What Is the Google E-A-T Principle and How To Apply it To Boost Your Rankings?
The days when any website could appear overnight on the first page of Google are long gone. Every business owner knows about search engine optimization (SEO) and digital marketing, but few realise it should be done right to work. To be among the top competitors on Google Search, you must care for and cultivate your online website by proving expertise, authority and trustworthiness. Shortly, E-A-T. Google’s search algorithm constantly changes to deliver the most relevant results to search queries and provide the best user experience. Therefore, guidelines are set in place by the search engine to ensure that only those who cherish their target audience will be featured on the first page of the search engine results page (SERP).
This article discusses the E-A-T principle: what it is, why it is essential, and how to apply it to your online business. Follow along to learn everything you need to know about Google E-A-T guidelines.
What Is the E-A-T Principle?
In 2013 Google released a document called Search Quality Rater Guidelines that help SEO specialists understand and evaluate the quality of the search results and adapt their work according to best practices. The E-A-T principle stands for expertise, authority and trustworthiness. Let’s take each element and analyze it further.
How can you demonstrate your expertise in the industry on a particular topic, product or service? The first step is to possess knowledge about that subject. You should know how to communicate with your audience and engage them with your content. To do so, you must understand user intent and give them what they want. Moreover, you should know how to get to them because only having the knowledge is not enough to boost your organic traffic.
You can write high-quality content and post website pages about who you are and what you stand for, what makes you an expert in your field, your strengths, etc. If you do not have an “About Us” or “Author Bio” on your website, we recommend creating them. Keep in mind that every little detail connected to your expertise should be mentioned. More than that, you can write blog posts on specific topics. Before starting to create, do keyword research and find out your customer’s needs. You can meet and exceed their expectations by precisely knowing what they want.
Authority can be increased by citations and external links from reliable sources. When experts in your industry cite your content, your authority increases. Moreover, your SEO rank can get higher when you get inbound links, which is an excellent endorsement method.
Another way to grow your search engine rankings to growing authority is to have your content shared consistently and authentically on social media channels.
Domain authority can also increase branded queries. The branded search volume can measure your brand authority, and when users add another keyword to your brand name is better news for search engines. Also, having a Wikipedia page signals that you are an authority.
The last E-A-T principle element is trustworthiness. You become a trusted brand when people are positively talking about you. Positive reviews on Facebook, Google My Business, Trustpilot, Clutch, etc., are helping users trust your brand more.
Remember that you cannot please everyone, and you can receive some negative reviews. In this case, we strongly recommend addressing them and trying to solve the issue. Both positive and negative reviews need responses, and Google checks both review types and rates your online business accordingly. If the lousy feedback is higher than the positive one, Google will give you a low-quality score, impacting your search engine rankings.
Why E-A-T Is Important for SEO?
E-A-T criteria are decisive for all search queries but for some counts more than for others. There are times when you look for light topics such as pictures of animals, where the E-A-T is not as important as when you look let’s say medical advice such as the right dosage of pain medication. If Google were to display a piece of content written by a person whose level of expertise in that domain is low, published on a shady website with no authority, then the possibility of that content being faulty and deceptive is very high. This is just an example and we do not advise you to self medicate without a specialist’s advice.
The websites that can impact your future happiness, health, financial stability and user safety are categorized by Google as YMYL (Your Money or Your Life). eCommerce, medical, news, financial and legal advice websites fall under this bracket and have higher page quality standards. If your website is focused around a YMYL topic, then Google E-A-T is crucial!
Google releases a core update two or three times a year. The E-A-T principle was updated in July 2018 and had a significant impact on the search ranking of multiple websites. With the guideline changes, the E-A-T quality evaluators started to review the content creator and the website. This change began with the health topics as nowadays they must be written by medical experts to be considered trustworthy and authoritative content. The YMYL articles should include author boxes linked to the content creator’s profile.
Photo by Damien Lusson
Our Advice: How To Boost Your Rankings By Applying The E-A-T?
As the E-A-T is decisive for your search ranking and your content is valuable for real people looking for advice, your website content must be accurate and well-optimized.
We have some advice for you to help create trustworthy and authoritative content:
- Introduce yourself to your visitors – Google wants to identify the content creator and if that person is an authentic source of knowledge and everyday expertise. We consider an About Us or Meet the Team page to be crucial. If you have a blog around the YMYL topic, an author page or an author bio is a great way to prove your expertise, authority and trustworthiness.
- Collaborate with content creators with expertise – Google only trusts people with the proper knowledge, which is more important than high-quality content. If you host any guest post on your site, make sure the source is an expert and link their bio. We strongly recommend you collaborate with people with expertise than hiring random writers that can produce high-volume content pieces full of clickbait terms.
- Make sure your content has a clear purpose – your content should deliver a clear purpose. Is it educational, persuasive, or transactional? We advise you to use titles and headings to clarify your content’s purpose. More than that, we also recommend you use straight to the point and clear language.
- Keep your content updated – with the new studies getting published every day, the technology and trends changing fast, and Google updating its algorithm often, your content should keep the pace. We recommend refreshing your content once in 2 years to keep it accurate and reanalyze your SEO strategy. If you are in an industry that changes faster, you should update your content more often.
- Your outbound links should lead to trustworthy sources – when you rely on actual data, we strongly recommend you link to official studies, research papers and references to sustain your arguments. You can also link to publications, reports, or even tweets by industry professionals who have established credibility and expertise.
- Offer multiple perspectives on a subject – people are different, and they do not think the same way. When analyzing a problem, consider looking at it from various angles because your purpose is to demonstrate expertise to gain people’s trust. Explaining multiple viewpoints will make you look like an expert on the subject.
- Monitor and improve your online reputation – your reputation impacts your website and company’s T (trustworthiness). Monitor the online reviews and respond to negative reviews without hesitation. Claim your social media profiles to prove they are real and encourage your customers to leave a review about their experience in interacting with you.
The E-A-T guidelines are apparent and to the point. Therefore, correctly implementing them will guarantee your “survival” in the search rankings and successfully avoid getting penalized or suffering a massive hit after a Google core update.
If you struggle with your digital marketing, content creation and SEO, we can help you create a rock-solid strategy that will help your business increase rankings and have healthy organic growth. Contact us today, and let’s optimize your website using only white hat best practices to ensure the success of your business. If you want to learn more about how Google’s algorithm can impact your business, read our blog, look at our case studies to familiarise yourself with our work, and check out our Clutch profile to understand how we work with our partners.