What is E-A-T in SEO? Why It’s Important

A vital concept of Google’s algorithm, E-E-A-T, stands for “Experience, Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness.” “E-E-A-T” is a part of the Search Quality Guidelines of Google and was first introduced in 2014.

Earlier, it was only “E-A-T” until Google added one more “E” (i.e., Experience) via a December 2022 update. If you are new to understanding Google’s quality rater guidelines, you’re looking at the right space.

E-E-A-T is one of the several guidelines that Google employs to determine the content value for readers and its ranking ability. As the acronym stands for, Google takes into account a combination of things:

  • The experience you create for your users by optimizing your website.
  • The expertise of the creator who has created the content.
  • The authoritativeness of the creator of the content along with the content and website.
  • The trustworthiness of the creator of the content, the content that goes in, and the website itself.

E-E-A-T is significant YMYL site (your money, your life) content. As an essential part of the Search Quality Rater Guidelines, any content that is created now is evaluated by search engines based on E-E-A-T guidelines.

Introduction: The Increasing Importance of E-A-T in SEO

Content is king, and we all know that. But the question is, how do you create high-quality content?
Should you go long-form? Include more images? Crank up the alt tags? Maybe write better meta descriptions?

Honestly, the possibilities are endless. Thankfully, Google now offers a little bit of an insider’s view into what they would treat as “high-quality content.” That’s where the E-E-A-T guidelines come in and have changed the way the SEO community thinks and does.

Thousands of websites are being evaluated according to E-A-T guidelines, which offers an insight into the kind of content that Google calls “high quality.” Simply put, it should be:

  • Helpful to users
  • Created by an expert Be created by an expert
  • Be posted on a site that has a good authoritative site
  • Trustworthy
  • Updated regularly

What is E-A-T? Understanding the Acronym

Experience, expertise, and authority are undoubtedly important considerations for ranking factors. However, according to Google, trust tops everything, and it varies from one website to another. For instance, a secure payment system is a must-have for online stores, along with an active customer service desk. Besides, all product reviews on the site should have been written by real people who’ve used the products.

If it’s a YMYL topic, it should invariably be covered by experts so it doesn’t spread any harm.

Google’s Perspective on E-A-T

Essentially, the concept of Google’s E-A-T isn’t just limited to traditional SEO. With Google’s algorithm updates that are broad core, websites that follow EAT guidelines get priority across search engines.

Human reviewers in Google reportedly assess the E-A-T score of a website by taking into account a range of factors that include internal and external links and social media profiles. It’s evident that websites that have a topical authority, like affiliate sites, are often featured in snippets.

With real-time searches gaining predominance and mobile users increasingly using modern search facilities like voice scratches, EAT is fast becoming the most crucial content strategy.

Ensuring accurate, truthful, useful information

People use the internet for everything. Today, anyone can build a website and publish any info they like. You don’t need a medical degree to write about health.

While universal accessibility is always a good thing, it puts Google in jeopardy. This is because people take actions based on what they read on the internet. So, the info they find must be reliable, accurate, and helpful. EAT is how Google does that. That’s why an article on the best sleep aids on medical sites like Healthline will always influence the ranking factor positively compared to what you might have written on your blog. Usually, such writeups fall under the YML category, meaning people can make life-altering decisions by reading particular info online. 

Why E-A-T Matters: Its Impact on SEO

The more you tune your content in line with E-A-T guidelines, the closer you get to ranking higher organically and thus gaining more visibility. If you’ve been following Google’s algorithm update over the past few years, you can’t help but notice a recurrent motif-improved user experience.

Precisely why any content with instances of keyword stuffing was penalized, mobile responsiveness became a crucial factor, and HTTPS became a major security concern. Core Web Vitals was built with the sole idea of designing a seamless user experience. 

E-A-T is that one thing that establishes credibility for a web page and carries value for a specific search engine query. The more reliable the information is, the greater the chance for people to come back to the page. What SEO does to digital marketing, Google’s E-A-T does the same for SEO strategy.

Expertise: Diving Deeper into the First Element of E-A-T

Whether you have formal training or hands-on experience, you can call yourself an expert. However, it takes way more than just formal expertise to build authority. In other words, expertise means you’ve got something that only a few have, and whatever you write or comment carries weight, and people can follow your advice to get satisfactory results.  

Authority: Understanding Its Role in E-A-T

This is one level up from being an expert. It’s your excellence and reputation put to the test. You can only build authority when you can train people and offer certification. 

Trustworthiness: The Third Pillar of E-A-T

Trust is seemingly the most important  “metric” that Google values. For a content piece to be trustworthy, search quality rater guidelines demand editing your piece for accuracy, checking for trustworthy sources, and determining whether the content has a purpose and that it doesn’t beat around the busy. And it isn’t just limited to content marketing. If you have a shopping cart with an insecure connection, Google will call that unreliable. 

How to Improve E-A-T for Your Website: A Comprehensive Guide

No matter how difficult it sounds to get the E-A-T right for your content, there are a bunch of time-tested ways to create test signals that Google likes. 

  • Always try to build high-quality backlinks from off-page SEO– Backlinks from high-authority domains are the crux of a successful SEO strategy. Ensure the backlinks you generate match your niche. If you’re into IT, don’t just chase a backlink from a fashion website, as it does not carry any value and may harm your organic ranking factor in return. Instead, create valuable content. Build the right relationship with influencers and publishers to make an impact.
  • Mentions from reliable sources– The more your brand is talked about across authoritative sites, the better your brand image becomes in Google’s eyes. “Implied links” (plain text mentions) for a particular brand are often seen as powerful backlinks. Some of the surefire ways of getting valuable mentions for your brand include guest post opportunities, podcasts,  interviews, influencer partnerships, and appearing as a speaker or hosting events.
  • Updating your content on a regular basis- Unless you sell a product or service that never changes, the content is bound to go outdated. So, it’s important to update your content to keep up with advancements and establish brand authority.
  • Responding to reviews– A decent number of positive reviews across a lot of platforms certainly builds brand authority. However, make sure you respond to them, even if they are negative reviews. This shows that you really care for your customers and strive to deliver the best experience. Getting positive reviews and responding to them on time also raises the E-A-T score for your website.
  • Get experts to work with you– Google loves content generated by industry experts. In fact, Google also rewards content that is generated by an expert with adequate credentials to support it. This is more important for YML content, like health and nutrition. Reputed sites are great examples where you will always find useful advice on medicines, nutrition, diseases, and general health that is reviewed and written by medical professionals. When looking to boost the E-E-A-T for your website, you can collaborate with individual contributors with substantial industry knowledge to create valuable and authentic content.
  • Don’t forget to display credentials– When you have industry experts creating content for your site, make sure to include a link back to the author’s site. This way, you can add towards establishing the credibility of the expert. If the content creator has relevant degrees and accreditations related to the field, always highlight them within the content.
  • Always include your contact details– Google loves it when you keep things real. That’s why every content piece you create to promote your product or service should carry your contact info at the very end. That way, you are building trust with your existing or intended audience, who can visualize you as a genuine brand. Ensure you include your phone number, email IDs, and physical address.
  • Perform a content audit- A content audit is an essential task for every brand site. If you’ve amassed a good deal of content in the shape of case studies, blog posts, whitepapers, and data sheets, you must run a thorough check to ensure they are in line with E-A-T guidelines. Typically, with any type of content that you’ve created in the past, there are three primary options: Update, Delete, and Modify. For instance, if you have a blog post from five years ago and the information has gone obsolete, you should delete it. Again, if half of it is relevant, consider adding more recent info to update it. Similarly, if the page isn’t pulling much traffic anymore, consider modifying it a bit or clubbing it with another relevant, successful page. When combing or deleting web pages, make sure to use the right 301 redirects.
  • Chalk out a content marketing plan– Whether you create content in the shape of videos, reels, blogs, or podcasts, having a proper marketing plan can help you in the long run. It not only helps in getting more reach but also helps showcase expert knowledge. The best approach is to kickstart things with a content calendar which should elaborate on the following:
    • The type of content you want to create 
    • Content publishing 
    • The sources you’ll need 
    • Your target audience 
    • Target keywords (primary, secondary, and LSI)
    • Content brief, first drafts, edits, final publish
    • People responsible for each phase 
    • Desired outcome
  • Promote your content offsite– Creating awesome content is only the beginning. You’ll need to promote it further to reach the right kind of audience, and proactive outreach is the only surefire way. Start with social media, blast it across your email lists, and optimize it for better rankings across SERPS.

Expertise: Practical Strategies for Demonstrating Your Expertise

In the digital landscape, showcasing your expertise is essential. To prove your know-how, create in-depth, well-researched content, offer actionable tips, and share case studies. Leverage your experience and insights to establish yourself as a trusted source of information, enhancing your content with real-world applications.

Authority: Building Your Website’s Credibility

Building authority involves garnering recognition from both your peers and your audience. Guest posting on reputable sites, earning high-quality backlinks, and consistently producing high-quality content will enhance your site’s credibility. Encourage experts in your field to contribute to your platform, further solidifying your authority.

Trustworthiness: Instilling Confidence in Your Visitors

Trust is the foundation of any successful website. Clearly present privacy policies and contact information. Display trust badges, customer testimonials, and secure payment options. In addition, consistently provide accurate and reliable information and engage with your audience to address their concerns, ultimately instilling confidence in your visitors.

E-A-T and YMYL Pages: What You Need to Know

E-E-A-T, which stands for “Experience, Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness,” witnessed an update by Google in December 2022, which expanded it from its original “E-A-T” concept.

YMYL, on the other hand, is short for “Your Money or Your Life,” another critical element to boost SEO. YMYL sites directly impact readers’ health, financial stability, well-being, safety, and overall quality of life. The common YMYL topics include finance, healthcare, nutrition, and current events.

The relationship between E-E-A-T and YMYL is a key constraint in SEO. Any misinformation in a YMYL topic can harm:

  • The individual consuming the content
  • Others are influenced by the consumer of the content
  • Entire communities impacted by the actions of content consumers

Let’s understand this better with some examples of YMYL topics:

  • Clear YMYL topics: General guidelines for evacuating during a natural calamity like a tsunami, updates on violent events, or information on purchasing prescription medications.
  • Potentially YMYL topics: Weather forecasts, accident reports, advice on toothbrush replacement frequency.
  • Unlikely YMYL topics: Information about movie and music awards, updates on local high school basketball games, and music videos.

Although E-E-A-T and YMYL are not counted among direct SEO ranking factors, they are still important to create high-quality and reliable content.

The Future of E-A-T: Predictions and Trends

In the next few years, we can anticipate a more extensive and sophisticated utilization of E-E-A-T for identifying individuals, including speakers, authors, news sites, websites, and brands. Take Google’s 2020 patent titled “Speaker Identification,” for instance, a technology that facilitates the recognition of distinct speakers by using speech analysis. Such an innovation holds immense potential for various scenarios, like webinars, YouTube videos, or media interviews.

Google E-E-A-T and the Future of SEO

In the dynamic world of SEO, understanding the E-A-T guidelines of Google is essential. Google continually refines its search algorithms through both broad core updates and micro-adjustments. However, the core goal remains unchanged: to deliver the most relevant and valuable results to users based on their search queries.

As Google’s search algorithm evolves to understand search intent and prioritize E-A-T, optimizing your content and website for these principles is a forward-looking strategy for SEO success. It’s not just about keywords; it’s about providing valuable, trustworthy content to your audience.

Conclusion: Prioritizing E-A-T for SEO Success

SEO is ever-evolving, and Google’s E-A-T (Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness) guidelines have taken center stage. By all means, it’s a holistic approach to improve content quality and website credibility, which is crucial for SEO success. Simply put, to excel in SEO, you’ll have to prioritize E-A-T:

Expertise: Position yourself or your content creators as industry experts. Show your expertise through comprehensive, well-researched content. Offer practical solutions and insights that demonstrate your in-depth knowledge.

Authority: Build a credible online presence. Seek backlinks from reputable websites, and cultivate relationships with experts in your field. Collaborate with influencers and authoritative figures to boost your site’s credibility.

Trustworthiness: Gain your audience’s trust by being transparent. Clearly present your privacy policies, contact information, and any relevant disclaimers. Showcase trust signals like customer reviews and secure payment options.

By prioritizing E-A-T, you’re not only more likely to rank higher on Google but also to build a loyal audience that values your content for its quality, authenticity, and reliability. Stay committed to these principles for long-term SEO success.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

What is the E-A-T concept in SEO?

E-E-A-T helps determine whether a website and its individual pages are credible sources of information about a specific subject that provide real value for users.

What is Google E-A-T?

Google E-A-T, which stands for Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness, is a set of quality guidelines Google uses to assess the credibility and reliability of web content and the websites that publish it.

Is E-A-T a ranking signal?

The jury is still out on whether E-A-T can be considered a ranking signal by Google. However, there’s no denying that it’s one of the most prominent ranking factors. Whether it’s a blog or a website copy, any content that follows E-A-T guidelines has a greater chance of ranking higher in Google search results.