Many factors go into Google’s decision of which websites to list and in what order when a user conducts a search. Google E-A-T, which is used to determine a page’s credibility and trustworthiness, is just one of those methods.
What Is Google E-A-T?
Google’s “E-A-T guideline” refers to expertise (E), authoritativeness (A), and trustworthiness (T). The E-A-T assessment of a website looks at the quality of the author, content, and in general, the entire website, using Google’s Search Quality Rater guidelines. These three characteristics are assessed to determine the quality and trustworthiness of a website.
When Did Google E-A-T Become Relevant?
The concept of E-A-T began in 2014, but E-A-T didn’t really take off until 2018, when it quickly became one of the biggest considerations when deciding on the quality of a webpage. The guidelines stated that certain types of expert content, including medical articles and blogs, had more value when written by industry professionals. This doesn’t necessarily mean that all authors of expert contact need to have degrees in the industry they work in, but they should ideally have a high level of expertise.
Google is continually making updates to its best practice guidelines. Businesses can use these guidelines as a resource to create content and websites that cater to both potential clients and the bots. The reward for content that follows its E-A-T best practices and guidelines are higher placements on search engine results pages.
Why Is Google E-A-T Important?
Google has made it a priority to improve the results people receive when conducting a search. By considering the E-A-T algorithm among other important SEO components, Google can provide users with search results that are trustworthy and relevant to their search.
The Google E-A-T guideline is especially important in YMYL websites. YMYL refers to “Your Money or Your Life,” which covers websites that have the potential to influence a user’s major life decisions in such areas as health, safety, and finances. These websites provide users with information such as news, current events, finance, and shopping. Because these websites are influential, Google uses E-A-T to decide which ones are the most credible. Google continually uses E-A-T to fight disinformation among the flood of content available on the internet.
4 Ways Google Evaluates E-A-T
E-A-T is a concept, leading to industry leaders having their own opinions on what it reveals. Google hasn’t assigned a value to each component, leaving brands to try to figure out which factors are most important. While it isn’t clear how much each Google E-A-T algorithm component weighs in the overall quality of a website, Google does consider the following factors:
Website authority refers to the credibility of a webpage’s author. This involves a combination of the author’s professional background and credentials, content ratings, date of publishing, and previous ratings. Google has also mentioned transparency as being one of the factors that determine an author or website’s authority level.
A backlink is a link from one website to another. The number of backlinks isn’t as important as the quality of the backlinks. Page rank refers to a value that Google assigns to each website, with sites that are more trustworthy and informative achieving higher scores. When these credible sites link to another site, it essentially funnels the trustworthiness of that site to the other one.
Quality content that is written for the user, rather than the search bot, also factors into E-A-T. This means methods such as keyword stuffing are no longer beneficial to SEO as they provide no value to the user. With E-A-T guidelines, Google expects websites to provide users with quality content. Quality content means content that is relevant, engaging, informative, and accurate.
Google also considers the expertise of the content’s author. Google evaluates whether the author has sufficient experience and knowledge to write on a certain topic.
Customer reviews not only provide credibility to a brand but also improve trustworthiness. Brands that have positive reviews on multiple platforms are more likely to appear higher in SEO search results. In one of its most recent updates, Google expanded the importance of verified customer reviews to also include product sales.
Rather than looking at E-A-T as a way to calculate the quality of a page, it’s best to use it as a guide. The E-A-T principle is important in achieving high SEO rankings.
The Future of E-A-T
The future of E-A-T and whether Google will come out with an official way to calculate it is uncertain but unlikely. In the meantime, brands can focus on publishing quality content that is user-friendly. Despite the importance of Google E-A-T, Google repeatedly claims that E-A-T on its own is not a ranking factor. Instead, E-A-T is used as a guideline when evaluating the quality of a website.
While Google is continually releasing algorithm updates to better improve user experience, one thing stays consistent. Despite numerous changes, Google has committed to improving user experience, and E-A-T is one of the ways to do that.