What is Google’s E-A-T Update And How Does It Help My SEO?
Expertise, Authoritativeness and Trustworthiness
Google makes several changes to search annually, some of which have a significant impact on its search results. In August 2018, it rolled out a broad core algorithm update with a very strong emphasis on E-A-T (Expertise, Authoritativeness and Trustworthiness) rating.
Google refers to some pages as “Your Money or Your Life” (YMYL), which are basically pages that could impact “a person’s future happiness, health, financial stability, or safety” and for which it wants to deliver not only relevant information but also correct information.
Therefore, when it comes to pages that affect a person’s life or wellbeing, Google wants to make sure that the pages that come up in the search results display a high level of expertise, authority, and trustworthiness or E-A-T. This is an attempt to protect users from low quality or fraudulent content. Both E-A-T and YMYL are described in the Search Quality Evaluator Guidelines, a document written for Google’s human rating team that evaluates websites based on search results. The quality rating team informs Google on how to improve their algorithm based on their learnings.
Raters consider the purpose of the website (or page), quality and amount of content, FAQs, links, brand citations, contact and customer services information, website reputation and most importantly, expertise, authoritativeness and trustworthiness (E-A-T) when measuring the quality of a YMYL page.
In the context of E-A-T quality raters check:
- a) the content creators and their credentials, qualification and expertise, considered extremely important for YMYL topics such as medical, financial or legal advice;
- b) the legitimacy of the site and of its author;
- c) frequency of updates and maintenance of information;
- d) authority of the content writer and the website on the highlighted topics.
According to Google:
“Who are the experts? What makes a source trustworthy for the topic? What makes a website highly authoritative for the topic? Standards for very high E-A-T will differ depending on the topic of the page. YMYL topics will require higher standards.”
SEO tips for E-A-T:
SEOs should build EAT for websites as well as authors (e.g. by having author boxes or author schema mark-up).
Expertise: In the case of websites, this means it should have suitable credentials in the industry. For the author this requires having proper credentials for the topic (such as degree or relevant experience).
Authoritativeness: How external sources (YELP etc.) rate the website and its content. The number of citations the author has, what type of sites do they appear on and the quality of their content. Furthermore, Google says that high quality content “must be factually accurate for the topic and must be supported by expert consensus where such consensus exists”.
Trust: The website definitely should have a validation (About Us) page, contact & customer services information. Furthermore, it must be over https. and in particular, transaction pages MUST be secure. For authors, Trust is gauged via the number of citations and the quality of content.