Posted on December 14, 2022 by Webfor By Jake Morley and Michael Cortez What is E-A-T? It is a search-related term that stands for expertise, authoritativeness, and trust. It’s not a ranking factor per se; instead, it’s a crucial algorithmic step that helps Google determine how it should rank a website. Google’s raters (there are more than 14,000 of them!) look for E-A-T signals within one’s content. How important does Google consider E-A-T? In its Search Quality Evaluator Guidelines, it’s mentioned more than a hundred times. We chatted with Webfor founder and CEO Kevin Getch and mentioned it at least that many times (just kidding) in a recent episode of the Webfor Marketing Podcast. This discussion is all about ways in which businesses can improve their E-A-T. Here are some of the highlights. Let us know if you have any questions or would like to chat about a partnership between your business and ours! Expertise, Authoritativeness, Trust: E-A-T! What is E-A-T? E-A-T is an overall page quality metric. Google uses different data points to assess the quality of a website in terms of its expertise, authoritativeness, and trust factors. Generally speaking, when determining “Page Quality Rating,” Google examines what it calls the “Most Important Factors.” They are: The purpose of the page Expertise, authoritativeness, trustworthiness (E-A-T) Main content quality and amount (based on the landing page of the task URL) Website information regarding who is responsible for the main content Website reputation regarding who is responsible for the main content Google writes in its Evaluator Guidelines: “The amount of expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness (E-A-T) is very important. Please consider the expertise of the creator of the MC (main content); the authoritativeness of the creator of the MC, the MC itself, and the website; and the trustworthiness of the creator of the MC, the MC itself, and the website.” Thus, it’s a method that helps Google filter out low-quality content. It also helps ensure that websites that rank highly in these metrics rise to the top of the SERPs. They’re the crème de la crème, if you will. Let’s examine each step. E is for Expertise How authoritative is an author on a given topic published on a site? Are they an expert? Have they published much content on this subject? How often is the author referenced elsewhere on the web? How notable are they in their field of expertise? Is the content high-quality? A is for Authoritativeness The authority assessment is more of a sitewide quality score that takes the author’s expertise into account. It can be based on a number of additional factors, such as link signals. T is for Trust (or Trustworthiness) Finding a page trustworthy could mean that the author or the site itself is a well-known, trusted source for information. It can also indicate a ranking of the more technical aspects of a website. For example, if a site contains an insecure connection on a checkout page for an online store, that would be considered untrustworthy. Furthermore, Google defines as untrustworthy any “pages or websites that are deceptive or have untrustworthy characteristics.” This can include: sites with a “deceptive purpose or design” sites engaged in “malicious behavior” “pages or websites designed to manipulate people into actions that benefit the website or other organization while causing harm to self, others or specified groups” (those that can be defined based on race, nationality, gender, and more). This leads us to another acronym: YMYL. It stands for “your money or your life.” YMYL Google uses YMYL in its Rater Guidelines to assist in the identification of sites and content that have the potential for a “high risk of harm.” This includes material that may harm health, safety, financial security, society, and more. Thus, there’s a high-quality threshold to meet when producing content that has the potential for harm, be it in the financial, health/medical, or other cultural and social sectors. One’s E-A-T ratings can improve when content producers adhere to these guidelines. They should avoid topics or content that “may significantly impact or harm … the person who is directly viewing or using the content; other people who are affected by the person who viewed the content; groups of people or society affected by the actions of people who viewed the content.” E-A-T’s Role in Google Search Google’s goal in the E-A-T ranking factor is to help ensure that the most relevant and trusted search results are presented to users. To evaluate content quality, Google considers elements of structure such as headings and content length while considering factual accuracy. Additionally, they consider the author’s credentials or qualifications; great importance is put on websites with authors whose expertise on a certain topic has been proved by authoritative sources. E-A-T helps guide Google’s search engine in delivering pages with infallible information upon requests from users looking for knowledge on particular topics or answers to specific questions. By incorporating E-A-T into its algorithm, users can rely on Google for authentic content from trustworthy sources. Quality Rater Guidelines Google’s Quality Rater Guidelines provide an essential framework for how its searches rate, or rank, various sites on the internet. According to Google, these guidelines are updated regularly in order to assess how web pages measure up against current search standards. Quality raters evaluate the relevance of websites and their content against specific topics in a variety of areas, including accuracy, comprehensiveness, usefulness and user experience. They also look for certain criteria related to page quality, such as authoritativeness, valuable content, and engagement with the audience. Additionally, raters consider the design and structure of the page when assigning a rating score. E-A-T.’s Role in the Ranking Process The E-A-T ranking factor was introduced by Google to better ensure that users find the most reliable and relevant content when searching. It is designed to help separate quality content from “shallow” or unreliable information. Ultimately, search engine algorithms use this data to compare how different web pages match up to each other, ranking them in terms of relevance. For example, if two web pages are compared on the same topic but one has both higher expertise and trustworthiness scores than the other page, then it will likely be prioritized and ranked higher on search engine results pages. This helps drive traffic to trustworthy sites, building user confidence in the accuracy and reliability of search engine results. How Do E-A-T Ratings Work? E-A-T is part of a larger set of parameters used by Google’s algorithms when assessing the credibility and usefulness of websites, which helps improve user experience on search results pages. To get an idea of what goes into E-A-T rankings, there are certain key indicators that can help. These include having experts create or endorse website content, building credible authority in the given field or topic, as well as displaying trust factors that demonstrate integrity to users. Taking these essential elements into consideration will not only help with optimizing your website for better visibility but also help build an online reputation that encourages user trust and loyalty. Is There a Sitewide E-A-T Score? There is no such thing as a site-wide E-A-T score that can be assigned to all of a website’s pages. Each page must be evaluated separately based on its individual elements. The E-A-T score is an aggregation of numerous algorithms — the goal of which is to assess the overall expertise, authority, and trustworthiness of the content. This is done through link profile analysis, as well as the analysis of the quality of content, authors, and more. Factors such as author bios and photo captions, reviews from external sites or industry organizations about products or services, or pages dedicated to technical information are all taken into consideration when assessing E-A-T for any given page. In general, better-quality websites with more relevant content will receive higher rankings from Google. Understanding E-A-T is essential in order to improve Google rankings, but it should always be considered in the context of each individual page’s specific requirements and goals. Quick Tips for E-A-T It’s essential that content marketers understand what best practices are needed to build a strong E-A-T profile. Some quick tips for staying on top of E-A-T would include: linking to and citing authoritative sources when discussing relevant topics fact-checking any claims made about products or services actualizing all legal responsibilities, such as privacy policies and disclaimers monitor page feedback from users act on any questions or complaints left in the comments sections What else can you do as a business to improve your website’s E-A-T? First, your website’s content should contain the most accurate, timely, and helpful information possible. Make sure your content is crafted by experts in their respective fields. This means ensuring that all of your content is well-researched and free of errors. Long story short: If you want your website to rank well on Google, it’s important that your content is created by people who know what they’re talking about. Google also looks for websites that are seen as authoritative sources of information. This means that your website should be cited by other reputable websites as a source of information. One way to increase your website’s authoritativeness is to guest blog on other sites (offsite content) or write articles for industry publications. You can also increase your authoritativeness by earning backlinks from high-quality websites. Finally, Google wants to make sure that its users can trust the results they’re getting. This means that your website and its web pages should be safe and secure, and it should not contain any misleading or inaccurate information. Final Thoughts You can increase the trustworthiness of your website by ensuring that all of your content is accurate and up-to-date, and by making sure that your website is properly secured with an SSL certificate. When Google responds to a search query on a laptop, desktop, or mobile device, the search algorithm responds favorably to sites that have high E-A-T factors, that are user-friendly, and that provide a good page experience. You’ll also want to make sure your site is desktop-, laptop-, and mobile-friendly, and includes headers and tags, meta descriptions, and all the technical SEO aspects that are rewarded by search engines. You should also avoid using deceptive practices like hidden text or internal link bait, as these can result in penalties from Google’s search engine and a loss of search ranking. E-A-T is a critical factor in determining how well your website will rank on Google. By focusing on creating expert-level content, increasing your website’s authoritativeness, and ensuring that your site is trustworthy, you can improve your chances of ranking well on Google and driving traffic to your site. E-A-T? W-I-N! Michael Cortez is Webfor’s marketing manager. Jake Morley is a Webfor SEO specialist.