Category: Professional Services

A perfect partnership: My love affair with AI

By Alastair Turner, Global CEO

Exploring the transformative partnership between AI and humans, this blog highlights how AI enhances creativity and business innovation. It underscores the importance of ethical collaboration and envisions AI’s role in future achievements.

Eighteen years into a marriage that still sparks joy, laughter and the occasional electric touch, I’ve come to a realization: Partnerships, in their myriad forms, are the bedrock of human achievement. Whether it’s the love that binds my wife and me, or the amazing partnership that we cheer on the sports pitch, dance to at festivals and laugh with en masse at gigs, the essence of collaboration is unmistakable. But there is a new partnership in town and it’s unlike any other: my burgeoning romance with generative artificial intelligence (AI), aka ChatGPT.

This isn’t your run-of-the-mill dalliance. No, this is the kind of transformative union that could only be rivaled by the legendary synergies of yesteryear — think Edwards and John lighting up the rugby field, Torvill and Dean gliding to Olympic glory, or Jordan and Pippen dominating the hardwood. Each duo, in their respective arenas, while not always friends or even getting on, showcased the exponential power of collaboration. I have not a smidgen of their talents, but my relationship with AI is certainly helping me be better at my job and it doesn’t seem to mind if I steal the limelight.

AI and humans: A symphony of differences

The beauty of human partnerships often lies in the harmonious interplay of contrasts. Lennon and McCartney’s songwriting genius, the comedic timing of Laurel and Hardy, the strategic masterminds of Montana and Rice when the 49ers won Super Bowls — each partnership thrived on the unique contributions of its members. In the realm of AI, however, the dynamic shifts. Here, the partnership is inherently asymmetrical, with the scales tipped decidedly in my favor. AI doesn’t vie for the spotlight or seek recognition. Not yet anyway. There are no artistic differences and it’s never passive aggressive (not a refence to my wife!). Instead, it amplifies my capabilities, quietly transforming me into, I like to think, a more effective, innovative leader.

The unseen muse: How AI Enhances Human Creativity and Innovation

In the creative industries, the quest for the next “aha!” moment is relentless. AI, with its ability to sift through data and identify patterns invisible to the human eye, has become an indispensable ally. It’s not about replacing the human touch but enriching it, offering a palette of possibilities that were previously unimaginable. This isn’t just about making processes more efficient; it’s about elevating creativity to new heights, guiding us toward ideas that resonate more deeply and connect more authentically. Check out this Harvard Business Review piece for more fascinating insights into how generative AI boosts human creativity.

Building bridges, not replacing them

In the business of marketing and communications, relationships are currency. While AI excels at decoding trends and managing data, it’s the human element — our ability to empathize, to share a laugh, to forge connections — that turns these insights into meaningful strategies. This partnership doesn’t dilute the personal touch; it sets the stage for more impactful human interactions, ensuring that every handshake or shared joke is as potent as it can be.

A dance of complexity and ethics

Facing the labyrinth of modern challenges, the alliance between human ingenuity and AI’s computational prowess is our best bet. Together, we navigate the unpredictable, blending AI’s efficiency with human adaptability and ethical judgment. This is not about relegating AI to the role of a sidekick; it’s about recognizing it as a force multiplier, a catalyst that propels us toward a future we’re only beginning to imagine.

I find it compelling how many of our clients are flirting with AI, using generative AI tools, developing their own GPTs, or speculating about AI’s future in their thought leadership in the media. We hear our clients across our sectors discuss it, from financial services and capital markets to energy, industrials, and technology. Recently our client, a cloud solutions tech provider called Searce, posited that generative AI tools are going to change compliance functions. Fintech provider Clearwater Analytics predicted the proliferation of generative AI use cases in investment accounting and the broader financial services sector. And, global commodities intelligence provider ICIS launched its own generative AI commodities assistant called Ask ICIS.

To infinity and beyond

So, as I reflect on my love affair with AI, I’m reminded of the fictional dynamic duo of Buzz Lightyear and Woody from Toy Story. AI is not merely a dependable friend like Woody or a simple gadget on Buzz’s utility belt. It’s far more transformative. Imagine AI as Buzz Lightyear’s wings — it doesn’t just add to our capabilities; it propels us to new realms of possibility.

This partnership with AI is about embarking on a journey to uncharted territories, reaching for ‘infinity and beyond’. It’s not merely about solving problems or enhancing the way we do things; it’s a catalyst that launches us into a future brimming with unexplored potential.

In this perfect partnership, AI doesn’t just add wings to our aspirations — it fuels our flight toward a future ripe with possibilities, ensuring that together, we soar higher, reach further, and dream bigger… It must be love.

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21 E-E-A-T Strategies To Supercharge Your SEO And Boost Brand Trust

By Oliver Wells, SEO Director

Estimated read time: 12 minutes 

Blog summary: In this blog I breakdown the importance of Google’s EEAT framework to modern SEO and business growth. I’ll focus on how to implement experience, expertise, authority, and trustworthiness on your website. Read on to learn how utilizing EEAT strategies not only enhances your organic search performance but also builds long lasting customer loyalty and trust; positioning your business for success in a digital-first world. 

EEAT as a measure of enduring quality

In this dynamic and now AI-influenced landscape of digital content production, Google’s E-E-A-T framework stands as a beacon of unwavering credibility. Born into the 2014 edition of the Quality Rater Guidelines as 3 simple letters: “E-A-T” (Expertise, Authority, Trustworthiness) they have since been incorporated into updates both core and micro for as long as I can remember, and now also include a further “E” for “Experience”. We can now see and track the direct and wholly positive impacts of EEAT strategies in organic campaigns, but why is this the case?

“E-A-T is a template for how we rate an individual site. We do it to every single query and every single result. It’s pervasive throughout every single thing we do.”

Hyung-Jin Kim, Vice President of Search at Google, speaking at SMX Next

The value of lived experience

EAT was introduced as a quality concept in response to the growing need for authoritative and trustworthy online information. Fast forward to 2022, and the concept expanded to include ‘Experience’. This represents the value of firsthand, lived experience(s). This evolution wasn’t just an update; it was a statement. Google was championing content not just rich in expertise but also steeped in honest, genuine input. For users, it meant a more relatable, trustworthy and reliable online world, where information comes from those who don’t just know but truly understand the industry because they have lived it – and they aren’t simply writing content in order to sell you a dream. They want to help or guide you towards something, they’re willing to prove themselves to you, and they are happy to be patient.

EEAT as an influencing force

As goes modern SEO, Google’s E-E-A-T has emerged as a powerhouse. Its utilization in the March 2024 update is telling. It’s not just a framework; it’s how you connect with potential customers and website users. It’s how you show them why you’re the best option in a noisy and incoherent grey space of endless choice. By blending experience, expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness Google is able to nudge content creators, business owners and marketing directors (sometimes forcefully and with some degree of resistance) towards excellence. Engaging with EEAT frameworks as they become even more essential, is now a case of when, not if; and there is some degree of urgency.

The focus revolves around rewarding those who know their stuff with resonance that is achieved through genuine experience and transparency – honesty with a dash of true and forthright passion for a craft and a business that wants to thrive. For SEO strategists, myself included, mastering E-E-A-T is not just about playing by the rules; it’s about crafting content that connects with audiences and converts because it is a natural full stop rather than a wrestling match.

Why you need to be using EEAT frameworks sooner, rather than later

So why should you care about SEO and EEAT and what does success look like for your business following continued engagement with these frameworks? The short answer is: online trust = increased business but garnered the right way, consistently and honestly, over time. In our challenging digital world it can seem like every blog and every site is designed to splice attention into consumable chunks, robbing businesses of feeling and websites of humanity.

Therefore, SEOs and Google know and understand that those who genuinely want to engage and talk about a topic are the ones who cultivate the greatest loyalties. Customer loyalty and brand trust being possibly the two greatest pillars upon which strong businesses are built. EEAT is a big thing. I won’t pretend like I am able to discuss it all in one blog post. It encompasses a lot of SEO with crossover into design, digital marketing generally, as well as brand positioning and content creation. But we are passionate about this. We believe strongly that EEAT is the best way to improve organic presence, but we also have an extremely strong feeling that these frameworks are formative to AI and LLM performance. Google may rely heavily on how trustworthy you are, how much authority you have; therefore success in EEAT may very well mean success in AI when AI becomes a major, dominant player in SEO and search.

So, lofty goals we may set, but attainable they are. We have compiled for you below, our top 21 EEAT elements that you must engage with as soon as you can if you want to become a trustworthy organic performance powerhouse.

Unlocking the potential of Google’s EEAT to achieve SEO excellence

Showcase Experience

  1. Use “I” and personal pronouns in your content. Address your audience and readers naturally. We’ve touched on this above but be personable. Talk about yourself as the writer and your experiences relative to the topic at hand and add value with your input. Don’t be afraid of anecdotes. Make your content relatable and authentic. De-mask the featureless writing machine and be “you”. 
  2. For reviews and UGC, try to promote and encourage your customers and users and partners to talk directly about their experience with you as a brand and a business. How did they find an onboarding process? Was their experience with your customer service team positive and why? The value here is in the depth of detail and creating a realistic expectation for others.
  3. Long-form and effusive testimonials are marketing gold-dust. This is a given fact. How you utilize them, once acquired, can be a difference-maker. Make sure you split up a positive review or user-story and inject its influence across your site, content, and marketing channels. You can quote a review snippet into a blog, create an image slider on social media, a testimonial-blast email and so much more. This gives users a great sense of your experience in the industry.
  4. A simple but effective approach is to include dates that relate to your own experiences. If you’re writing a blog, mention your credentials. For me, for example, I have 8 years’ experience in SEO and digital marketing. This one sentence lends credence to my insights and tells Google that my experience can be trusted.
  5. To expand upon the above, when writing meet the team pages or employee information sections on your site (which are a must do but we will get to that!) then include how many years’ experience they each have and where they acquired that experience. What degrees do they have, where did they study, and who are their notable client exposures. If your marketing team of 10, each have between 5- and 10-years’ experience in the industry each, that is a collective (roughly) 50 to 100 years’ worth of knowledge. That is a data point worth shouting about.

Highlight Expertise:

  1. It may seem obvious but one of the best ways to implement the expertise concept is to utilize experts on your site and in your marketing. This can take many forms. You can approach a topic-related industry professional or known quantity to write/author a blog for you. You could also ask for a contribution to a blog piece or you can ask them to provide specific input regarding your service and surface that prominently on your home or service pages. A blend of all is often most effective. Make sure you are displaying the expert’s credentials, qualifications, and experiences as best you can.
  2. Showcase topic experts. When writing content, it is vital that the author is shown. The method of showing also counts here. A one-liner is not enough. We need an author bio of 50-100 words that links the author to the topic. This is an SEO blog. The ‘about the author’ section in this blog talks about my SEO experience. Because I am an SEO expert. Ideally, we need a job title too, and an image of the author (designs coming soon…) You also need to work towards building a bank of content authored by your experts.
  3. Meet the authors. An often-overlooked strategic content piece. A page that showcases all your authors alongside all their subject specialisms and a link to “see content authored by this expert” goes an extremely long way to showing Google and your audience that you are a trustworthy business comprised of topic/industry experts. You can also go one step further and build out author profile pages on a specific URL for each person; allowing a user to deep-dive your experts, their experience, and the content they have written.
  4. Have you written more on the subject matter? Conducted studies, or research? Then link it. You can’t be an expert with a blog count of one. This blends into the final point of consistency. Experts, real ones, write a lot of content. My colleagues know my specialisms, but if I don’t write on the topic consistently then readers, and Google, won’t know or trust that fact. 
  5. Lastly, an expert uses the best sources. So do your research and showcase your findings. The very best blog articles out there link to studies, research, data, reviews and then some. A brilliantly written wall of text just isn’t going to cut it. Google uses these links to cement the content in truth. Utilize the words and insights of other experts to support and formalize your own.

Generate Authority:

  1. Authority can be hard to earn generally and may take some time as a challenger brand or start-up. For established businesses, you might already have authoritative voices in your company. If so, utilize them. You can begin this process with, for example, creating a meet the team page. Who are the people that make up your business and why are they authoritative (you can see here how constituent parts of the EEAT concept are interlinked). Later on, you can engage with actions such as conferences, community events, posting about your presence there on your site and social media channels; develop individual voices with multimedia creation such as podcasts – make the right types of noise in the right kinds of relevant spaces.
  2. Engage with digital PR. DPR is one of the best, quickest, and most effective ways to build your brand authority. We can get your CEO or a HOD listed in newspapers and magazines offering commentary or insight regarding world-events or current affairs. We can get you a full-post placement in an audience/business specific magazine or publication showcasing a new service, entrance into a foreign market or discussing the state of an industry and the potential issues that may (come to) plague it following the announcement of new legislation. DPR builds authority through direct audience recognition. It also may provide a backlink which directly and positively improves your site’s authority in the eyes of search engines. Furthermore, Google is now able to detect un-linked brand mentions and employ that detection as a measure of trust and authority. This identification is getting more and more sophisticated (a trend that will continue) as Google moves away from traditional backlinking as a potent measure of interconnectivity and moves towards more natural ways of testing a brand’s impact in press – especially as media backlink inclusion gets less and less commonplace. Hence the truly vital nature of digital PR.
  3. To be an authority, you need to understand a subject deeply whilst also developing your and others’ understanding of it at the same time. To do this, you need to create and commission studies, research and analysis that is new to market. You can survey your audience and publish your findings. You can engage a specialized agency to undergo rigorous testing on your behalf – utilizing the end product across marketing channels and media. This also goes a long way to establishing yourself as a thought leader in your specific space(s).
  4. An authoritative site is trusted by others. It is all well and good writing the best blog in the world but if nobody sees it, does it have authority? Following the publishing of a blog piece it is then important to conduct manual outreach to other sites, brands and businesses. You want those other sites to use your piece in their own insights and analysis as a hyperlink or reference. To go back to the above point, if you have conducted excellent research with fascinating end-product data, chances are, media and relative brands will want to use your findings. Thus, the cycle of authority and thought leadership is oft self-sustaining.

Delivering Trust:

  1. Of all the metrics and approaches, the notion of trust is almost certainly the most important as regards all-round business growth and efficacy of method. The first thing you should do is ask yourself the question “how can I prove myself and create a natural, genuine sense of trust between me, my audience, and Google?” Your first port of call should be to ascertain and/or showcase your industry specific business qualifications, certifications and accreditations. These are vast and varied by nature but can cover things such as health and safety, ISO specifications, quality control (QC) and even badges that show users how you encrypt data or ensure safe payment methods.
  2. Award wins and recognitions. If you have won awards for your excellent business practices, campaigns or for a specific project –shout about them! Winning awards and being recognized for your work is one of the best and quickest ways to build trust between you as a business, search engines and your users. If you haven’t won any awards just yet, start applying for some. If you’re in the tech industry, check out our list of the best tech awards to enter.  If you’re an energy company reading this, we’ve got you covered. Browse our comprehensive list of energy awards to enter.
  3. Case studies are key when it comes to trust building. The more descriptive you can be with your case studies the better. Offer insight and commentary on the work you did, the relationship you created, and the results you achieved. Breakdown data and statistics, be clear, up-front and honest about any challenges you encountered. It is important to include a testimonial from the client, a review snippet or a measure of insight from their side. You should also link to the website in question if applicable – cementing the relationship to search engines. You should also segment your case studies for clear access; utilizing menu grouping, unique URL paths and breadcrumbs. Grouping all of your case studies in a bunch together is hard to interpret but creating “SEO case studies” and “PPC case studies” groups makes life easy for potential SEO and PPC clients respectively. You want these case studies front and center, easy to read; concise and valuable.
  4. Fact check all content and keep it evergreen. Dated content no longer functions in our fast paced environment. I wouldn’t trust an SEO strategy blog dated to 2018, or even 2020, and I’m sure you wouldn’t either! Please also keep dates out of URLs, they don’t belong there! I believe it also goes without saying, but don’t include anything in your content or marketing that you cannot prove to be true.
  5. You can’t trust what you don’t know. An about us page is something that is perhaps arduous to create but is truly worthwhile. Users want to know who you are. Google wants to know who you are. Go further and showcase your history, the people that made your business, your mission statement, values and purpose – provide a timeline, or an interview with the company founders. Do all you can to show the world your business is made of real people with real passions that can be trusted by virtue of their openness and capacity for honesty.
  6. Engage with review sites across the web. EEAT is not just site-specific, its impact escapes and encompasses the entire web. Therefore, it is imperative that you engage with multiple review sites and aggregators. That means having a presence on e.g. Trustpilot, Clutch, Review.io, industry specific reviews sites and more if you can. Google reviews are perhaps the most crucial, but it does not mean that others should be overlooked. When it comes to review harvesting and prompting be sure to encourage (as stated above!) honesty and clarity on process. But also try to secure service specific language and deep insights into a product or experience. You want to create a sense of relativity, allowing your potential new audience to put themselves in the shoes of your current audience. Lastly on this, you must directly address all negative reviews, no matter how time-costly this is. This shows you’re a genuine, trustworthy business that cares about how people perceive it.
  7. A final but interconnected point on testimonials. Where possible, insert these into relative pages. Testimonials that extol the virtues and value of a service, placed onto that service page, will work wonders for your conversion rate and for the right reasons at that.

To conclude

As I said, EEAT is BIG. But it is worth getting your head around. It represents for me, and for Aspectus, the evolution of SEO and the future of AI and LLM performance. Businesses that fail at EEAT, will fail as we transition. But that ought not be a negative. EEAT means building connections with your audience. It represents a freedom and creativity to engage and to be exciting. It’s a celebration of authenticity and expertise; a showcase of your experience. It’s about showing the world who you are, what you do, why you do it and what drives you forward.  EEAT isn’t just the next big thing; it’s the foundation for enduring success on search engines. It’s an invitation to create content that’s as real as it is relevant, as personal as it is powerful. Get in touch with me today to discuss how we can help you achieve SEO success through EEAT implementation.  

Key Takeaways:

What is Google’s E-E-A-T?

Google’s E-E-A-T stands for Experience, Expertise, Authority, and Trustworthiness, a framework crucial for SEO success, emphasizing credible and quality content.

How does E-E-A-T impact SEO and digital marketing?

E-E-A-T directly influences organic search rankings by rewarding content that demonstrates genuine expertise, authoritative sources, and trustworthiness, along with the author’s personal experience in the subject matter.

Why should businesses focus on E-E-A-T?

Focusing on E-E-A-T ensures that businesses create content that truly resonates with their audience, establishing a strong, trustworthy online presence that drives organic growth and customer loyalty.

How can incorporating E-E-A-T into content strategy benefit a business?

Incorporating E-E-A-T into a content strategy significantly boosts a business’s online credibility and authority, leading to better search rankings, increased trust among users, and ultimately, higher conversion rates.

What role does ‘Experience’ play in the updated E-E-A-T framework?

The addition of ‘Experience’ to the E-E-A-T framework highlights the importance of personal anecdotes and firsthand knowledge in creating relatable, authentic content that resonates with audiences and demonstrates genuine understanding.

Why is E-E-A-T considered foundational for future SEO and AI performance?

E-E-A-T is foundational because it aligns SEO practices with the evolving capabilities of AI and machine learning, ensuring that content not only meets current standards of relevance and quality but is also prepared for future technological advancements in search algorithms.

About the author:

I have been working in SEO and strategic marketing services for over 8 years now. My experience is an even split between in-house roles at start-ups and agency roles at some of the UK’s biggest PR and digital agencies. I am based in East London having moved down from Essex 5 years ago. Professionally, I am a proud advocate for EEAT and SEO and the genuine business benefits of integrated service adoption. Personally, my heart is in the Lake District and nature. Podcasts are my jam and coffee is my addiction.

Bibliography

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Aspectus appoints professional services lead

Kirsten Scott, head of Professional Services

Appointment comes as the agency expands its global professional services offering.

New York and London, 6th December 2023: Aspectus, the global brand, marketing and communications agency, today announces the expansion of its professional services practice with the appointment of Kirsten Scott as Professional Services Lead.

Aspectus already has a strong track record in this sector, and now as it continues its global expansion, it is time to bolster its expertise in the space. In doing so, Aspectus will be better positioned to support professional services clients meet their business and marketing goals.

Kirsten Scott, who joined the Aspectus team two years ago, has extensive experience working with professional services clients including leading international law firms, accounting firms, consultancies and world-known financial, risk and advisory specialists. To date, she has played a crucial role in securing flagship clients for Aspectus and has contributed significantly to the agency’s growth. In her new position, she will be tasked with driving expansion while ensuring that Aspectus capitalizes on its existing experience.

By combining deep sector-knowledge – across the financial services, energy & industrials, capital markets and technology sectors – with extensive professional services experience, Aspectus has unrivalled insight into how businesses can engage audiences on all sides. This when compounded with its on the ground presence in key professional services hubs around the world means it can deliver fully integrated global campaigns with local insight and is perfectly poised to deliver client success.

 Alastair Turner, Global CEO, emphasises the importance of this strategic development, stating: “As Aspectus continues to grow globally, our focus on the professional services underscores our commitment to providing tailored solutions to our clients. Professional services communications requires deep knowledge of complex subject matter but also a genuine understanding of the nuances of businesses operating within the space – from consultancies and accountancy firms to legal or compliance specialists.”

In the past 12 months, Aspectus has experienced remarkable growth, achieving global revenues of over $15m (£12m) — a 25% increase compared to the previous year. This growth has been fuelled by heightened client demand, the introduction of new services including the agency’s ESG offering, and the agency’s strategic expansion into Asia complimenting the agency’s full-service, fully integrated offering.

Kirsten Scott, Professional Services Lead adds: “I am delighted to be leading the charge for Aspectus in professional services. Communicating effectively and confidently to stakeholders that span multiple geographies and different industries  is becoming increasingly difficult for professional services firms. In-depth, on the ground support and guidance is needed to navigate this landscape with certainty and – crucially, to do so in a way that meaningfully engages and inspires their audiences to take action.”

“Aspectus’ unique positioning across our core sectors enables us to provide unparalleled insights and strategic guidance to our clients, wherever they are in the world. This when coupled with our track record of delivery in the sector, means we know how to make clients stand out for all the right reasons, and tell their multi-channel stories in a way that ensures maximum impact.”

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