Google E-E-A-T (Part 3): How to Demonstrate Authoritativeness

Authoritativeness is the most important part of Google’s E-E-A-T guidelines.

In fact:

You can nail the other three parts perfectly, but without authoritativeness, you won’t get the SEO results you’re looking for.

In this guide, you’ll learn 10 proven (but not easy) ways to build authoritativeness.

If you’re up for the challenge, then keep reading.

4 Critical Parts of Authoritativeness

First, you need to benchmark and measure the different levels of authoritativeness to maximize growth.

Here are the four categories:

1. Brand Authority

Does your brand have name recognition?

One way to know is to look at your branded searches.

Go to Ahrefs, enter your domain into the Site Explorer, and go to “Organic Keywords.” Then go to the keyword filter and enter your brand name.

If people search for your brand, you’re in good shape and can build from there.

If they aren’t, what you’re about to learn will help.

Keep in mind that branded searches are not a ranking factor.

They’re simply a signal that you’re marketing and advertising are effective.

Your Audience Engagement

Review your social media channels and measure your engagement. Followers are cool, but are people engaging with your content?

It’s hard to be perceived as “authoritative” when no one engages with your content.

People (not brands) generally get better social media engagement.

Unless you’re like Wendy’s:

Your Reputation

“Reputation” is mentioned 205 times in Google’s Quality Rater Guidelines (QRG).

That’s why you should ask the following questions:

Are customers sharing positive content (UGC) related to your products/services on social media?

Do you have good reviews, and are they growing at a consistent rate?

Use the following search string to benchmark your reputation:

[yourbrand reviews -site:yourbrand.com]

Alright, so you know what impacts your brand’s perceived authority.

Now it’s time to talk about the geeky SEO stuff.

Let’s start with the obvious:

2. Backlink Authority

Countless independent studies have proven that backlinks are king regarding authoritativeness and SEO performance.

“A site’s overall link authority (as measured by Ahrefs Domain Rating) strongly correlates with higher search engine rankings.” – Backlinko

The foundation of Google’s algorithm is based on backlinks (PageRank).

Yet, people still ask, “Are backlinks still important?”

The answer is yes!

For example, examine the top 100 websites according to Ahrefs:

These websites have enormous traffic numbers coupled with ridiculously strong link profiles.

  • Organic Traffic ~ 72,476,830 / mo
  • DR (Domain Rating) ~ 91
  • RDs (Referring Domains) ~ 291,926

So question is, how do you measure authoritativeness from a backlink perspective?

Back in the good ole days, you could use PageRank.

But those days are long gone.

So instead, you’ll have to use SEO tools like Semrush or Ahrefs.

Related: Semrush Review – Is It the Best SEO Tool Right Now?

Semrush’s metric for measuring overall domain strength is “Authority Score,” or AS for short.

Ahrefs metric is “Domain Rating,” or DR for short.

Both tools use different criteria for determining authoritativeness, but in short, it is 99% based on the quality (and quantity) of backlinks.

Now read this carefully:

AS, DR or any third-party metric has ZERO influence on Google’s algorithm.

Google does not care about or use these metrics at all.

What Google cares about is the relevance and quality of your backlink profile.

You could only use Google Search Console to measure the quality of your backlink profile. The downside is that you’d have to invent your criteria for measuring site authority.

Also, you only get a sample of your link profile with Google Search Console.

There are many benefits of using Semrush or Ahrefs, but the biggest is that these tools organize your link data in a digestible way.

Yes, the tools give you a ballpark idea of website authority, but it’s better than having nothing.

Here’s the takeaway:

Don’t cry when your DR and AS drop a point.

Instead, use it as a rough estimate of your overall domain authoritativeness. These tools crawl and discover many of your backlinks.

The key is to get the right backlinks—more on this in a second.

3. Topic Authority

While backlinks are the #1 variable determining authoritativeness, you can’t ignore the content. In short, your website needs to be a topical authority.

Ideally, you should stay within your circle of competence.

Meaning you should only create content within your circle of subject matter expertise.

For example, my website is focused on Google SEO. This is been the case for almost ten years now.

However, only recently did I start venturing into YouTube SEO.

Notice that I didn’t start creating content about social media marketing. All I did was go into another category within the same broader category.

The point is that there’s always more to cover in 99% of industries.

And you’re likely only scratching the surface.

There are two ways to measure topical authority.


What’s the core focus of the website?

If it isn’t clear at a glance, you’re likely making it difficult for Google to understand.

Treat Google like a three-year-old.

Use the following search string to see how well your site is staying on topic:

site:yourwebsite.com "PRIMARY CATEGORY"

In general, you should see many pages hitting the core topic.

You can also see if your site is stepping outside of its circle of competence with this search string:

site:yourwebsite.com -intitle:[YOUR CATEGORY]

IMPORTANT: This doesn’t mean you should create content about the singular subject. Instead, you should create pages targeting keywords with different intent.

For example, look at these different keywords:

Each keyword phrase includes “SEO,” but the intent is very different, meaning each deserves its dedicated page.


Often when you’re not ranking for a keyword phrase, one variable is that you don’t have enough topical authority.

Here’s an example:

Let’s say I wanted to improve rankings for “learn SEO.”

You can use the exact search string above, but replace “YOUR CATEGORY” with the primary keyword phrase.

site:yourwebsite.com “KEYWORD”

Now you’ll see all the pages using that phrase.

In many cases, there’s room to expand on this topic.

Go to Ahrefs Keyword Explorer, enter the keyword phrase, and look under “questions.”

You can also use Answer the Public to find even more long-tail ideas to attack.

Remember: only create a new page if the intent is different.

If you’re not sure, study the Google results.

For example, look at the difference in results between these two results for “learn SEO” vs. “how long does it take to learn SEO”:

Google delivers different results because the intent is different.

So, in this case, it makes sense to create a dedicated page for “How long does it take to learn SEO.”

4. Author Authority

The authority of the author is the weakest signal, but still significant. That’s why I dedicated an entire guide to expertise.

In short, your content should be bylined by a subject matter expert who (hopefully) has some authority in the industry.

To get an idea of author authoritativeness, go to Google and search:

“NAME” -yourwebsite.com

Now let’s move into the actionable stuff:

10 Practical Ways to Build Authoritativeness (for SEO)

These actions aim to increase your website’s authoritativeness, with the content being the lead domino.

Go in this order:

1. Identify Your Expert

You need someone with subject matter expertise to act as the face of your business. But simply being an expert isn’t enough.

Whoever you pick also needs to be willing to market themselves. They must be willing to transform from just an expert to an authority.

There’s a difference.

Expert = someone who is better than the general public at a particular skill.

Authority = an expert who has influence.

Who can become this person in your company?

It’s critical to think about because a strong personal brand can be a huge backlink driver.

For example, Gary Vaynerchuk has over 16,000 referring domains to his website:

And just to top it off, Vaynerchuck’s marketing agency also has 2,600 referring domains:

The point is:

Building a personal brand around a subject matter expert is the most powerful weapon in your link building arsenal.

Related: 18 Ways to Build Your Authority as an Expert

2. Take the Trash Out

Most websites are polluted with thin, outdated, and irrelevant content. You need to make your mission to cut the fat.

To quickly find outdated content use this search string:

site:yoursite.com + "YEAR"

To go even deeper, I recommend Screaming Frog.

Start by connecting the Google Analytics, Google Search Console, Ahrefs APIs, and start the crawl:

Export to a Google Sheet and filter the results only to show pages that have 0 traffic (Google Analytics), 0 impressions, 0 clicks (Google Search Console), and 0 backlinks (Ahrefs).

These are pages that I consider to have “Poor SEO Performance.”

And there are only a few options for these types of pages:

Delete and 404 – Consider this option if it’s thin, outdated, not keyword-targeted, low-quality, and doesn’t have KPIs.

301 Redirect – Useful if you’re trying to eliminate keyword cannibalization or your consolidating pages. 301 redirects should be used sparingly because they put a load on your server and may make your website load slower.

Upgrade – Some pages may need some more love. Put such pages in the queue to get upgraded and re-optimized.

3. Upgrade Existing Assets

Let’s face it; content gets stale.

The days of creating one page and ranking for five years without interruption are over.

Instead, you must constantly revisit your pages and make sure they’re still relevant, fresh, and high-quality.

Think of your SEO content as minimum viable content (MVC).

Meaning that it’s going to need many iterations to reach exceptional quality.

After you publish a new asset, you should revisit it at least every six months to look for opportunities to upgrade it even further.

Here are some easy ways to enhance your SEO content:

Expert Insights

Reach out to some experts in your industry and ask them to contribute to the content in exchange for a free backlink.

Unique Visuals

Remove the use of stock photos from your arsenal.

Instead, aim to create unique images, graphics, and photos for your content.

In the EEAT guidelines, Google says they’re looking for “visual” evidence that someone has “experience” with a product or service.

SEO Books
Example of Visual Evidence (Best SEO Books)

First-hand experience should be evident at a glance.

Plus, unique visuals differentiate your content from the pack.

Upgrade Your Content Design

Most people don’t consider design regarding SEO content, but it’s super impactful. You can leverage design to make your content more visually appealing, readable, and enjoyable.

The goal isn’t just to rank with your content. The goal is to get people to consume it. If they consume it, you’ll be building trust.

Trust leads to conversions.

Don’t lose sight of what the actual goal of doing SEO is.

If your business sells a product or service, the goal of SEO is conversions.

Inject Unique Videos

The key word here is “unique.” It’s not easy, but producing video content and embedding it into your SEO asset works wonders.

Video builds trust 100x faster than copywriting.

Plus, it increases dwell time on your page, likely a positive signal for Google.

4. Create Linkable Content

Use the techniques above, and your content will become must more linkable. However, there are specific content angles that are proven to attract backlinks.

But here’s an important point:

You must find angles that worked in other industries and verify that the angle hasn’t been used in your industry.

In other words, you want to use fresh and unique angles for link bait.

Sure, you can identify assets that have worked for your competitors, build a similar asset, and score a few backlinks.

But it’s nothing compared to finding an untapped angle because you’ll score 100% of the backlinks and eyeballs.

This is the blue ocean strategy for link bait.

So the core part of this process is simple:

Get link bait inspiration from different industries.

Here are some examples:

Angle #1 – Custom

Investing in design is a powerful way to differentiate. Here’s an example:

Angle #2 – Guide

Epic guides leverage “length implies strength.”

Angle #3 – Data

Data, case studies, or statistics are linkable because “linkerati” need sources for information.

In short, you want websites to reference your content when making arguments.

Angle #4 – Helpful

Free tools, software, etc., are perfect for promotion and link acquisition.

And it’s never been easier to create these assets with ChatGPT. For example, I created this script timer in only one hour with ChatGPT.

Angle #5 – Weird

Finding a unique “purple cow” angle can attract links. Here’s an example:

Angle #6 – Rankings

Continually updated rankings keep users coming back. They also work well as link bait:

Angle #7 – Deep

Deep, technical pieces serve well as link bait.

5. Leverage The Relevancy Pyramid

The Relevancy Pyramid is a safeguard against lousy link-building decisions.

Most link builders are obsessed with metrics like DA/DR or organic traffic for prioritizing link opportunities.

While these matter, they are secondary to relevance.

Relevance is king when it comes to link building.

Google’s John Mueller says the total number of backlinks a website has doesn’t matter at all to the search algorithm. One good link from a relevant website can be more impactful than millions of low-quality links.

Search Engine Journal

That’s why I created the Relevancy Pyramid.

The Relevancy Pyramid

In short, prioritize the most relevant link opportunities first. These are at the top of the pyramid. In most cases, you won’t have many 100% matches to get links from.

But it’s where you should start.

Then once you’ve tapped it out, move down the pyramid, which increases the number of opportunities.

Let’s say I wanted to find link prospects for a beef jerky company.

Go to Ahrefs Keyword Explorer and enter the broad topic. Then go to the “Traffic Share” section and click “By Domains.”

Within seconds you should see what types of websites rank for this topic. Next, you’ll need to investigate these websites to find additional topics.

For example, you can do “site:” searches to see what topics they write about.

In the example above, they have pages about golf and keto. This implies that jerky is relevant to both of these niches.

I also recommend looking at Reddit to get more broad topics.


reddit.com + "YOUR TOPIC"

Within seconds, I found multiple Subreddits talking about jerky, like Jerky, Keto, Cooking, Hiking, Food, and Meat.

Now use ChatGPT to prioritize these topics based on relevance.

Here’s a prompt:

Score each topic below based on relevance on a scale of 1-10 (10 being most relevant) for the topic/category "Beef Jerky."
Beef Jerky
Doomsday Prepping
Put the data into a table.

Here’s the output:

Now you know what order to find link prospects.

Start with “beef jerky” blogs and work your way down as you tap out each category.

6. Use The Merger Technique

Feeling like Warren Buffett today? Well, you’ll love the following technique.

The Merger Technique is finding websites with high-quality, relevant link profiles and 301 redirecting them to your website.

This “merger” allows you to accumulate high-quality backlinks overnight.

I wrote about this technique in 2015 and still use it today because it works (when you do it right).

Here’s how to do it:

Look for Opportunities

The Merger Technique works best when you acquire an existing website.

So I’d start by looking for undervalued assets within your industry.

Next, search “YOUR INDUSTRY + “blogs” on Google.

Finally, prioritize blogs with great link profiles that have grown stagnant regarding new content and updates.

You can also dig through Flippa to find existing sites as well.

The last technique is to look at expired domains using a tool like Spamzilla. Here’s a tutorial:

I’ve used live and expired domains, and both work well. The key is to become obsessed with due diligence.

Treat these domains as if you’re acquiring them as real businesses.

Examine the Link Profile

An ideal link profile will have many editorial backlinks from relevant websites. The linking websites should have solid metrics as well.

Use Semrush’s Authority Score to see the quality and relevance of the link profile.

I’d also examine the anchor text profile. Make sure it isn’t spammed to death.

Estimate the Backlink Value

Export all of the backlinks and assign a value based on the strength.

You can use Loganix to get a ballpark idea of backlink cost. Add all the values up, and you’ll get a link profile value.

Now you know what the domain is worth and how much you can invest.

Acquire & 301 Redirect

This is the step where most people mess up. You must 301 redirect based on link distribution.

For example, if most of the backlinks are hitting the homepage, creating a dedicated page to inherit those links is ideal.

If the backlinks hit many different pages, you’ll need to find relevant pages on your website to inherit those links.

If you don’t have relevant pages, you’ll need to create some. Look at my “Boots to Business” blog post.

I acquired a domain, and 301 redirected it here.

You can add internal links to this page to drive link equity from the redirect.

Be Patient

Don’t rush into this strategy. Wait for the right opportunities and go hard when you see them.

I don’t recommend using this technique too much. I suggest < 5 redirects is a good bet.

7. Use Proven Link Acquisition Techniques

There are many link building techniques that have stood the test of time.

Here are a few I’m still using right now:

Steal Your Competitor’s Backlinks

Go to Ahrefs “Link Intersect” tool and enter your top organic competitors:

Now you’ll see all the domains linking to your competitors but not to you.

Now it’s your job to narrow this gap.

Related: Best Link Building Services – $1 Million Case Study

Similar Content Strategy

This method only works if you have a unique angle for a keyword. Don’t expect to get a link from regurgitated content.

For example, let’s say I wanted to get more backlinks for “best CMS for SEO.”

I’d send the following outreach email to every page that writes about this topic:

Hey [NAME],

Thank you for publishing your article about [TOPIC]. I’m reaching out because we just published something your readers will benefit from. We [INSERT VALUE PROP]. Would you be interested in sharing it with your readers in this article? Let me know what you’d want to make it a win-win for both of us. Appreciate your time!

Resource Pages

The best way to get links from resources pages is to have something of exceptional value. Use these search strings to find opportunities:

keyword + inurl:resources
keyword + “best resources”
keyword + “useful resources”
keyword + intitle:links
keyword + “helpful links”
keyword intitle:" resources"
keyword + “resources”
Inurl:[keyword] + resources
keyword intext:" further reading"
keyword intext:" more resources"
keyword intext:" other resources"
keyword intext:" favorite resources"
keyword intext:" favorite tools"

Once you’ve found some awesome opportunities, try this outreach template:

Subject: Your awesome resource page

Hey [NAME],

Thanks for putting together your awesome [what it is] resource.

Quick question for you:

Are you accepting new submissions to this page?

{I|We} {what you want to promote and why it’s useful} and would love to be listed (if possible).

Please let me know your terms, and thanks in advance!

Check out Brian’s link building techniques guide for more inspo.

Related: Should You Buy Backlinks? Find Out the Truth.

8. Optimize Your Site Architecture

Backlinks move the ship, but internal links take your results to the next level. You won’t need as many backlinks to rank if you do it well.

That’s why the primary goal of internal linking is to send link equity through your website.

Here are two actionable ways to make that happen right now:

Improve Crawl Depth

How many clicks does it take to get to every page on your website? That’s your crawl depth. Aim to keep your pages no more than three clicks deep.

Otherwise, Google and other search engine crawlers may not crawl the site well. Likewise, they won’t index your pages well if they don’t crawl the site well.

If you’re unsure, crawl your website with Screaming Frog.

Then go to the “Crawl Depth” column and verify the depth of your pages.

Crawl Depth

If some are deeper than three clicks, you have a few options.

Examine the Pages

Pages that are buried in the site architecture are often there for a reason. Unfortunately, it’s usually because they aren’t important. That’s why you must complete the content audit I showed earlier in this post.

There’s no point in improving crawl depth for a page that shouldn’t exist in the first place.

Create a Hub Page

A hub is a dedicated page for a topic. For example, I have a YouTube SEO hub page.

This page aims to give internal link coverage to all the pages within the “YouTube” cluster. In other words, it gives Google an easy path to crawl and index these pages.

So once you create a page like this, add it further up the architecture. Then all of those pages will be within the proper crawl range.

Get More Internal Link Coverage

Now it’s time to examine the number of internal links that your pages have. In short, internal links signal to Google how important a page is.

Of course, it doesn’t mean that internal links are a huge ranking factor. But they’re a strong signal you can send to Google that a page matters.

So, you first need to see how many internal links your pages have.

Then, once again, use Screaming Frog and go to the “Unique Inlinks” column.

Internal Links

My SEO agency categorizes any page with less than five internal links as having poor internal link coverage.

But here’s something interesting about these pages:

When you find pages with little to no internal links, it’s often a sign that it doesn’t have enough supporting assets.

Meaning you need to create more content to support these pages. As a result, more content allows you to get more internal link coverage.

But before you do that, simply look for relevant pages on your site to add some internal links. In none exist, then you know what to do.

9. Get More Reviews

Reviews are an external signal that can be used to determine a brand’s authoritativeness.

Google mentions “reviews” through the QRG and especially in section 3.3.2:

As mentioned before, backlinks are the core determining factor. But your goal should be to build as much trust as possible.

So if you have a ton of backlinks but no reviews and no audience, something looks off.

That means you need to work to grow your link profile, your reviews, and your audience at the same time.

10. Expand Your Audience

Audience size won’t directly impact “authoritativeness” in the context of Google. However, it can indirectly impact your authoritativeness.

For example, when you have an engaged audience, you have a marketing channel for your content. This can give you instant eyeballs on your content.

That’s why you should have a newsletter.

The more people see your content, the more likely you’ll be able to score some backlinks.

Bonus: It’s a Marathon, Not a Sprint

You don’t build authoritativeness overnight. Do great work and make marketing a priority. It’ll take time, but it’s worth it.

To put it in perspective, gotchseo.com is ten years old and has a DR of 73.

Stay the course.


Check out the rest of the E-E-A-T series:

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Nathan Gotch

Nathan Gotch is an SEO professional with over 10 years of experience. He's the founder of the #1 SEO training program in the world, Gotch SEO Academy. And the author of The SEO Entrepreneur. Nathan's SEO expertise is featured on Semrush, Ahrefs, and Search Engine Journal.