The internet is a crowded place. With around two billion websites out there, SEO is now more critical than ever. With all of these websites, how does Google even know where to begin ranking them?
Google’s goal is to make sure they are providing the best content for your search query and that the content provided is credible, relevant and valuable. While many factors play a part in Google’s PageRank system, the principles of E-A-T are now among the top considerations for Page Quality.
What Does E-A-T Mean?
E-A-T stands for expertise, authority and trustworthiness. These three principles are what Google uses to weigh each piece of content and give it a ranking.
History of E-A-T
E-A-T was first introduced in 2015 when Google published its Search Quality Ratings Guidelines. These are the guidelines that Google provides to its team of human evaluators to help them in judging the quality of Google Search results.
While Google’s Quality Raters don’t directly affect Google’s algorithm, it is reasonable to assume that its guidelines would mimic the guidelines that Google’s algorithm follows.
At first, the concept of E-A-T went largely ignored. Then in late 2018, Google pushed out a core update to its search algorithm. With this update, Google focused on giving higher search rankings to websites that published highly researched and reputable content. This event was followed by an update to the Search Quality Ratings Guidelines, where it became apparent that E-A-T was now a fundamental part of Google’s Search Algorithm.
Taken from the Quality Ratings Guidelines:
Remember that the first step of PQ (Page Quality) rating is to understand the true purpose of the page. Websites or pages without some sort of beneficial purpose, including pages that are created with no attempt to help users, or pages that potentially spread hate, cause harm, or misinform or deceive users, should receive the Lowest rating. For all other pages that have a beneficial purpose, the amount of expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness (E-A-T) is very important.
How to Use E-A-T to Improve SEO
Approach your website as if you were one of Googles Quality Raters. Use each principal to grade your content, blogs and news articles and then determine where you are falling short and begin working to fix them.
To be considered an expert, you should be knowledgeable about, or skillful in, a particular area. When it comes to your business, you should already be an expert in your field. The real issue here is making sure you know how to communicate this knowledge in a way that engages your users. Your main goal should be about becoming the go-to source of information in your field.
To help create expert content:
- Start with keyword research. Learn what your audience is looking for, then answer their questions.
- Understand search intent. Knowing why your customers are searching for particular keywords can help you reach them with relevant content.
- Think about the next question your customer might have and then have content ready to answer that.
- Find a balance between being all-encompassing and keeping it simple. Make sure that your content is easy to read and use images, video and audio to make it more digestible.
Being an expert is only the start. When you get other experts in your area to start citing you as a source of information or when your brand becomes synonymous with your particular area, then you are an authority.
You need to make sure that you are not only establishing authority for your website as a whole, but if you have blogs and news articles written by other authors, you need to establish their authority as well.
To help establish authority:
- Build up backlinks from relevant and authoritative websites.
- Share content across social media.
- Get mentions in news articles.
- Create an about section that provides:
- Company History
- Team Bios
- Customer Reviews
- For each blog or news article display the
following author information:
- Professional Title
- Short Bio
- Link to Full Bio
- Link to Social Media Profiles
Expertise and authority can boost your rankings, but lack of trustworthiness will tank them. You need to ensure that your brand and website are perceived in a positive light. Too much negativity and your rankings will suffer.
To build your trustworthiness, you need to get positive reviews on places like Google My Business, Facebook, Yelp, TripAdvisor and The Better Business Bureau. If there are any negative reviews, you should address them as quickly as possible. Google is clear that too many bad reviews will result in a low-quality score.
To further help establish trustworthiness on your website:
- Have a clear way to contact website owners
- Provide a physical location
- Have a terms and conditions page
- Secure site domain with SSL certificate
- If selling goods, have a clear refund and returns policy
Using E-A-T as a framework to help your SEO is not a quick process. Establishing expertise, authority and trustworthiness takes time. The best place to start is by putting your users first. Understanding their wants and needs will help you create credible, accurate and trustworthy information. The E-A-T process means gradually growing your brand and online presence in a natural way. If you do this right, then you will climb to the top of the Google rankings.