Table of contents
- What exactly is Google EAT?
- So, what is YMYL?
- Types of YMYL websites
- What does Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness mean?
- What are the contributing factors to Google E-A-T Scores?
- What is the significance of EAT for Google Ranking?
- Is Google EAT important for a SEO Strategy?
- A 6-point checklist to improve your Google EAT Scores
- Final Thoughts
The Google E-A-T concept has been around since 2014, and it gradually became one of the most important elements of SEO post the major algorithm update in August 2018.
However, it’s also one of the confusing terms in the SEO industry today — even for industry experts.
So, what is E-A-T in SEO? In this post, we’ll cover the Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness pillars of Google E-A-T and share advice on improving your content strategy to rank for the best search terms in your industry.
What exactly is Google EAT?
Google E-A-T in Search Engine Optimization (SEO) stands for Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness of any webpage content.
As you would already know that the quality of a webpage plays a crucial role in determining where a page will rank in the organic search results.
This concept is discussed in great detail in Google’s Quality Raters’ Guidelines.
In the above document, Google clearly says that the most critical aspects used to determine a webpage’s overall quality are:
- The Purpose (if there is any beneficial purpose?)
- Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness
- High-quality Main Content (MC)
- Details about the website or the someone responsible for the website (For E-commerce and financial transactions website, positive customer service information)
- Positive website reputation and the positive reputation of the author of the Main Content (MC)
All the above aspects combined send signals to Google about the webpage quality. The more a webpage exhibits expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness, the higher it will rank.
However, Google EAT does not affect all pages equally, where it really and truly matters the most is in Your Money or Your Life (YMYL) category websites.
So, what is YMYL?
YMYL stands for “Your Money or Your Life.”
Google classifies YMYL web pages as ones that influence health, safety, finances, and/or mental health of its users.
YMYL websites come under the highest possible E-A-T regulations due to their niche and what it would mean for the audience if that information was falsified.
Types of YMYL websites
The web pages that are most often considered YMYL are:
- Health and safety
- Civics, government, law
- News and current events
- Groups of people
What does Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness mean?
To help you understand Google E-A-T better, let’s dig in to find out the exact meaning of each of these terms:
- Expertise- Enough knowledge in your niche. It basically shows the publisher’s skill for the Main Content (MC). Though “Expertise” is not that important for humor or gossip websites, it’s critical for financial, legal, or medical websites.
- Authoritativeness- It showcases the authoritativeness of the creator of the Main Content (MC), the MC itself, and the website. You can get this authoritativeness from the expertise of your writers or yourself, or even your website. The things that impact it are expertise in a particular niche, credentials, and personal experience reviews from real users.
- Trustworthiness- Itshowcases the trustworthiness of the creator of the MC, the MC itself, and the website. Simply put, everything about your website should make your users feel safe while they’re on your site. For example, an SSL certificate helps to prove the validity, the trustworthiness, and ensures users that their data is safe.
What are the contributing factors to Google E-A-T Scores?
Content Depth and Diversity
It refers to the creation of content that answers all possible user queries on the chosen topic.
It means connecting two content pieces to enable users and search engines easily find related information.
It involves building backlinks from reputed websites, blogs, and any other authoritative resources to establish authority.
What is the significance of EAT for Google Ranking?
If we consider measurable ranking metrics, E-A-T is not a direct Google ranking factor. As per Google’s search Quality Rater Guidelines (QEG) (including EAT), it is simply a set of instructions for Quality Raters.
However, in a white paper on “How Google Fights Disinformation,” Google clearly states the significance of E-A-T in its rankings.
Also, in its current version of Search Quality Rater Guidelines, “EAT” is mentioned a total of 137 times! That says something about Google’s emphasis on EAT.
Though it does not directly influence the organic rankings, E-A-T helps Google to determine the credibility of a webpage or a website. Furthermore, post collection of the feedback from Quality Raters, Google can analyze if a site brings real value to the audience.
Thus, following E-A-T guidelines helps you create quality content, which is critical for your Google organic ranking.
Is Google EAT important for a SEO Strategy?
If you’ve ever followed the latest Google search algorithmic updates, you must have noticed a common theme: improving user experience.
We all know Google penalizes keyword stuffing because it disrupts the user reading experience. E-A-T is not different.
It’s just one way for Google to deliver what the audience wants.
E-A-T helps Google to determine the credibility of any webpage or website. It determines whether a website or its pages add real value to the users on a website or a web page.
Undoubtedly, Google just wants to serve the web pages with the most value to a specific search query, and that’s how it keeps people visiting back.
Therefore, the answer to whether Google EAT is important for an SEO strategy is a YES.
If SEO is crucial for your digital marketing success, then Google E-A-T SEO must be on top of your mind when building your SEO strategy.
How to improve EAT?
Now that we have established that EAT is related to the Google algorithm, we know why it matters in SEO. lets discuss how to improve on it.
A 6-point checklist to improve your Google EAT Scores
Here’s a six-point checklist to make your website more expert, authoritative, and trustworthy.
Inform your visitors who you are
All three aspects of the Google E-A-T guidelines clearly indicate that Google wants to know who writes the content and if that person(s)/website is an authentic source for that knowledge.
If your “About Us” page or Team page doesn’t already outline your team and your content creators – now is the time.
Author pages are the simplest way you can showcase your team’s expertise, authority, and trustworthiness to Google as well as to the users.
Work With professionals to Create High-quality authentic Content
Google not only wants good content; it wants content from experts in their respective niche and those who know what they are talking about.
Instead of employing ghostwriters to create half-cooked content on high-click terms, work with professionals in the field to create content Google trusts.
This can involve hiring an expert to guest post, interviewing a scientist, or working with other companies to create and publish top-level research.
Make the Purpose of Your Content Clear
What is the real goal of the content that you create?
Do you wish to explain, convince, sell, inform, or describe through your content?
Use correct titles, headings, and subheadings to clarify your content’s purpose. Also, never back away from using straightforward language.
For instance, in this post, I have used questions in my headings, so you know you will get your answers for your most probable questions about E-A-T answered here.
Don’t just create long confusing content. We recommend you get straight to the point and cover your topic as clearly and in detail as possible.
Ensure to update your content regularly
According to Forbes, we create 2.5 quintillion bytes of data daily at our current pace.
This number will undoubtedly go up with each passing year. This directly implies that any content will get outdated fast.
Because tools get updated regularly, websites are taken down frequently, people take on new roles more often, and Google updates the algorithm continuously.
From our experience, most digital content’s average span is around two years, depending on the topic and the niche.
Update regularly to keep your content up to date and error-free by incorporating more and more content updates in your SEO strategy.
Update statistics, the best practices, and look out for dead links every few years, specifically for your high-ranking content.
Encourage Links to High-Quality Authoritative Sources
If you want Google to see you as an expert in your niche, then you must depend on accurate data.
Ensure you link your website or page to official research papers, studies, and sources to back up your content and inform Google that you do know what you are talking about.
Use trusted sources like NYT and .gov or .org websites to find studies to back up your statements.
Focus on Your Online Reputation
Your reputation in the online world can severely impact the trustworthiness of your website, your web pages, and your content.
Safeguard your brand’s online reputation by looking out for negative press and promptly responding to negative reviews about your brand.
From our experience, we recommend you claim all your social profiles for your brand name and encourage your consumers to write positive reviews about your brand.
That’s how you can create a positive reputation for your brand to ensure credibility and trustworthiness.
So, after all that we discussed above, it is established that your website will only be as valuable as what content you put into it.
As Google E-A-T guidelines are applicable on both the page level and website level, you must make sure that every aspect of your website meets Google’s guideline requirements.
Also, this is even more important if your web pages are among YMYL pages.
You must create engaging, useful, and error-free content constantly and use E-A-T to meet the needs of both quality raters and actual users. If you want to improve your EAT scores effortlessly, sign up for the free ALPS demo here. ALPS uses AI to provide recommendations that can help you improve your “EAT” scores and, consequently, your overall organic performance.