If you ask most people if they want to be the best at any given thing, they’re probably going to say yes.
Who wouldn’t want to be the best at what they do? But who or what is the best depends on what criteria are used to evaluate quality.
If you want an “A” grade, you need to know how you’re being graded. If you want to win the gold medal, you need to know how the judges will score you. If you want to have the highest rank in Google search results, you need to understand E-A-T.
E-A-T (Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness) are the guidelines that Google uses to determine the quality of a website. Then, they rank it accordingly.
When you make and publish a website, it will eventually be seen and manually reviewed against these guidelines by one of the thousands of quality reviewers Google hires to submit feedback about webpages. That information is used as a major contributing factor in determining search engine results page rankings.
So let’s break down each of these categories:
One of the wonderful and horrible things about the internet is that anyone can publish anything.
When you come to a search engine like Google and put in a search term, you want results from people who actually understand the subject they’re writing on.
To do well in this category, you need to show that you have a particular kind of expert knowledge related to the content of your site. Otherwise, how can readers rely on you?
Think about this: if your site offers unreliable or only basic knowledge that doesn’t help the audience solve their problem, they’re just going to go somewhere else and fast. That’s not good for you but it’s not good for Google either so your site ranking will suffer.
Provide clear, detailed information which shows your expertise and experience and you will succeed in this category.
If you hadn’t noticed there are a lot of websites and businesses out there to choose from. Truly a lot of them. So, people will choose the ones that have authority.
Authority can come in the form of reviews, references, any kind of recommendations. These are things that prove your credibility as a business.
When other credible sources are recommending you as a credible source, that boosts your position as an authority even higher and gives customers something they can really put their faith (and maybe even their money) into.
Ah, trust. Is there anything as hard to win and easy to lose?
Click baiting will lose your audience’s trust in an instant. If someone clicks on your site for one thing that you claimed to be offering or writing about and very clearly doesn’t find that thing, forget about ever seeing that person on your site again. The payoff simply isn’t there and Google knows that.
Being accurate and consistent in the way you portray yourself and your content will help to build trust. Don’t try to hide sponsorships or affiliate links. Don’t push the sale at the cost of honesty and transparency.
Your audience and potential customers won’t respond well and neither will Google, creating quite a nasty cycle where the main loser is your business.
Trust is worth the effort. Write that down so you don’t forget. That’s how true this is.
Hopefully, the importance of these three descriptors is somewhat obvious just from reading their descriptions and running a business.
You always want to be an expert in your field, authoritative, and trustworthy.
Meeting the E-A-T guidelines is one of the most important things you can do to stay high in Google rankings, according to SEO professionals.
It will keep the people who visit your website from going elsewhere and developing a negative view of your business.
It will make Google drive traffic toward your site over others because the reviews show users will have a better experience on your website.
It will help you gain or maintain a favorable position in search engine results, positively impacting your traffic and revenue.
Sound good? It should.
Here’s how you can actually make it happen.
Improving E-A-T is no small feat and it will require a significant amount of work. But here are some of the highlights of what you should do:
Just by answering these questions and making some adjustments, you can go a long way toward improving your site in terms of E-A-T.
Quality content creation is the most important of all so even if it takes some time, it’s worth focusing your energy there. Try using this guide to write effective content.
Working on E-A-T will only be beneficial if you know what you’re doing so here are some common misconceptions you shouldn’t believe.
You aren’t assigned a score for your adherence to the E-A-T guidelines by Google’s algorithm or the quality raters.
It’s not like the SAT where a few more points can get you into Harvard or in this case, the top of the search results page.
The way your website exhibits expertise, authority, and trustworthiness indirectly affect the rankings of your website (fairly significantly) but this can’t be tied back to a single score or internal grade from Google.
Though these three letters have become the subject of much discussion lately, E-A-T is not actually new. It has been around since 2014 but many erroneously link it to a summer 2018 algorithm update.
This can be important information to consider if you’ve seen significant increases or decreases in rankings over that period. If you can tie those changes to one update, you may be better able to address any problems or identify the root cause of any successes.
After reading this and other articles about the importance of E-A-T you may start to think it’s where you should focus all of your energy when it comes to SEO. Not true!
Traditional SEO practices are complements to and not replacements for strategies to improve E-A-T.
Think of them as toothbrushes and toothpaste, cars and gas, coffee machines and coffee beans, or whatever other two things that you can think of that go together. Anything that will help you remember that traditional SEO and E-A-T should be used together, not separately.
E-A-T itself is not an algorithm. Of the many, many algorithms that Google uses to determine ranking scores, lots of them use signals that relate to good or bad E-A-T.
It’s not simple and it can be hard to conceptualize but the important takeaway here is that there is no one-to-one correlation between improving E-A-T and immediately ranking higher but it will positively contribute.
Related to that idea is the thought that improving E-A-T can instantaneously boost search engine results rankings.
This process will take time and effort. If you have no patience for that, E-A-T probably isn’t for you. But then, running a business probably isn’t either.
If you want to make it happen and stick with it, using the guidelines provided above, the results you’re looking for will come in time.
Now that you have all this information, it’s time to put it into action. But, you don’t have to do it alone.
Sometimes you have to look yourself in the mirror and be honest about your strengths and weaknesses. Or look at your calendar and realize you have no extra time left.
If that’s the case, don’t worry.
Our team of expert professionals will boost your E-A-T and SEO to bring your online presence to the next level.
Soar in the search engine results page, driving visitors to your page and growing your revenue. It’s possible with SEO.co.
See what we can do for you with a custom marketing plan here.