SEO in the Sustainability Sector:

Understanding Google’s E.A.T.-Based Algorithm

by R.E.S. Martina


Search Engine Optimization — to the inexperienced it can sound so daunting, so cryptic. But, as my colleague and resident SEO expert, Will Kenderdine, likes to say, SEO is the puzzle he wakes up excited to solve every morning. 

Search Engine Optimization, like the name implies, is the practice of optimizing a website or web page to achieve a high position in search results for a specific keyword or selection of keywords. How one does this is easier said than done. But with the help of a seasoned professional, decoding the myths behind SEO becomes a lot easier.

In my previous article, Why Your Green Company Still Needs Search Engine Optimization, I discuss why SEO is not only still relevant today, but a crucial undertaking for companies in growing industries like sustainability and green technology. Simply put, Search Engine Optimization leads to a greater amount of organic traffic. 

Organic traffic refers to people searching on the internet for something that visit a website (not including an advertisement) after finding it in the search results. According to Smart Insights, approximately 60% of all organic search traffic goes to the top 3 results. In conjunction with this data, between 20% and 25% of organic traffic converts to a lead, according to Bradley Shaw. Search Engine Optimization is the way to capture these leads and organic traffic for your company.


'Green Technology' results in Google's Keyword Planner
‘Green Technology’ results in Google’s Keyword Planner


The interesting thing about SEO, however, is that it keeps changing. While the goal is always the same — to achieve the highest possible search results for our clients — the rules are never permanent. You may have heard about Google’s mystical, ever-evolving algorithm at some point or another and next, I’ll discuss what we know about its current iteration: E.A.T.

E.A.T. is an acronym that stands for Expertise, Authority and Trustworthiness. Each of these concepts have their own specific meanings within the algorithm, but the goal is to display search results that display expertise and authority in their field and demonstrate trustworthiness as a digital business. Within the E.A.T.-based algorithm, the three concepts overlap in many areas, so to understand it in its simplest terms, many SEO experts like to think of E.A.T. in two metaphorical buckets: relevance and authority.

Relevance is mostly linked to the content on the website or webpage. The easiest way to verbalize this concept is by asking ‘is the content on the page relevant to the search phrase?’ The primary goal of a search engine is to display information that properly satisfies the search query and that is why Google has invested so much time and money in continually upgrading the sophistication of their search engine to continuously provide more and more relevant results to the things people are searching.

Meanwhile, authority is more representative of the perceived trustworthiness and clout of a website. You may be asking yourself, ‘how does Google determine if a website has clout?’ Fair question. The E.A.T.-based algorithm perceives trustworthiness and authority in the quantitative form of backlinks. 

Backlinks are links from other websites or webpages to your company’s website or webpage. These links from other sources show the algorithm that your content is trustworthy because it is being shared by other sources. The authority comes from the volume and perceived authority of the websites linking to your website. This means that a website that has a lot of authoritative backlinks to it that then has a backlink to your website or webpage is seen as more valuable with regards to authority in the eyes of Google.

It can be a little confusing to wrap your head around at first, but there are many strategies available to achieve these results. But, be warned, Search Engine Optimization is a long term investment. It takes time and requires effort. But as a company working in the sustainability sector, you know all about committing to a long term goal that takes time and requires effort. But isn’t that true of all the best investments?

My mother drilled the phrase ‘nothing easy comes free,’ into my head when I was younger, and I’m reminded of that when I think of both SEO and working towards a greener future. 


In my next post, I’ll be discussing the evolution of SEO for local businesses: Google Maps Optimization. If your business relies on local customers or bringing in traffic to a brick and mortar location, you’re going to want to read this. 

If you’re interested in learning more about Search Engine Optimization for your website, please feel free to schedule a consultation with one of’s sustainable marketing experts.