If you have anything to do with the world of SEO, you will have heard the term E-A-T. It stands for Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness. It’s a set of recommendations that Google makes to help make sure users get a great online experience. It looks at your website and focuses on the quality of the content and the creators of that content. So how does Google E-A-T measure the Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness of your content? In this blog, we’ll cover the three pillars of E-A-T and highlight how you can incorporate these principles into your SEO strategy.
Basically, Google wants to ensure that when you search for something, you get results that best match the intent of your query. Google also wants to know that it provides search results with content made by people who know what they are talking about on websites that you can trust. This concept is explained in Google’s search quality evaluator guidelines which help raters to evaluate website content.
Clearly, if you understand how this process works, you will be in a great position to improve your Google rankings and ultimately improve your lead generation. Google E-A-T is looking for the following:
An update to the Google algorithm in late 2018 - known as the “medic upgrade” - affected a large number of sites that are called YMYL sites. YMYL stands for Your Money or Your Life. A YMYL site has content that has to be authoritative and accurate such as medical sites. Misinformation on these sites can have serious consequences. For example, if you are doing a Google search asking how many aspirins it is safe to take, it is crucial that the search results you get are accurate.
E-A-T is designed to ensure that search results are authoritative and that content is written by someone who has proven knowledge and experience. As a result, YMYL sites should now include author profiles or structured data that inform Google about the author including links to authority websites that back up claims about the author’s credibility. Let’s dig a little deeper into the three main characteristics of E-A-T - Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness.
The Oxford dictionary defines an expert as someone who is "extremely informed about or skilled in a specific topic." However, this on its own is not going to be enough. You must know how to present data in a way that interests others. It's not only about having the expertise, it's also about offering information in an easy-to-understand and accessible way.
Tips for producing expert content:
Ideally, you don’t just want to be the expert, you want to be the authority. Here are some KPIs to consider when assessing your authoritativeness:
Clearly, it’s important to have links to relevant and authoritative websites in your field.
Links can increase the authority of your website and therefore you. You also want these authoritative sites to link back to you. There is no greater recommendation than a respected and trusted site linking back to your site.
While links are great, getting featured in the press or on reputable websites in your industry will also increase your authority in Google's eyes. As a result, mentions are something to aim towards.
This is often used to determine a website's authority. Check your rating with rank checking software to see how you are performing.
If your material is widely and consistently shared throughout social media platforms, this will boost your rating.
The amount of branded searches is a useful indicator of how well your brand identity is performing. If people are searching for your brand name, that’s great. It's even better if they're looking for your brand name together with a related term or question.
Getting a Wikipedia page indicates you are a leader in that field. It’s not easy - getting a Wikipedia page is difficult unless you are a well-known person or brand. It is however something that Google looks for so it's something to aim towards.
It's critical to have a track record of trustworthiness. While expertise and authority might help you rank higher on Google, a lack of credibility or trustworthiness can cause your ranking to plummet. Crucial to this is customer relations. Negative reviews from customers are not good news. Encourage your customers to provide positive feedback on sites such as Tripadvisor, GetApp, Trustpilot, G2, Google My Business, and Facebook.
Here are some simple ways to promote your trustworthiness:
As a kick-start with trustworthiness, you can fetch customer reviews on your website or feature pages. For example, FreshBooks has mentioned a customer review on its feature page.
Websites that didn’t score well according to E-A-T requirements saw their traffic drop dramatically when the ‘medic upgrade’ was released. Even if you are one of those websites that were unaffected or less affected, it makes sense to improve your E-A-T performance and future-proof your site and your website traffic. Here are some ways to improve your Google E-A-T rating:
Despite the fact that Google's Search Quality Rater Standards make no mention of links, E-A-T is primarily dependent on links and mentions from reputable sites. Google is pretty adept at working out which links are important and which are not, so make sure you prioritise the creation of quality links to sites with recognised authority.
If you're addressing YMYL issues like financial or medical advice, you'll need to keep your content updated to demonstrate E-A-T credentials. Information on your site must be professionally written, easy to understand, and be revised and reviewed regularly.
Unsurprisingly, news items must be factually correct in order to show a high degree of E-A-T. It's the same story with scientific information - it needs to be factually correct and in line with the current scientific consensus.
Providing details of your content authors will help your ranking. It helps Google check your author’s expertise, authority, and experience. High-quality authors will also improve your trustworthiness score.
Ensure any customer service issues are resolved professionally. You don’t want any bad reviews out there. This is an ongoing process. Your brand is vital to your E-A-T rating.
If you have understood, thought-through, and worked on your E-A-T ratings, Google will reward you. This is particularly important if you are providing YMYL services such as health or financial information but it’s important for everybody else too. Demonstrating your expertise, authority and trustworthiness take time but it’s time very well spent. If you get this right, the results can provide a real, ongoing boost to your business.
by Narayani Pandya | 25 Jan 22
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