Marketing August 8, 2020 Last updated August 8th, 2020 224 Reads share

E-A-T: What It Is and How It Impacts Your SEO

Image Credit: DepositPhotos

One thing that has remained consistent over the years with Google’s core updates is that good content will always be rewarded.

E-A-T was introduced in late 2018 to help assist their quality raters in assessing Google search quality. Basically, how to provide users with content that is expertly written, authoritative, and trusted.

Upon the release of E-A-T, speculation suggested that E-A-T was a direct ranking factor, and the debate of its extreme importance was questioned.

But now that the dust has settled, we’re able to explore E-A-T more in-depth and figure out what Google’s expectations of publishers are.

What Exactly Is E-A-T?

Despite the name, it is not to be confused with food but stands for expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness. Three factors that Google uses to understand the level of trust or merit given to a website or brand.

Outlined in a 168-page guideline released for Google’s search quality raters, it aims to help business owners pay more attention to the content they’re writing and promoting. User experience has always been a core focus of Google’s algorithm updates, and E-A-T aims to give publishers a standardized, fair judgment by raters using the E-A-T concept and not their own personal opinions.

So, What’s the Importance of E-A-T?

As mentioned, user experience and how they receive their information from searches is Google’s #1 priority and has been for the better part of a decade. This is not something that is going to change in the foreseeable future.

Given Google’s core updates always follow this trend, it is now easy to understand why E-A-T is a concept that all content writers should adapt. Google has always pushed the purpose of authority, relevance, and trust – better known as the three pillars of SEO.

Anything business owners can do to improve their content quality and build trust and authority with users is not only a smart business move but indeed a good one in the eyes of Google too.

How E-A-T Impacts Your SEO

As with every update or concept Google releases, there’s a great deal of time that webmasters use before coming to a complete conclusion. Others may prefer to speculate or make assumptions early. So is E-A-T a ranking factor after all? How does it impact SEO and search rankings?

Danny Sulivan, Google’s Lead Public Liason of Search, gives us some level of insight into whether or not it is a ranking factor.

In a weird twist of fate, Gary Illyes, Google’s Chief of Sunshine & Happiness, reported that E-A-T was not a ranking factor in 2019. So, who knows at this point.

However, the most important thing to understand is that E-A-T doesn’t operate off some tangible ‘score’.

It’s several different factors that all come together to determine a website’s merit or trust. It’s something that can be observed by Google quality raters in a range of different ways, and content writers need to ensure they’re following one the three basic rules of expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness.

If you’re not sure how to improve on your E-A-T friendliness, we’ll give you some practical tips to ensure you’re staying on the right side of user-focused content.

5 Easy Ways to Demonstrate E-A-T

While E-A-T isn’t necessarily a concept you can ‘optimize’ for (as we’ll discuss later), you can still demonstrate the three critical factors in some very simple ways:

Build High-Quality, Relevant Backlinks

  • The importance of backlinks is also made clear by Google and drives the narrative of trust very well. The consensus is if you get mentioned on a trendy website like Forbes, HubSpot, or The Washington Post – it’s good for your business and speaks volumes to Google. Use sources like Help A Reporter Out (HARO), SourceBottle, and guest blogging opportunities that large websites may offer to build quality backlinks.

Advice Content Should Be Kept up to Date

  • This is especially important for advice that can affect livelihood, happiness, financial stability, and safety. Industries that typically fall under this category are finance, health & fitness, eCommerce and legal sectors (lawyers, barristers, etc.)Providing content that is potentially detrimental to your users negatively impacts their experience, and YMYL (Your Money or Your Life) is another factor introduced by Google to maintain a certain standard for expertise in content.

Avoid Using YMYL Content and Edit or Remove Low-Quality Content

  • On the topic of YMYL, it’s important to avoid it if possible. An example of bad YMYL content is below, and it’s because the user provides no evidence of medical expertise.An example of bad YMYL content that can potentially harm users.

Get More Exposure via Human Reviews

Build Expertise and Confidence Through Author Bios, About Us, or ‘Team’ Pages

  • Help your users know who you are. Showcase you or your author’s expertise, qualifications, professionalism, and provide some context about who you are and what you do. This makes it easy for users to know who you are, who created the content and let Google assess the individual’s E-A-T.

Can You Optimize for E-A-T Principles?

It’s possible to make your site more E-A-T friendly, but as far as the concept goes, it’s not a clear-cut concept.

How can you optimize for expertise? You need to be an expert. It is also a subjective concept – some may consider you an expert, some may not. That’s why it’s vital to showcase your expertise but with integrity.

If it’s hard to dictate expertise, then consider revising your content. It may need to be deleted or updated if it’s not helping improve your user’s experience.

Authority is a loose term thrown around, but it always comes down to backlinks. External links to your site showcase trust, but as far as authority goes – it’s more or less a buzzword.

Google doesn’t use ‘authority’ as a ranking factor, but backlinks have always been relevant, so building high-quality backlinks will always have great merit to help improve your SEO.

Trust is a concept that people struggle with, and Google is no different. Ultimately, you can’t optimize for trustworthiness. Still, you need to audit who links to your site externally and include some E-A-T friendly principles into your business and content writing.

The Wrap Up

E-A-T is just another good example of a Google change that is focused on providing a better user experience. Producing content that is user-focused and follows principles of on-page SEO is all you can ask for. There are certain tips you can include to improve your E-A-T friendliness, but optimizing for a ‘concept’ is difficult. The large, grey area surrounding whether it is a ranking factor ultimately shouldn’t matter – write content for real users, and you’ll reap the rewards for it.

What do you think? Let us know your thoughts below about the importance of E-A-T for publishers in 2020.

DepositPhotos – google eat

Lachlan Perry

Lachlan Perry

Founder of SEO Kings, a digital marketing company in Australia. An SEO & SEM specialist with a desire to help businesses increase their organic traffic, improve site visibility, rank for desired keywords and grow their online presence.

Read Full Bio