Update: Google recently made an update to it’s Quality Rater Guidelines which reflects an update to E-A-T, now E-E-A-T (December 2022). This post reflects that change.
Unless you’ve been involved in Search Engine Optimization you’re unlikely to have heard much about E-A-T and it’s importance to your performance in Search Engines.
E-A-T stands for Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness. But before we delve into what those are and how they relate to your website, let’s take a look at how E-A-T came about, and how Google assesses content on a website.
Google’s Quality Guidelines
Google’s algorithm is made up of hundreds of different components that all impact how a website performs in its search engine. However, what Google also utilizes is a document called the Quality Raters Guidelines. In the guidelines Google lays out what it’s looking for when assessing a piece of content. What they are essentially doing here is saying “here is what we’re looking for and how we think about content.”
Google uses third-party Quality Raters, who are spread out across the world, and use these guidelines as a way of rating websites and providing feedback to Google as a way of helping make changes to the results Google displays.
This is important to know because this shows a legitimate approach to help Google understand content from the perspective of a website user. Google wants to serve up the best content to the most relevant audience. They do not want to see poor pieces of content showing up at the top of their results.
Google Are Serious About Quality Content
In the guidelines, Google is very specific about the type of content that should receive a low rating:
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.”
Google recently added an extra ‘E’ at the beginning of E-A-T, so it is now E-E-A-T. The additional ‘E’ stands for experience.
Google specify that E-E-A-T ratings apply across websites of all types, so let’s take a look at the E-E-A-T rating that might impact your website:
- The experience the author of the content has regarding the topic the website or content is about
- The expertise of the creator of the content
- The authoritativeness of the creator of the content, the content itself, and the website
- The trustworthiness of the creator of the content, the content itself and the website
So to explain this a little further:
- Does the content creator, or author, have experience in the topic they are writing about?
- Are you an expert about the topic you’ve written about? Are you a subject matter expert or a hobbyist?
- What kind of authority do you have to write such content? Have you been practicing in a specific service for a long time, are you regarded as an expert in the field?
- If you were looking for information about this topic, would you deem it trustworthy?
E-A-T Action Items do Do on Your Website
Include Your Credentials
In the post I wrote about optimizing Page Titles and META Descriptions, I used a local dog training facility as an example. Keeping this example for EAT, there are accreditations and certifications for dog training. These should be displayed prominently on the website and linked to the organizations where possible.
If you have awards, these should be included on an About page along with any experience that you have in your industry.
When trying to find out information about your business, people will turn to reviews. It’s important that you display reviews on your Google business page and your website that are unbiased. This means that yes, you need to display those one and two star reviews as well. What matters here is the overall sentiment people have about your business. Displaying only positive and five star reviews will raise a significant red flag with a potential customer and Google.
Participate in Industry Relevant Communities
If you’re knowledgeable about something it seems likely that you’ll participate in communities to share that knowledge. Think about online communities such as Reddit, or local associations that are specific to your area of expertise. What I’m not saying here is to start spamming relevant forums or communities with ads or contributions that aren’t help. Be genuine and helpful.
Are there pages on your website that are a little thin in content and aren’t really beneficial to a user or potential customer? You should look to improve this content and build it out or remove it. I’m not saying you should all of a sudden to a mass removal of content, but consider this – if the majority of content on your website isn’t useful or helpful, then Google may consider this and lower the quality rating of your website. Does the content on your website match the intent of the person searching for it?
If you have a site that serves intrusive pop-up ads that show throughout the site you should probably go ahead and remove those too. They do nothing for your trust rating and show that the website may be overly aggressive in trying to drive a sale rather than be useful.
One of Google’s most recent updates, the ‘Helpful Content Update’ aims to provide people using Google’s search engine with content that meets their expectation. Is it relevant to whatever search the user performed? Does it provide an answer to a solution? Does it enrich a user’s experience? Essentially, people-first content. As you’re building out content for your website, remember, even if it’s the long term, context and relevance will generally win the day.
Be Pro-Active in Getting Mentions Online
Receiving mentions from newsworthy or industry relevant websites will go a long way to increasing your authority online. This includes mentions from reputable (local) news sources, and respected communities. It’s also beneficial to link out to relevant sources to show that you’re committed to whatever standards are upheld within the industry you operate.
Demonstrating expertise and authoritativeness, as well as being a trusted resource doesn’t happen overnight. Rather than look for a quick win, it’s important to continue to demonstrate these four areas and build them up over time as your business, brand, and online presence grows. Doing so will set up your website for continued, long term success.