If you work in SEO or content marketing, you’ve probably heard a lot about Google’s E-A-T guidelines. Ever since Google’s industry-changing update in 2018 - also known as “the medic update” - this acronym has caught the eye of the SEO world... and rightly so!
So, why are we addressing this in 2022?
Today, it’s harder than ever to rank at the top of Google. To do so, you need to put the groundwork in. And Google values content that scores well across ‘Expertise’, ‘Authority’, and ‘Trustworthiness’ - Google E-A-T.
"Today, ranking well in Google's SERPs is about more than just optimizing for keywords and building links. As Google's algorithms continue to become more sophisticated, the job of the SEO has become more challenging than ever.
"With guidelines like E-A-T and the more recent Helpful Content Update, it's clear that businesses must not only produce high-quality content but go beyond it.
"Adopting a holistic approach to SEO and working on contributing factors like brand reputation - particularly around thought leadership - as well as engagement with customers across platforms, is essential.
"Like never before, SEO is as much about everything that exists in the orbit of a page as what appears on it."
- Robbie Reddy, SEO Director
Below, you’ll find an explanation of each of the three core pillars of Google E-A-T – why it’s so important for SEO, and 5 ways you can incorporate it into your own SEO strategy.
What is Google E-A-T?
Google E-A-T (Expertise, Authority, and Trustworthiness) is one of the guidelines Google uses to assess whether your content is of value to readers. It’s their way of protecting users from low-quality content. While Google E-A-T is not technically a ranking factor, it can affect your position in Google's SERPs.
Though we’ve spoken about Google Medic, E-A-T first hit the scene as part of Google’s Search Quality Evaluator Guidelines. To be clear, the E-A-T guidelines are not an update to Google's algorithm. They are a little different.
These guidelines were composed for Google’s human rating team. This team conducts important searches and evaluates the websites that rank the highest on Google for specific keywords. You want this team to consider your content to be of high quality.
These employees perform spot-checks to determine if the ranking algorithms are accurately recognising web page quality.
The findings from this quality team are used to inform Google engineers on ways to improve its overall ranking algorithm. Google’s rankings must constantly evolve as the world around us changes, so these regular updates allow Google to adapt its algorithms to keep up with the times.
What Does Google E-A-T Stand For?
Google’s search quality evaluators consider these three factors – Expertise, Authority, Trustworthiness – relating to Google E-A-T.
Experts are defined as being knowledgeable or skilled in a particular area. However, possessing such knowledge is meaningless if you don’t know how to convey your expertise in a way that increases traffic to your site.
So, before you publish your content, ask yourself: is your content showcasing your knowledge in an informative and engaging manner? Have you thought about what your audience is searching for? Does your content meet and exceed your customers’ needs?
Positioning yourself as an expert is only the beginning. To become an authority, your content must be cited by other recognised experts and influencers in your sector.
Once your peers use your work as a high-quality source of information, your brand becomes a respected voice in your chosen field. There’s no better endorsement than a leader in your field recommending your work on their website!
Trust, or more importantly, a lack of it, can make your site crash out of the top spots on Google search.
You don’t want negative reviews plastered online about your brand, as this will damage your ranking. To combat this, you should publish authentic positive user reviews on your site and third-party sites like Trustpilot or Facebook.
Unfortunately, if you receive some negative feedback, this needs to be addressed as soon as possible. You don’t want the negative comments to outweigh the positive. Google has clarified that too many bad reviews are a sign of poor quality.
Why Is Google E-A-T Important for SEO?
Essentially, what Google is doing is providing us with detailed information on what they consider high-quality, trustworthy content. Plus, it also informs users which content will be of the most value to them.
So, it’s important to consider these three pillars when conducting your SEO strategy. Google E-A-T is especially impactful for “Your Money or Your Life” (YMYL) content. That is, content that focuses on pressing world news, health, law, race issues, ethnic and religious groups, or information on sexual orientation and gender.
Providing misinformation on these topics will significantly decrease your E-A-T ranking, possibly leading to a damaged brand reputation.
Is Google E-A-T a Ranking Factor?
No, it’s not.
Google E-A-T and YMYL are concepts used by Google Quality Evaluators to simplify their own algorithmic concepts. Google does not use E-A-T as a scoring metric for your site. Instead, think of it as a guideline to help with further decision-making.
So, just in case it needs reiterating, Google E-A-T is not a ranking factor.
5 Ways to Improve Google E-A-T SEO
Now you understand why E-A-T matters and why SEO professionals should take note of this concept.
So, how can you demonstrate Google E-A-T in your online content?
Well, you need to step up the quality of your content. And here are 5 simple ways to ensure your content is deemed expertly written, authoritative and trustworthy.
1. Keep Content Fresh
Your website content needs to be comprehensive and relevant to achieve a high-quality ranking. Outdated content will rarely rank highly on any search engine.
So, you should regularly review your content and refresh it where necessary to ensure all your content is up to date.
When refreshing any content on your site, you should show the date when your content was last modified.
2. Showcase Your Authors
If your content, like a blog, for example, has been written by an employee, name them!
You can even go one step further and add information like a short description of the author and links to their LinkedIn profiles, which will further the author’s and website’s expert status.
Another easy way to add more gravitas to your content is to include a comprehensive “about us” page on your site. This page should include information on your brand's history and why you are respected in your chosen sector.
This way, users can easily learn more about your brand and what you stand for.
If you use other social media channels like LinkedIn or Facebook, post direct links to new content on your page and tag the author.
This will improve the chances of your desired audience seeing your content when they conduct their online searches.
3. Content Needs to Be Topical
This is especially important for those of you creating content around YMYL topics.
Instead of covering every single area of interest in your chosen sector, precisely define the key areas you want to focus on and create a strong index of rich content.
It’s more beneficial to position yourself as an expert in a specific topic than offer basic information on a whole sector. You’ll find it tough to compete with the more specialised websites.
Once you’ve picked your topics, take the time to understand exactly what your desired customers are searching for and the meaning behind these searches, as this will significantly improve your search ranking.
4. Create a Trustworthy Website Design
If your website looks like a scam, users will not stay on your site, and your search ranking will falter. But you can make your website look safe with a few simple inclusions.
Adding logos of your respected clients or advertising partners and reviews from third-party sites will increase a user’s trust in your site.
You should also use HTTPS to secure data transfers, and if you run a multi-national site, we would advise adding hrfleng tags where necessary.
5. Create a Strong Brand Identity
Though building a strong brand is something we’ve covered extensively for the B2B realm, it remains relevant for the world of SEO too.
Creating and upholding a strong brand identity will ultimately position you as a trustworthy source of information.
To build a strong brand, think about creating a steady stream of unique content, like blogs, whitepapers, podcasts, and videos that answer your desired users' most frequent searches.
Other industry experts may reference this organic content or include relevant links to your site if it is of high quality.
Google’s E-A-T should not be ignored. If you brush off its significance, your search rankings may take a serious hit.
Take the time to review your content and refresh your SEO strategy following E-A-T. Following Google’s guidelines will build stronger rankings and position you as an industry expert.
You'll Also Love
Semantic Search: What It Is and Why It Matters
International SEO: Using Multilingual Sitemaps
Google Helpful Content Update: What You Need to Know