Even since Google updated its algorithm in December of 2020, the importance of E-A-T has become strikingly clear.
You might know that Google’s core update ranks you based on the quality of the content of your website.
But did you know that Google hires contractors in different localities to test the quality of search results?
These Search Quality Evaluator Guidelines are very stringent, thorough and are designed to optimize the user experience.
Based on these, we have found out that E-A-T is more important than ever. So, let’s discuss what E-A-T is, and how you can optimize your website based on these factors.
What is E-A-T?
The acronym E-A-T stands for expertise, authority, and trustworthiness.
Expertise means that the author of the published content has expert knowledge on the topic.
Quality raters have been instructed to find the expertise of the author that has published the content, based on if it’s YMYL or not.
Let me explain.
What does YMYL stand for?
Your Money or Your Life pages are some topics or pages that have the potential to harm/impact a person’s future health, financial stability, safety, and happiness. These include news, government, medical, finance, legal advice, health, and online shopping.
In the case of YMYL websites, high trust is demanded, that is why formal expertise, qualifications, accreditation, and education of the content creator is required.
For example, a professional lawyer is more qualified to write about legal procedures, rather than someone who has just read a couple of articles about them on the internet.
For non-YMYL topics, like humor, fashion, or recipes, formal expertise isn’t required as such. Instead, they can be judged with user engagement, popularity, and customer reviews.
These are regarded as “life experiences” that help Google to rank your content. It can even be some influencer posting their fashion advice, or a new recipe they tried out.
Having authority in your industry is being recognized as the go-to source for information. Especially by other experts or influencers.
According to the dictionary, authority (noun) or authoritativeness is being “able to be trusted as being accurate or true; reliable” or “an expert on a subject.”
This means it’s all about reputation!
Think of it this way: If you have a question about fashion, you take advice from your most stylish friend.
Similarly, when you’re searching on Google, you want to make sure you go to the best source for advice you want.
That is why raters are required to search for sources that weren’t directly created by the website.
For certain topics, some websites take the authoritative lead.
For example, for authentic information about coronavirus health precautions, WHO is an excellent source.
For government policies, the authority goes to their official website source.
Being trustworthy is described as “deserving of trust or confidence; dependable; reliable.”
Positive customer reviews can build the base of your trustworthiness factor. This shows that people in the industry trust you. This is important, especially for e-commerce platforms.
Google also measures trust from the quality of backlinks. In simple words, if you have high-quality sources linking back your work, Google’s going to trust your site as well.
Citing trustworthy sources also plays a part!
Why is E-A-T important?
Direct Google ranking factors include page loading speed, keyword in the title tag and description tag, LSI keywords in the content, and the depth of topic coverage among other things.
However, since E-A-T is not a direct ranking factor, you don’t need to achieve a certain “high” E-A-T score.
It still has a strong, indirect impact on your rankings. It’s not a magic pill either.
Simply just adhering to E-A-T guidelines isn’t going to improve your search ranking if your website is lacking basic SEO criteria.
If you make little changes to your SEO, it’s going to reflect highly.
What does it mean to have low-quality E-A-T
On the flip side, if you have a poor reputation in the industry, provide little to no expertise, bad user experience, and the content provided is factually inaccurate – well, then you’re in hot water.
You need to make sure the content doesn’t have any typos and is grammatically accurate.
Just remember that if you make a claim, you back it up with relevant, high-authority sources.
But never, ever publish content that’s inaccurate and misleading.
Here is how Google describes low-quality pages that rank lower:
Google shows content from high-quality, and reliable sources to make sure that people get the best customer experience.
It wants authentic information to reach people to build trust.
And it doesn’t want to take any chances with the wrong information. Or if your website isn’t up to the mark.
How can I improve?
Audit your brand. That means everything on your website, and elsewhere!
What people think
- What are people saying about your brand? Conduct research, surveys.
- Check reviews. Quality Raters are required to check the reviews of the brand while conducting a website audit, so this is something that’s quite essential to take into consideration.
- Monitor brand: what are people saying on social media?
- Do you make it easy for people to trust you? Have you showcased your awards?
- Is it easy for people to contact you? Make sure you have a very distinct “Contact Us” page.
Your website is up-to-date
- Is the information on your website factually accurate?
- Is the content written by industry experts?
- Does each page have a purpose?
- Do you mention credentials for the authors?
- Examine your content and delete the irrelevant, outdated content that’s taking your website down.
- Make sure your website has SSL certification to ensure you provide security.
Your company, and employees
- What are your values?
- How long has your company been in business?
- Who are the people working behind your brand?
- Share personal experiences to build brand authority.
- Evaluate your content to make sure it’s properly researched, covers the topic in-depth, validates claims with high-authority sources, and provides value to your customers.
Valuable content can look like:
To create valuable content,
- Understand your customer audience, what are their challenges and concerns?
- What are they searching for? Conduct keyword research to help you get started on the content that needs attention.
- Analyze the search results and try to understand the search intent.
- You can also consider creating editorial guidelines for content writers to follow. We can take an example from BBC (this content hub is cited as a high-quality source by Google.)
- Helps your sales funnel.
- Promote the expertise of your writers, researchers, and content marketers. Show off their credentials!
- Optimize your “About me” page. Establish your authority in your industry with the relevant awards you’ve received. Link your social media channels.
Work on improving your website, one day at a time. E-A-T is too important to be taken lightly. Ranking higher on Google is a gradual process. It requires a lot of hard work and a little bit of luck!
Building a content strategy designed to optimize your website based on the content I’ve mentioned in this blog post is sure to get you started!
Last Updated on June 28, 2021
Nina Petrov is a content writer, passionate about graphic design, content marketing, and the new generation of green and social businesses. She starts the day scrolling her digest on new digital trends while sipping a cup of coffee with milk and sugar. Her white little bunny tends to reply to your emails when she is on vacation.