Amid the hundreds of algorithm updates, one concept is constant throughout your SEO efforts to rank on Google search: quality content. High-quality content appeals to users and the search engine. When your website provides well-researched, well-written articles and accurate copy about your business, you’re meeting consumer as well as Google expectations.
It takes a lot of work to generate good quality content, yes. But you’re not going to be doing this without some type of “recipe.” That “recipe” is referred to as the E-A-T principle. You’ve likely heard of it in conjunction with YMYL.
For anyone who has yet to wrap their mind around E-A-T, throwing another acronym into the pot could get a little overwhelming.
Let’s dig into this content optimization recipe and discover its value for your content marketing strategy.
E-A-T is short for expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness. The principle is one of several Search Quality Evaluator Guidelines that looks into page quality rating. It’s not an update. It’s not an algorithm.
Although you may come across SEO articles indicating that it’s a ranking factor, the E-A-T principle really is more of a rating factor.
A computer program can’t rank a page based on the E-A-T because it covers human concepts. A program understands code, not expertise, authoritativeness, or trustworthiness. Google uses the E-A-T as insight when engineers need to improve the ranking algorithms. In this regard, the E-A-T can be used as a kind of ranking factor.
This explains the drop in rankings for many medical, health care, legal, finance, and news sites, or websites referred to as YMYL, during the 2018 “medic” update.
E-A-T is relevant for websites covering topics under YMYL: Your Money Your Life. This is why you’ll hear the acronym mentioned after conversations around E-A-T.
YMYL topics require E-A-T because they affect people’s finances, health, safety, and happiness. If your website is about any of these topics or provides content relevant to these topics, page quality raters (humans, yes) will look at your web pages in terms of YMYL. If your website doesn’t cover any of these topics, quality raters don’t have to put your pages through a stringent evaluation under E-A-T.
For example, a website about cat health care may need to be evaluated under E-A-T whereas a website about cat memes likely doesn’t need to be put through a rigorous rating.
The quality raters will determine the purpose of your pages. Why was it created? Once the raters figure out whether your page serves a purpose and identifies that purpose, the work of putting it through the E-A-T begins.
Quality raters evaluate the main content of websites using three levels of rating: lowest, medium, and highest. If you’re wondering about an E-A-T score, it doesn’t exist. Instead, pages are deemed as having a low-, medium-, or high-level of E-A-T.
What does each concept in the principle entail?
Does the main creator of the content have credentials to write about the topics?
Before you enroll in a master’s degree course to back up your content, know that “expertise” isn’t limited to formal education. A person can accumulate sufficient life experience that rises to an expert level. Expertise also depends on the topic of the page.
Does the main creator of the content have industry recognition to write about the topics?
An authoritative website is known as a good source for its topic. It has achieved a good reputation, especially among experts in its field. A finance news site, for example, with reports that have won the Pulitzer is going to have a high-level of authority.
Does the main creator of the content provide accurate information about its topics?
Quality raters considering the trustworthiness of a page also look into the transparency and legitimacy of the content. Websites dealing with medical advice, finance matters, scientific topics, and the like need to secure a high degree of trust. Ecommerce brands also need to demonstrate trustworthiness since online transactions are involved.
The quality raters not only evaluate the main content of the page; they also consider the main content creator and the website in the rating.
So it’s helpful to have the following:
No matter what topic your website covers, updated content is crucial to getting a high level E-A-T. While your updating your content, you’ll want to check your facts, too. If a content is lacking in authoritative sources, add relevant ones.
Even if you were running a website about recipes, including a nutritionist, chef or influencer foodie can add some credibility to your content.
Articles with “admin” or the name of your website as authors can appear dubious for YMYL topics. If your authors don’t have it yet, add a short bio on their pages with links to their online profiles. The idea is to boost the expert status of your authors by including their credentials in the bio or your “About” page.
For ecommerce brands and professional services, good reviews contribute to good reputation. And good reputation leads to authority and trust. If you have low ratings on a credible review platform, find out what business improvements you need to make. Later on, you may want to look into reputation management as another solution to poor ratings.
A mention on an industry news site or a well-recognized blog improves your reputation, which boosts your authoritativeness. Platforms like HARO give you mention opportunities in recognized websites because it’ll connect you to journalists looking to get sources for their stories. You can find reporters writing about any topic in any industry.
Search algorithms will continue to evolve (becoming increasingly, maybe frighteningly human in its processes) as technology advances. And Google will be clear about its focus: the user, and whether they’re getting what they need from the search results. The expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness of your content plays a role in ensuring the best user experience. Although it’s not a direct ranking factor the way keywords, meta data or URL structure (among hundreds) are, the E-A-T principle is a good “recipe” for optimizing your content. In turn, your optimized content, with its quality backlinks, has the power to propel your position in the SERPs.