What is E-A-T?
When it comes to digital marketing and optimising your content for SEO purposes, you may have heard of the term E-A-T. While the concept has been around since 2014, it has now become extremely important for SEO.
However, it can be extremely confusing for people to grasp – even industry experts! For beginners, it may be even more overwhelming. While it is possible to make sure all your content confirms to E-A-T, it can be tricky to get right. As such, you may consider outsourcing these tasks to experienced digital marketing agencies such as MediaGroup Worldwide (Mediagroupww).
So, what even is E-A-T and how does it relate to SEO? Here, we attempt to explain what exactly it is, why it matters, and how it can affect your SEO.
What is E-A-T?
Simply put, E-A-T stands for expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness. These guidelines come from Google’s Search Quality Rater Guidelines, which are used to assess the quality of Google search results. This document was published in 2013 in order to “help webmasters understand what Google looks for in a web page.”
That being said, while feedback from quality raters does not directly impact a website’s rankings, it does help Google make algorithm improvements over time. This means it goes hand-in-hand with SEO. Now, E-A-T is one factor in helping to determine page quality, rather than simply being a synonym for page quality.
Expertise means that the article needs to showcase a high level of knowledge or skill in a particular field. This means it is primarily evaluated at the content level, not necessarily at the website or organisational level. This is because Google is looking for content created by experts on a subject matter.
To determine expertise, the search quality raters will review the creator of the main content of a page. They want to see whether or not the author is an expert on the topic or has the necessary qualifications, credentials or expertise. ‘Everyday expertise’ can also be included, which indicates someone is well-versed in a particular topic without needing formal credentials – this can include things like food or book bloggers, which may require less formal education. It can also include people who have lived through a certain experience – such as those who are currently living through or have experienced certain illnesses. This means they may sometimes be considered better experts than qualified doctors because they have actually lived through it.
Authoritativeness generally refers to one’s overall reputation in your industry or market, especially for those who are considered influencers or experts. Often, when others see an individual or a particular website as the go-to source of information about a specific topic, that website is considered as having high authority.
In order to evaluate authority, raters need to check the web for insights into the reputations of the website or the individuals. Of course, it is important to note that authority is a relative and subjective topic. While someone like Elon Musk and Tesla are considered authorities when searching for electric vehicles, they have no authority on topics like beauty or lifestyle.
Additionally, sometimes some people and websites have authority only over a unique set of topics. For example, the most authoritative source of lyrics to Taylor Swift’s songs is their original website.
Much like its name suggests, this is about the transparency, legitimacy, and accuracy of the website’s content. Most raters will look at factors such as whether or not the website states who is responsible for the published content, whether trustworthy sources have been cited, and if the content contains factual accuracy. Of course, you also need to keep in mind that much like authoritativeness, trustworthiness is a relative concept.
What is YMYL?
Of course, some types of content are going to be ranked slightly differently compared to others. For instance, your money or your life (YMYL) topics, which can include subjects like medicine, health, finance, or current events.
E-A-T is especially important for YMYL sites because if there is any misinformation, it may wind up severely harming some people such as:
- The person reading the content
- Those who are affected by the person reading the content
- Groups of people affected by the action of people who read the content
As such, these types of sites need to demonstrate the highest levels of E-A-T. If you are not sure whether a topic is considered YMYL, then ask yourself these questions below:
- Would someone seek out experts on this subject to prevent harm, or would inaccuracies cause harm? If yes, then the topic is most likely YMYL.
- Would most people be okay with only consulting friends casually about this subject? If yes, then the topic is most likely not YMYL.
How to improve and showcase E-A-T?
The good news is that it’s still possible to improve and demonstrate E-A-T on your website. Here are a few ways to do it:
Keep content up to date
If you are covering any kind of YMYL topics such as health, medical or financial advice, then you need to keep your content up to date in order to demonstrate E-A-T. You also need to maintain, review and edit them on a regular basis. For non-YMYL topics, while the guidelines have not been specific about it yet, it is still important to keep it current. After all, you cannot consider a page trustworthy if it ends up misleading readers with outdated information, right?
Check any facts
According to Google’s Quality Rater Guidelines, news articles have to be factually accurate in order to demonstrate high levels of E-A-T. This is the same for scientific content, it should align with the consensus of the scientific community. For other topics though, it is still recommended that you continue to fact-check any information. Ideally, it should be fact-checked with sources that Google trusts, such as Wikipedia and Wikidata.
Showcase any credentials
While it may seem gauche to brag about your credentials, when it comes to displaying E-A-T, this is exactly what you should do! For example, if you or anyone on your team has a PhD, is an industry speaker, or has won any specific awards, then now is a great time to show off!
There are two main places you can do this. The first is in your author bio/profile, while the second place is in the ‘about’ or ‘teams’ page. Again, the point is to demonstrate your expertise, authority, and trustworthiness, so just state it plainly. There is no need to embellish or exaggerate anything.