SEOs have been debating E-A-T since Google’s Medic update back in 2018.
Some SEO experts agree that E-A-T is a ranking factor, while others think it’s better described as mere guidelines on how to optimize your blog architecture for higher rankings. Let’s cut through all the confusion.
In this post, you’ll learn what E-A-T is, why it’s important, and how to create content Google will love. But first, you need to understand the context behind Google E-A-T’s creation.
This takes us back to 2013 when Google first published about human search quality raters.
What is the Google quality rater’s guide?
E-A-T came from Google’s Search Quality Rater’s Guidelines. It is an in-depth guide designed to help actual human raters assess the page quality of search results and determine the effectiveness of tweaks to search engine algorithms. Here’s how Google uses these guidelines:
- Step 1: Google’s search engineers come up with new algorithm updates that could improve the quality of search engine results. These changes usually cause drastic changes in a lot of websites’ rankings.
- Step 2: Quality Raters are presented with the search engine results before and after the changes. Using the Search Quality Rater’s Guidelines, they provide feedback on the quality of search results and send their findings back to Google.
- Step 3: If the change is deemed to positively affect overall search quality, it will be implemented in Google’s live version. Otherwise, the proposed change will be scrapped and the search engine algorithm remains untouched.
Learning the Search Quality Rater’s Guide gives you an insider’s look at what Google defines as “rank-worthy” content.
As of this writing, the current version of the Google quality rater’s guide has 172 pages. It also contains a handful of acronyms and technical terms that self-respecting search engine optimization professionals need to look at.
Some examples are YMYL (Your Money or Your Life), PQ (Page Quality) rating, NM (Needs Met) rating, and, of course, E-A-T (Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness).
Why all the buzz about EAT?
Simple: Google lists it as one of the top factors when determining Page Quality Rating—second only to “The Purpose of the Page.”
Image Source: Google.com
One look at the line above shows us that E-A-T is extremely integral to how Google’s quality raters evaluate your page.
So, what exactly is it?
What is E-A-T and how is it evaluated?
E-A-T is an acronym for Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness.
These individual aspects are evaluated separately by human quality raters based on a number of factors.
The type of website or page being assessed, along with the niche they fall under, also affects how much weight these raters put on E-A-T signals.
To understand how E-A-T is evaluated, let’s take a closer look at each component:
When evaluating page quality, raters look at the expertise and credibility of the content’s creator.
Expertise indicates that you’re capable of producing original, reliable, and factual information based on a slew of sources, like education and years of practice.
Varying degrees of expertise need to be proven based on your niche. For example, if you blog about medicine, you need to have medical expertise and verifiable accreditations.
But if you only blog about beauty, fashion, or a specific hobby, your “everyday expertise” will be considered by quality raters even without proof of any formal training or education.
Google’s search quality raters validate authoritativeness based on accessible information about the content creator’s reputation.
Reviews, testimonials, mentions, news articles, interviews—anything that’s indicative of a positive reputation can work in your favor as far as E-A-T is concerned. It’s worth mentioning that authoritativeness in one industry isn’t transferable to another.
For example, you can be widely considered an authoritative, go-to source for money-related content. But you can’t leverage that authority to establish E-A-T in food, fitness, and other unrelated topics.
In a nutshell, trustworthiness is all about transparency and the factual accuracy of your content.
According to Google’s Search Quality Rater’s Guidelines, being “transparent” includes having adequate contact details and customer support information for certain businesses.
When it comes to content, pieces must contain accurate information with proper citations to other trustworthy sources. Since its first release, the Search Quality Rater’s Guidelines went through a few updates.
The only notable change occurred in the May 2019 update where E-A-T became a factor in page quality, rather than being used to merely describe page quality.
Why is E-A-T important for your blog architecture?
Although Google algorithm updates are unpredictable, the entire SEO community can be sure of one thing: search engines always implement changes based on what will benefit their users.
It doesn’t matter if it’s about urgent matters or just conversational search queries.
To be visible in search engines, you need to prove some degree of expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness.
If you can prove that you’re an authoritative and trustworthy expert in your field, it will be easier to convince your audience to believe in your value proposition and convert them into paying customers.
Just remember that E-A-T is looked at more rigorously in YMYL niches, which are industries that affect a person’s health, finances, and security. This applies to websites that discuss any of the following topics:
- Culture and groups of people
- News and current events
- Healthy, safety, and security
Image Source: Google.com
If your brand falls under the YMYL industry, optimizing for E-A-T is paramount to SEO success.
Is E-A-T a ranking factor?
E-A-T is not officially recognized as a ranking factor. However, it’s directly tied to how Google updates its algorithm into the future.
Remember that human quality raters decide on which search engine algorithm changes get pushed through.
So if you abide by E-A-T and an experimental algorithm update bumps you to the top 10, quality raters may consider the change as positive.
As a result, Google may decide to roll out the update to the live version—letting you keep your higher rankings.
It’s also confirmed by Google public search liaison Danny Sullivan that the search engine models ranking signals after E-A-T.Is E-A-T a ranking factor? Not if you mean there’s some technical thing like speed that we can measure directly. We do use a variety of signals as a proxy to tell if content seems to match E-A-T as humans would assess it. In that… Click To Tweet
TL;DR: E-A-T itself is not a ranking factor. But observing E-A-T in your content creation increases your chances of maintaining high rankings over the long term.
Do quality raters give E-A-T scores to websites?
Finally, remember that there’s no such thing as a Google E-A-T score.
Google search quality raters don’t assign scores to the websites or pages that appear on search engine results.
Even the search engine results as a whole—when subjected to proposed tweaks by search engineers—aren’t scored. Rather, they’re concepts that guide Google search quality raters in their evaluation process.
Google E-A-T guidelines for content marketers
Great—you should now have a better understanding of E-A-T and why it is important for SEO. It’s time to turn information into action. Here’s a quick E-A-T SEO checklist you can use to help your website rise in search results:
1. Double down on link building
Link building and guest blogging, particularly when targeting high-authority websites, benefit two out of three components of E-A-T outright.
Authoring a few posts on other websites will improve your expertise and authority. The same can be said whenever your brand gets mentioned by other well-known blogs in your space.
2. Always link to trustworthy references
Linking to references, especially when citing data, is important in making your content more trustworthy.
The Search Quality Rater’s Guidelines expressed multiple times that high-quality pages back up claims with links to reputable sources. At the same time, pages that fail to cite sources are considered low-quality.
Image Source: Google.com
3. Build more high-quality content
In addition to E-A-T, Google’s Search Quality Rater’s Guidelines also specifies the amount of high-quality MC (Main Content) as an important factor in page quality ratings.
Image Source: Google.com
4. Showcase your expertise
There are several ways to show expertise when producing web content.
One example is to include author boxes that highlight the writer’s expertise and professional background. It’s also important to include tidbits of unique information that the expert pulled from experience—not from another online source that can be easily traced.
5. Include your contact information
Include your contact information on your website – on author bio boxes and page footers. This adds to your trustworthiness and credibility. You can also design a dedicated “Contact” page with multiple options so your site visitors have several ways to connect with you.
Additional tips for E-A-T
- For YMYL sites, be sure to regularly remove outdated stats and update them with links to newer sources.
- Consider hiring certified experts to produce content for you.
- Make customer reviews and testimonials a part of your long-term content strategy.
Google E-A-T FAQs
1. What is the Google E-A-T principle?
E-A-T refers to “Expertise, Authority, and Trustworthiness.” It is not an algorithm or a ranking factor. Rather, it is part of Google’s Search Quality Rater’s Guidelines to help determine page and search quality.
2. Why is E-A-T important in SEO?
E-A-T helps ensure search engine results are filled with trustworthy, accurate, and up-to-date information that can benefit users. While it’s not a ranking factor, Google models page quality signals after E-A-T principles.
3. What are YMYL categories?
YMYL or “Your Money or Your Life” refers to topics that can have a significant impact on a user’s health, safety, and finances. Some examples of YMYL categories are drugs, tax returns, investments, legal issues, and mental health.
Start creating content that oozes E-A-T
E-A-T may involve aspects that go beyond just content writing, but it is absolutely essential.
Building an authority-driven content marketing strategy is essential to establishing your expertise, credibility, and trustworthiness.
ClearVoice has a global network of subject matter experts with certifiable expertise on a wide range of topics. They’re ready to provide you with E-A-T-ready content, even for YMYL topics like medical science and personal finance.