- Why should your prospective customers trust you?
- What is E-A-T?
- Where else does Google like a good E-A-T?
- What’s the recipe for a fine E-A-T?
- Is E-A-T a ranking factor?
- In summary: How you can cook up a good E-A-T
Why should your prospective customers trust you?
It’s a big question. If they don’t, they’re unlikely to buy.
Have you done enough on your website to convince people to do business with you?
What is E-A-T?
Google has something to say about how you demonstrate your credentials and experience. They call it E-A-T, which stands for:
You may have seen E-A-T mentioned in the context of another Google invention, Y-M-Y-L. That’s Your Money or Your Life. In everyday language, that’s financial or medical sites. Google insists sites in these niches demonstrate they know what they are talking about—that they’re professional and trustworthy.
Where else does Google like a good E-A-T?
While E-A-T may look like yet another requirement in a seemingly unending list from Google, and you can safely ignore it if you’re not a Y-M-Y-L site or have Y-M-Y-L pages, here’s a thought for you.
Shouldn’t almost every website demonstrate its Expertise, Authoritativeness and Trustworthiness?
Whether you’re selling a mindfulness app or plumbing parts, your customer or client needs to have confidence in you or your products—often both.
What’s the recipe for a fine E-A-T?
An excellent place to start is Google’s 168-page Search Quality Rater Guidelines which is used by the search engine’s human quality raters when they assess a site. It’s updated from time to time (at the time of writing, the latest version is dated October 14, 2020). Google’s John Mueller recommends reading the document if you are going to understand E-A-T.
I’ve extracted sections that will help you create content that will improve your site’s E-A-T.
1. Prove the writer’s professional credentials
Google advises its raters to consider:
- The expertise of the creator of the MC (main content)
- The authoritativeness of the creator of the MC, the MC, and the website
- The trustworthiness of the creator of the MC, the MC itself, and the website
You may even consider hiring people with appropriate formal or experiential credentials as a front for your business. And if that’s not possible, smaller enterprises can interview experts or get an expert to write a post—involve an experienced ghostwriter if writing is a problem.
But don’t forget to demonstrate those credentials. Two locations on your site come to mind:
A bio panel at the end of a piece of content
Your About or About us page. This is a place where the majority of people will look before making a purchase or an enquiry.
You can also add schema markup to help Google understand the writer and their achievements.
You might use:
- Person schema
- Organisation schema
- Author (schema property)
- reviewedBy (schema property)
- Citations (schema property)
These structured data are worthy of a piece of their own. Until I get around to writing it, I recommend you read How to Use Structured Data to Support E-A-T.
But sometimes you don’t need formal or demonstrable credentials
Google admits that you can write about some topics in ‘extremely detailed helpful reviews… Many people share tips and life experiences…These people may be considered experts in topics where they have life experience, [and] we will value this “everyday expertise”.’
Think about the topic of the page. What kind of expertise is required for the page to achieve its purpose well?Google: Search Quality Rater Guidelines
2. Write in an appropriate style
Google only has something to say about medical advice:
High E-A-T medical advice should be written or produced by people or organizations with appropriate medical expertise or accreditation. High E-A-T medical advice or information should be written or produced in a professional style…Google: Search Quality Rater Guidelines
Even for a medical advice site, the needs of the readers should always be kept in mind. Your content creator shouldn’t fill advice pages up with impenetrable jargon. Instead, they should demonstrate your approachableness through a sympathetic tone.
It’s a balance, but you can demonstrate good E-A-T to Google while still engaging successfully with your audience.
3. Get your facts right
You can’t convince your readers or Google if you publish any old rubbish! In Google’s parlance:
High E-A-T news articles should be produced with journalistic professionalism (my italics)—they should contain factually accurate content presented in a way that helps users achieve a better understanding of events. High E-A-T news sources typically have published established editorial policies and robust review processes
High E-A-T information pages on scientific topics should be produced by people or organizations with appropriate scientific expertise and represent well-established scientific consensus on issues where such consensus exists
High E-A-T financial advice, legal advice, tax advice, etc., should come from trustworthy sources and be maintained and updated regularlyGoogle: Search Quality Rater Guidelines
Again, those are the specific niches that Google has advice for. You can interpret them as guidelines to help you increase your page quality.
4. Keep your content fresh
If your business is in a changing niche (most are, these days), you should keep your content up to date. Google is clear that you should maintain and regularly edit Y-M-Y-L topics, in particular.
Google advises its raters to:
Keep in mind that there are high E-A-T pages and websites of all types, even gossip websites, fashion websites, humor websites, forum and Q&A pages etc.Google: Search Quality Rater Guidelines
It continues its theme with some specific advice:
High E-A-T advice pages on topics such as home remodeling (which can cost thousands of dollars and impact your living situation) or advice on parenting issues (which can impact the future happiness of a family) should also come from “expert” or experienced sources that users can trust.
High E-A-T pages on hobbies, such as photography or learning to play guitar, also require expertise.Google: Search Quality Rater Guidelines
See how Google spreads its Y-M-Y-L advice into other topics. As I write my blog posts, I’m adding to my pages’ E-A-T by demonstrating my Expertise, Authoritativeness and Trustworthiness (pardon my ego).
5. Get more reviews
Online reviews help your website in a number of ways. If you’re in the restaurant or hospitality businesses, a consistently high rating on Trip Advisor would be a great indicator of your business’s E-A-T and more directly attract customers or guests.
Good ratings on Google My Business (GMB), whatever your sector, will help your Local SEO performance. Another tip is to complete your GMB Q&A section.
6. Attract more links
I’m not much of a fan of actively building links—see My Rant About Links and Link-building—because it’s so difficult to procure great quality ones without a considerable amount of effort and budget.
Your excellent quality, E-A-T raising content will start attracting the links that Google will reward you for.
Is E-A-T a ranking factor?
I’ve avoided this one so far. It’s a ‘yes and no’ answer. You could get SEO indigestion and feast on the technical meal you’ll find on many websites. If you want to dive into some of that stuff, I like Marie Haynes’ piece E-A-T confirmed by Google to be an important part of their algorithms.
Google hasn’t distilled E-A-T down to a number or set of numbers like it has with Page Experience and Core Web Vitals. Therefore, E-A-T won’t just be worked out and plugged into its search algorithm. That’s the ‘no’ answer.
But there must be a ‘yes’ answer, or there’d be little point in Google punting the concept our way. So, we’ll proceed with the idea that E-A-T is vital for your business. You can certainly go forward with the idea that E-A-T is a ranking factor if you want to consider it something worth working on—and you should.
I’ll leave the last word to Google’s Danny Sullivan:
Think of it this way, perhaps. Get your E-A-T right, and you’ll have a better presence in the search results and see increased organic traffic.
In summary: How you can cook up a good E-A-T
You can raise your site’s E-A-T by:
- Proving the writer’s credentials
- Writing in an appropriate style
- Getting your facts right
- Keeping your content up to date
- Getting more reviews
- Attracting more links
Use these principles as you develop your website content and you can look forward to more leverage and higher profits.
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A version of this blog post appeared in David Rosam’s Digital Marketing Thing, the precursor to David Rosam On Digital Marketing.
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David Rosam has been working on the internet for 25 years, after a career in direct marketing copywriting for the tech and financial services industries.
Today, he specialises in Content-Focused Search Engine Optimisation—from audits, through research and strategy to implementation.