What is E-A-T and Why Does It Matter for SEO?
E-A-T stands for expertise, authority, and trust – these are three factors that Google uses to evaluate a website. SEO is the process of optimizing a website for search engine results, and since Google is the world’s largest and most popular search engine, it’s important to consider E-A-T when creating and fine-tuning your website.
Some professional SEOs debate the importance of E-A-T, but since Google itself stresses its importance, it’s worth considering if you want to rank your website. Whenever Google updates its algorithm, it is usually recommended that you focus on your site’s E-A-T if your rankings fluctuated negatively.
Improving your website’s E-A-T should not only improve rankings, but the quality and focus of your website.
What is E-A-T?
As mentioned above, E-A-T stands for expertise, authority, and trust. But what do these words mean as it relates to your website?
According to Google’s Quality Raters’ Guidelines (or QRG, the guidelines for how a web page’s quality is assessed and rated), E-A-T is fundamentally important to a website’s quality rating.
Expertise refers to the expertise of the person creating the main content on a website. If a website publishes hunting advice but the writer clearly does not know much about hunting, this would receive a low score for expertise. A medical website written by an experienced doctor, on the other hand, would have a good expertise rating.
Google aims to rank the best expert on any given topic, so proving that you are an expert on your subject matter will improve rankings.
Authority refers to the authoritativeness of the content creator, the content itself, and the website itself. It’s important to show that you are an authority on your topic. This means that the content creator, the information in the content itself, and the entire website should be proven to be an authority on its niche topic.
For example, you could publish an informative post on how to do your taxes, but if it’s published on a hunting website, it won’t be clear that the website is an authority on the topic of taxes. Google wants to promote the most authoritative source on any given topic so that its readers get the best information available.
Trustworthiness is another important ranking factor and the final letter in E-A-T. This refers to the trustworthiness of the content creator, the content itself, and the entire website. If your website uses shady, black-hat SEO practices, it will have poor trust with Google.
Building trust with Google requires good, white-hat SEO practices, and a focus on quality content and user experience. If Google perceives your website as unsafe or spammy, it won’t trust the site and won’t direct users to it via search rankings.
Why is E-A-T Important?
Google is considered the best search engine for a reason: it strives to give its users the best answers to their questions as quickly as possible. To achieve this, Google’s search algorithm is regularly fine-tuned and adjusted to show the best results for users’ search queries.
E-A-T is just one of many ranking factors, but it’s one that Google continually stresses after algorithm updates. The platform wants to provide readers with the best content, which is written by experts in that field, with authority on that subject, and trust to ensure that the website is safe, reliable, and a reputable source of information.
Evaluating your website’s E-A-T and working to improve it is important because it will help improve your Google SERP rankings, but it should also improve the overall quality of your content and website. At the end of the day, Google’s advice to most SEOs trying to rank web pages is to produce the best, most informative content on any given subject. E-A-T is important because it is the method that Google uses to assess content quality.
E-A-T and YMYL
Another acronym used by Google is YMYL – this stands for Your Money, Your Life. YMYL pages are website pages that affect readers’ lifestyle choices, financial choices, medical choices and more – anything that can affect a reader’s happiness, health, or wealth.
Google has stressed that E-A-T is especially important for YMYL websites and pages, because these pages can affect people’s decisions as it relates to their health, finances, and more. Examples of YMYL pages include a wide range of websites and topics, for example:
- Any page trying to sell something or asking for credit card information
- Medical blogs giving health advice or information
- Parenting blogs
- Pages giving financial advice
- Pages giving legal advice
Many web pages qualify as YMYL, which is why it’s important to consider E-A-T. Google wants to show SERP results that lead readers to safe, trustworthy websites, especially if the topic may affect their health, personal finances, and other important life decisions. E-A-T is especially important for YMYL sites, but it is a worthwhile consideration and ranking factor across the board.
Focus on creating a high quality website and improving E-A-T to step up your search rankings, traffic, and revenue. Visit our blog for more tips and tools to improve your website and your digital marketing efforts, or contact us at SEO Digital Group to discuss your digital marketing strategy.