Google E-E-A-T (Part 4): How to Demonstrate Trustworthiness

How do you increase Trustworthiness according to Google’s E-E-A-T guidelines?

In this guide, I’ll show you 7 practical ways to make your website the most trusted in your industry so you’re rewarded with better rankings and more organic search traffic.

Let’s dive in.

What is Trustworthiness?

While E-E-A-T is a newer concept, the idea of “Trust” is nothing new to search engines.

In 2009, Stanford published a paper on “TrustRank.”

Then, in 2012, Google filed a patent called “Search result ranking based on trust.”

It was then followed up with the “Anti-Trust Rank” paper.

According to Google’s Quality Rating Guidelines:

“Trust is the most important member of the E-E-A-T family because untrustworthy pages have low E-E-A-T no matter how Experienced, Expert, or Authoritative they may seem. For example, a financial scam is untrustworthy, even if the content creator is a highly experienced and expert scammer who is considered the go-to on running scams!”

In other words, the other pillars E-E-A-T (Experience, Expertise, and Authoritativeness), support the concept of Trustworthiness.

And to take it a step further, “trust” is so important to Google that they mention it 172 times in the Quality Rater Guidelines (QRG).

Here’s the captain obvious point:

Your goal should be to make your website/brand as trustworthy as possible.

Speaking of that:

7 Ways to Make Your Brand (and Website) More Trustworthy

Trust is critical in the YMYL (Your Money, Your Life) industries, but every website will benefit from what you’re about learn.

Keep in mind:

Many of the following actions are not proven to be ranking factors. However, these actions will increase your website’s perceived trustworthiness to users and search engines.

You’ll make the right decisions if you approach your website from a user-first perspective.

1. Change Your Behavior

Building “trust” is about doing the right thing, having integrity, protecting your users, and working to build a strong reputation. Here’s how:

Become a Prosecutor

Pretend that your website and brand are on trial, and you must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you’re trustworthy.

Look at your website through an objective lens.

Would you trust it?

Don’t Be a Criminal

You’d be surprised how many Internet marketers push ethical boundaries (and attempt to justify it).

For example, Google mentions these words: “manipulate, mislead, scam, harm, impersonate, defraud, deceive, coerce, and malicious” throughout the QRG.

So here’s a revolutionary concept: do the opposite of these things, which is:

Have Integrity

Do the right thing even when no one is watching.

Unfortunately, integrity isn’t common practice online. The truth is it’s easy to use artificial means to manipulate users.

“Virtually any indicator of trustworthiness can be manipulated or faked. A number of studies indicate that detecting the cheaters among us is not as easy as one might think.” – Harvard

For example, you can now buy followers for any social media channel. As a result, a larger following will persuade other regular, real people to follow you.

Is that ethical?

I’m not the ethics police, and you can decide for yourself.

But constantly striving to do the right thing (even if it’s more difficult) is a good business practice.

Do Great Work

Always striving for excellence in your products, customer experience, and content is a lead domino.

“Our study finds that 95% of customers are more likely to be loyal to a company they trust while 92% are more likely to purchase additional products and services from trusted businesses. Furthermore, 93% of customers are more likely to recommend a company they trust.” – Salesforce

When you do great work, everything else falls into place.

Create Awesome Products

Why are Google, YouTube, and Amazon three of the most popular websites online?

Because they’re awesome products.

Google revolutionized search. YouTube has a moat for video consumption. And Amazon consolidated online shopping.

When you focus on building and marketing great products, all the good stuff, like brand recognition, awareness, and backlinks, will come.

Understand What SERVICE Means

I used to think it was all about the quality of your products. I was wrong.

Little did I know that it’s 50% about the products and 50% about the experience.

What do customers feel when they use your products?

Spend an enormous amount of time thinking about that.

For example, because of this concept, I rebuilt my SEO training program, Gotch SEO Academy.

Like most other courses, you would sign up for Gotch SEO Academy and be 100% responsible for going through the material yourself.

There’s nothing inherently wrong with that.

But what was wrong was that I discovered that most people only finished 20% of the course. Some people didn’t even log in!

So I added extra support and accountability by committing to two weekly coaching sessions.

The results?

Our training programs have an 80% completion rate, and our NPS score is 9.7.

What does it mean to serve in the context of your business?

The truth is that too many businesses are fixated on scale and automation. But little do they know that this isn’t a game of scale. Instead, it’s a game of personal connection and being of service.

So what can you do that doesn’t scale?

Think about that.

2. Act Like a Fortune 500 Company

Publicly traded companies do things differently because they’re required by law. So you should model many things they do even if you’re a solopreneur.

Creating what I’m calling “trust elements” is not a strategic SEO advantage (unless you get creative like I will show you). Instead, it’s simply a foundational activity that lets you compete.

It’s like putting on a uniform to play in a baseball game.

Putting the uniform on allows you to play.

But it has zero influence on how well you’ll perform.

Let’s start:

About Page

This might seem obvious, but make sure “About” is in your URL, title, meta description, and H1:

Don’t make Google guess.

And to take this to the next level, I analyzed the top 100 Google results for “purple mattress review.

Ready for the big shocker?

100% of websites ranking in the top 20 have a prominent “About” page. For example, if you study the top 50, 46 websites have an “About” page (90%).

But when you look at websites ranking 50-100, the percentage falls to 73%.

Simply having an “About” page is critical. But don’t just go through the motions.

What can you do to make your “About” page unique?

Source: about.google

What if your About page functioned as link bait?

Google’s About Page Has 3 Million Backlinks 🤯

Invest in your About page and treat it like any other epic piece of content. You could argue it’s one of the most critical pages on your website.


You may also want to create a dedicated “Team” page.

Source: https://www.tesla.com/about

And then, go even deeper and create dedicated pages for each senior team member.

The goal is to build layers of trust.

Company History

What’s your company’s origin story?

Source: https://www.chick-fil-a.com/about/history

Don’t skip sharing this because no journey is the same.

Remember: Unique = Linkability

Mission Statement

Yes, mission statements are a snooze fest, but they can attract backlinks:

Examples: CDC, Hillsdale, and Spaceforce

Core Values

What does your brand stand for? Make it public:

Source: https://about.google/philosophy/

Take it seriously, and you might earn some backlinks:


Legitimate companies value culture. What’s it like working at your company? What makes it unique? Why should someone work for you?

Source: https://jobs.netflix.com/culture

Be the model for what a great company culture looks like, and you might score some links:


The majority of large companies I analyzed have an “ethics” page. You should create one too.

Plus, it can earn you some links:

Source: https://www.psychiatry.org/psychiatrists/practice/ethics


You can never have too much social proof.

Source: github.com

That’s why you should plaster testimonials, case studies, or any type of result all over your website.

User Generated Content

Show proof of customers using your products.

Jared earned the first VIP Ambassador award inside Gotch SEO Academy.

Press Mentions or Noteworthy Clientele

Where has your brand been featured or mentioned?

Go to Ahrefs Site Explorer, enter your domain, go to Referring Domains, and sort by “Traffic:”

Add noteworthy mentions to your website to build more trust.


Legitimate companies have a “careers” page (even if they aren’t hiring):

Source: careers.google.com

It’s also a powerful way to earn backlinks:

You can also get creative like Candy Funhouse:

This marketing angle earned them some solid backlinks:


Every website needs a contact page, but who would have thought it could also function as link bait?

It’s an important reminder that every page has link potential (when you’re creative).


Branded newsletters scream “TRUST.”

Source: https://jamesclear.com/3-2-1

And they can earn you links:

Schema Markup

At a bare minimum, use organization and about-page schema.

Use ChatGPT to streamline schema markup and then test with this tool.

3. Protect Your Users

No-brainer here, but start by having an SSL certificate.

Then add some of these pages or elements to your site to increase perceived trust even more:

Once again, only use what aligns with your brand. The goal here is to make it clear that you’re trustworthy.

4. Use Elite Editorial Guidelines

Treat your website content like a media company.

Establish Expertise

Expertise is the second E in Google’s E-E-A-T guidelines. In short, a subject matter expert should create or fact-check your content.

It doesn’t matter whether it’s YMYL (Your Money Your Life) or a website about funny cat pictures.

You should still clarify why you’re qualified to share information about the topic.

Optimizing for “Expertise” is a serious operation, but at a bare minimum, have an author box on informational content, create a detailed about page, and link to quality sources.

Go deeper:

Create an Editorial Process

You should create a dedicated editorial process page like Healthline:

You can use ChatGPT to create this for you.

You may also want to add complaints and corrections or a copyright notice page.

5. Optimize Your Design & UX

Your design and user experience (UX) significantly impact trust.

Don’t take this section lightly!

Start with Your Site Architecture

Optimizing site architecture has a dual effect on UX and SEO.

From an SEO perspective, it supports efficient crawling and indexing for Google. It also helps flow authority to your most important pages.

From a UX perspective, it makes your website easy to use and navigate.

But you’re probably wondering how does your site architecture affect trust?


If your site is a nightmare to navigate, it degrades trust.

“When people are faced with clever or nondescript category names, they may not be able to determine whether the relevant content exists on the site. As a result, they will become frustrated and may abandon the site. In contrast, when the links unambiguously point users in the right direction, they will feel confident and will trust your company.” – NN Group

I could write a book about this topic, but if I could pick only one action, focus on your sitewide navigation.

faceted navigation
A great model for how to use faceted navigation in e-com.

Also, create a sitemap and make sure it’s accessible sitewide.

Site Speed

Want your website to be untrustworthy? Make it as slow as possible.

“Walmart discovered that improving page load time by one second increased conversions by 2%” – Cloudflare

There aren’t many trust factors more important than site speed (hence why it’s a ranking factor in Google).

Use Google PageSpeed Insights to audit your site right now and make it a priority to fix.

Mobile Experience

It’s painful to mention this at this point, but your site should be mobile-friendly.

Not only has it been a ranking factor since 2016, but mobile devices account for 53% of all internet traffic.

Almost every theme is responsive and mobile-friendly, so there’s no excuse.

Modern Website Design

It’s cute that you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover.

But we all know this is nonsense.

Especially when it comes to site design.

If your site looks like it’s still living in 2004, then trust will evaporate.

Make it a priority to refresh your site design every few years.


What’s better, stock photos or no photos at all?

Trick question because they both suck!

“Displaying either a generic, or staff photo on your site will inspire more trust from 79% of consumers.” – Bright Local

Make your website visually rich with custom images, graphics, and photography.

Color Scheme

According to The Guardian, “Blue for trust, red for passion.

NN Group agrees:

“Color schemes used on the website greatly affect the perceived value of the business, and can brand an organization as corporate, budget, or luxury.” – NN Group

The point is that details matter. So pick your color scheme wisely.


Yes, font psychology is a thing.

“Serif fonts can evoke feelings of trust, stability, and reliability.” – Designmodo

The beauty of getting this granular about trust is that 99% of your competitors are lazy (and won’t do it). That’s your advantage!

Content Design

What you’re reading right now is based on content design.

I could have continued with that paragraph above, but I know how people consume content.



Yes, I know you’re not paying attention, so I must do crazy things.

For example, notice that I’m breaking my paragraphs up.

Cool, right?

…see what I did there?

I’m asking you questions to keep you engaged. I’m also using simple language instead of trying to pad my ego using complex words.

One thing that helps is to talk while you write.

This one freaks my wife out, but it works.

Here’s the point:

Effective content design is focused on YOU. So what can you do to keep your content engaging, interesting, and even unpredictable?

It all starts with your copy, but inject unique images, videos, case studies, etc., to keep your reader off balance.

Most important:

Have fun with it! Take your reader on a ride.

WCAG-Compliance / Accessibility

“Accessibility can also help you build trust by showcasing your values. Your customers are looking for a reason to advocate for your brand; if you prioritize inclusivity, you’ll provide that reason.” – Bureau of Internet Accessibility

Semrush has an integration you can use to audit your site’s accessibility:

Although it’s a big job, it adds another layer of trust to your website.

Multilanguage Support

Translating your content is a big project but it can influence trust and SEO performance.

Read this to get started.

And if you aren’t convinced, look at how much organic traffic Shopify has captured by translating content and targeting different countries:

Site Search

Every website should have a site search, and it should be prominent.


Links greatly impact the trust of the user and Google’s crawlers.

Take these actions now:

1. Fix Broken Links

No one likes broken links. So find them and fix them today.

2. Don’t Hide Links

Every link should be visible and clickable for the user.

3. Use Nofollow

If the link is an affiliate, sponsored, or paid, it should have a nofollow tag. It’s no secret that buying backlinks is against Google’s guidelines.

But it’s even worse if you’re selling links on your site.

It’s like how the FBI doesn’t typically investigate some random guy buying drugs. Instead, they try to find the supplier (or the head of the snake).

Google does the same. It will penalize the site selling the links and possibly penalize the URLs it’s linking out to.

IMPORTANT: don’t use the nofollow tag on trustworthy sources.

4. Audit Your External Links

Go to Ahrefs Site Explorer, enter your domain, go to Outgoing Links, and click Linked Domains.

Export these links and score them based on quality and relevance. Then go through and remove low-quality external (if any exist).

As a side note:

Examine the outbound links in this blog post. It’s 100% by design. I purposely pick trustworthy domains. Be selective about who you link out to.

You could even consider adding a “Trusted Source” popup like Healthline.

Ads & Interstitials

Read this from the QRG:

Simply having ads on your website isn’t a negative or positive factor.

In the article about: “Bad Ads Usage Practices That Can Hurt Your SEO” 😅

In short:

Don’t be sketchy, and you’ll be fine.

“Asking for information before providing any value is a breach of trust.” – NN Group

Grammar and Spelling

DonT riTe lik Dis.

“Global Lingo found that 59% of adults in the U.K. would not use a company that had obvious grammatical or spelling mistakes in its content.” – Proofread Now

Good news.

You can find spelling and grammar errors at scale with Screaming Frog:

Click on the “Content” tab

6. Invest in Your Content

You can do everything I’ve mentioned in this guide, but if your SEO content sucks, it won’t matter.


But seriously:

Content is the lead domino for online marketing, SEO, and building trust.

Here’s how to make it work for you:


Experience is the first E in Google’s E-E-A-T guidelines (and for a good reason). Google added experience to the equation because it’s difficult to fake.

Dave Portnoy
Dave Portnoy actually tries the pizza.

For example, you could broadly write about the experience of going to Disney.

But I can write about my first-hand experience bringing our one and four-year-olds. There will be certain nuances I’ll share that someone could never replicate.

I went deep on this topic, so go here to learn more:

Topic Authority

Google recently confirmed that they use “topic authority” in their algorithm.

Big shocker! Just kidding.

It’s no secret that creating an extensive amount of content around one core topic is critical to SEO success.

But it’s also a powerful way to build trust.

Think about it:

If you’re looking for SEO help, who would you trust more:

Billy Martin, who has published one article about SEO on his blog about business…


Barry Schwartz, who has published thousands of articles about SEO on the Search Engine Roundtable?

You know the answer.

Here’s my super secret actionable tip:

Focus on ONE core topic and create helpful content covering every nook and cranny of that topic.

What does Google’s new buzzphrase “helpful content” even mean?

According to Google’s QRG, quality content is original, accurate, reliable, safe, up-to-date, and demonstrates a high degree of effort.

“Effort” is mentioned throughout the QRG, which is genius on Google’s part.


Well, it’s easy to classify content based on effort. For example, this article you’re reading and the last three parts have taken ~40 hours to create.

It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see that lots of time and effort were put into this article/series.

7. Build Your Authority (and Reputation)

Authoritativeness is the A in E-E-A-T, arguably the most important part.

I have a dedicated guide you can read:


“When there is disagreement between what the website or content creators say about themselves and what reputable independent sources say, trust the independent sources.” – Google QRG, Section 2.5

If you’re a local business, make it a priority to get reviews on your Google Business Profile.

“When it comes to reviews, people trust testimonials from external sites more than those listed on the website itself.” – NN Group

For SaaS, you should get reviews on G2. And for e-commerce, TrustPilot is a solid option.

“95% of customers read online reviews before buying a product.” – Global Newswire

Make it your mission to get as many reviews as possible.


Relevant, high-quality backlinks are the most important signal of trust (in the context of Google search).

You can do everything else perfectly, but you need backlinks to get the SEO results you’re looking for.

And yes:

Backlinks are still important.

That’s a Wrap!

Optimizing for trustworthiness isn’t easy, but that’s the point.

If time is limited, create epic content to develop topic authority and acquire relevant, high-quality backlinks.

That’ll cover about 80% of the equation.


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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.