style along with Associated Press (AP) and NY Times. The fact that it’s one of the most widely used style manuals in the world gives it plenty of authority over this topic. According to QRG, the site is a great example of authority because it has...

  • Very high level of E-A-T for the purpose of the page
  • Very positive reputation (website)

“The purpose of the page is to answer questions about the usage of abbreviations. This website has a very good reputation as a reference for information on writing, publishing, etc. It is considered highly authoritative and trustworthy for the topic of the page.” (page 32, QRG) [3]

Trustworthiness

Trustworthiness is proven and gained over time. Established business relationships serve very well for getting traction with some marketing activities

QRG offers this Microsoft online software tips article “Microsoft Excel: Quick tips and tricks” [5] as an example of high quality content. It’s a good example of trustworthiness in content because the company, Microsoft, is well known and respected in the software community.

QRG feels it’s a good example because...

  • Very high level of E-A-T for the purpose of the page
  • A satisfying or comprehensive amount of high quality MC (page 28, QRG) [3]

Quality Raters Guidelines (QRG)

The Quality Raters Guidelines (QRG) [3] are a set of guidelines for Google’s quality raters that tell them what Google expects to see as a quality site. QRG gives information on how Google rates sites.

The Quality Raters are real people in the locality of where they are searching. Google emphasizes that these people should be culturally typical and represent the regional demographic.

The intent of the ratings is to compare algorithm changes and determine if the changes have improved search quality or not.

There is much speculation that the ratings are used to help train models and compare search results to quality ratings. If this was true, as many suspect, then the concern is that feeding directly into machine learning (ML) models may allow for artificial intelligence (AI) bias to occur.

In her article “Google Does Not Use Quality Raters for Machine Learning Algos,” [6] The SEM Post’s Jennifer Slegg wrote “There was speculation by a few different SEOs that Google might possibly be using results from quality raters for machine learning training. My response was that sample size of just using raters would be very small, too small for a very good dataset for training purposes.”

Slegg asked Google’s Danny Sullivan via twitter, and Sullivan answered no, Google did not use the quality ratings for machine learning.

“This doesn’t surprise me. Data sets used for machine learning tend to be pretty large, and while there are a fair number of quality raters, it wouldn’t be close to the numbers that would be needed to effectively train for machine learning purposes,” says Slegg.

While these don’t directly affect the algorithm they do give us very good insight into what Google is trying to deliver in its search results. This is why SEOs pay a lot of attention to what is in these guidelines.

3. How you can use EAT

You can use your employees’ E.A.T [7] in many different ways.

It starts by making sure that all employees have filled out detailed social media profiles with links to your company website.

Author Pages

Give an author page to each employee that is participating. On this author page you should have the following:

  • Full details
  • Position
  • Division / Product / Brand / Area in which they work along with links to the appropriate pages
  • Education
  • Experience
  • Patents
  • Papers
  • Awards and certifications
  • Mentions and industry associations

We talk in more detail on this in later sections on Accolades and endorsements and Mentions and citations.

The key here is to make sure that employees have a thorough and detailed profile. This step alone helps to assign employee EAT to your brand.

Culture & Expectation

Make marketing activities such as content generation and social sharing an expectation and part of your company culture. This is a good way to ensure that this technique provides organic growth of your content marketing [8] operations from within your company.

For your employees to really become valuable contributors to your content marketing strategy, it has to be built into your company culture and made an expectation. Rewarding and recognizing these activities goes a long way to energize your team's content creativity.

Compensation

Depending on your company culture, operating practices, and compensation plans, it is also possible to make this an expectation that comes with a compensation factor or other reimbursement for good work in this area.

Paying an employee a small bonus for great content contributions may be the best ROI you have ever received when you consider the army of qualified and motivated people vying for it.

You already have the army - you just need to set them marching in the right direction!

If financial remuneration doesn’t fit well in this strategy, it is also possible to reward and recognize in other ways. For many being recognized with an award or certificate at a department meeting or on a corporate email can be greatly received.

In many cases, this is better value for the company and the employee.

4. Policy and Procedure

In large organizations policies and procedures need to be put in place to ensure that something collectively gets done in the manner by which it was intended. This can seem like endless bureaucracy to the end user, but it is an important part of executing a strategy.

As with many things in life, clear communication of expectations and the processes to be used helps this work effectively.

In many organizations there are certain trade secrets and other types of commercially sensitive information that just can’t be talked about publicly.

This makes many people risk-averse and stops them sharing content they otherwise would.

By stating what can and can’t be shared and having a topical focus along with an editor (and someone designated to give final approval), you can use the vast talent pool at your disposal without risking sensitive information being disclosed.

5. Shhh Non-SEOs and Non-Marketers Might Be Your Best Writers

Your teams that deliver and produce your end product or service speak the language of it more naturally than an SEO or a marketer. These people may actually be your best content teams.

Without breaking down silos and putting into practice the policies to enable them to produce content, you will never know what you are missing out on.

6. Guidelines for Your Team

When you open up your content generation base within your company, you need to provide effective guidelines and instruction on what content to generate and how to do so.

Sell a Benefit Not a Feature

One of the major concepts that non-content marketers get hung up on is differentiating between benefits and features. In most scenarios, people care more about how something benefits them rather than the set of features that enable that benefit.

Show Solutions That Solve a Problem

In the same vein as selling benefits rather than features, one of the best ways to do so is by showing what and how a problem is solved.

Case studies and social proof are huge in this sense. Anytime you can show how a problem is being solved, seize the opportunity to talk about it.

Showing case studies and social proof from the end users of a product is an even more valuable piece of content.

Link Wherever Possible

To non-SEOs and non-marketers linking is often overlooked. Make sure to include a link to a relevant website or resource on your company's product. If there is news coverage that is positive be sure to share it.

Also educate teams on using anchor text, surrounding it with context and giving varied and natural links where appropriate. The emphasis should be on providing useful information and helping the users. Learning how to write for SEO purposes [9] is a skill and needs specific education.

Talk About What a Product Is or What It Does

Talk about the thing the product is or does, not necessarily its name. For example, does anyone outside your company really know what an X7000-2JZ-P is?

It is very common for product performance metrics or even product series to have a particular brand name or technology name in it. This usually means a lot to the people who created the product, but not so much to the people who are looking for what the product does.

A 50 Petobyte hard drive might be an amazing thing; however, the name itself doesn’t do anything for you. Emphasize the benefits first as demonstrated here: “Never worry about running out of space on your hard drive with our super robust 50 PB disk” solves a user's real world problem.

Hashtags

Use hashtags where appropriate, but don’t overuse them. Directions on which hashtags to use should be part of the content guidelines and should regularly be communicated by the respective marketing departments.

Hashtags help posts get found and shared on social platforms and can also find their way into round up posts and general organic searches, too. The appropriate use of hashtags is highly encouraged.

This shouldn’t be a free-for-all though some guidance needs to be given on which hashtags to use for which product ranges/services and on which platforms.

Also, different platforms have different requirements on the best way to use hashtags. For example, on twitter, you usually want one or two relevant short and direct hashtags within the post, whereas on instagram, you typically use a lot more hashtags but in the 1st comment.

Be Positive

Always be positive and upbeat. Avoid negativity and any condescending language even when differentiating your company from its competitors.

It is very important, not only in marketing but in life in general to be positive. This is well known, however the english language and common use and trends of it can be quite negative.

There is often a temptation to add sarcastic quip or disparaging swipe on social media; however, I do not advise this.

Being positive and speaking in a positive tone sends a good message about the products being described.

Create Buzz and Awareness

Buzz of almost any kind is valuable. Anything noteworthy or shareable can help grow awareness of your brand and get it seen by more eyes.

The old adage that “there is no such thing as bad publicity” might not be completely accurate, but getting eyes on your content and awareness about your brand is the goal. Scaling this out through additional channels, vis-à-vis your product teams can give exponential growth to your online visibility.

Don’t Be Controversial

Avoid being controversial. There is an argument that controversy can generate buzz, and that is true; however, when leveraging a broad employee base for content generation, we want to make sure it is clearly communicated that controversy is not desired.

Facts & Data

Wherever possible reference and link to industry studies, data sources, and reports that back up any statements that are being made. If there are data studies that mention the company in a positive way, be sure to share it and talk about it.

For example:

Product X can achieve an industry first Y

Independent industry experts (link to study) found that Product X beat the appropriate industry standard (link to standard) by Y.

7. Accolades and Endorsements

This is the time to brag! Make sure people know every little thing helps and not to be shy about listing their accolades.

Your employees are a gold mine of accolades and endorsements, so be sure to have that authority assigned to your brand. We discussed earlier in the article about having an author page. Any noteworthy accolade or endorsement should be mentioned on the author page.

Patents

Patents are a huge accolade and by their very definition ooze EAT. Clearly identifying the authors of a patent and the products they are associated with will assign your company’s brand and product line a boat load of authority.

List the patents and try to group them in relevant sections linking to both the patent and the product that they are associated with in close proximity. In doing so, explain the problems solved and link to case studies and industry standards, making this all the more valuable.

Certificates

Many of your employees will have taken some industry course and obtained certificates. This emphasizes that they have expertise in the subject matter. Listing these on their author pages will further strengthen the profile that is related to your company and the specific product range or service that you offer.

Awards

As with certificates, listing any awards obtained by your employees on their author pages will emphasize their expertise and authority. Usually awards and sometimes certificates will come with a mention by the awarding body. Ask for this mention or citation to be made into a link to your company author page.

Recognitions

If your employees are recognized by any publications, be sure to have them request a link to their company author page to assign this recognition to your brand. This is a strong authority signal that is highly useful, yet goes almost completely untapped in many industries.

Magazines

Where there are industry magazines or articles that mention the company, check to see if there is an online version with the same or similar content and, if so, ask the publication to link to your company if they are not already doing so.

Radio & TV

Radio and TV shows may well mention your company or brand on their show. If they do so, ask them to link to your company or a topically relevant publication on your company site from their show website.

Podcasts

As with TV and Radio, many podcasts publish their show notes and can provide links to the content they reference.

When you hear a podcast mention your product or brand, reach out to them and ask them to provide a link to the content. It helps to offer them a valuable relevant resource.

8. Mentions and Citations

Mentions and citations occur more naturally than a direct link; however, a link is much more valuable. There will be brand and product mentions as well as personal mentions. Individual or personal mentions should be linked to the author page on the company site. Product mentions should link to the specific product page. Brand mentions should either link to the specific sub brand or main level company home page.

In all cases where there is an unlinked mention, we should reach out to the resource and ask for a link attribution to the appropriate page be it author, product, brand, or company.

9. Suppliers and Industry Events

Asking your suppliers and distributors to link to your site, brand, or product line pages is very useful. They are usually more than willing to do this. These are very likely highly relevant so they are great links to get.

Industry events and sponsorships of any conferences or exhibitions are very valuable as they are highly topically relevant.

10. LinkedIn and Social Media

LinkedIn is one of the main social media channels used by professionals and as such is one of the main profiles and channels that needs to be used for this to work. Leveraging the power of your employees and their networks to share and distribute your message as well as assign authority to your company is very valuable.

LinkedIn specifically has recommendation and endorsement options. Make sure your employees are asking for recommendations and endorsements from former coworkers, customers, and suppliers.

All social media shares of your content are useful, but some will be more than others. It can even come down to which products you have and their applicability to different social media channels. It is important that the use of social media is discussed in the guidelines that are distributed to employees.

Hashtags are valuable for social media sharing and should be communicated to your employees as part of a coordinated marketing effort. Having relevant and trending hashtags communicated to the employees who will be sharing the content will make it more effective.

11 - Coordination at Scale

For this effort to be effective at scale in a large company, having a solid plan, guidelines, procedures, and most of all clear and consistent communication will be very valuable.

Communication

Communication is key in most things. Understanding who will be participating and who will be communicating is vital.

Consistent communication throughout the chain is key for this to work efficiently. This requires a well designed structure within your organization, and by the intent of this strategy it shouldn’t just be your usual marketing team. We are empowering our people and breaking down silos here!

Structure

This is quite dependent on your company structure so the exact nature of it will vary, but typically it should go something like this.

  • CMO->Assign point person for leveraging employees for communication
  • Point person->Assign communication group leaders, usually brand or product marketing managers.
  • Group leaders->Assign Product / Group Sub Team (small group of key marketing and product people)
  • Sub Team -> Determine high interest topics, events, publications, hash tags, focus etc.
  • Sub Team -> Communicate to sub group on a regular basis
  • Employees -> Produce and share content
  • Employees -> Reach out for links
  • Employees -> Sub Team - review, edit, and approve content
  • This communication structure and their respective responsibilities and goals should be clearly defined and communicated throughout.

Distribution

Ensuring that this information is distributed to those that need it is also vital. Include it in department meetings, emails, and on message boards as well as direct email communication to all those who are participating (which should be just about everybody if you are fully leveraging this technique).

When there is noteworthy content in a particular area, make sure that it is communicated and distributed to the groups that are relevant.

Reporting

Reporting on the success and progress of this campaign should also be a regular part of your communications. Not only does this help understand the impact to your KPIs but it makes people feel part of the success story which further energizes people.

12. Training

Training will also be a necessary part of this strategy for it to be fully effective. In large organizations this can be quite effective by producing some training materials and having large group training sessions.

Depending on the size and set up of your company, this might be handled by marketing, HR, a specific training group, or others.

Distributable training is more easily scaled than direct training.

13. Summary

Leveraging your entire company to aid in your content marketing operations and assigning the respective expertise and authority of your employees to your brand, can be a very effective and rewarding strategy.

With careful planning and organization, it is possible to significantly increase your traffic and brand awareness with minimal spend and overhead.

This effort provides a great opportunity to engage and invigorate your employees while telling the world what is great about what you do.

On the risk vs reward scale this is off the charts.

14. References & Resources

1. Marie Haynes on EAT - “EAT and SEO for Google: Everything you need to know

2. Julia McCoy on EAT “What are EAT and YMYL: New Google Search Guidelines Acronyms

3. Google Quality Raters Guidelines General Guidelines

4. Example on Expertise from the QRG https://guidelines.raterhub.com/images/PQ_ShouldStrollersBeBanned.jpg

5. Example on Trustworthiness frm QRG https://guidelines.raterhub.com/images/PQ_ExcelTips.jpg

6. Slegg, J, 2018, Google Does Not Use Quality Raters for Machine Learning Algos, The SEM Post,http://www.thesempost.com/google-not-use-quality-raters-machine-learning/.

7. Lily Ray on EAT- “What Does It Mean to Have Good EAT?

8. Brian Dean, Content Marketing, 2020 - “Content Marketing in 2020: The Definitive Guide

9. Timothy Carter, SEO.co, “Copywriting for SEO: How to Optimize Your Writing for Search Engines

10. Schäferhoff, N.,The Google E-A-T Algorithm Update (And What It Means for Your WordPress Site), Torque Magazine, February 19, 2020, The Google E-A-T Algorithm Update (And What It Means for Your WordPress Site.