Google E-A-T: Expertise, Authoritativeness & Trustworthiness

Google E-A-T: Expertise, Authoritativeness & Trustworthiness

What is the Google E-A-T?

E‑A-T is an acronym for Expertise, Authoritativeness and Trustworthiness.

It was established in 2013 when Google published it’s Search Quality Rater Guidelines, a 168 page document used by Google’s team of quality raters (humans) to manually review the search results.

Google is no longer just looking for “well written content.” Most of all, they want to rank “accurate content” from authoritative sources.

Think about it… If Google ranks websites that include inaccurate content, they are helping to provide users with bad advice and they therefore lose credibility.

How Important is your E-A-T?

The importance of E-A-T will vary considerably from one industry to another. For example, if you are looking for medical or finance advice (where bad advice can potentially cause catastrophic damage) E-A-T is a major factor. Google refers to these topics as YMYL (Your Money or Your Life) and in Google’s words:

“Some types of pages or topics could potentially impact a person’s future happiness, health, financial stability, or safety.”

However, if you are searching for “cute cat videos” E-A-T is unlikely to be a factor.

How Does Google Evaluate your E-A-T?

Expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness are evaluated independently using a different set of criteria:

Expertise

Google define ‘expertise’ as having a high level of skill or knowledge in a particular field. They are chiefly looking at the on-page content within a website and whether the author / company is an expert.

For businesses in YMYL industries, Google is looking for “formal” expertise, qualifications and education.  By example, a Financial Planner is more qualified to write about superannuation than someone who has read a few blog posts about the topic.

For non-YMYL businesses, Google is more focused on relevant life experience and “everyday expertise.” In Google’s words:

“Some topics require less formal expertise. If it seems as if the person creating the content has the type and amount of life experience to make him or her an “expert” on the topic, we will value this “everyday expertise” and not penalise the person/webpage/website for not having “formal” education or training in the field.”

Authoritativeness

Authority refers to the reputation of the author with experts and influencers within the industry. In other words, if people see an author or website as the go-to source for information within that industry, they are an “authority.”

Google looks for the following when trying to determine your authority: “reviews, references, recommendations by experts, news articles, and other credible information created/written by individuals about the website.”

Trustworthiness

Trustworthiness refers to the legitimacy, transparency, and accuracy of the author and website.

Google raters look at several factors when determining if a source is trusted. Firstly, does the website state who has written the content? If not, Google cannot determine the authority and expertise of the author…

By including prominent contact details and citing trustworthy sources within the content, you can help to improve your “trust.”

Is it a Ranking Factor?

Kind of… We all know that Google’s main ranking factors are backlinks and quality of content. These are tangible and therefore their algorithm is able to evaluate these factors and rank your website accordingly.

On the other hand, expertise, authoritativeness and trustworthiness, are far less tangible and fundamentally “human concepts.” So how does Google combat this you ask?

  1. Google’s team of engineers refine the algorithm in an attempt to improve the quality of search results.
  2. They show results to their quality raters with and without implementing the proposed changes. The raters are not notified which results are which and they provide feedback to Google.
  3. Google considers the feedback and decides how the proposed changes will impact the search results. When they feel they will have a positive impact, the changes will be added to the algorithm.

How Do I Improve my Websites E-T-A?

There are several actions you can take to improve your E-T-A which include:

  • Get more customer reviews
  • Check the accuracy of your content
  • Build links from authoritative websites
  • Get more mentions from authoritative websites
  • Keep your content fresh and up-to-date
  • Employ experts within your organisation and ask them to write content
  • Ensure that your credentials and contact details are prominent
  • Setup a Wikipedia profile

To Summarise

SEO experts are predicting that E-A-T will start to affect more and more searches over the coming years. If you’re in an YMYL industry take action now, although don’t ignore it if you’re not!

 Want to Know More?

At Adrenaline Design & Marketing, we offer a uniquely effective and transparent SEO Service that ticks all of the boxes with Google. Contact Brad today to discuss your business objectives and receive a free online marketing strategy.

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