Izabela Wisniewska: E-A-T is more than just SEO!

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This podcast is recorded on: 06-10-2022

Izabela Wisniewska: Get all of your teams involved in building the brand. Build a brand, not build just SEO, don’t build just PPC.

Facilitator: This is the Inbound4Cast, a podcast series about inbound marketing and organic growth for B2B companies. Here’s your host, Jerrel Arkes.

Jerrel Arkes: Hi, Izzy. Welcome to my podcast.

Izabela Wisniewska: Hi, thank you for inviting me.

Jerrel Arkes: First we can start with a short introduction.

Izabela Wisniewska: My name is Izzy or Izabela, however you prefer. I have been working in research marketing for nine years now, last month, actually, was nine years. I run an online marketing agency called Creative Media for about three or four years now, since 2018. Before that, I’ve been working in many agency sites in Birmingham, London, working on a vast majority of clients from local small brands to big e-commerce worldwide. I guess I’ve got some experience in that.

Jerrel Arkes: We are in Brighton today for the BrightonSEO event. I think within a few hours you’re on the stage talking about EAT.

Izabela Wisniewska: Yes.

Jerrel Arkes: Because that’s also the topic of this episode, maybe we can start with what is EAT?

Izabela Wisniewska: EAT is an acronym. It stands for Expertise, Authority and Trustworthiness. This is basically what is exactly stated in Google quality guidelines as well, that’s what they’re looking for, and I think that’s what our customers are looking for as well. They’re looking for expert quality brands, right?

Jerrel Arkes: Yes, indeed. Can you go through your talk of today about EAT. What are you going to say?

Izabela Wisniewska: Basically, my topic is maybe a bit controversial. I say that EAT is not SEO.

Jerrel Arkes: I like it.

Izabela Wisniewska: I like it too. I think it’s cool. I just wonder what people are going to expect from it. What would you expect from it? What would you expect it to say?

Jerrel Arkes: Well, I’m doing SEO, too. I think two or three years ago, I had two clients and I wanted to do something with EAT because it was important for them. I wanted to start with the author part of it, but both companies said no. They wanted to publish from the company name and it was very hard to convince them. They just didn’t want to change it. At the moment I’m doing the same thing, so two different companies helping them with this, but with one company, I’m calling it an employee advocacy program, and the other one is part of a demand generation program or approach.

Izabela Wisniewska: I like that.

Jerrel Arkes: Now they both want it, so it’s more than just SEO.

Izabela Wisniewska: Basically, that’s what I’m going to talk about and probably I’m going to help people like you to convince your clients, bosses, I don’t know, CEOs, whatever other high chairs they are. I’m going to talk about the fact that obviously it’s not only SEO. I think the main takeaway, I guess, I would like people to take from it is that we as SEOs are not able to build another brands EAT on our own and so I’m going to have quite specific examples with doctors and like finance advisors. People who will really look for this expert, quality, and authority really. You wouldn’t go with a doctor that is just a no name, right? Who just claims that they’re good in what they do.

Izabela Wisniewska: I can say anything, right? My website can say anything, I can put anything on my website, right? It’s just what I say, so if we wouldn’t go with a doctor who is like a no name, if we wouldn’t go with a finance advisor who’s a no name, why do we expect people to go with different brands and Google to believe our brands that they’re good if they really like no names, they just put what we think we are good putting on our website, push out random blog posts once a month because that’s still happening.

Izabela Wisniewska: I know I’m repeating myself because I said this, I think, in 2022, what is going to be SEO in 2022 podcast, and then I said the same in the SEO in 2023 and I know I’m repeating myself, but this is still happening and I honestly, I don’t get it. Just yesterday I was attending the Paid Social Show and they are amazing by the way, if you guys have chance to watch it online. It was awesome, it just blewn my mind. There was a lady talking about creating quality content and how people are still actually trying to buy this very low quality stuff where no one actually even reads through it, they just push it out. Why would we do this? Why would we do this to our brands if we expect others to be very high quality and I totally understand because I’m probably going to get that, so I’m going to explain this.

Izabela Wisniewska: Now, I totally understand that obviously, we’ve got doctors and financial advisors who we really, really, Google reviews and everything, and we’ve got some other brands who maybe we care a bit less about some of the stuff, but you’d be really surprised. I can’t remember what that event was. I think it was e-Commerce expo in Birmingham that I’ve been listening to talks about Generation Z and how they looking at and who they buying from. We, probably, me definitely because I’m not Gen Z, but I think my colleague said we might be quite surprised how much they look into like say environment and how environmentally friendly brands are.

Izabela Wisniewska: How do we expect them to know how good we are with this, for example, even if you like fashion how do we expect them to know that we’re good with this if we’re not talking about it, if we’re not showing that we do this? Any of this stuff cannot be achieved with just pushing a random stuff, written by a random person who doesn’t know anything about your company, right?

Jerrel Arkes: Yes, but Generation Z is browsing a lot on TikTok and I think they believe a lot of people that also don’t have the authority. I think TikTok and EAT is a big problem.

Izabela Wisniewska: Are you saying that people who are on TikTok don’t have this authority, or are we looking at two people that are not as authoritative as they should be? Is that what you’re trying to say?

Jerrel Arkes: When I’m searching in Google for a specific topic, I think Google will show me people with a good EAT score. When I do the same on TikTok, for example, when I search on TikTok for SEO, I get a lot of people that don’t understand SEO, but the people that also don’t understand it but want to learn it, believe it, I think. I think TikTok has a long way to go with EAT.

Izabela Wisniewska: Yes, it has. I can see how that might be a problem because again, so if we even use SEOs as an example, because that’s close to our hearts, so we can kind of relate. We can build our own EAT because we are with the people doing it, right? We come to Brighton, we record podcasts, right? We write blog posts and that’s how a search engine determines that. Well, not only how, but one of the things that will influence how search engine determines, okay, so they seem to be going.

Izabela Wisniewska: I’m going to just throw my favorite thing here, which I always throw. This is something I was told when I just started, almost ten years ago. I started as a link builder. It was 2014, different times. I started as a link builder. We’ve been doing guest post and stuff, but I was kind of like a post penguin SEO already, so we’ve been going towards the quality and towards what we are doing now basically. I’ve been told or how one of my directors explained it to me, was like, “Just imagine that you hang around with a bad crowd.” My grandma told me that a lot. She was like, “If you hang around with bad people, you are going to think you’re bad like them.” That’s how links were explained to me. If you get bad links, that’s what Google’s going to think about you. It doesn’t matter how good you are. Then the opposite is, obviously, if you hung around with a good crowd, people are going to think you’re a good person, right?

Jerrel Arkes: Indeed, a good example.

Izabela Wisniewska: That’s how Google is going to think about you as well. I love that. I keep selling this basically to everyone. It was like ten years ago, but I still love it, and I think it kind of relates, right? If we talk about how good we are, that’s how they’re going to determine. Now, if we get the problems with TikTok, because I haven’t searched, well, I’ve said like a couple of times. I’m not a big TikTok person. I’m sorry. You might be right, obviously, I believe you. I can see how that might be a problem, because then people will kind of believe what the other people are saying. I guess obviously TikTok is still quite not new, but they are still kind of in this phase of learning outside algorithm, they are still learning quite a lot. Well, I would hope that they’re going improve.

Jerrel Arkes: You’re doing mainly SEO, right?

Izabela Wisniewska: Yes.

Jerrel Arkes: Me too. Why can’t we help companies with the complete EAT part?

Izabela Wisniewska: Okay, let’s imagine you’ve got a finance advisor client. How do you sell the fact that they are quality and authority? Well, how much do you know about finance advising?

Jerrel Arkes: Not a lot.

Izabela Wisniewska: Exactly. How could someone expect you to kind of sell the fact that the finance advisor is good if you don’t know anything about it? If you have a copywriter that is experienced, that would have to be a finance advisor I think themselves, and then just switch, so if you have a just generalized copywriter, because that’s what I see also happening quite a lot, how can we expect them to–

Jerrel Arkes: That they can write about it, maybe they can interview a subject matter expert and write it.

Izabela Wisniewska: Like a general article, but we can’t they can’t show how good these people are because they don’t know anything about the industry, even if we go into more specific industries that way. I had this issue, I had a client in construction. I have no idea about construction, nothing. I didn’t understand the words in there, so I had to get the client to talk to me and explain to me the things. Then still they had to be almost a main lead, so what I think is especially with building because we’re talking EAT because we are SEOs, but what we really want to do is build quality and trustworthy brands because that’s what EAT is all about. We don’t want to shout about it if it’s not there, basically, right? We can’t build a brand that we know nothing about.

Jerrel Arkes: The copywriting part is important and the real subject matter expert should write it, maybe a copywriter can improve it a little bit. Then I think we have the social part maybe.

Izabela Wisniewska: Yes, definitely. I really think that we should forget about the fact that we’re doing SEO for this part. Get your basics covered, definitely. Don’t forget about the basic SEO stuff, but for building the quality, authority, and good content even, just forget for a bit that we’re doing a SEO, forget Google, forget algorithms, just think about people because they’re the most important part, right? At the end of the day, the goal of every single business is to make a sale.

Izabela Wisniewska: Services and products don’t matter, but to basically get someone to use their service or a product, right? Think about people, think about your audience. Think where are they going to look, what they’re going to look for, what problems they face, what they would like to read about, see a video about, listen to podcast about. Basically, just do what we do for SEO with your clients, so get them to do what we do, basically.

Jerrel Arkes: Yes, forget Google even exists and just, I think also from a personal branding perspective, look at it. When you have a doctor and you want to help him to become the authority, maybe he already has the knowledge, but he isn’t that big of an authority, you can help him to become that.

Izabela Wisniewska: Definitely, 100 percent. I’m going to refer to it. I’m sorry, but I just loved it. There was a girl, I think it was Becca. She was talking about LinkedIn and building kind of a LinkedIn strategy. She said something, because there was a question after her talk like also how you convince? I think that’s our biggest pain point. How you convince.

Izabela Wisniewska: I guess if you’re in house, it might be a bit easier because you kind of have a relationship with all these people, but if you are an agency how do you convince this client, this owner, the CEO, that this is important? She said, “Well, that was for social, but you can tell them if you build this following on LinkedIn,” and I guess that applies to anything, “That’s yours to have, even if your employee that’s yours to keep, even if you change jobs, you’re building your brand, you’re building up yourself.” Even if you want to change up in a future and your future employer is going to look at your LinkedIn or whatever and is going to be like, “Wow, this guy has got knowledge, they’ve got following.”

Jerrel Arkes: I think changing jobs is may be the biggest argument for companies not to use their authors or their subject matter experts in their content.

Izabela Wisniewska: What is again? Sorry.

Jerrel Arkes: The fact that people can leave the company is a risk and that’s maybe one of the biggest reasons companies don’t want orders on their website attached to their content.

Izabela Wisniewska: Yes, I think you might be right because as people try to keep as much and don’t lose anything but how could we run a business without taking any risks? If you’re afraid that your employer is going to leave you, work on employer retention, work on the happiness and the work life balance, create a work environment where they’re going to be happy and they wouldn’t like to leave, because if you’re afraid your employee is going to leave you, I think the problem is somewhere else, it’s not in using them as an author. The problem is probably somewhere else because they are going to leave you anyway if there is an issue in a workplace. That’s what you should focus on.

Jerrel Arkes: I did a lot of B2C e-commerce in companies that I helped a few years ago, I think until 2016. I think for these companies it’s harder to do this because they want direct revenue from everything they do. Right now I’m only helping B2B companies, a lot of IT companies, they have a lot of subject matter experts and they understand this and they know they can’t measure everything, so maybe it depends a bit on the company, how easy it is to convince the company to start with EAT.

Izabela Wisniewska: Definitely. There’s no one answer fits all in anything, so I’m going to throw, it depends, because we are SEOs. It depends on so many factors and what kind of people you work with. Probably even how you convince them will depend on what kind of people they are, what kind of company it is, even what kind of industry, because even with that, what kind of content your audience consumes. In one industry, it might be written content, in other industry it might be videos, podcasts, whatever. Even that it will depend how you convince your employee or your client, because it might be easier to convince someone to write a blog post, it might be harder to convince someone to get on a camera, so it will all depend.

Izabela Wisniewska: There is no one answer fits it all, definitely. You just have to know your brand, you have to know your client, know your client as a brand and if you are an agency know your client as this brand, and then this brand has to know their clients. Definitely there is no one answer fits all.

Jerrel Arkes: I also think you have a part of companies that just don’t have the people with the knowledge about these topics in their company. I think that’s very hard.

Izabela Wisniewska: I think that’s like a whole other issue, because if you’re not strong enough as a company, how can you expect? I think even best marketing, best SEO, best pay per click strategy, whatever, is not going to sell but the product. If the product is bad or if the service is bad, we can’t do anything, we can’t like eyelashes it basically, and because people are going to find out and then there’s going to be bad reviews. Let’s come back to the finance advisor. If you’re bad finance advisor, if you don’t have the knowledge, if you don’t have the skills, then word going to travel. Even if you’ve got best marketers, that’s not going to help. The product or the service is the base. In order for it all to work together and to bring revenue in the end, we need a good product or a good service.

Jerrel Arkes: Yes, indeed. When we go back to the part of who you need. We talked about the copywriter or maybe not having a copywriter, but just let the subject matter expert create content. We have the social media part. What other departments or people do you need to improve EAT?

Izabela Wisniewska: There’s going to be a slide on that in my presentation today. I honestly think get anyone you can get. Get everyone involved. I always say that and sometimes people are happy to help me and sometimes I feel like we’re not using them because they’re busy or whatever. Even in SEO or if we are like an agency, I always say get web devs involved because they might have totally different perspective, they might have different ideas, because sometimes when you are so much into something, you lose the perspective, so get anyone, get brand team, get the owner, get the product team, whatever teams you’ve got.

Izabela Wisniewska: I think it will also depend on what kind of company we’re talking about because obviously if we are in service we might have a bit less people involved and different people with different knowledge basis unlike in e-commerce or somewhere that saying selling a product, it will be different people with the knowledge. I think that will also depend a bit on that, but honestly get everyone you can get. First, think about what your audience is going to want from you, because that’s a key. If you don’t know your audience, you can push something really good from a content perspective, from like a keyword perspective, what’s in their perspective, basically.

Izabela Wisniewska: If this is not what your audience wants, then it’s probably not going to work anyway because they’re not interested in it. They don’t care about it. So find out what your audience cares about, what their problems are, what they want from you, what they would like to see there, and then get anyone that you think can be helpful in that subject matter, not only marketing team, not even only content team, get anyone.

Izabela Wisniewska: If you think even about from branding perspective, not just the branding team, get the owner, get the employees. Another fantastic quote from yesterday, and I can’t remember who said this, but I think it was Becca as well. She said, “Let your employees be the face of your company or a voice of your company.” It summed up perfectly. Again, what are the Paid Social Show’s presentations? They’ve been good.

Jerrel Arkes: It was a good session, I think, yesterday.

Izabela Wisniewska: Was absolutely amazing. I loved it.

Jerrel Arkes: Do you have specific KPIs that you look at or that you use to convince companies to start with this because I think it’s very hard to create a business case, right?

Izabela Wisniewska: It is hard. That’s why I even been laughing I think about it yesterday that I think that it’s easier with the paid stuff because you can show exactly like, okay, we are having this, we earned that much from it. It’s really hard to use a business case or to come up with a KPI. Even for me, if someone has an idea, please come and talk to me and tell me. I think I would use what I just told you. I would honestly just ask my client, “Well, would you go with a doctor or someone else?” Like from that professions that we really look for quality. “Would you go with them if there would be like no name that they just claiming that they’re good? If you wouldn’t, why would you expect your clients to?”

Izabela Wisniewska: Again, I think a very strong one is that from branding perspective, you’re going to keep this. It’s not only that SEO is going to help you with brand, it’s going to help you with customer relations as well, because they’re going to know your brand better, they’re going to know the product better. I think those are the main points.

Jerrel Arkes: Maybe you just have to believe that this is important and then maybe you can see the results after you have done it and maybe it will have a lot of results that you don’t expect right now or that you don’t think about. For example, I have this podcast and I think a lot of the benefits of having a podcast, you only see them when you start because people connect to you on LinkedIn and you meet a lot of interesting people and things like that and if you create a business case in front you don’t think about all these things.

Izabela Wisniewska: Definitely, and I think another good way of convincing bosses or clients would be finding competitors who already do it and who do it and do it well and it works for them, because I think competitive analysis is a very strong thing in all marketing really to show off that, look, these people are doing what I’m saying and they’re doing great, so why wouldn’t you do what I’m saying? I think competitive analysis is a strong one and then the fact that it’s going to help in various departments, basically in various places in the business, not just search.

Jerrel Arkes: I think also a lot of companies lost some traffic with core updates in the past. For example, when you have lost 20 percent of your organic traffic two years ago to a core update that was EAT related, then I think it’s a no brainer that you can get that back when you do it right.

Izabela Wisniewska: If that was the case then I think the core updates really helped you because you can show off to a client or a boss that, “Look this happened, we haven’t been doing this and this happened, so this is real.”

Jerrel Arkes: Indeed. All right. Very interesting. Do you have anything else in your talk that we should cover in this podcast that we have missed?

Izabela Wisniewska: That’s a really good question. I think we only haven’t touched also on another thing I’m going to briefly touch on in my talk which is like a holistic marketing approach. What I really strongly believe in, again, it relates to EAT because we’ve been talking about all departments, all company, all departments in your agency or in marketing department. How can we expect our clients to believe us if our marketing efforts are so fragmented, because that’s what happens as well.

Izabela Wisniewska: We’ve got PBC team, we’ve got SEO team, we’ve got social and X number of teams and we don’t even speak to each other. If we have this content, or product or whatever really in a company or as a client, if we work together, even if it is a different agency or different people from different places in the world, because that also happens, if we work together and build a strategy to kind of use this holistic approach and to use all of the channels that are right for our client to push it out, it’s going to really get better results than having it all fragmented, because we can also help each other. We’re working towards the same goal.

Jerrel Arkes: I think mainly for SEO, you also need all these people because, let’s say, when your advertising specialists, then you can do your own part and contribute to your own KPIs, but for SEO, for example, if you do something with PR and it generates ten links, that’s important for SEO, but it also has a lot of PR value and maybe it’s also creating a lot of social media reach. When you are just looking at the SEO part of the KPIs, then I think the return on investment is in a lot of cases not that good as it really is.

Izabela Wisniewska: I think you’re right and it might be the reason why we as SEOs are so invested into this, because I had this issue with some of the clients that I was trying to push this holistic approach with. I was like, “Well, this can really help me but I can’t do it on my own,” because some of the other teams, for example, the Paid team could kind of do their bit on their own, I was like, “Well, yes, don’t mix things up.” It’s like, “Well, if I want to mix things up, I’m not going to get the results that I know I could get if we worked together.” That’s a tricky thing because you can kind of show it in competitive analysis but like not everything, not all of it.

Izabela Wisniewska: I think that’s a tricky bit to convince people, but honestly, I really think that’s definitely going to work better. I think that’s what we need in the future because, again, that relates back to ETA and quality and trustworthy brands that we are supposed to build. We can’t build that separately because we’re working towards the same goal for the same brand, right?

Jerrel Arkes: Indeed. Thanks a lot. Do you have one big takeaway for people to remember.

Izabela Wisniewska: Get all of your teams involved in building the brand. Build a brand, not build just SEO. Don’t build just PPC. Build the brand with all of your team or anyone that you can get. Thank you so much for having me. That was really nice.

Jerrel Arkes: Looking forward to your talk later today.

Izabela Wisniewska: Thank you.

Facilitator: Thanks for listening to the Inbound4Cast. Don’t forget to subscribe on YouTube or in your favorite podcast app.

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