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Over the past few months, you’ve probably seen the buzzword (or acronym, rather) “E-A-T” floating around. While this term has been in the lexicon of many SEOs for quite a while now, since the major Google algorithm update in August 2018 (AKA “the medic update”), a big bright spotlight has been shone on Google’s “E-A-T” — and it’s been frequently on the lips and fingertips of most SEOs ever since.
So why amI talking about it now? Because the days are long gone when you could pop up onGoogle overnight. To rank well onGoogle, you need to nurture your brand by building its expertise, authority, and trustworthiness — which is exactly what E-A-T stands for!
In this post, I'll cover the three pillars of E-A-T and share tips onhow to incorporate each into your content strategy so that you can rank for the best search terms in your industry.
Initially, this “medic” update seemed to have hit loads of websites offering health and medical advice, more than any other vertical. Therefore, acclaimed search engine marketing journalist Barry Schwartz declared it “the medic update.”
Yet, while this update certainly did hit many medical websites, it also hit many other websites that could be categorized under what Google calls “YMYL sites” — yep, another flippin’ acronym (and no, it’s not a confused person singing a certain Village People hit).
Digital marketers are notorious for using jargon and having tons of acronyms, but this time, itwas Google themselves who added these YMYL and E-A-T to the ever-growing pile of potentially confusing insider lingo.
YMYL is a quality rating for content that stands for “Your Money or Your Life". Google doesn’t just care about delivering the most relevant information — they also want to deliver the correct information. With certain types of searches, there is a huge potential to negatively impact users’ “happiness, health, or wealth” — in other words, were these pages low quality, they have the potential to impact a user’s well-being.
So, when it comes to health, financial issues, and safety, Google doesn’t want to serve up links to pages that share uneducated advice, opinions, or potentially fraudulent websites. Google wants to be as certain as possible that they are recommending sites that display a high level of expertise, authority, and trustworthiness — which iswhat E-A-T stands for! It’s Google’s way of protecting searchers from low-quality content that has the potential to be detrimental to a searcher.
If your business falls under the umbrella label of happiness, health, or wealth then E-A-T might be vital for you to understand, so keep reading!
Google search quality evaluator guidelines
E-A-T and YMYL came from a very important Google document known as “the Google Search Quality Evaluator Guidelines”.
Back in 2015, Google officially released its Search Quality Evaluator Guidelines and this gave us an idea of what is deemed to be a high (or low) quality website, from Google's perspective.
Check out this article from 2015 on the Moz blog — 30+ Important Takeaways from Google's Search Quality Rater's Guideline for an insight into their importance and why us SEOs need to take these guidelines seriously.
The document was written for their human rating team, who are performing important searches all day long and evaluating websites which top the Google results for those searches. Apparently, there are about 10,000 people employed by Google to carry out these spot-checks, a process which is designed to check up on the ranking algorithms effectiveness in recognizing web page quality.
The learnings from the quality rating team inform Google’s engineers on how to improve the ranking algorithm. As the folks at Google often remind us, their ranking algorithm is a continuously improving process, with updates made very regularly.
Check out Marie Haynes talk at Brighton SEO 2018, where she breaks down the ‘Search Quality Evaluator Guidelines’ for us, in plain English with some of her own insights.
The 2018 update to the guidelines
A week after the July 2018 update to the guidelines, Google made some additionsthat carried some significant impact:The quality evaluators would now be asked to review not only a website’s E-A-T but also the content creators E-A-T too. This is huge news.
So, from now on Google wants to see who the author of a page’s main content is and what their credentials are with regards to the subject matter, particularly if it’s a YMYL subject.
This means that we should now be building up author E-A-T as well as website E-A-T. Some ways you might achieve this is by having author boxes, with links to author profiles elsewhere online and using author schema markup, i.e. structured data that tells Google all about the author, making it easier to connect the author with any other authority signals (such a author profiles on authority sites, social media profiles, etc.).
Above is an example of a good author profile [KB1] given to Google quality evaluators in the guidelines. It declares who has written this content and shares some credentials. It’s very easy for an algorithm to connect the dots and find this author on other websites (something we assume Google does).
Did you know E-A-T is mentioned 186 times in the QRG? pic.twitter.com/Nze7fQzoTo— Marie Haynes (@Marie_Haynes) October 11, 2018
One key takeaway (or concept) from this document is E-A-T.
As Marie Haynes’ tweet points out, the term E-A-T is used 186 times in the guide. There’s no question that this is an important criterion for how a page’s quality is perceived by Google.
So, let's be sure we understand what Google E-A-T is, exactly.
To be an expert is defined by theOxford dictionary as being “very knowledgeable about or skillful in a particular area”. However, possessing this knowledge alone is not going to get traffic flooding to your website from Google.
You need to understand how to communicate this knowledge in a way that engages people. It comes down to not only having the information but also knowing what your audience wants and how best to deliver the information to them.
Whenever a Googler is asking the question "How can my site improve its rankings?" the stock answer most often seems to be something like:“Create great content that your audience loves.” While this may seem like an overly-simplistic answer (and it is), it’s an answer which pretty much sums up what I’m writing about in this post, to be honest.
How do we create expert content? Well, here are a few tips to answer that question:
- Find out what your audience is searching for, then meet and exceed their needs. This begins with keyword research.
- Try to understand the searchers intentbehind the terms you discover during that keyword research.
You should understand what stage these searchers are at in their journey as a consumer or as somebody getting involved in your industry. There are a plethora of situations here, depending on your exact case, but if you’re targeting, for example,a search term that clearly is for somebody who is new to the subject matter, then try not to use too much jargon and or gloss-over points that a novice is unlikely to understand.
- Find the balance between being comprehensive while keeping it simple. This comes down to formatting your text so it’s digestible, using visual aids or rich media like video or audio. A perfect example of this is Moz’s Whiteboard Friday series. We want the consumer of the content to truly understand the subject by the end, without making it too laborious.
- Think about thenext queries a searcher might have and have content ready to answer that, too. Suitable supplementary content should be internally linked and easy to access. It’s all about becoming the go-to source of information in your field.
Being an expert is great, but it's only the beginning. When other experts or influencers in your vertical are citing you as a source of information or when your name (or your brand) becomes synonymous with the relevant topics, then you are not just an expert —you're the authority.
Here are some of the KPI’s when it comes to judging your authoritativeness:
- Links from relevant and authoritative websites are of course a huge factor when it comes to ranking websites and we certainly can’t discuss any framework for SEO success without emphasizing this.
Note: When we talk links, it’s all about building your domain’s authority. This means we want relevant websites who have gained authority in the space already to recommend us and there is no better endorsement that a website can get from another website owner, than a link.(Video) Local SEO Guide How to Optimize For Google's E A T Algorithm
- While links are ideal, simply being mentioned in the news or on authoritative websites in your space will still boost your authoritativeness, in Google’s eyes. So, mentions are also something to strive for.
- We can use the Moz Domain Authority score to help us understand the authority of a website. It can be used for a quick look at our own website or for the websites linking to us and gives us an idea of the current level of authority.
- Another reliable gauge of authority and trustworthiness is the Majestic ‘trust ratio’ score. If you can get a score close to 1.0 you know things are going well.
- If your content is widely shared, genuinely and consistently across social media, this is also asign of growing authority.
- Building a brand is a good idea for many reasons, not least for SEO authority. Branded search volume is a good measure of how your brand authority is doing. If more and more people are searching for your brand name, this is amazing news. If they’re searching for your brand name with a relevant keyword attached, that’s even better.
- Having a Wikipedia page for your brand and/or the people in your company is a big signal that you’re an authority. Keep in mind, getting a Wikipedia page is not easy unless you’re a recognized person/brand. However, this does come up within the Google raters’ guidelines, so it is something to strive for.
Proven trustworthiness is really important. While expertise and authority are factors that boost your rankings, trustworthiness or rather a lack thereof is what can easily tank your rankings on Google.
If you don’t reign-in any negative sentiment around your business, you will suffer on Google. Fundamentally, you need to be delighting your customers and if you have any complaints, you should address them before you end up with too much negativity attached to your brand. Google is very clear about this in their guidelines, too many bad reviews is a sign of low quality.
Positive reviews on places like Tripadvisor, Trustpilot, Facebook, Google My Business, and so on are going to really help. If you’re operating in the US, Canada, or Mexico, then you should be encouraging good reviews on bbb.org specifically. The Better Business Bureau is the go-to source for customer sentiment for Google, as referenced several times in their search evaluators guidelines.
Some ways that we can promote trustworthiness on our website are:
- Having a clear way to make contact with the website owners.
- Associating the website with a physical location, i.e. your office or store address.
- Having a term of business or T&Cs page, which is easily accessible to users (usually from the footer).
- Making sure your website’s domain is secure. Correctly implementing HTTPS is very important to Google and helps to ensure any data your users’ input won’t be intercepted by a nefarious 3rd party entity.
- If you’re accepting transactions, you should have clear refunds and returns policies.
- If you’re selling products, try to include comprehensive specifications of the product and include any safety advice that might be relevant.
- If you’re sharing knowledge, in general, it's a good idea to have an author biography included and to cite external sources where relevant. Linking out to authority sites is a good thing.
The Wolfgang essential takeaways
If you’re sharing information on a subject, particularly medical, health and financial related matters, you need to have proven expertise, authority, and trustworthiness for Google to recommend your content.
When Google recommends a page to a searcher, they don’t want them to read false information (fake news!) especially when it could impact their health, finances or happiness. Bad advice is never good, but when it comes to these topics it’s the worst.
Following E-A-T as a framework when working on your business’s digital marketing means you’re taking a holistic approach to SEO and content marketing. Covering these three pillars is a smart thing to do, particularly if you want to rank pages on Google for the best search terms in your industry.
It may come as bad news for those in the game for a quick win, but expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness take time to build and nurture, with no real shortcuts; this is important to remember. Long gone are the days where you can pop-up overnight and take over Google’s results pages. The E-A-T criteria, by definition, means incrementally growing a brand and a positive online presence in a natural way.
The good news, however, is that if you do this right and achieve a high E-A-T, it will hard to get knocked down from the top spots of Google.
- Tell Visitors Who You Are. ...
- Work With Experts to Create Content. ...
- Make the Purpose of Your Content Clear. ...
- Update Content Regularly. ...
- Link to High-Quality Sources. ...
- Consider Multiple Viewpoints. ...
- Pay Attention to Your Online Reputation.
- Make your site interesting and useful.
- Know what your readers want (and give it to them)
- Act in a way that cultivates user trust.
- Make expertise and authoritativeness clear.
- Provide an appropriate amount of content for your subject.
- Avoid distracting advertisements.
- Use links wisely.
E-A-T in SEO stands for Expertise, Authoritativeness and Trustworthiness. This concept is discussed in great detail in Google's Quality Raters' Guidelines. Demonstrating good E-A-T both on and off your website can potentially help improve Google rankings.Can I do SEO by my self? ›
You can absolutely do SEO yourself or DIY SEO (Do It Yourself SEO). With some research and lots of practice, anyone can learn how to do SEO for their business. A quick way to get started with SEO is to enter your URL here and then focus your SEO efforts on the recommended action items.Is SEO good for beginners? ›
SEO is not easy. But it's no rocket science either. There are things you can implement right away and there are concepts that will take much more time and effort. So yes, you can do SEO on your own.How can I get on the first page of Google in 24 hours? ›
- Determine your keywords. First, determine which search queries you want Google to answer with your website pages. ...
- Tell Google what keywords you're using. ...
- Write for humans. ...
- Emphasize location. ...
- Optimize for mobile. ...
- Focus on user experience.
- Day 1: Pick Your Top 30 Traffic Posts.
- Day 2: Find the Right SEO Keywords to Increase.
- Day 3: Add Secondary SEO Keywords.
- Day 4: Compare Your Content to Competition.
- Day 5: Improve Your SEO Title Tags.
- Day 6: Optimize Your Meta Descriptions.
- Day 7: Optimize Your H1 Tags.
The three kinds of SEO are: On-page SEO – Anything on your web pages – Blogs, product copy, web copy. Off-page SEO – Anything which happens away from your website that helps with your SEO Strategy- Backlinks. Technical SEO – Anything technical undertaken to improve Search Rankings – site indexing to help bot crawling.Which is best tool for SEO? ›
- Ahrefs: SEO Keyword Tool.
- Google Search Console: Top SEO Tool.
- SEMRush: Marketing SEO Tools.
- KWFinder: SEO Keyword Tool.
- Moz Pro: SEO Software.
- Ubersuggest: Keyword Tracking Tool.
- Answer The Public: Free SEO Tools.
- SpyFu: Free SEO Tools.
- Write for humans first and search engines second. ...
- Use targeted keywords in all the right places. ...
- Focus on user experience (UX) ...
- Focus on building relevant links. ...
- Format content for Featured Snippets. ...
- Remove anything that slows down your site.
- Write for your audience first. This SEO content writing tip is number one for a reason. ...
- Keep it all under the same roof. ...
- Make headlines that pack a punch. ...
- Use keyword-rich phrases. ...
- Structure your posts. ...
- Incorporate imagery. ...
- Propel content with social media. ...
- Implement Google Authorship.
- Write for Humans. Know your audience and write for them. ...
- Understand Google's Algorithm. Understand the latest algorithms of Google. ...
- Know How to Find Keywords. ...
- Write Long Content. ...
- Make Every Sentence Unique. ...
- Use Related Words. ...
- Link to High-Quality Sites. ...
- Use Varied Content Types.
According to multiple sources, the average time for websites to rank on Google through optimization (SEO) techniques is about three to six months. That's right – jumping to the front of Google's results usually takes between 90-180 days, depending on the competitiveness of your industry and popularity of your keywords.Is SEO paid or free? ›
SEO is for organic traffic – so that's unpaid or free listings, and SEM is for targeted ads that you pay for. They can be complementary but only if the website itself is SEO-friendly first, then SEM has a greater chance of being successful.Do you need money for SEO? ›
How much can you expect to spend on SEO? If you are hiring a top-level SEO company to execute a local campaign, expect to pay $500.00+ per month. A national or international campaign will require a minimum budget of $2,500 to $5,000 a month. Some firms offer a “trial package” at a lower price, with no contract.Is SEO free of cost? ›
|Type||Cost||Who uses it?|
|Cheap SEO||$500 to $3,000 per month||Small businesses|
|Mid-range SEO||$3,000 to $15,000 per month||Established businesses|
|High-end SEO||$15,000-$30,000 per month||Websites with high traffic volumes|
It takes 1-3 months to learn SEO at a basic level and as long as 6-18 months to learn SEO at an advanced level. How much time it takes to learn SEO depends on the number of hours each day you can study search engine optimization.Why is SEO so difficult? ›
To sum it up, SEO is difficult because search engines are always changing and updating. It could be anything from Google changing the way it looks at a certain type of link, including a new major update to their algorithm, or even recognizing something new as a ranking factor.Can I learn SEO in month? ›
While it's a career-long journey, you can indeed learn SEO in about a month — enough to make a huge impact on your website and thus your business as a whole.How can I make my SEO successful? ›
- Know Your Keywords.
- Write High Quality Content (Naturally)
- Use Keywords in Your Website Page URLs.
- Don't Overlook Page Titles.
- Review Every Page for Additional Keyword Placement.
- Improve User Experience.
- Hire an Expert.
- 1 – Attractive Meta Titles and Descriptions. ...
- 2 – Using Descriptive URLs. ...
- 3 – Adding Structured Data. ...
- 4 – Implementing Long-Tail Keywords. ...
- 5 – Trying to Appear in Rich Snippets or Answer Box. ...
- 6 – Analyze SERP and Competitors.
- Enable compression. ...
- Reduce redirects. ...
- Leverage browser caching. ...
- Improve server response time. ...
- Use a content distribution network. ...
- Optimize images.
It takes 1-3 months to learn SEO at a basic level and as long as 6-18 months to learn SEO at an advanced level. How much time it takes to learn SEO depends on the number of hours each day you can study search engine optimization.How much a beginner SEO can earn? ›
|Junior (SEO Specialist)||$35,000-49,000||$52,780|
|SEO manager salary||$50,000-74,000||$78,413|
|SEO director salary||$100,000-149,000||$105,353|
|SEO freelancer salary||<$34,000||n/a|
- Rank Math Plugin. Rank Math is a WordPress plugin that helps you optimize your website content. ...
- Yoast SEO Plugin. ...
- Google Trends. ...
- Ahrefs Keyword Generator. ...
- Ubersuggest. ...
- Google Search Console. ...
- Bing Webmaster Tools. ...
- Google Analytics.
10 tips to improve your SEO and get you ranking:
Create titles and descriptions for each page. Utilize anchor text. Add alt text to all your images. Give your site structure with the right headers.
- Step #1 Get to Know Your Buyers and Their Search Habits. ...
- Step #2 Optimize Your Website and Add New Content. ...
- Step #3 Maximize Conversions From Website Visitors.
The three kinds of SEO are: On-page SEO – Anything on your web pages – Blogs, product copy, web copy. Off-page SEO – Anything which happens away from your website that helps with your SEO Strategy- Backlinks. Technical SEO – Anything technical undertaken to improve Search Rankings – site indexing to help bot crawling.How do you do SEO yourself step by step? ›
- Set Your Organic Search Baseline.
- Research Keywords and Relevant Search Queries.
- Publish Optimized Content.
- Analyze Your Backlinks.
- Explore Technical Issues.
- Stay Informed.
- Understand the goal of SEO. ...
- Master keyword research. ...
- Know the difference between on-page and off-page SEO. ...
- Learn to identify UX signals. ...
- Embrace SEO-friendly content creation. ...
- Start link building.
A good SEO score is between 80-100. A score in this range indicates that your website is meeting the top quality standards for search engine optimization in the areas of technical SEO, content, user experience, and mobile usability.