Google Search E-A-T Principle
What is E-A-T?
E-A-T stands for “Expertise, Authoritativeness, Trustworthiness.”
Each of these terms represent a measurement of the degree to which a business is considered a leader in its field, regardless of the industry or niche that they may fall into.
“Expertise” – The Oxford English Dictionary defines “expertise” as “Expert skill or knowledge in a particular field.” If you offer a service or product that you have deep knowledge about, you could be classified as an expert in that field, especially if you can demonstrate that your knowledge level matches or exceeds that of your competition.
“Authoritativeness” – Authority, or “authoritativeness” — is a person or website whose content can “be trusted as being accurate or true and reliable.” Google is constantly analyzing your brand, your website, and your content to determine if it’s content is expertly written as well as the leading authority or authoritative source available.
“Trustworthiness” – Trustworthiness is defined as “The ability to be relied on as honest or truthful.“ Creating a lot of content on the internet is not equivalent to being trustworthy. Google measures trust in a website based upon the backlinks it detects from other domains. The higher the trust of the “linked from” domain, the more trust is is attributed to the “linked to” domain. Google has expanded this over the past few years and is now measuring the trustworthiness of a brand or website using the same types of factors as a real person would; trust someone who has repeatedly demonstrated themselves to be trustworthy.
Why is E-A-T So Important for Your Web Pages?
Google states that E-A-T is among the top 3 considerations for Page Quality. Essentially, E-A-T determines a website’s value. Quality raters keep E-A-T in mind when judging how good a site or page provides what they need. They look to see if they’re getting a good online experience and if the content meets their standards. If the raters feel like a user would feel comfortable reading, sharing, and recommending the content, that earns the site a high level of E-A-T.
Think of E-A-T as the reason why users would choose your site over your competition’s. E-A-T could have a direct impact on how Google receives — and ultimately ranks — your website.
A great resource for advice on the considerations that Google takes into account when determining content quality is their search quality rater guidelines.
Make Expertise and Authoritativeness Clear
Per Google’s SEO guidelines, “Expertise and authoritativeness of a site increases its quality. Be sure that content on your site is created or edited by people with expertise in the topic. For example, providing expert or experienced sources can help users understand articles’ expertise. Representing well-established consensus in pages on scientific topics is a good practice if such consensus exists.”
Act in a way that Cultivates User Trust
Users feel comfortable visiting your site if they feel that it’s trustworthy. A site with a good reputation is trustworthy. Cultivate a reputation for expertise and trustworthiness in a specific area. Provide information about who publishes your site, provides the content, and its goals. Shopping and other financial transaction websites should have clear and satisfying customer service information to help users resolve issues. News sites should provide clear information about who is responsible for the content.
Using appropriate technologies is also important. If a shopping checkout page doesn’t have a secure connection, users cannot trust the site.
“Your Money or Your Life” or YMYL
So how does E-A-T affect visitors to your site?
E-A-T is closely related to what Google calls “Your Money or Your Life” (YMYL) pages.
YMYL is an acronym for “Your Money or Your Life”. YMYL content is content that can directly impact a reader’s health, finances and/or safety.
High-ranking YMYL pages will show a high level of E-A-T. This is because the safer a user feels while visiting a page, and the more relevant the content is to their search query, the more it will satisfy E-A-T. Sites that are offering genuinely helpful advice or a solution to a problem will meet E-A-T standards more readily than sites that try to game Google search.
Since E-A-T is applicable at both the page and site-level, you need to make sure that every part of your website is doing its best to meet Google’s requirements. If your pages qualify as YMYL pages, this is even more crucial.
Google says that a page or site found lacking in E-A-T is a “sufficient reason to give a page a Low-quality rating.” So if you aren’t an expert, an authority, or trustworthy, your site page could be considered low quality.
E-A-T / YMYL Questions To Ask (Google Guidelines)
- Does the content present information in a way that makes you want to trust it, such as clear sourcing, evidence of the expertise involved, background about the author or the site that publishes it, such as through links to an author page or a site’s About page?
- If you researched the site producing the content, would you come away with an impression that it is well-trusted or widely-recognized as an authority on its topic?
- Is this content written by an expert or enthusiast who demonstrably knows the topic well?
- Is the content free from easily-verified factual errors?
- Would you feel comfortable trusting this content for issues relating to your money or your life?
Think of E-A-T , within the context of YMYL if applicable, as the reason why users would choose your website over your competition’s. Expertise, authoritativeness and trustworthiness will directly impact on how Google perceives and ranks your website.
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