What is The Best Way to Determine “Expertise” Online?

Terkel
Mar 22

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5 min read

determining expertise online

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What is the best way to determine “expertise” online?

To help you determine if someone is an expert in their field online, we asked experienced hiring managers and journalists this question for their best tips. From verifying if they meet at least two indicators to checking whether they teach their subject, there are several recommendations that may help you determine someone’s expertise in the future.

Here are eleven tips for determining expertise online:

  • Verify if They Meet At Least Two Indicators
  • Establish Your Own Online Expertise
  • Check For Consistent Credibility On Various Platforms
  • Look at a Website’s Domain Rating
  • Determine What Type of Expertise You Are Seeking
  • Evaluate the URL
  • Check For Experience 
  • Turn to their LinkedIn Profile
  • Determine Expertise by Interrupting Workflows
  • Research Their Social Media Account
  • Check Whether They Teach Their Subject

Verify if They Meet At Least Two Indicators

Due diligence is necessary to determine if someone on the internet is an expert in their field. Being cited as an authority on outside websites is indicative of expertise, but that authority can be created with some PR knowledge. Other questions to ask are “Is this person an advocate?” If they are advocating for a cause that they seem to be an expert in, that is another great indicator of authority. The next question to ask is “Do they teach this subject?” Someone wouldn’t be teaching if they weren’t an expert. An obvious, but overlooked indicator of expertise is a degree in the subject. Of course, many of us hold degrees that are not in our area of work. Use your best judgment. If someone has 2 or more of these indicators, they are most likely an expert, as advertised. 

Eric Florence, Security Tech

Establish Your Own Online Expertise

Establishing online expertise is crucial in order to meet Google’s E-A-T criteria to get a boost in the Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs). Google established the E-A-T criteria three years ago. In order to show your content to its users, you need to show subject matter expertise (E), Authority (A), and Trustworthiness (T). First, show a bio on your content that explains why you have subject matter expertise. For instance, if you’ve been featured on authority blogs in your niche, say so in your biography. Also, make sure you participate in expert interviews. In addition, show awards and honors stating your achievement of expertise on your website. In these ways, you can show expertise in your niche.

Janice Wald, Mostly Blogging

Check For Consistent Credibility On Various Platforms

To evaluate if an individual’s expertise truly holds true, it’s best to check how consistent and uniform their personal credentials are, on various professional platforms. Running an online search is the best place to start, along with checking their LinkedIn profile, followed by any articles or publications that might have quoted them. If at first glance you notice any disparities in the information, then it’s something worth digging into further.

Riley Beam, Douglas R. Beam, P.A.

Look at a Website’s Domain Rating

When it comes to the assessment of expertise, a website’s domain rating can be very telling. Domain ratings fall within a scale of 1-100. The higher the domain ranking, the more expert reliability there is. That’s because it takes work and consistency to build a high domain rating. When a website has a strong backlink profile and uses relevant keywords, the domain rating will continually climb. This impacts a person’s ability to judge an online resource as expert-level.

Rachel Blank, Allara

Determine What Type of Expertise You Are Seeking

Know ahead of time what type of expertise you are looking for. Do you want someone who has tons of glowing reviews online?  Or is a degree from an Ivy League college important to you? Or maybe you care more about years of experience. There are different metrics for different industries, so figure out what metrics you are using to determine expertise, depending on the service.

Ann McFerran, Glamnetic

Evaluate the URL

Evaluating the URL of an online resource can tell you a lot about the expertise and credibility of the source, as well as the purpose of the site itself. The domain extension alone gives amazing insight, and if you’re dealing with a .edu, .gov, or .org in particular, you can be more confident that a high level of expertise is present. Non-profit organizations (.org), educational resources (.edu), and Government websites (.gov) obviously offer secure credibility. Regular .com, .net and other generic extensions don’t immediately signal a lack of expertise of course, but can let you know whether you need to do more digging to verify the information they’ve offered. You can also enter an URL into domain authority checkers like Ahrefs, which can give you more information.

Roy Morejon, Enventys Partners

Check For Experience

Look for quality content and the creator’s history. When you’re researching, see if the companies support product descriptions with facts. Notice if the companies are relying heavily on pathos more than evidence. Browse the “About” pages on the websites you visit and check the author’s biographies when you read essays. You’ll see what experience the creators have in their specific fields and can make an informed decision on your purchases.

Ankur Goyal, Coterie

Turn to their LinkedIn Profile

Turn to LinkedIn to determine a person’s expertise. Their levels of performance may be hard to measure online, but you can learn their attributes of expertise from their professional LinkedIn profile. Understanding expertise online can be difficult if you don’t do your research beforehand. If a person is deeming themself an expert, look at their credentials, past and present work experience, and what other people have said about them. You should then be able to determine quickly if they’re an expert or not.

Ben Hyman, revivalrugs.com

Determine Expertise by Interrupting Workflows

One of my favorite ways to determine whether someone is an expert in their field is to ask them process-based questions with imperfect situations. The power behind these types of questions is that it’s easy to detect who is following a procedure and who is using their experience and reasoning to work through a process. Workflows can be fairly standardized throughout an industry, which means someone without critical experience can usually give you some approximation of how to go through a process correctly in ideal conditions. However, if you provide an ounce of interference in the process, you challenge the person to think through the workflow in order to move around your interference. For example, if there’s a chain of command, ask “what if your superior isn’t present, what do you do then?” Asking for explanations on why someone moves away from the workflow, and what justifies those independent actions can tell you how their experience has influenced their decision making skills.

Kyle Risley, Lift Vault

Research Their Social Media Account

The best way to tell how much expertise someone has online is by the number of followers they have and how long they have been on the site. You can tell a lot about a person’s expertise from their social media presence. For example, the number of followers and the amount of time they have been following an account is a great indicator of how much interest and engagement they have in their given field. Those interested in gaining expertise, they should start by following people with similar interests.

An account that has been around for a long time and has a lot of followers is usually more trustworthy than a newer account with few followers. It can be hard to determine which accounts are trustworthy, but one fairly accurate way is to look at the account’s longevity. An account with many followers that has existed for some time is usually more trustworthy than a newer account with few followers.

Megha Sharma, Hula Global

Check Whether They Teach Their Subject

Many people claim to be experts in their field online, but with a bit of diligence, it is easy to verify these claims. First, if they are used as a quoted source of information on other websites, this is a good indication that they have built some authority. For instance, I know a few journalists who contact me for quotes regarding content creators, influencers, and streaming. They always ask about the state of the business as a whole because we deal with so many creators and platforms.  Another thing to look for is if your expert teaches their subject to others. Anyone who has created an online course should know a great deal about the subject the course is on.

Sammy Shayne, Couch Fame

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