Google’s E-A-T stands for Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness. Search engines have begun to rely on E-A-T ratings more and more when deciding a website’s authority and rank.
Websites that adhere to the guidelines have seen success as a result of the recent Google algorithm update in March 2019, which placed an emphasis on authority, especially within the medical and legal spaces.
So what are Google’s E-A-T guidelines?
- Expertise: The “E” is all about being an expert in your field. It’s especially important for medical, financial, and legal sites, expertise can be established by showing the skills of whoever is creating the content. Any site can show expertise if the content is helpful and truthful.
- Authoritativeness: Show that you are an authoritative figure on a subject. This can be done by providing credentials for authors of the content. Credentials aren’t always necessary, especially for certain niche subjects. It’s hard to have certifications related to own a home aquarium, for example. Google considers personal experiences as valid for authority ratings (because who would know your experience better than you?). Reviews or testimonials establish authority, as well as incorporating personal experiences into content.
- Trustworthiness: This is particularly important for e-commerce sites, you need to show users that they can trust your site and content. Your site should make users feel safe while they’re visiting, especially if they are entering credit card or personal information. Using https and displaying an SSL certificate on your site are ways to show a site is trustworthy.
Essentially, E-A-T determines how valuable a website is. Google states that E-A-T is among the top three most important factors for Page Quality. E-A-T is becoming increasingly important for sites in the medical, legal, and financial spaces that may directly impact a user’s money or life.
Five best practices for healthy E-A-T-ing
Many best practices for E-A-T are related to already well-known optimizations for SEO. A website will be most optimized for E-A-T when some or all of these best practices are achieved in concert.
1) Include author names and bios on editorial content
Having an author’s name and credentials displayed on blog posts and other editorial content shows a reader who the information is coming from and why they can trust it. Including author bio snippets establishes that the content comes from a reputable source and provides accountability. If the information is unavailable or difficult to find, the E-A-T score could suffer.
When creating author bios, ensure that relevant credentials, experience, and expertise are included. It is important to show that the author has expertise related to the subject at hand.
2) Improve social presence and engagement
Social media is an easy way to connect with your audience and other industry leaders and influencers. Ramp up your social media pages with consistent posting and interactions. Tell your brand story and connect with relevant profiles on a trusted platform.
Establishing your brand as a thought leader on your subject matter will improve E-A-T ratings and is also a way to drive organic traffic to your site and improve brand awareness.
3) Focus on quality backlinks, not quantity
Having low-quality backlinks or backlinks from irrelevant sites adds no value to the E-A-T score. Instead, building backlinks from relevant industry or niche sites and disavowing low-quality backlinks can improve E-A-T.
Improving the quality of your backlink profile can be done in two ways. First, reviewing your existing backlink profile and disavowing any spammy or low-quality backlinks will improve the quality of your overall portfolio. Another way to improve your backlink profile is to pursue new, quality backlinks. Providing relevant, helpful information in forums and articles with a link back to your site can improve E-A-T score and help drive organic traffic.
4) Cut or edit low E-A-T content
According to Google search quality guidelines, the E-A-T rating of a site is based on the total E-A-T score of individual posts on the website. Every post has an impact on the overall score.
Removing posts with low E-A-T scores will improve the average E-A-T score of your website. In the short term, traffic may decrease, but the overall improvement to E-A-T will benefit the site as a whole. As an alternative, optimizing or editing low E-A-T content can improve E-A-T score while still conserving traffic brought in by those pages.
One way to improve E-A-T is to bring an expert author on the page by having them approve, edit, or rewrite the page. Personal experiences are considered valid in the search quality guidelines, so consider updating existing content with personal experiences.
5) Create content with the user in mind
Establishing the trustworthiness of your blog content is all about improving the lives of the reader. When writing content, it is important to ask yourself some of the following questions:
- Does this answer the readers’ important questions?
- How does this relate to the average reader on a personal level?
- Is it easy for the reader to take the next step?
A blog post is useless if it doesn’t provide value to the reader, even if it was written by the most qualified expert on the subject. Convey expertise in ways that are beneficial to readers.
- Use images, videos, or other visual resources to illustrate ideas
- Personalize content by adding real-life examples or anecdotes
- Take a definitive position and provide next steps or actionable answers
Ready to dig in but not sure where to start? Our SEO experts can help.