Does your law firm’s website meet Google’s E-E-A-T criteria?

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  What is E-E-A-T?

  How can a law firm website demonstrate E-E-A-T?

  How can SEO strategy help a law firm website show E-E-A-T?


Branding is as essential for attorneys online as it is in person — and in both cases, you want your brand to be credible. Prospective clients want to know a lot about you, but they mostly want to know that you can handle their matter. Search engines, in a way, are similar.
 

In terms of an online presence, Google’s E-E-A-T acronym is as good a yardstick as any to evaluate whether your digital brand indicates reliability, competence, and trustworthiness. Google isn’t the only search engine out there, of course, but it’s the most widely used, and its E-E-A-T acronym is worth learning about. 

What is E-E-A-T?

E-E-A-T is the acronym Google uses for evaluating online content and assessing whether it’s worth showing in its search results. Verbally referred to as “Double-E-A-T,” it stands for Expertise, Experience, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness. A law firm’s online content and overall presence must do well against each of these benchmarks to be found by a potential new client. Let’s explore each in a little more detail. 

Experience

This is the newest component of Google’s evaluation metric, having been added in late 2022. Essentially, Google wants to give higher rankings to sites where it’s apparent that the content creator has relevant experience with the topic being discussed. For example, a blog post on wills, estates, and trust law will do better if Google can tell it was written by an attorney who has practiced in those areas for 15 years. 

Expertise

Expertise refers to the degree of knowledge and level of skill exhibited by the content creator. Google considers this important because it expects creators to be knowledgeable on the topic of the content they are generating. A website page on DWI defense wouldn’t be any good if it were written by a lawyer who had never handled a single DWI matter or had no familiarity with criminal defense work. 

Authoritativeness

This represents the reputation and authority of the site or individuals behind it. To be considered authoritative, a source or site must be well-regarded in the relevant field. 

Trustworthiness

Trustworthiness is the reliability and credibility of the information an online presence contains. Google likes to see content that is accurate, richly sourced, and open about its own sources of information. It perceives that kind of content as able to be trusted by users. In fact, Google’s own Search Quality Rater guidelines explains — to its human search evaluators tasked to rate the quality of future developments — that trust is the most important member of the E-E-A-T family. 

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How can a law firm website demonstrate E-E-A-T?

There’s no surefire way to demonstrate the experience, expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness that Google wants to see. In FindLaw’s research and years of experience developing law firm websites, however, our experts have found several things that help: 

Listing credentials and certifications on your website

Of course you have a J.D., and that should definitely be listed on your website. But don’t stop there if you can go further. Have you been certified by your state bar association in a certain practice area? Have you been formally credentialed in arbitration, mediation, or dispute resolution? These are the kind of bona fides that Google rewards. 

Sharing thought leadership

Google and other search engines love to see content like case studies, white papers, blog posts, and legal articles that establish you as authoritative and knowledgeable. The more of this kind of content your online presence contains, the more confident Google is that showing you to users is a promising idea. 

Showing client testimonials and reviews

Client testimonials are an excellent way to establish that you do indeed serve clients in a given practice area and, furthermore, that you are good at what you do. A lukewarm or occasional negative review isn’t much to panic about, either. Dealing with such feedback promptly and professionally shows engagement and accountability, which can count for a lot. 

How can SEO strategy help a law firm website show E-E-A-T?

SEO strategy refers to the art and science of filling a website with quality content that appeals to readers and search engines alike. It’s a powerful tool for demonstrating E-E-A-T, too. For example, website content that is optimized with highly searched terms, relevant keywords, and quality backlinks from reputable sources is looked favorably upon by Google. The more consistent a law firm website can be at publishing truthful, substantive content, the more Google becomes convinced that its vote of confidence is well-placed.  

Whether you maintain your website yourself or hire a legal marketing provider to do it for you, optimizing for E-E-A-T is the go-to standard to make sure your digital presence is working the way it should. 

To learn more about optimizing your website for search engines, view our on-demand webcast, “Understanding content strategy in the eyes of Google: A blueprint for law firms looking to grow.” 

Understanding content strategy in the eyes of Google

This webcast will help break down an ideal content strategy into ‘what’ helpful content is, ‘where’ to spot helpful vs. poor content, and ‘how’ to approach this strategy for the betterment of clients and their campaigns.

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