In the past few months, you must have seen the acronym, “E-A-T flying around. Although this term has been in the vocabulary of several SEOs for a long time now, since the major Google algorithm update that took place in August 2018, the spotlight has turned to Google’s Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness has been on the lips and fingertips of many SEOs since then.
So why is it suddenly relevant now? It’s because the days when you could show up on Google overnight are far gone. If you want to rank high in Google, you must nurture your brand through building your E.A.T which stands for expertise, authority, and trustworthiness.
In this article, I’ll discuss the three pillars of Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness (E-A-T) and give you tips on how to incorporate each into your content strategy so that you can get high rankings on Google for your niche.
The “Medic Update”
At first, the medic update seemed to have hit several websites, especially those offering health and medical advice. That’s why the renowned search engine marketing journalist Barry Schwartz called it the medic update.
Yet, even though this update affected many medical websites, it hit a host of other websites that could be grouped under what Google terms YMYL sites.
Digital marketers have a knack for using jargon and having lots of acronyms, but this time, it was Google themselves who added YMYL and E-A-T to the ever-growing list of potentially confusing digital lingo.
YMYL is a quality rating for web content. It is an acronym for Your Money or Your Life”. Google isn’t only concerned with delivering the most relevant information; they also want to deliver accurate information. With some types of searches, there is a big possibility to negatively impact users’ happiness, health, or wealth. If these pages were of low quality, they have the potential to impact a users well-being.
Google’s E-A-T and Y.M.Y.L
Google search quality evaluator rules
E-A-T and YMYL came from a vital Google archive known as “the Google Search Quality Evaluator Guidelines”. Back in 2015, Google formally delivered its Search Quality Evaluator Guidelines, and this gave us a thought of what is considered to be a high (or bad) quality site, from Google’s point of view.
The documents were written for their human rating group, who are performing significant searches throughout the day and assessing sites that top the Google results for those searches. Google uses about 10,000 individuals to complete these spot-checks, which is intended to determine the effectiveness of the ranking algorithms in assessing web page quality. The data from the quality rating group educate Google’s architects on the best way to improve the ranking algorithms. As the people at Google frequently remind us, their ranking algorithm is ever-changing with frequent updates.
The 2018 Google Update
Seven days after the July 2018 update to the rules, Google made a few additional changes that had significant effects: The quality evaluators would now be required to audit a site’s E-A-T as well as the content authors’ E-A-T as well. This is vital information.
From now on, Google needs to see who the author of a page’s principal content is and what their certifications are concerning the topic, especially if it’s a YMYL niche.
This implies that we should now develop author E-A-T just as site E-A-T. A few different ways you may accomplish this is by having author boxes, with links to author profiles somewhere else on the web and using author construction markup, for example, organized information that tells Google about the author, making it easier to associate the author with some other power signals (such as author profiles on authority sites, online media profiles, and so on).
So what exactly is E-A-T and why is it important? Let us discuss each of them.
The Oxford word reference defines an expert as someone who is “entirely educated about or handy in a specific subject”. But having this information alone won’t get traffic flooding to your site from Google.
You need to figure out how to communicate this information in a manner that connects with your audience. It boils down to having the data as well as understanding the needs of your audience and how best to convey the data to them.
Whenever a Googler asks “How might my site improve its rankings?” the stock answer frequently is something like: “Make great content that your audience loves.” While this may appear to be an excessively oversimplified answer (and it will be), it’s an answer which summarizes what I’m discussing in this post.
How would we make great content? Here are a couple of tips to help you deliver great content to your audience:
- Discover what your audience is looking for, and talk about it. This starts with keyword research. Try to understand the searcher’s goal behind the terms you find during that keyword research.
- You also have to understand where they are at in their journey as a consumer or as someone interested in your niche. There are plenty of circumstances here, depending on your unique situation but for instance, you are inquiring about a term that is for someone new to the topic, at that point, avoid using a lot of languages or focusing on terms that a beginner will find it difficult to understand.
- Discover the harmony between being extensive while keeping it straightforward. This comes down to organizing your content so it’s consumable, using visual guides or other media like video or sound. An ideal illustration of this is Moz’s Whiteboard Friday series. We need the reader to genuinely comprehend the content from beginning the end, without making it excessively arduous.
- Consider the subsequent questions a searcher may have and prepare content to respond to them, as well. Add links to supporting content that is easy to find and access. Your goal is to become the go-to source of data in your field.
Being an expert in your niche is great but it is only a start. When other experts and influencers in your niche begin to refer to you as a credible source of data or your brand becomes synonymous with various topics, then you have become an authority and not just an expert.
Here is a list of some of the KPIs that determine your authoritativeness:
Links from important and legitimate sites are a big factor with regards to positioning sites and we surely can’t examine any structure for SEO success without emphasizing this.
Note: When we talk about links, the goal is to build your domain’s authority. This implies that we need important sites that have acquired expertise in a particular field to recommend us and what better recommendation can a site get from another website owner than a link.
While links are essential, essentially being referenced in the information or on definitive sites in your space will help to boost your authority, in Google’s eyes. So mentions are also welcome.
We can use the Moz Domain Authority score to help us understand the authority of a site. It can also be used for a glance at our site or the sites connected to us and gives us an inkling of our current degree of authority.
Another dependable measure of authority and dependability is the Majestic ‘trust radio’ score. If you score at least 1.0, then it means things are looking good. If your content is widely shared ac ss various online media, this is also an indication of increasing authority.
Building a brand is an excellent idea for many reasons, not least for SEO authority. Branded search volume is another factor that measures the growth of your brand authority. If an ever-increasing number of individuals are looking for your brand on the net, it is a great development. If they’re looking for your brand name with an important keyword attached, that is even better.
Having a Wikipedia page for your brand as well as individuals in your organization is a major sign that you’re an authority. Remember, getting a Wikipedia page isn’t easy except if you’re a recognized individual/brand. Nonetheless, this comes up inside the Google raters’ guidelines, so it is something to strive for.
Proven trustworthiness is highly essential. While expertise and authority are factors that support your rankings, trust or the lack of it can reduce your rankings on Google.
If you don’t take care of any negative impression around your business, you will find it difficult to build your brand on Google. Generally, you should make your clients happy and if you receive any protests, you should address them before you end up with a myriad of negative comments connected to your brand. Google is exceptionally clear about this in their rules: too many negative reviews are a sign of low quality.
Positive reviews on places like Tripadvisor, Trustpilot, Facebook, Google My Business, etc. will truly help your brand. If you’re working in the US, Canada, or Mexico, you ought to be supporting good reviews esp, especially on bbb.org. The Better Business Bureau is the go-to hotspot for client feedback for Google, as referred to a few times in their search evaluators guidelines.
There are many ways you can build trustworthiness for your brand. Here are some tips on how to get people to trust your brand:
- You must have a clear means of making contact with the website owners.
- Link your website to a physical location. For instance, you should have an office or store address and it should be visible on your website.
- You should also have a precise term of business or T&Cs page, which is easily accessible to users (this is usually found in the footer).
- Make sure that your website’s domain is secure. Accurately implement all HTTPS as this is something that Google takes very seriously. It also helps to ensure that any data your users provide will be safe from any nefarious 3rd party entity.
- If you’re accepting transactions, you must have clear refunds and returns policies.
- If you’re selling products, make sure to include comprehensive specifications of the product and add any safety advice that might be relevant.
- If you’re sharing knowledge, in general, it’s a good idea to have an author biography included in the post. Also, ensure to cite external sources where relevant. Linking out to authority sites is a great thing and will help to build your authority. Remember what we talked about earlier concerning mentions? Linking to authority sites will over time build the authority of your brand.
In case you’re posting content on a specific niche, especially on medical, health, and, finance- topics, you need to have shown your expertise, authority, and trustworthiness for Google to recommend your content.
When Google suggests a page to a searcher, they don’t need them to scan through bogus data (fake news!) particularly when it could affect their wellbeing, finance, or happiness, ss. Bad guidance is unacceptable, however, with regards to these subjects, it’s the worst thing.
Using E-A-T as a system when working on your Brand’s digital marketing strategies will help you take a holistic approach to your SEO and content promotion. Taking note of these three pillars is essential especially when you want to rank high on Google for the best search terms in your niche.
However, if you’re in this for the quick win, then there is bad news for you. Building expertise, authority, and, worthiness takes a lot of time. There are no shortcuts and you must obey the rules. We’re no longer in those days when you can just take over Google’s search pages overnight. The EAT strategy will help you build a profitable and successful brand naturally. Building an online presence that will last for a very long time is what you should be striving for. The good news is that if you can master and build an unshakeable EAT, nothing will be able to knock you down from the number 1. spot on Google.