E-A-T has become the talk of the SEO town since Google’s Medic Update in 2018, with many arguing whether or not it’s an important Google ranking factor. Without a doubt, E-A-T plays a vital role in establishing brand value, authority and improved organic visibility for businesses that adopt this concept.
This post will break down what E-A-T is, its many components, and how it impacts Google/s SERPs and SEO.
What is E-A-T?
Within the realm of Google Search and SEO, E-A-T essentially stands for Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness. Google expounds these terms in their Search Quality Raters’ Guidelines (SQRG) which human reviewers follow to improve the quality of search results on Google.
In a nutshell, executing good E-A-T practices on and off-site has a considerable impact on your Google rankings, as Google clearly indicates that E-A-T as part of their SQRG.
Why is E-A-T Important for Businesses?
Usually, you want to assert expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness in all of your target keywords. But some search terms require E-A-T more than others.
For instance, E-A-T doesn’t weigh as much for queries involving photos of cute pets since it’s a highly subjective and general topic.
But for searches requiring a level 2 electrician to resolve a highly complex electrical fault, or an explanation about a specific dental query, E-A-T is absolutely crucial. Google always wants to provide the best answers to search queries, so it’s a no-brainer if it chooses to rank higher trustworthy pages that reputable authors back.
To put it simply, if you’re a reputable authority in your industry, then it is in your best interest to adopt E-A-T practices to maximise your organic exposure on Google.
Additionally, E-A-T is also crucial for Your Money or Your Life (YMYL) topics in establishing a higher ranking position from Google. That includes pages or topics involving health, safety, and financial stability.
Is E-A-T a Google SEO Ranking Factor?
Danny Sullivan, Google’s Public Liaison for Search, stated that E-A-T could be treated as a ranking factor depending on which aspect of search is in question.
E-A-T isn’t considered a technical ranking factor since it isn’t quantifiable and measurable like page speed.
However, Sullivan states that Google Search Quality Raters use several signals as proxies to rigorously evaluate if your content performs well in E-A-T as a human rater would assess it. In that case, it’s safe to say that E-A-T is a ranking factor.
How to Establish E-A-T on Your Website?
We’ve already discussed how Google sees E-A-T as an important factor in ranking sites. But it doesn’t imply that only established and recognised authoritative sites can rank on top of Google SERPs.
Here are some of the ways that you can still apply the best E-A-T practices to maximise your organic exposure on Google and improve your SEO rankings.
1. Publish Factual Content
Keep your articles and blog posts factual to maintain a high E-A-T level throughout your site. We highly recommend writing news articles in a journalistic manner with fact-based content to establish authority and trustworthiness.
Checking your facts apply to all industries and brands, all the more if you’re posting industry-related topics, technical subjects, and scientific content. That includes having an expert or knowledgeable person write the article to ensure reliability and trustworthiness throughout the post.
2. Keep Your Content Fresh
There are tons of reasons to refresh your content and avoid content decay, and E-A-T is one of them.
Legal, financial, and technical information or policies regularly change or improve. So if you want to establish authority over these topics, it’s best to stay on top of the trends and regularly update your content.
Medical information should also be written professionally, updated, reviewed, and edited regularly. The same applies to general information regardless of your industry or target audience.
3. Establish a Robust Link Building Strategy
Google hasn’t emphasised internal and external links in their Search Quality Rater Guidelines. However, Google Webmaster Trends Analyst Gary Illyes claimed that link building is relevant to E-A-T, especially if you’re linking from authoritative sites.
Moreover, Google’s algorithm updates made it excellent at understanding link quality and authority. That makes high-quality and holistic link building crucial in establishing E-A-T for your brand.
4. Earn More Business Reviews
Search Quality Raters use review sites such as Yelp, BBB, Amazon, Google, and Trustpilot when evaluating a page. That means it’s a no-brainer to leverage these sites as Google uses them as reliable sources of trustworthy information about a business or service.
You can use competitor analysis to discover your competitor’s reviews and learn how you can improve your service. Many businesses fall short of this aspect and oversimplify the process by only analysing one review site or ignoring missing reviews.
Additionally, getting more positive reviews is more crucial than aiming for minimal negative reviews for significantly fewer total interactions.
Google’s Search Quality Raters usually interpret a website with 1000+ reviews and 30% negative ones as more authoritative than having 10% negative reviews for 300+ total user-generated reviews.
How does Google Measure E-A-T?
As we’ve discussed, E-A-T is difficult to quantify as it usually involves human judgment and qualitative indicators. But here’s how Google complements its Search Quality Raters and algorithms to determine a webpage’s E-A-T:
- The overall expertise of the Main Content’s publisher. This could include a brand’s topical authority, which we’ve discussed further in another blog post.
- The authoritativeness of the Main Content’s publisher, the content itself, and the website in general. Aim to improve your domain authority as it’s a direct indicator of page authority.
- The trustworthiness of the Main Content’s publisher, the content itself, and the website. Social media, content, and influencer marketing play a huge role in establishing a site’s trustworthiness, posting factual content, and maintaining excellent customer service.
Why Should You Include E-A-T in Your SEO Strategy?
Google has been consistent in its vision to improve the search engine and provide intuitive and accurate answers to search queries.
What you read online can significantly influence your everyday decisions. That’s why posting inaccurate, false, and thin content that has negative consequences for the user shouldn’t rank as much as high-quality and authoritative content.
If you’re one of the businesses that fall under YMYL or focus on user experience, you must post fact-based and data-driven content that’s transparent and honest to your readers.
The better you can abide by and apply E-A-T standards to your pages, the better you can rank among competitors in Google SERPs. Having an SEO agency in Sydney conduct and implement all the most effective E-A-T practices for you can essentially scale your leads and take your business to the next level.
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