Google E-A-T is a helpful principle that rose to prominence in 2018 and can be used by online creators to boost the quality of their content. E-A-T is an acronym for ‘Expertise’, ‘Authority’, and ‘Trustworthiness’ which represent exactly what Google is looking to see on websites.
What has been dubbed Google’s “Medic Update,” was rolled out with the aim of improving the quality of content online that can influence people’s well-being. Over 42% of web pages affected by the update were in the medical industry, hence the ‘medic’ nickname, but financial, legal, and news pages were affected as well. Topics such as these are called ‘Your Money or Your Life’ topics by Google (abbreviated to YMYL).
When you think about the qualities that type of content should have, we think Google got it right with the E-A-T acronym.
The websites that are able to prove they have all three of these qualities are rewarded with a higher ranking probability. Google’s goal? To promote the creation of high-quality web pages which have a beneficial and helpful purpose.
Google has a massive team of people called Search Quality Raters who comb through the internet to evaluate the effectiveness of Google updates by using E-A-T. These people rate the E-A-T of search results so that Google can see which updates are bringing up the highest quality content they can.
Search Quality Raters don’t have a say in what happens to a webpage with or without E-A-T qualities, and these ratings don’t directly affect the web page’s performance in real-world searches.
What this means instead, is that when Google updates are rolled out (which strive to only include high E-A-T rated search results) web pages that receive low E-A-T ratings will eventually be excluded from search results altogether. It’s survival of the fittest for websites.
To read Google’s search quality evaluator guidelines, click here.
The expertise element of E-A-T focuses on the creator of a web page’s content, such as the writer of an article. This is especially true for content that falls under the ‘YMYL’ umbrella. The creator must be an expert on the subject they write about and this can be interpreted in a few ways.
Expertise also does not need to extend past the webpage the author has written. In other words, one writer can provide the expertise needed for their article, but it won’t affect other articles on the website with which they had no input.So what kind of expertise is needed for different subjects?
Medical and scientific content must be written by someone with formal education in the field and must be updated as new information is discovered.
News articles should be formatted in a traditional journalistic style and give the reader a clear, understandable account of events and information.
Even pages about hobbies, such as everyday fitness or photography, should be written by someone who has demonstrable skill in these fields. In these subjects, formal training is not required to be considered an expert. A self-taught guitar player can write blog posts about guitar playing and can be called an expert if they have the skills to back it up.
Personal experience can count as expertise as well. This is what Google calls “everyday expertise.” An example of this can be found in places like forums where people share their stories about living with a disability or disease. Such people cannot be ‘wrong’ about their lived experience, so while their information may not be the same as others’ with the same conditions, that does not mean Google will view their information as less valid.A- Authority
The Oxford English Dictionary defines authority as, “Power or right to enforce obedience; moral or legal supremacy; the right to command, or give an ultimate decision.”
Remember how we said that a writer’s expertise does not need to extend beyond the page they have written? That’s because the Authority section of E-A-T takes into account the bigger picture for us.
The entire website must be an authority on the subject, and for this to be the case, outside experts and the users of the web page must be in general agreement that the website and its content are reliable and factual.
With a solid and powerful reputation, a website can prove its authority on a subject. The page has the power to put ideas forward as important and push new ideas because people generally agree that it should have that power.
A good example of this is in the fashion world.
Many people over the years have trusted Anna Wintour, editor-in-Chief of Vogue, as a fashion authority because of her skill and reputation as a fashion expert. Her critiques, commendations, and recommendations influence the entire fashion industry and are taken as inspiration by many everyday people.
An authoritative website can have this same power in its own field.
As one caveat, a web page or site is usually only an authority on one subject. Authority in one field does not necessarily translate into an authority in another.T- Trustworthiness
A trustworthy website is one that is honest and truthful.
When a Search Quality Rater is looking through a web page, they want to make sure that it has accurate information, is transparent about where the information comes from, and who the expert is behind it.
Including legitimate sources, credits, contact information, and consistently updated information will give a website and web page a higher Trustworthiness rating. Being able to cross reference and be validated makes a real difference!
A wonderful example of a trustworthy website is the Smithsonian Magazine, a publication that focuses on the topics researched and exhibited by the Smithsonian Institution in the United States. The Smithsonian Magazine credits its writers, quotes scientific experts, updates information as new discoveries are made, and relies on evidence-based research for each of its articles and postings.
Jack Tamisiea’s “How a Smithsonian Botanist Cracked the Cactus Code a Century Ago” blog post showcases all of these trustworthy characteristics, right down to including its date of publication. It’s easy to trust this website and author when they prove they have nothing to hide!
Even though E-A-T scores are not technically a ranking factor, you still want your content to be given a high E-A-T score by a Rater. Why? Because having a high E-A-T score is the first step in making sure that your web content is included among the pages and websites that Google wants updates to favour. It’s another way to get on Google’s good side and increase ranking probability.
Remember: E-A-T doesn’t do SEO for you. It’ll keep you among the list of quality pages and websites that Google suggests in Search, but it’s still up to you to get yourself to the top of search results.
Though there is no way to see your E-A-T score, you only need to follow common sense and best practices to make sure your web pages display the qualities that Google wants to see: expertise, authority, and trustworthiness.
Google E-A-T (expertise, authority, and trustworthiness) can be used to improve your online credibility as both an individual and as a business.
By working these qualities into your web presence, you are giving your business pages a great chance of being considered high-quality content by Google and being favored by future Google updates. And that’s the whole point. When an update is launched, Google’s team of Search Quality Raters makes sure that high-quality pages are the ones being shown in search results. Showcase your business’ expertise, authority, and trustworthiness in all that you do and your content will be the high-quality stuff that Google likes to see.
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