Everyone in the search and SEO industry has probably heard about E-A-T. This concept has been around since 2018, and it was not until 2018 that its effects were felt in the industry with the “Medic update”. Although it has been around for that long, it is still one of the most confusing aspects of SEO even for experts. So, what is E-A-T, and how does it affect your SEO efforts? This guide walks you through everything you need to know.
What is Google E-A-T?
E-A-T stands for Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness. It is included as part of Google’s Search Quality Evaluator Guidelines that explicitly explain what Google checks for when evaluating the quality of content that it indexes and ranks. These guidelines instruct the evaluation of how well specific web pages answer and respond to certain queries. In it, Google says that E-A-T is very important for website indexing.
For completeness, the different factors that Google uses to determine webpage quality include:
- The reputation of the website or the author of the website’s main content
- The available information about the website or the author of its main content
- The quality and amount of main content
- The purpose of the page (is it beneficial to visitors?)
- E-A-T (Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness)
With all other factors being equal, pages that demonstrate higher E-A-T will always rank higher.
A Deeper Look at E-A-T
SEO experts do not have to guess what these stand for because Google has graciously explained them in various settings:
The organization or the person creating the content demonstrates expertise on the subject they are writing about. For example, a lawyer writing on paternity law has higher expertise than, say, a doctor doing the same.
The content, publishing platform (typically a website), and content creator all have demonstrated authority. Their authority does not only come from their credentials, but from other information we have about them, such as their social media profiles, previous content they have created, authority websites that link to them, and so on. The site, on the other hand, should be known for creating high-quality content on a given topic, is cited by others whether websites or professionals, and is maintained well.
This is judged on whether the content is factual, up-to-date, complete, and comprehensive and gives the content the visitor was looking for when visiting the site. For the website, trustworthiness includes having a great user experience, expertise backed up by a complete about us page and many others.
Having a high level of E-A-T can lead to higher search rankings, better behavioral metrics (click-through, time on page, etc.), increased social shares and backlinks as well as inclusion in the featured snippet. Getting on the featured snippet is especially useful for SEO because it takes precedence over oyster links and even paid ads.
Why E-A-T In the First Place?
Google has said numerous times that it aims to provide useful, truthful, accurate and complete information to visitors and searchers regardless of the search query performed.
Google understands people make important decisions based on the information they find online. Doing so can have serious consequences if Google leads someone to information not written by an expert. For example, Google only wants people to see medical information written by medical professionals or people with expertise in the field and posted on a high-authority website.
Ensuring people make decisions based on the most truthful and complete information possible is achieved by considering the E-A-T of the author and posting website and trying to ensure people only land on these pages.
E-A-T Considerations for YMYL Websites
Expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness are especially important in niches where people make decisions about their money or lives based on the information they find on platforms focusing on those niches.
These niches fall into a category known as Your Money or Your Life (YMYL). All of these websites are held to a higher standard due to the consequences associated with the decisions people make based on the information they contain.
Some niches considered to be in the YMYL category include:
- Health and safety
- Government, civics and law, news and current events
- Websites that contain information or claims about different groups of people
Why E-A-T is Important to SEO Strategies
If you have been paying attention to Google’s algorithm updates and changes, you might have noticed their emphasis on improving user experience. Changes like penalties for keyword stuffing and using mobile responsiveness as a ranking factor have been about improving user experience.
E-A-T is just another way Google is trying to improve user experience. E-A-T is one of the important bases Google uses to determine whether a page is providing value to its visitors. Since SEO is critical to your digital marketing efforts, E-A-T should be too.
Improving E-A-T SEO
Considering how important it is to organic ranking, SEOs should know what they can do to improve their E-A-T SEO.
Building the Right Backlinks
Backlinks have long been the backbone of good ranking. You should ensure that you are getting relevant backlinks as well as backlinks from high-authority websites. To do this, you must create unique, high-quality content that provides value. Building relationships with the right influencers and publishers can help you get the backlinks your website needs.
Get More Brand Mentions
The more you are mentioned, the more Google considers you to be an expert. Ensuring that your name appears in authoritative places all over the internet increases your implied links which work similarly to backlinks in passing authority without an actual backlink.
According to Google Patents, all express and implied links (those with a hyperlink and mentions alike) contribute to your authority.
Update Your Content Regularly
There is very little information that does not change as we learn new things. Being an expert in a field means you are exposed to new information that makes your old knowledge obsolete. Google expects you to apply the same principles to your website by updating its content regularly.
Google loves content created by experts. You can increase your EAT by working with experts with substantial credentials and extensive knowledge in a given field.
Google is now using E-A-T (Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness) to determine if a website and its pages are credible sources of information. This can have a significant effect on not only your ranking, but also your SEO efforts. This is why it is so important to not only understand E-A-T but also integrate it into your SEO strategy.