If you are new to the search industry, you probably would not have heard about E-A-T. That’s because the acronym is a fairly new entchennrant in the SEO world. Although E-A-T has been mentioned here and there since 2014, it gained prominence in 2018 and has been a hot topic of discussion ever since. Let’s now launch into a detailed discussion about E-A-T and everything we have to know about it.
What Is E-A-T & Why Is It Important?
E-A-T stands for Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness. Google discusses E-A-T in its Google Search Quality Rater Guidelines, a document designed to help quality raters understand what the search engine looks for in a web page.
The E-A-T concept is closely tied to the search guidelines that digital marketers use to climb Google’s rankings. In short, it can be described as a crucial parameter to evaluating content quality.
Generally, Google prefers websites that demonstrate E-A-T both off and online. However, if the site is built on a YMYL topic, it comes under more scrutiny. What’s YMYL? The acronym stands for Your Money Your Life. All web pages and content that can impact the searcher’s health, safety, happiness, and financial stability fall under the YMYL category. You will find more details about YMYL in this article. But first let’s see what goes into assessing E-A-T.
So, how is E-A-T evaluated?
One important point to remember here is that the three concepts of E-A-T are similar, but not identical. Each one is evaluated using a different set of criteria. Let’s dive into the details.
In E-A-T, the term “Expertise” refers to the credibility of the person who creates the content. Expertise does not come under the scanner for generic, subjective topics like humour and gossip. For example, if you were looking for pictures of beautiful flowers, expertise doesn’t matter that much. But it is imperative for websites relating to medical, legal, and financial topics. Hence, if Google were to surface content on healthcare written by an unqualified writer and published on an unreliable website, it is likely to have poor rankings. However, the Google guidelines specify that expertise can be demonstrated in less formal ways, such as reviews or forum posts.
In this context, authoritativeness refers to your reputation amongst other experts and influencers in the industry. Google looks for quality of conversation, credentials and reviews as parameters that drive authority. In a nutshell, it leaves no stones unturned. Google analyses your website, your brand, and your content to determine if it is not only expertly written, but if it is also the leading authority on the topic.
Trust demonstrates three aspects- the accuracy, legitimacy, and transparency of a website. Amongst many things, raters look for a secure domain and positive customer reviews. It also checks if the website mentions the writer who handles the published content. Websites with negative reviews will be interpreted as sites with poor content quality. This remark will badly hurt the site’s position on the SERP.
Not all sites are viewed the same when it comes to E-A-T. The E-A-T of content will differ depending on the purpose of the site. Besides, each webpage should include expert content that is helpful to the user. Like we mentioned earlier, Google gives top priority to YMYL content’s accuracy and reliability. Hence, such content must be written by writers with relevant expertise.
A Glimpse Into YMYL Sites And Its Relevant Topics
One fact is for sure: E-A-T and YMYL are very closely linked. Therefore, what, according to Google, are the sites and industries that come under the YMYL category?
It is important to understand that YMYL is not restricted only to the topics mentioned below. Google clearly says that quality raters need to judge and determine if a page qualifies as YMYL content.
Here are the seven topics that make up the list of the YMYL websites:
- News and current events
All news relating to politics, sports, weather, science, business, entertainment, and world affairs must be accurate, verified, and professional. Publishers should also make it a point to disclose their editorial and verification processes.
- Law, government, and civics
This category refers to voting, social services, legal advice, government services, and public institutions. Therefore, like news, these topics also need to be precise so that it does not confuse and mislead the reader. All graphic content should be removed or blurred, and copyrighted.
- Healthcare and safety
All topics related to health, medicine, medical facts, and related subjects come under scrutiny. Content related to medical issues must be written and edited by authorised personnel. The information should be cross-checked for facts to ensure it is free of any misleading content. It is also important to keep track of updates on drugs, medical issues and illnesses.
It pertains to any financial information or advice related to loans, insurance, banking, investments, taxes, etc. Additionally, all web pages that allow money transactions are also in the YMYL category.
- Online shopping
All types of e-commerce content that includes product research and shopping for goods and services come under the YMYL scanner. This category also includes pages that initiate a purchase through money transactions.
Pages about people of different religions, colours, ethnicities, nationalities, and races should contain unbiased, accurate, professional, and non-problematic content.
- Other pages including high-risk content like user manuals, safety information, child adoption, and other information must be accurate and clear.
Do E-A-T influence SEO and algorithm updates?
This could be a relevant question if you are looking for proof that E-A-T affects your rankings or the algorithm. Here’s the truth: there is no proof. So, should you blindly rely on E-A-T? Yes, you’d rather assume that E-A-T has everything to do with your rankings and algorithms. Trust us. It will not hurt your SEO since Google rewards high quality content written by experts.
There’s a good reason we emphasise this. Other sites will prefer to link your content with theirs if it ticks these three criteria: reputation, user-focused, and high E-A-T. Therefore, the more reliable links you have, the higher your ranking will be.
However, there is proof that E-A-T influences algorithm updates. Two incidents that happened in 2018 proved the same:
- In March 2018, Google updated the main algorithm with a ” broad core algorithm”, which sent many websites into a tizzy. Some sites saw their rankings shoot up, and some had a headlong fall.
- The Medic update that happened again in the same year was another broad core update. Here again, websites rose or fell in their rankings due to their E-A-Ts and other scoring factors.
The Medic update consequences sent a clear message- websites that lack assistance, clarity, and accuracy of information were hit hard. Therefore, your website must have these quality signals to be on the safer side. There’s no saying when Google will surprise you with another algorithm update. Hence, it’s better to ensure you are ready to meet it head-on whenever it happens.
Here’s how you can do it.
8 Foolproof Tactics To Improve Your E-A-T Scores
1. Create user-oriented content
Don’t just fill your pages with content for the sake of it. Ensure that it caters to the objective for which your blog was created. Your content should:
- Answer your reader’s queries
- Relate to the reader on a personal level
- Guide them with relevant information
- Be clear, concise, and easy to follow
2. Provide contact information
A good majority of readers look for contact information or your NAP- name, address and phone number. While a very small percentage will use it to contact you, these details go a long way in establishing trust and transparency. Your “Contact Us” page can have a form to fill out along with a live chat feature.
3. Make your website secure
Google has zero-tolerance towards websites providing insecure gateways for money transactions. Therefore, ensure your website is secured with an SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) certificate, encrypting the server-web browser connection. Also, your site should be hosted on secure hosting to improve the E-A-T score.
4. Optimise your About Page
Not only your readers but even Google looks into your About Us page to gauge your expertise and understanding of your core topic. Your About Us page should have:
- Information about your authors and their expertise
- Accolades and awards if you’ve won any
- Author-related information to establish credibility
- Author’s profiles and links on social platforms
5. Generate more reviews
The more positive reviews your website has, the easier it is to establish your trustworthiness. For Google’s algorithm to assign EAT scores, reviews are a mandatory element. Also, first-hand evidence of greater client interaction proves the reliability and relevance of your website. With the reasonable third-party indulgence, you can greatly improve your E-A-T scores.
6. Build high-quality links
A well-linked website is well-loved, by Google and your audience. Quality backlinks known as hyperlinks are pivotal to your E-A-T. It is mainly because they link similar content within the web that increases sites’ visibility and, therefore, user traffic.
7. Revamp and reuse old content
If your website’s been around for a while, it probably has old content that’s poorly written but still relevant. It’s time to pick out such content, give it a total makeover with proper keywords, titles, and republish it. Such content-refreshes are truly beneficial, and a little effort does go a long way to boosting your E-A-T score.
8. Optimise your E-A-T every day
A “fix it and forget it” policy does not work with E-A-T. If you are not doing your E-A-T optimisation today, your competitor is forging one step ahead of you. Also, it is good to be a little realistic with your E-A-T goals. Do not attempt to do it all in one go. Deal with one aspect at a time. Even if you make 1% improvement each day for one year, your website will improve by nearly 35%. Similarly, a 1% daily decrease in quality could result in a 97% loss in the same period. So, plan your improvements and execute them accordingly.
Optimise your E-A-T score with Digtal SEO, Chennai:
Your website’s expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness are important ranking signals refining and defining your SEO. However, apart from the SEO perspective, being honest, reliable, transparent, and trustworthy appeals to visitors and customers.
Websites that cater to topics under the E-A-T guidelines cannot afford to be careless. Even a small slip-up can cost you your reputation.
Here’s where you need the guidance from experts at Digital SEO, Chennai. Using our exceptional content marketing services, we can deploy an integrated SEO approach to generate positive E-A-T scores. Our SEO experts will help implement the strategies mentioned above, and ensure your website scores higher on Google and builds an organic web presence. Talk to our experts today!