For a few years now, the SEO industry has been obsessed with creating E-A-T content. No, that doesn’t mean that we’re all just hungry. If you didn’t already know, the E-A-T algorithm stands for Expertise, Authority, and Trust. It’s an important aspect of how Google judges the quality of your content.
But let’s back up a little here. Where exactly did E-A-T come from?
If you’ve dabbled in SEO even a little, you’ll know that Google is constantly updating its algorithms to provide better search results for its users. Serving up websites with poor quality content or incorrect information delivers a bad user experience for searchers.
So with this aim in mind, in 2015, Google publicly released its latest Search Quality Evaluator Guidelines. These guidelines were originally intended for internal use as a guide for its search engine evaluators to use when assessing the quality of web pages that were returned for certain searches.
Search engine evaluators are the human side of how Google operates – it’s not all algorithms and bots. These people are employed to manually assess the search results returned by the algorithm to refine and improve the results.
These guidelines included the first mention of E-A-T, which has since become a fundamental consideration for web content creators who want to make sure they rank well in Google.
As we’ve already mentioned, E-A-T is a measure of the quality of web content and stands for:
But what exactly does this mean for you when you’re crafting content? Let’s break it down a little further.
Give Me an E!
Expertise considers the background, experience, and qualifications of the person who created the content. For example, medical information written by a doctor would have a high level of expertise compared to content written by a general writer with no medical training or qualifications.
However, qualifications aren’t always necessary. An amateur astronomer with several years of experience in this hobby may rank highly in expertise – they don’t necessarily have to have a degree in astrophysics.
The guidelines state: “If it seems as if the person creating the content has the type and amount of life experience to make him or her an “expert” on the topic, we will value this “everyday expertise” and not penalize the person/webpage/website for not having “formal” education or training in the field.”
Give Me an A!
So what about authority? You won’t be new to the idea of authority if you already have an intermediate understanding of SEO. Authority is a measure of how much a person or brand is known and respected.
High authority websites tend to rank higher, and links from them are valuable because they pass some of this authority along to the site they link to.
To have high authority, you should be a leader in your industry and be known as a good source of information on your topic. Authority isn’t something you can gain overnight – it usually comes with work and time.
The best way to build your online authority is to publish as much high-quality content on your industry topic as you can. Make sure your content planning includes publishing on other sites as well as your own. Authority comes when people start to recognize your name and use you as their go-to source of information.
Give Me a T!
Trust is similar to authority, but there’s a subtle difference. If you’re trustworthy, people know they can rely on you to be honest and authentic and to provide true and accurate information.
Essentially, this means respecting your audience and creating content that is valuable for them, not just as a way to make money or because there’s something in it for you. Aim to be helpful and build relationships too – be active on social media and contribute to community forums.
Structuring Content for High E-A-T
You can look at the quality guidelines yourself to see how Google defines these three quality indicators, and it’s a good idea to read through the whole document to get an idea for how a search engine evaluator will assess your content.
It’s important to structure your content and your site so that evaluators can easily find information to judge the level of E-A-T accurately. Google states in its guidelines that there must be “clear and satisfying” information available about who is responsible for the content.
So your site should have an ‘about’ page with comprehensive information about you or your business, and all contributing authors should have bios that describe what makes them qualified to write about that particular topic.
If an evaluator can’t find this evidence, they are likely to assign your content with a low level of E-A-T. Keep in mind that they only have a few minutes to research and assess each web page, so this information needs to be as quick and easy to find as possible.
The Importance of E-A-T for YMYL Content
Google also points out that page quality is particularly important for what it calls “your money or your life” or YMYL content. This is content that has the potential to “negatively impact a person’s happiness, health, financial stability, or safety.”
YMYL topics include, but are not limited to:
- News and current affairs
- Government information
- Information about certain groups of people categorized by race, ethnic origin, religion, disability, age, nationality, veteran status, sexual orientation, gender or gender identity.
- E-commerce sites
You can see a sampling of industries that Google classes as YMYL in this graphic illustrating sites that were hit with the “Medic” update:
If your site falls into one of these categories, you must focus on creating content with high E-A-T. Depending on your business and site, this might mean something as simple as adding clear customer service and contact information, or it might require increasing your number of positive reviews online and hiring a writer with relevant qualifications.
There’s no quick and easy recipe for creating E-A-T content, but there are steps you can take today to build a solid base for your future content strategy.
Google states that the content it considers to be very high quality should be “created with a high degree of time and effort, and in particular, expertise, talent, and skill.”
Concentrate on crafting high-quality, expert content, building your expertise and authority, and nurturing a positive reputation online, and a high-level of EAT will follow naturally. Get more insights, information, and content like this by subscribing to the DivvyHQ blog.