If you’re new to the SEO industry, one of the most important things you should learn about is E-A-T. Defined as Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness, E-A-T is one of Google’s three golden keys, alongside Beneficial Purpose and Your Money, Your Life (YMYL), in deciding which websites are high-quality.
Indeed, having an excellent grasp of E-A-T will significantly boost your website in Google’s page rankings. E-A-T seems simple enough to understand, but even industry experts can find it confusing. Don’t worry, though. We’ll give you a deeper look into E-A-T, including how it can help your SEO strategy and how you can improve your website’s E-A-T.
How Important is E-A-T?
The concept of E-A-T has existed since 2014, but it only became well-known in 2018 after the Medic update to Google’s algorithm. E-A-T, Beneficial Purpose, and YMYL are all from Google’s Search Quality Rater guidelines that were released in 2013 to help web admins understand what Google looks for in webpages. But how much does it impact your webpage’s ranking?
Google understands that people using their search engine may make decisions that might affect their happiness, health, financial stability, or safety. Hence, Google doesn’t want its search results to be a source of misinformation, which can potentially cause life-altering consequences. If your webpage publishes content that may impact people’s life significantly, then it falls under YMYL. YMYL pages are held to the highest standards of E-A-T.
For instance, someone searching for investment advice should only receive credible information from Google’s search results. So, Google prioritizes displaying web pages that are written by experts, authorities, or trustworthy sources.
The better your web page can adhere to the E-A-T standard, the better its chances of getting more organic search engine visibility.
How is E-A-T Evaluated?
You now understand the importance of E-A-T, but how does Google determine if a webpage adheres to the standard? E-A-T’s three parts might be similar to one another, but they have fundamental differences. Hence, they are evaluated individually.
Expertise means “expert skill or knowledge in a particular field.” Google wants web page content to be written by an expert on that subject matter. For instance, an article titled “How to Create a Retirement Plan” should be written by a financial professional or someone with expertise in a relevant field. Google doesn’t evaluate the entire expertise of the website or organization, they only scrutinize the expertise of each content published.
According to Google, “everyday expertise” is sufficient for some YMYL topics. Not all subject matter needs to be written by a professional; sometimes, a person with enough experience about the topic is enough. For example, questions such as “What does it feel to have depression?” don’t need to be answered by a psychiatrist. A person who is suffering from depressions is considered enough expertise.
Unlike E-A-T, which is evaluated at the content level only, authority is also evaluated at the organizational level. Google’s raters evaluate authority by researching the reputation of the website or the content creator, using independent sources. Raters look for the opinions of users and experts about a website. One reliable, independent source of information about websites and organizations is Wikipedia, as Google mentioned.
While authoritativeness is rated based on the website’s reputation regarding the subject matter, trust is more concerned with legitimacy, transparency, and accuracy.
Raters look closely at whether a website identifies who is responsible for the content it publishes, especially if the article falls under YMYL topics. Aside from the identity of the person in charge, other information such as contact info, email address, physical address scores points for trustworthiness.
Furthermore, raters value content accuracy. This is most crucial for web pages publishing news and informative articles. Being factually accurate is a must and the information included should be backed by citing trustworthy sources.
How to improve your E-A-T score?
Before discussing how to improve E-A-T, we should first clarify that E-A-T isn’t quantifiable. E-A-T is an intangible concept that computers can’t calculate. That being said, E-A-T can affect your web page’s ranking. Meaning, it is somewhat a ranking factor. This is best explained by Google’s Public Liaison of Search, Danny Sullivan. According to Sullivan, E-A-T isn’t a ranking factor if you think of it in terms of measurable values such as speed and volume. However, if you think of it as a signal that tells if content adheres to E-A-T the way humans do, then it is a ranking factor.
With that out of the way, here are some pointers in improving your web page’s adherence to E-A-T.
- Focus on a topic – To build a reputation of expertise, trustworthiness, and authoritativeness, you should concentrate all your efforts on publishing content within a defined topic cluster. If you initially built your website to host travel articles, then don’t go around publishing topics about politics and finance.
- Maintain quality and freshness – Getting a high page quality rank is done by ensuring your content is well-researched and trustworthy. Your articles should be free of misinformation and should always be up-to-date. Having your content contain the latest information will help it remain relevant. Just don’t forget to indicate the date the content was last modified.
- Build backlinks properly – You can be placing different types of backlinks all over the Internet, but if they’re in websites not relevant to you, it’s all for nothing. If you’re in the tech industry, you want to get backlinks from gadget and electronics websites, not self-help blogs.
There is an abundance of information that can help you better follow E-A-T, but your best bet is still hiring an SEO company. With an SEO agency, you can save time and money as their services cost less than having your in-house SEO team. As SEO companies work with multiple companies, they’ve most likely worked with a business just like yours and know which strategies will work best for you.