In August of 2018, Google released a document called “Search Quality Guidelines” to accompany the Google Algorithm update now commonly known as “The Medic Update.” In this document, the acronym E-A-T was mentioned over 186 times and what it stands for is now among the top considerations for page quality. High quality tactical SEO pages have a considerable focus on E-A-T while low quality pages don’t. Let’s look at what E-A-T SEO is and how it will impact your website’s rankings.
E-A-T: Expertise, Authority, Trustworthiness
- Expertise – Is the author an expert on the subject matter? Is your content truthful and useable? Google wants to know who is responsible for the website content and if they are knowledgeable in the given field or topic. Any statistics used must be cited and sources must be linked to.
- Authority – Credentials are important, particularly if you are discussing medical, financial or legal topics. Is your business and website highly rated and reviewed? Do you have testimonials or case studies available? If your website has community boards, the quality of the conversation on each page will impact Google’s rankings.
- Trustworthiness – Demonstrate to Google that users can trust the website from a technical perspective. Does your website have an SSL certificate? Do you sell goods on your website? E-Commerce sites must have secure payment portals. Do you have the term scam, or negative feedback on the better business bureau? Trust measures and deficiencies heavily impact your EAT SEO.
Aspects of a High Quality E-A-T Web Page
According to the 2015 Search Quality Evaluator Guidelines from Google, a high E-A-T quality page possesses:
- Enough main content (MC): content should be ample enough to satisfy the needs of a user for a page’s unique topic and purpose (broad topics require more information than narrow topics, for example)
- The page and its associated content is expert, authoritative, and trustworthy for the topic they discuss
- The website has a positive reputation for its page topics
- The website features enough auxiliary information, for example, “About us,” “Contact,” or “Customer Service” information
- The website features supplementary content (SC) that enhances the user’s enjoyment and experience of a web page
- The page is designed in a functional fashion that allows users to easily locate the information they want
- The website is maintained and edited regularly and frequently
In a nutshell, your content must demonstrate experience, credibility and knowledge, your author must possess relevant credentials and skills, and your website must be professional and secure.
Why E-A-T SEO Important for Your Website Rankings
E-A-T as a measurable aspect was first published by Google in 2014 alongside YMYL, Your Money, Your Life. The first step in Google’s on-going mission to “organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful,” means rewarding websites that provide valuable, well organized content. Alternatively, websites that lack purpose or cause harm or deceit users, are pushed down the SERP or, in most cases, deindexed. Over the last 5 years, Google has continued to refine their algorithm, placing more and more emphasis on E-A-T to stop predatory SEO tactics and improve the overall experience for searchers.
These incremental updates came to a point in the second half of 2018, when Google confirmed a broad core algorithm update, know known as the Medic update. If you’ve noticed volatility in your rankings, domain authority or traffic, you may have been affected by this update. Ian Booth via Moz on Twitter:
How to make your site E-A-T Friendly
- Make sure your site has a robust “About” page: Experience, credentials and reputation are critical. Make sure you have employee bios, a mission statement and clear signs of authority. Make sure you are performing internal linking to the about page from your blogs and pillar pages. Be clear about who you are, what you do and your experience.
- Include “About the Author” section for every blog entry: Include a photo, bio, and address your E-A-T on your bio. Make sure this bio section links to your about page.
- Include credible links and sources for your content: Make sure you are citing provided data, news or any other external information in your content. Your content should be accurate, truthful and accessible. If you make a claim, make sure you can back it up.
- Obtain valuable and credible backlinks: High domain authority pages linking to your site improve your overall authoritativeness. Make sure you are disavowing toxic links. If you are performing any reputation management, make sure your public information is consistent and generally positive.
- Is your content low quality? Make sure any existing and future content has the depth and breadth to appropriately cover the given topic. Was the blog hastily written or is the headline clickbait? Do you make promises that don’t deliver?
- Does your website have inappropriate images or ads? Along with hindering your Pagespeed, graphic content can hurt the overall credibility of your site.
- Does the author have a bad online reputation? Does the author’s name bring up negative reviews, scams or complaints? If you accept guest bloggers, make sure their online reputation is generally positive.
Final Thoughts on E-A-T Search Engine Optimization
Bringing your site up to optimal E-A-T SEO standards takes time. The most important thing to consider is your user. Make sure your website is accessible, trustworthy, accurate and safe. You should consider Google a long-term SEO strategic business partner rather than an adversary. Try using Pagespeed insights or Google Lighthouse to get a high-level understanding of how to improve your website’s speed. Commit to using their guidelines to improve your site and elevate your content. Click here to learn more about important digital marketing trends.