If you are in a position that requires creating, posting, and updating website content, you might have heard a thing or two about Google E-A-T. Depending on the industry you’re in or the subject your site’s content talks about, Google E-A-T can be a major factor in how Google views your site, how it values your site, and how it determines who sees your site.
Before we get into exactly what a Google E-A-T score represents and what it means for your website, it’s important to remember exactly why Google exists in the first place. Google has one job: to help its users find valuable information. That’s it. Every Google update, product, or service rolled out by the Silicon Valley behemoth is done so with the intention that it’ll help connect users with the most relevant and topical information anywhere on the Internet. To do this, Google relies on what’s commonly referred to as Google E-A-T (as well as a billion other variables…but let’s take this one step at a time here).
What is Google E-A-T?
Google E-A-T stands for “Expertise – Authoritativeness – Trustworthiness”; three intertwined variables that weigh heavily on your site’s organic rankings. When you post informative content on your site, you need to be sure that you are presenting it in a way that demonstrates your expertise in the field, your authority to present on the subject, and your credentials that qualify you as a trusted voice on the topic.
Contrary to popular belief, there is no such thing as a quantifiable “Google E-A-T score”. Rather, it’s a more general way of looking at your site’s content as it relates to Google’s algorithms. The more expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness your site delivers, the more likely you are to rank. But what does that mean exactly?
When evaluating the content on your site, Google looks for signs that you (or whomever is writing your content) is a subject matter expert. For example, if you run a fitness site and post a regular blog about diet and exercise, your posts are more likely to reach a wider audience if they are written by a certified personal trainer or licensed dietician. For this reason, it’s a good idea to have the author’s name linked to a detailed author page that outlines their credentials and experience.
This one is less about the author specifically, and more about the site as a whole. Is your site known as the “go-to” for a particular subject? Is it referenced and linked to by industry experts and influencers? Admittedly, this can be a tough nut to crack if your content is something with a lot of search traffic and a high degree of competition. A blog about professional football, for example, is going to have a hard time outranking heavy players like nfl.com or espn.com.
Unfortunately, you can’t believe everything you read on the Internet (we hope this isn’t the first you’re hearing of this). For this reason, Google aims to present content that its users can rely on. For media-related searches, for example, it will rank reputable news sources higher than fringe or conspiracy outlets. For health and wellness content, it’s going to rank science-backed columns higher than blogs promoting unproven remedies and concoctions. To prove your site’s trustworthiness, it is best to be transparent and factual in your published content and link to reliable sources where appropriate.
NOTE: The three components of E-A-T weigh especially high for website content relating to happiness, health, safety, or financial stability. This type of content is known as “YMYL” (your money or your life). For example, a blog about nutrition might rank higher if it’s written by a nutritionist or medical professional. On the other hand, if you’re writing a travel blog, you don’t necessarily have to be a travel agent or vacation planner by trade. Likewise, if you’re writing a blog about cute puppies, you don’t have to be a puppy “expert” since the content is going to be looser and more subjective anyway.
What factors affect Google EAT?
Is this a perfect system? Of course not. Are you bound to find questionable and demonstratively false information in your Google searches? You bet. However, the E-A-T concept aims to make these types of instances as rare as possible for their users. It is designed to give users information they can trust by leaning more heavily on content deemed the most credible.
Fortunately, there are a number of ways you can boost your site’s E-A-T and draw more credibility in the eyes of Google. Let’s talk about a few of them:
A backlink is any link from another site to your own and is one of the most tangible ways Google can tell whose content is worth promoting. After all, no one is going to want their own site to link to garbage content. So when you craft an excellent piece of industry-related content, promote it! The more pages that link to your site, the better.
Reviews are another way Google separates the good, bad, and ugly of what the Internet has to offer. Positive reviews are proof that people are engaging with your site and can rely on the products, service, and information you provide your consumers and site visitors. They provide transparency and authenticity to your content.
Arguably the most important thing you can do when it comes to boosting your site’s E-A-T is to focus on developing high-quality, factual, and reliable content for your readers. Conduct thorough research. Have your content reviewed by other experts in the field. Cite your sources. Be transparent about who is writing your content and what credentials they bring to the table. If you’re not producing content that your users can rely on and that establishes you as a trusted voice in your industry, then nothing else matters.
thorough research. Have your content reviewed by other experts in the field. Cite your sources. Be transparent about who is writing your content and what credentials they bring to the table. If you’re not producing content that your users can rely on and that establishes you as a trusted voice in your industry, then nothing else matters.
How does Google EAT affect SEO?
Remember, Google E-A-T is not a quantifiable figure like number of backlinks or average rating. Google can’t simply read the words on a page and determine whether or not your content is worthy of a high ranking. Trust is something that humans possess, not computers. Instead, Google relies on signals it can measure to assign value to your content. Variables within your site and your site’s content (backlinks, reviews, word counts, keywords, traffic, etc.) are evaluated within Google’s mysterious algorithm to determine how your site ranks organically. Google E-A-T, like the SEO universe as a whole, involves optimizing and making tweaks to how your content is presented in a constant and ever-changing effort at getting Google to take notice.
Boosting your Google E-A-T is not something you’re going to knock out in a day or see results overnight. It requires the developing and maintaining of a solid content strategy, constant monitoring and revision of content, and a vast knowledge of how Google looks at and evaluates content. It’s a lot of work and there is no finish line. Even if you’re ranking #1, your competition is out there and actively looking to knock you from that pedestal.