E-E-A-T in SEO stands for Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness. In its most basic sense, E-E-A-T is all about the reliability of the information published on a website.
The details can be found in Search Quality Raters’ Guidelines. Although many SEOs say E-E-A-T is not a ranking factor, implementing E-E-A-T on and off your website can improve Google rankings.
Do you mean there’s more to SEO than titles and tags?
Yeah, but don’t freak out. It’s not that complicated.
You’re about to learn what E-E-A-T is and exactly what you need to do to maximize your E-E-A-T content, which I believe will boost your rankings and traffic.
The Quality Raters’ Guidelines (QRG) is what Google wants its algorithms to accomplish, and after going through it myself, it’s clear that Google is saying that E-E-A-T is a large part of the equation.
Google’s VP of Search, Ben Gomes said, “You can view the raters’ guidelines as where we want the search algorithm to go. They don’t tell you how the algorithm is ranking results, but they fundamentally show what the algorithm should do.”
I get this question all the time. Many of my colleagues in the States and globally say it isn’t, but I think anything that Google does to determine if a page is worthy of the top 3 is a ranking factor.
Google mentions E-E-A-T 130+ times in the QRG so it is a very important part of the search algorithm. The E-E-A-T guidelines are designed to determine if the content is high quality, so is “high-quality content” a ranking factor?
Yes, of course, it is, so let’s crush some E-E-A-T best practices and get the results we’re looking for.
Click here for on-page SEO service.
In its most basic sense, E-E-A-T is about the reliability of published information.
As we all know, the internet is a misinformation superhighway jam-packed with BS.
Everyone shares their thoughts and beliefs, whether true or not, businesses publish loads of garbage “just to push out a steady flow of content”, and journalists are paid by the word – not by the fact.
Readers – seekers of the truth – and just some dudes wanting to learn some stuff – are pissed and tired of the trash content they have to sort through.
Google came running to the rescue with the Search Quality Raters’ Guidelines
If you have 29 hours to kill, read this: https://static.googleusercontent.com/media/guidelines.raterhub.com/en//searchqualityevaluatorguidelines.pdf
Or, don’t read any of that, and let me summarize it for you.
A bunch of smart Google geeks read an insane amount of website content, looked for a complex array of indicators, and wrote fresh algorithm code to determine what content is good and what’s trash.
There are two major hurdles each piece of content must clear:
E-E-A-T (Expertise, Authoritativeness, Trustworthiness),
YMYL (Your Money or Your Life)
There are no Blackhat tricks. No Gray Hat tricks, either. You’re either publishing trustworthy information that provides real value to readers, or you’re not.
For example, an SEO expert would know instantly if I asked a ghostwriter to send me a piece on “anchor text diversity”.
You would feel that the writer is just doing a rewrite of an article in which they don’t know the subject.
Google would catch this and devalue it in the SERPs.
E-E-A-T is especially important in Your Money or Your Life (YMYL) content.
Yeah, that sounds harsh, but this isn’t a stickup.
YMYL content is ultra important, high stakes content that, if inaccurate or untruthful, would negatively affect the health, safety, or financial stability of the reader.
Some examples of YMYL content are:
Non-YMYL content would be sports, entertainment, movies, lifestyle, gaming, etc.
However, I recommend using E-E-A-T best practices even if your niche isn’t an obvious YMYL.
Google promotes high-quality pages, so you know you need to E-E-A-T it.
Let me be clear, this applies to 100% of the sites on the web that want organic traffic from Google.
Not just YMYL content.
So, let’s run down the steps to creating useful, comprehensive, relevant, and accurate content.
The first and maybe most obvious step is to hire good writers that have a deep understanding of the subject.
And make sure to provide them with excellent references, so they can get the facts right and even link to a page of facts. (a Relevant Outbound Link is a ranking factor and will help make your page EAT-friendly)
Other ideas: interview industry experts and ask a reputable expert to write the article.
This should go without saying, but here I am saying it anyway. Get your titles, tags, and internal links right. (there’s lots more than this, but you get the point – CLICK HERE for more on-page stuff to deal with)
A great descriptive title and excellent subheaders are heavy EAT components.
You’ve read blogs that just skim the surface, right? That’s an annoying waste of time, and Google is trying to eliminate that stuff.
Don’t get thrown down the Google trash chute – provide some real facts – interesting details – make it worth the reader’s time and energy.
Note: I’ve worked with SO many writers in my 18+ year career, and most of them (guessing 98%) will NOT dig deep enough into a topic if you’re paying them .05 a word. (.03 and you can forget getting anything of value)
Your content has to be written to help your readers in some way. The important word here is “help”. Don’t spread lies, hate, or harmful trash. Don’t use clickbait or exaggerated titles, or H tags. Don’t link out to shady sites.
Every sentence should be written to help the reader have a better life: fresh useful advice, accurate information…you get it…helpful.
Google’s E-E-A-T algorithm will trust your brand the same way a human would, so make sure you have some high quality trust badges, testimonials, and awards displayed just like you would in the ATF (Above The Fold) and next to your CTA (Call To Action).
The signals that Google uses to determine E-E-A-T can be applied to authors, so add the writer’s byline to each piece of content you publish on your site.
Highlighting the biographical details of your writers helps add credibility to the article, especially if the writer is a recognised expert on the subject.
Add an author bio to each article that gets to the point of why they’re qualified to write on this subject: include their name, headshot, position, and social.
For authors, you will need to start building up “Online Author Authority” by niching down and publishing highly detailed articles in your expertise.
Publishing loads of weak-to-average articles on PBNs or even quality guest posts won’t do the trick because Google will know the difference between a link that passes juice and a quality author biosignal.
You’ll need Author mentions from high-level trusted brands.
Want to take it up a notch, get your own Wikipedia page. It’s not easy, but it can be done. Check out Wikipedia’s standards on notability. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Notability
This is pretty straightforward. Make sure it’s easy to find the “Contact Us” or “Customer Support” buttons.
E-E-A-T grades your website as a whole, and at the individual page level, so delete (or 301 redirect if they have valuable inbound links) weak pages, and rewrite fluffy filler text on decent pages.
The average lifespan of a piece of content is about two years. After that, it gets stale, so it might be a good time to go back in and clean up those articles.
Check your pages for outdated information that may no longer be accurate. Update your facts, statistics, top-10 lists, best practices, etc. Search for the latest information, check for its validity, and get it on these old pages.
Check your pages for dead outbound links. It’s possible that the sites you linked to 2 years ago have made some changes, too, so you’ll need to update those links.
You should also find new studies and sources to link to – the latest and greatest.
Then, add a “last updated” date to your posts.
Online reputation plays a role in E-E-A-T. The quality raters looked at Yelp, BBB, Google, and others to check what others were saying about your business.
You want positive reviews, and having more than your competitors will signal to Google that you are more of an authority on the subject.
Building too many links or links from untrusted sites could lead to trust problems, yet having a weak backlink profile also shows a lack of trust.
E-E-A-T is all about the trust in the ranking website, not necessarily the linking site, so what we can do is use this guide to evaluate guest post opportunities.
In the QRG, Google says, “sources of reputation are news articles, Wikipedia, articles, blog posts, magazine articles, forum discussions, and ratings”, and all of these include links back to pages of your website.
This means that E-E-A-T about link building is about getting links from trusted websites, which is exactly what you’re planning on doing anyway, but it can be taken a few steps further.
We know E-E-A-T leans pretty heavily on reliable info and writer credibility, so it would make sense that links from websites that have expert author bios would be healthy and delicious.
If you want to be safe, don’t publish content on websites that advertise that they accept paid guest posts. If they accept money for posts, their authors probably aren’t industry experts, and their E-E-A-T rating will be low.
A webmaster or website owner would be happy to accept a relevant high-quality guest post with a link to a website that suits the Google E-E-A-T guidelines because it will help his site too.
Show off your unique content, case studies, expert interviews, great reviews, and author bios.
Highlight your guest post writer’s credentials and awards and share a link to their bio.
As we stated above, YMYL sites have higher on-page E-E-A-T standards than others, which is probably also true with link-building profiles.
It’s pretty safe to say that YMYL niches will need higher-quality backlinks. But, these sites are also most likely in competitive markets like law, medicine, finance, insurance, etc.
What’s the takeaway here? Just keep it in mind. Try to get links from sites that are E-E-A-T friendly.
I’ve gone way deep into the backlink profiles of thousands of websites in competitive markets, and I can tell you they ALL have some spammy links. So, don’t go weeding with the disavow tool.
There’s always a wide variety of link quality – some high, some medium, and some low tide.
Using the info laid out in this article, you can increase the expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness rating of your website AND use this knowledge to help you in your link prospecting.
E-E-A-T is here to stay. Expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness ratings are here to make the web a better place, so it’s worth the extra effort.
Focus on excellence. Unfortunately, this requires a larger time and money investment, but excellence pays off. Always.