Expertise, Authoritativeness, Trustworthiness. Why is E-A-T so critical for SEO?

When you hear people talk about SEO, you may listen to them talk about E-A-T.

Although this acronym is only three letters long, it is extremely important if you want your website content to rank highly in Google.

In this article, we will take a look at what E-A-T stands for and how you can use it to create high-quality content for your site.

What does E-A-T mean?

E-A-T stands for ‘expertise, authoritativeness and trustworthiness’. These are three attributes that Google highly values when it comes to page content on websites.

  • Expertise – is the person who created the content an expert in their chosen field of knowledge?
  • Authoritativeness – do people trust the person who created the content (as well as the website) as a leading voice in the industry?
  • Trustworthiness – is the content honest, true and accurate?

Bear in mind that E-A-T doesn’t just apply to the page content. It applies to the person who wrote the content too. More on that later.

Why is E-A-T so important to Google?

E-A-T has always been important to Google and has been referred to in documents going as far back as 2013. However, the acronym came to prominence in the summer of 2018 in an update SEO expert Barry Schwartz referred to as the ‘medic update’.

In this update, Google wanted to ensure people were finding information that was accurate. After all, if people found medical, political or financial information that was not correct and ended up getting hurt or getting in trouble, Google could be found liable.

As a result of the update, many medical websites found that their ratings tanked in Google as their content was not seen as trustworthy enough.

E-A-T and YMYL

E-A-T is essential to all websites, but more so to those that specialise in what Google refers to as ‘Your Money or Your Life’ (YMYL) topics. These include (but are not limited to) medical advice, legal advice, news articles and parenting information.

Essentially, any information that could have a critical effect on someone’s health or wellbeing if it is wrong is seen as YMYL.

How does Google measure E-A-T?

Google has several thousand search quality raters across the world who evaluate search results. These people are given a guidelines booklet and rate the pages that appear in the top results.

This information is then passed to Google, which uses it to improve its regularly updated search algorithms.

How can I ensure my page ranks highly for E-A-T?

If you want to take steps to improve E-A-T on your website, the good news is that there are a number of steps you can take.

Here are our top tips.

  1. Make sure your authors are experts in their chosen field

If you need health advice, who are you more likely to trust? A doctor, or someone with no experience in the medical industry? The same logic applies to your web content.

If you work in an industry that Google deems as a YMYL industry, get an expert to create your content.

We’d also recommend giving your author a by-line on your site. List their qualifications, social media profiles and links to previous articles they have written. This will help provide proof of their knowledge and credentials.

  1. Create high-quality, up to date content

You want to give your web visitors reason to trust the content you put out. Take the time to write well-researched content, and fact-check your sources.

Regularly go back to your content to see if it needs to be updated. Up to date content is more likely to be trusted than old, out of date information.

  1. Review your existing content

If you have existing content that you don’t think stands up to E-A-T, take the time to audit it.

Remove any inaccurate or thin content or ask an expert in the field to review it.

From an E-A-T perspective, it is better to have a small number of high-quality authoritative pages than lots of poor-quality ones.

  1. Give your visitors reason to trust you

Showcase the reasons why your visitors should trust your authority in your chosen field.

For example:

  • Mention the accreditations you have achieved and the awards you have won on your ‘about us’ page
  • Add customer testimonials and case studies that highlight your expertise and skillset
  • Grow positive reviews on sites like Google My Business, Trustpilot, Indeed, Facebook and TripAdvisor. If you do get any negative feedback, be sure to respond to it in a comprehensive and timely manner
  • Link to press releases and editorials that you have featured in
  • Use schema markup to support your credentials. This will give Google more context about your content and help it improve its Knowledge Graph
  • Include contact details so visitors can get in touch if they have any questions or issues

If other authoritative sites link back to your page, it’s a sign that your content can be trusted.

For example, if you write an SEO blog and several other SEO experts mention or recommend your blog – this is a positive ranking signal. If one of your articles is linked to from a trustworthy news source or is featured on Wikipedia, this will help too.

Although improving E-A-T on your website may sound challenging, making changes will not only help improve your Google ranking but enhance the user experience on your site too.

What changes will you make today to make your site more authoritative and trustworthy?