In simple words, Google’s E-A-T is all about value.
However, when it comes to its importance in SEO and especially as a ranking factor, there are mixed opinions that have been confusing the entire SEO world.
Yes, E-A-T has been mentioned several times in numerous articles in the past years, and in those articles, some have mentioned it as a ranking factor, however, others have said otherwise.
Now, to understand, which one between the above is true, we need to start with understanding what E-A-T actually is.
What is Google’s E-A-T? E-A-T = Expertise – Authoritativeness – Trustworthiness
As you can already understand from the heading, E-A-T refers to expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness, as mentioned in Google’s Searcher Quality Rater Guidelines.
This is an around 170-document which is used by the several quality raters, working under Google’s management, in order to determine and measure the quality of the search results.
And, the best part is, this document has been made public by Google intending to help webmasters get a better understanding of what Google seeks in a given webpage. So, if you wish, you can go through it all by yourself.
Now, breaking these components down:
- Expertise: This component refers to the criteria which asks you to be an expert in the niche that you are talking about. Yes, through this, Google asks you to show your “expertise” in your niche and how you can show it while crafting a content.
- Authoritativeness: Showing authority through your content is another importance aspect here. Yes, we are talking about reputation. So, the higher the chances of a business's considering your content as a go-to resource for a particular topic, the more will be the authority of your content.
- Trustworthiness: This is the last factor that businesses need to concentrate on when they are emphasizing on E-A-T. It is trustworthiness. This is more important for business who deal in the eCommerce niche as without feeling secure in your website, no customer would prefer giving a website giving their credit card information.
Importance of E-A-T
E-A-T is a combination of factors which are important for every search query, but the level of importance might differ.
This is because, say you are looking for articles which encompass the humour aspect or are related to the secret gossips of the film industry. Here, E-A-T would not be that much of a factor, as it is not so vital an issue and even if you do not find snack-worthy topics, it would not hamper your life much.
Now, if you are looking for a medicine to cure fever when you are pregnant, E-A-T factors could be considered extremely important as it is a matter of life and death.
Now, speaking of other factors where E-A-T is considered inevitably important are queries seeking for credit scores, medical or legal assistance and other vital factors.
And, such kind of queries are considered as YMYL in Google’s own world. YMYL refers to the topics which have the potential to impact the physical well-being, financial well-being, happiness, or safety. And Google calls them Your Money or Your Life topics.
So, if you deal in a niche which comes under these factors of YMYL, then you definitely need to consider E-A-T while creating content.
More About E-A-T
As we mentioned earlier, E-A-T refers to the three crucial factors which are expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness.
When it comes to expertise, Google wants to make sure that you have in-depth knowledge about the topic you have talked on. So, this factor gets assessed based on the content that you deliver.
Now, when we talk about the expertise aspects of YMYL topics, you need to assess them depending on the how much of an expert your writer is, as well as the qualifications and expertise of the person.
Now, when it is about authoritativeness, reputation is the benchmark. So, what other people think about your brand as a resource for a particular topic should be brought under consideration.
But, as authority is a relative aspect, so, you can consider that a person of authority in a particular niche, has grasp only on the topic the person is dealing in. Practically, you cannot compare someone’s authority on technology with one’s authority on medical science or digital marketing.
Lastly, when it is about trustworthiness, Google assesses the accuracy and transparency of a website. And, this is the only factor in E-A-T which is applies to both YMYL as well as non-YMYL topics.
However, this is also a relative aspect, so, you cannot evaluate the authoritativeness of a brand for something they do not deal in.
Should You Consider E-A-T As a Ranking Factor?
Now, keeping aside all of these, if you come down to asking why E-A-T matters as a whole, we would say that it is important when you are intending to determine the value of a given website.
Google’s quality raters consider it as important when they are checking whether a website or a page are providing good value to the information that they are delivering.
Here, what they consider are, the experience that they are getting while going through the content, and if it is satisfactory to their standards.
So, if the rater thinks that the content is worth reading, sharing as well as recommending, then it has a high E-A-T value.
You need to think of E-A-T as the driving reason for a searcher to choose your content over that of your competitors’. So, it would have a direct impact on how Google ranks your website.
And that is what Google’s Danny Sullivan has to say. He says, Google would definitely consider E-A-T as a factor while ranking a website, but, if page speed or any other technical aspect is/are taken in consideration, E-A-T would not affect it.
Now, when you speak of a ranking factor, you might be thinking of something a computer can decipher. But, as we have understood from the above discussion, computers understand on a bit of E-A-T and that is why Google has so many quality raters in place for the job.
As expertise, authoritativeness and trustworthiness are humane factors, so, what Google does is,
- It makes the queries go through its algorithms to get a better search result
- Quality raters go through the proposed websites and provide the necessary feedback to Google
- Google utilises this feedback to make necessary changes
This is how Google aligns E-A-T with their ranking algorithms.
Now speaking of a score, Google does not give an E-A-T score to websites. It all depends on how valuable a website is in the eyes of their quality raters.
How to Better Your E-A-T?
There is nothing as such as bettering your E-A-T, however, what you can do is helping Google understand its aspects better.
So, let’s check out how you can do that.
1. Building More High-quality Links
According to Gary Illyes, who works as a Webmaster Trends Analyst at Google, E-A-T depends a lot on how many links or mentions your business has on authoritative websites.
However, there are no mentions of this in the Search Quality Rater Guidelines, published by Google, but coming from someone like Gary, we can trust it.
So, in order to make sure that Google takes your content more seriously, you have to make sure that you focus on getting as many as possible high-quality links from high-authority websites.
2. Updating Your Content
As we have mentioned earlier, the E-A-T factors are quite crucial when it comes to YMYL topics.
This is because, for businesses dealing in medical science, financial services, legal aspects, or tax, need to be updated on a regular basis so that the people seeking results for such queries should be provided with content which is current and is from a trustworthy source.
Also, it is important to make sure that service providers dealing in the niches like healthcare, should rely on writers who can maintain the professional accuracy and edit, review, and if required, update their content, regularly.
Now, if you are thinking that businesses who are out of the YMYL section, do not need to keep up with this, then you are wrong. This is because, it is not ethical to mislead your readers with obsolete information.
3. Making Sure Your Content Is Accurate
Accuracy is a very important factor when E-A-T is considered. And, it is also mentioned in the Quality Rater Guidelines, produced by Google.
So, naturally, the websites which focus on providing accurate information, are supposed to have a high E-A-T.
For scientific journals, it is important to have highly accurate content, which aligns with what well-established scientific consensus say. And, so is for news articles, unless they are into yellow journalism.
But, no matter what, make sure that you always cross-check your facts from several Google trusted sources before publishing, so that you can come up with a highly accurate content and increase your chances of setting high E-A-T benchmarks in the eyes of Google.
4. Getting More Customer Reviews
As Quality Raters are advised to consider website reviews to check the online reputation of a particular business, you can expect that Google considers them and connects them to the trust and authority that your business possesses.
So, a lot of businesses today are running to Better Business Bureau to better their reviews there as Google has mentioned them in their Quality Rater Guidelines, however, you also need to know that Google does not consider BBB reviews as a ranking factor.
So, it is better to not just focus on one review and rating website but try and maintain a good business reputation by garnering positive reviews and responses on every reviewing platform, simply by catering your consumers well enough. And, speaking of the same, try to make sure that you make your endeavours of garnering positive reviews only on websites that your audience would consider as canonical.
5. Showing the Credentials
Humble people often tend to keep away from showing off their degrees and grades, but, when it is about making Google understand your E-A-T is it quite necessary to brag about your credentials.
So, if you have a higher degree on the topic that you are talking/writing on, you need to show off your education level or your degree to make Google understand that whatever is written in the article, comes from an expert who knows the industry in-and-out.
Yes, when Google comes across your write up and notices that achievements that you have made in your career, then will certainly bring it in consideration and will take your content seriously.
You can put up your credentials in a couple of places in your website. These are, the author bio and the about us section.
However, as here your main agenda is to establish the fact that you know what you are talking about, make sure that you do not exaggerate about the same.
6. Hiring Experts
This point of hiring experts is quite vital when you are talking on YMYL topics.
This is because, YMYL topics need to put up information that is completely accurate, both ethically as well as to get a high E-A-T on Google.
You would surely not want anyone to go through a life-risking situation after taking actions depending on your inaccurate article. So, it is better to hire an expert to write on YMYL topics such as financial advice or medical science.
However, while talking on non-YMYL topics, it is not necessary to hire an expert. Here. What you can do is settling down with someone who has a good experience of writing on your topic and can come up with high-quality content.
Now, if you can afford to pay an expert to write on your non-YMYL topics, then you can surely hire one for a guest post.
7. Increasing the Number of Brand Mentions
Having positive mentions on high-authority websites is a great way to increase the authority factor in the eyes of Google. And that will surely have a positive impact on your E-A-T.
In fact, Google itself has asked its quality raters to go through brand mentions while trying to understand the reputation of a writer or a business website.
However, it might get confusing at times as it is quite understandable that you can increase authority in the eyes of Google by getting brand mentions from high-quality websites, however, in order to get mentions from high-quality websites, you do need to have high authority in your niche.
To get rid of this, what you can do is post valuable original research, which high-authority websites would opt for using as a reference to prove their point.
And, that way, you can easily earn a good lot of brand mentions from industry biggies, increasing your E-A-T.
8. Sharing Contact Details
Websites which provide information or sell products, but do not have adequate contact information or a customer support number or email id, are likely to be considered as untrustworthy.
And, it is considered mostly for businesses which come under the YMYL section.
That is because, financial advisors or articles on medical science should have proper contact information mentioned on their websites as there will be a lot of people among their readers who would be looking for ways to get in touch with them and seek help whenever they get stuck somewhere.
However, no matter if you are under YMYL or not you should definitely have your contact information mentioned in your website.
Now, if you are a blogger who does not have an office or a staff to keep up with customer support for 24x7, for them it is not important to have their addresses mentioned or a customer support helpline provided as the Quality Raters Guidelines only check these aspects depending on the type of niche a website is dealing in.
So, if your blog is about travel or humour, then you can just leave an email ID for people to get in touch with you. That would be enough.
9. Setting Up a Wikipedia Page
Having a presence on Wikipedia is quite an important factor in according to Google’s Quality Raters Guidelines. And, Google has also asked its quality raters to go through this information hub to check how strong a business’s reputation is.
This is because there is a high chance that your business would be mentioned on Wikipedia if it has ever won a prestigious award or any other type of recognition.
However, if your business has been subject to a bad-sounding controversy, then there is a high chance that it would also be mentioned on this website.
But, is it easy to get a Wikipedia page?
Honestly, no, in fact, it is really tough to get a Wikipedia page registered on your or your business’s name.
And, that is because, to have a Wikipedia page, you need to have a very strong foothold in your industry.
Now, if you think that your brand already has enough authority in the niche you deal in and still you lack presence on Wikipedia, you can surely try to get one. And, even if you are yet to reach that state, it would be enough for you if you can manage to get mentioned in a current Wikipedia page.
Now, you might be wondering that you can simply edit one of the pages on Wikipedia and put your name in, but to let you know, the self-promotional edits are usually eradicated.
So, make sure you garner valuable resource before trying your luck on Wikipedia.
Having said it all, it is important to understand that E-A-T is pretty crucial in an SEO perspective. And, the importance level gets doubled up when you deal in a niche which comes under YMYL.
So, make sure that you give your best shot while trying out the above-mentioned points. But, you should also keep an open mind as Google makes significant changes to its Quality Rater Guidelines, so the E-A-T criteria might also get evolved in the near future.