E-A-T & SEO: How to Feed Google What it Wants
The latest SEO acronym floating around, E-A-T, has become rather popular. It’s the buzzword being used to describe a formula to gain a better favorability with Google’s algorithm.
While the term isn’t new to those in the business, E-A-T recently started to gain a bit of a larger reach thanks to its spotlight in Google’s “Medic Update” of August 2018. Over the last year, the tactics behind E-A-T have taken center stage in many industries.
Before we get into how to feed Google what it wants for a better ranking, it’s a good idea to understand what E-A-T stands for and what it is, exactly.
What is E-A-T?
E-A-T stands for Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness. The acronym comes from the Search Quality Rater Guidelines from Google, which include 168 total pages for human quality raters to use when assessing search results.
While this document was published in 2013, E-A-T didn’t gain traction until 2018.
In some circumstances, E-A-T doesn’t matter much to the search results, such as searching for cute pictures of dogs. However, when the topic isn’t so subjective, E-A-T plays a major role in how the search results are compiled. For most websites, E-A-T is the key to unlocking better Google ranking.
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How is E-A-T Measured by Google?
The true answer to this question is held very close to the vest by Google. Nobody outside the company knows exactly how E-A-T is measured by Google. However, looking at each part of E-A-T can help with understanding what’s necessary to gain more E-A-T for your website.
When the content on your website shows off a high level of skill or knowledge in a specific field, it’s known as expertise. This portion of E-A-T is evaluated on the content-level and not on the organization or user-friendliness of your website.
The expertise you show on your website depends on the type of topics you’re covering and the angle you will be covering them from. While a doctor specializing in treating patients with cancer certainly has expert knowledge in treatment, this doctor may not be an expert in the topic of living with cancer.
However, a patient that has gone through cancer treatments and has experience living through cancer does have expertise in this area. The doctor has formal expertise, while the patient has everyday expertise. Both provide value when it comes to how your website will rank on Google.
The second part of E-A-T is all about reputation. The reputation you want to gain for better authoritativeness is a reputation within your industry with influencers and experts.
The simple way to define authority online is when others find a website or individual to be a good source for information on the topic.
The raters from Google will look for reviews, recommendations by other experts, news articles, and references to rate your website’s authority. The raters are looking mainly for independent sources during the process of evaluating authority.
Authority for a website is relative. You might have great authority on one topic, but no authority on another.
The best way to gain trustworthiness is through accurate content. Raters will look at many different things when evaluating the trustworthiness of your website. Sufficient content information displayed on the website and showing who is responsible for the content is the first step in establishing trust.
The Google raters will also look at the accuracy of the information including citing trustworthy sources to back up the information. Just like authoritativeness, trust is relative. You won’t be perceived as trustworthy in all areas, but you can be seen as a very trustworthy source in your area of expertise.
What does E-A-T Mean for Content Creators?
Google addressed what E-A-T content is and how the quality of each page is measured in a white paper published in February 2019. While they address the basics of E-A-T, Google doesn’t explain what E-A-T-friendly content is or what it means for content creators.
By looking at each part of E-A-T, it’s possible to figure out what it means for content creators. Content creators need to know E-A-T is not a direct ranking factor. It’s not the same as using a specific keyword in a title tag. Instead, the role of E-A-T in search ranking is rather indirect.
The number one thing content creators can do to ensure they gain plenty of E-A-T is consistently creating high-quality, relevant content with accurate information. A few other things content creators can do include:
- Use about pages and bios: One of the fastest ways to tell Google you’re an expert is to tell them. You can show your expertise through an author bio and an about page. Your about page can show off the leadership of your company and the expertise of your entire team.
- Content audits: Auditing your content regularly will show you which blog posts and pages perform the best. It will also show you which ones barely get seen. Poor performing blog posts and pages could be dragging down your website’s E-A-T. You can purge these poor performing posts and pages or recreate them with better information.
- Allow guest writers with authority to post: It’s not necessary to create all your content yourself. You can allow guest blog posts from authoritative writers within your industry to help gain better E-A-T for your website.
- Use high-authority sources: When creating content, using high-authority sources helps show your trustworthiness. Make sure you back up information with the best possible sources.
As a content creator, E-A-T shouldn’t become a template for how you create content. There are other search engine ranking factors to focus on and, of course, you should be creating content for the reader. However, you can use these tips to help gain better E-A-T for your website.
4 Ways to Improve E-A-T for Your Website
1. Good/Great Reviews
One of the fastest ways for a business website to gain better E-A-T is through good reviews. The quality raters from Google look for reviews to establish your reputation. They specifically look at Yelp, Amazon, Google, and the BBB.
2. Have a Wikipedia Page for Your Business
Google sees Wikipedia as a very trustworthy site. While SEOs used to say Wikipedia links didn’t make a difference because they are nofollow and don’t pass any PageRank, this isn’t the case with E-A-T.
If you have a Wikipedia page or you get mentioned on Wikipedia, it can be very helpful to your website’s E-A-T. However, getting your own page isn’t easy. All the company information has to be verifiable and the business has to gain significant coverage from other reliable sources, according to the Wikipedia Notability standards.
Whether you go through the process of getting your own page or you get mentioned on other Wikipedia pages, you’ll gain better E-A-T.
3. Demonstrate E-A-T on your Website
Of course, you have to demonstrate E-A-T on your website or the external factors won’t matter as much. Use the tips above for creating high-quality E-A-T content and make sure you provide a clear about page for your company’s website.
4. Gain Mentions on Authority Sites
When an authoritative website mentions your company or links to you, it helps establish better E-A-T. This might be the most important way to gain better E-A-T on the list.
If you’re not sure how to get mentioned on authority websites, you can use a few of the following ideas:
- Connect on HARO with journalists or seek them out on Twitter.
- Publish your original research, if possible.
- Post summaries of scientific research backing up products or services you provide.
- Connect with and build relationships with authorities within your field.
Getting mentions on authority websites isn’t easy. It has a profound impact on your website’s E-A-T, but you will likely have to put in the work if you want to be mentioned by the most authoritative websites in your field.
E-A-T has become a common term in SEO circles. Whether you’re an SEO company or a content creator, it’s an important acronym to understand if you want to rank better in the search results.