Every time I’ve heard the term E-A-T in the SEO circles, I always think of food first but then after a reality check, it dawns on me that we are talking about: Google E-A-T.
Over the years, this has been a common term for SEO professionals. However, the bigger question to the SEO pro reading this right now is why this Google E-A-T matters and what is it.
E-A-T stands for Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness.
It has been part of the Google algorithm over the years and is part of the Search Quality Evaluator Guidelines that determine how a site rates on the E-A-T scale (although Google denies any existence of an E-A-T scale or score).
However, because of the number of pages Google spends explaining every aspect of E-A-T in the Search Guidelines (57 pages out of 175) – we assume that this is very important to Google.
Therefore, in this article, we want to discuss the following:
1. What is E-A-T?
This term first appeared in Google’s Search Quality Guidelines in2014. Over the years, there has been a lot of iteration of that section of the guidelines to improve it. However, from the beginning, E-A-T has always meant:
- The Expertise of the person creating the content
- The Authoritativeness of the person creating the content, the content itself and the website where the content is published on
- The Trustworthiness of the person creating the content, the content itself and the website where the content is published on
In summary, take this question into consideration.
Who would you trust to feed you with actionable content on a particular topic?
A simple answer would be:
Someone with professional credibility, writing content for a website that displays continuous authority and consistency in the topic.
So here are quick examples:
- A professional violinist who starts a website that talks about Violins inside out.
- A professional psychologist who creates content about mental illness on a website that consistently covers mental illness across the board.
- A renowned cyclist who creates content about cycling for other cyclists and cycling enthusiasts who continuously engage with the content.
I hope that the concept of E-A-T now makes sense to you. We now delve deeper into the Google E-A-T and how it affects your SEO strategy.
2. Summary of Google’s Search Quality Rater Guidelines pertaining to E-A-T
Google’s Search Quality rater guidelines provide a framework through which Google evaluates and ranks web pages. This framework helps webmasters understand Google’s expectations of their sites and how that plays into where they land in the search engine rankings.
We have discussed the Quality Rater Guidelines in greater detail in this post: How the Google Algorithm Perceives Quality
However, for the sake of our article, we will summarise below the guidelines with an emphasis on the E-A-T requirements.
The whole Quality Rater Guidelines PDF can be summarised into the following two areas:
- Page Quality – this is the quality of a website divided into the following areas:
- The goal or purpose of a website
- The content quality
- The E-A-T of the source where information on the website is coming from
- Satisfying the needs of the users – Does your website content meet the needs of its visitors?
Therefore, Google rates a website as high quality if it scores very highly in the guidelines mentioned above – one of which is E-A-T.
3. Is E-A-T a ranking factor or not?
Google has a set of ranking factors that are well known to most SEO professionals. However, E-A-T is not a direct ranking factor.
Sometimes when it comes to the Google guidelines, it is important to read between the lines of what Google actually says.
Gary Illyes from Google has in fact said people talk about E-A-T more than it is talked about at Google:
However, in the Google Quality Rater Guidelines, Google mentions E-A-T more than 100 times in over 50 pages.
In this document that shows how Google fights misinformation on the internet, E-A-T appears as an important part of how Google determines search rankings.
And in this set of tweets by Danny Sullivan, Google’s Public Liaison of Search, he said that there are some signals that Google uses to determine E-A-T where some of the signals could be ranking factors;
In summary, there is no Google E-A-T score. But E-A-T is a very important concept to Google. It uses other measurable factors to find out whether a website achieves the level of quality that showcases Expertise, Authoritativeness and Trustworthiness (EAT).
4. Importance of E-A-T
If E-A-T is not a ranking factor, then what is its importance? This is the very question going in your head I know.
It’s simple. Google has human reviewers. This Google E-A-T guideline tells those reviewers that Google wants content with the following attributes considered high quality:
- Content is written by an expert
- Content is written on an authoritative blog
- Content is trustworthy
This is the whole importance of Google E-A-T. Now, if your content doesn’t meet the attributes above, it means you are not creating high-quality content.
Therefore, how do you bake Google’s E-A-T into your content to achieve that credibility with Google? Here is an 5-step checklist.
5. How to Integrate Google E-A-T Into Your Content: A 5-Step Checklist
a) Create an author or about page
The first requirement of the E-A-T acronym is Expertise.
Google wants to know who is creating the content on your website. So tell them that it is you or your team.
Tell Google why you have the required expertise to create this content.
For example, on your about page, be open about the credentials of your team. This could also be part of your team page.
Highlight the qualifications of your team and why they should be trusted to inform others regarding your content niche or topic.
Create author pages too. Each author can have a brief bio where Google gets to learn about why they are experts on what they are writing about.
A hobbyist DIYer could start a blog about designing and crafting various types of furniture. This is a hobby, but Google loves that it’s your hobby – you are obsessed with it and have built up some experience too.
You don’t have to be a professor of carpentry to write a blog about DIY furniture. The bottom line is that you have the expertise required.
b) Collaborate with experts in your industry
Collaborating with experts further adds on to the Expertise-Authoritativeness-Trustworthiness of your content.
Instead of working with writers that are not good experts in your topic, find the experts in your niche and work with them to publish various high quality topics and research.
c) Update old content regularly
Google wants to see your website content refreshed with something new and valuable every chance you can get.
Old content that is just so out of touch with the current trends sucks. And Google knows that their users (literally everyone) wants to see content that is ever current and helpful.
If you have old pages that have not been looked at for ages, you should update those pages with new visuals, new data, fix broken links and improve the information on it.
That way, it shows Google that your site can be a continuous source of relevant accurate information for users.
d) Link to high-authority sources
How do you stamp your understanding and authoritativeness of a certain topic? How can you show Google you are a trustworthy source?
Link to other authority sources to back up what you publish in your content.
Use real raw data, link to research papers, and even social posts by the people in your industry who are known experts in the field.
This way, Google sees that you rely on high-quality sources for the content you share with your users.
e) Generate Backlinks from High Authority Sources
What is more E-A-T than getting high-authority backlinks from other high-authority websites? This is definitely one of the best wins you can continously push for by generating high quality content that is linkable.
When people in their high E-A-T industries link back to your site through various types of backlinks like niche edits, press releases, infographic links, etc, you can quickly stamp your credibility in your industry.
Google has clarified that E-A-T is not some internet destroyer. But it will matter if Google wants to determine whether the content is high quality.
Therefore, in your content marketing strategy, you now need to serve E-A-T.
The Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness (E-A-T) of your content can no longer be ignored. Or you won’t eat? At least not from the internet money.