In their continuing quest to perfect the search engine, Google is unrolling significant updates to their algorithm. The headline is the change made to their E-A-T acronym—there’s another E in there now—but there are several changes that concern any dealership trying to succeed in the competitive world of SEO.
E-A-T is Google’s way of prioritizing websites that have similar content. As with everything Google does, this is with the intent of matching a user with the site that best matches their query. E-A-T was a way of analyzing content and selecting the “best” from the available options.
E-A-T is short for Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trust.
Expertise measures the proficiency of the website’s owner when analyzing the content. For example, a dealership blogging about the things to look out for when purchasing a pre-owned vehicle would have a high expertise rating, while, say, a plumber doing the same thing would rate much lower. Without this metric in place, Google wouldn’t know how to decide which blog post would be more valuable to a browser.
Authoritativeness measures the reputation of the website owner within the industry. A sterling reputation helps prioritize your website’s rankings. Imagine two sales associates, one who can’t tell the difference between a crossover and a sedan and the other who has encyclopedic knowledge of every make and model on the lot. The second associate has far more authoritativeness and will be given priority in search results.
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Trustworthiness gauges how trustworthy not only you are, but your content. Trustworthy sites will make points backed up with links to reputable studies. This metric also looks at things like your contact information: is it consistent across all platforms? If you’re selling things online, is the process suitably encrypted? Are people getting what they pay for?
Google added another E to their winning E-A-T formula, standing for Experience.
Experience is related to Expertise but adds another dimension. The former version of E-A-T would have no easy way to differentiate between someone with twenty years of experience in their industry and someone just starting on their content creation journey. Additionally, Experience looks at ways the author of content might have personal experience with what they are writing about.
Trust is Central
Along with Experience added to the E-A-T acronym, Google has made it clear that “Trustworthiness,” now shortened to “Trust” in their official documentation, is taking a central role. Google states that Trust is “the most important member of the E-E-A-T family.” While it’s impossible to know the inner workings of a proprietary algorithm, it’s safe to say you should put Trust at the center of your content creation and website updates going forward.
Five ways to increase Trust in your dealership website:
- Display Clear Contact Information: Ensure that your dealership’s website prominently displays accurate contact information, including phone number, email address, and physical address. Doing so helps establish transparency and credibility, as customers will be able to easily reach out to your dealership if they have questions or concerns.
- Showcase Positive Customer Testimonials: Include genuine testimonials from satisfied customers on your website. These testimonials can provide social proof and demonstrate that your dealership has a history of satisfied customers, which will build trust with potential buyers.
- Offer Transparent Pricing: Clearly display prices for your vehicles, along with any applicable fees, taxes, and other costs. Avoid hidden charges or surprises during the purchasing process. Pricing transparency builds trust and shows that your dealership is honest and upfront with pricing.
- Highlight Dealer Certifications and Awards: If your dealership has received any industry certifications or awards, such as being an authorized dealer for a specific brand, or winning a “Dealer of the Year” award, prominently display these on your website. These types of social proof will boost your dealership’s credibility and trustworthiness.
- Use Secure Online Features: Implement secure online features on your website with an HTTPS website. An HTTPS website means that the website is encrypted with an extra layer of security in data transfers. By having a secure HTTPS website, you show that your dealership takes customer security seriously and protects their personal information.
Google is also stepping up their battle against content that actively harms users. While you could say that harmful content, due to its nature, goes against the E-E-A-T acronym as written, Google emphasized that it is taking measures against it.
You can see this in their Page Quality Rating, which has three ranked guidelines:
- Assessing the true purpose of the page and how harmful/deceptive it is
- Assessing the potential of the page to cause harm or otherwise be untrustworthy or spammy
- If a page is not harmful, the quality rating is based on how well the page achieves its purpose
In other words, Google is now actively looking for harmful content, and de-prioritizing pages that contain it. While this should not be an issue for your store’s site, it’s a good reminder of just how important the “trust” factor in E-E-A-T has become.
Along with Experience added to the E-A-T acronym, Google has made it clear that “Trustworthiness,” now shortened to “Trust” in their official documentation, is taking a central role.
Originality and Effort
Regarding what content to present to searchers, Google wants the good stuff. They are looking for originality and effort.
Originality means just that. To rise to the top of search results, your content should be as original as you can make it. It’s much harder to stand out in a field of lookalikes. Ignoring copycat content is also an easy way to filter out AI-created noise.
Effort expands on the latter concern. Google will assess how much effort, talent or skill, and originality a human being would need to create the content in question.
E-E-A-T in the Future
Understanding Google’s mission can help you predict future updates to their algorithm. Google wants to keep their position as the most-used search engine, and the way to do that is to deliver what users want. Good, original sites that address the fundamental need behind the search query.
In other words, the best way to stay ahead of Google is to create and maintain a great website that people want to visit. That will never change. The magic bullet to success is quality.
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