Google decided that it was time to adjust how they rate a website in a way that would fall more in line with how they think websites should perform in order to provide the best search results.
As such, E-A-T was created, and they discuss it in Google’s Quality Raters’ Guidelines. Essentially it stands for Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness. It is necessary to take these things into consideration when attempting to build your website’s presence on the internet, and it is a key aspect of SEO. E-A-T is an important part of Google’s algorithms and they suggest that SEO companies and those working to add SEO to their websites learn about E-A-T and their quality rater guidelines.
Quality Raters’ Guidelines (QRG)
The QRG is a document that Google keeps updated in order to make sure that they’re using the most up to date information so that the people who are responsible for rating sites can do so confidently. You can find the QRG document here. We know that Google keeps their guidelines updated because Google’s VP of Search, Ben Gomes, had a CNBC interview where he said, “They don’t tell you how the algorithm is ranking, but they fundamentally show what the algorithm should do.” This is massively important to know and explains why these guidelines are so important to understand.
When we look at this document, we find that they discuss Google E-A-T quite a lot, which means that expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness are aspects that the algorithm should be paying attention to. The raters look at websites and decide of the quality based on these three aspects. An important quote from the guidelines is that, “If any of Expertise, Authoritativeness, or Trustworthiness is lacking, use the ‘low’ rating.” That’s a pretty strong statement regarding E-A-T as it means that all three are important and that only having two of the three isn’t going to cut it.
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Let’s start talking about the first letter in E-A-T, Expertise. This is probably the one part that most people understand yet doing go any further. Doctor’s, for example, have a lot of medical knowledge, so if they were to write content that is very accurate, Google may still not accept it as expertise. This is due to the fact that the author’s expertise cannot be verified, and the search engines don’t monitor accuracy in a document, which is why they need to understand the three principles of E-A-T.
Create an author bio to help establish expertise. Help Google to understand who you are and what makes you an expert in something. It’s essential that you establish your credibility so that when raters view your website, they can clearly see what makes you are an expert, so you don’t lose one of the easiest aspects to establish. If you don’t have the proper credentials, then see about having professionals fact check what you’ve written, which will then build up your expertise.
Let’s focus on the second letter in E-A-T, Authoritativeness. This could be considered the most crucial aspect. This actually plays off of expertise, because it goes beyond the person viewing themselves as an expert to where other people view them as an expert. By having other people online recognize you as an authority on a subject, then you’ve got this piece covered. However, it can be difficult, which is why you need to establish strong links from other authoritative websites. These links need to be developed naturally and can take time.
You’ll want to work hard to create strong quality content to have something people will want to link to. If you are an expert in an area, it would be a good idea to reach out to different places to lend your expertise. This will help you become more well known in your area of expertise and help you develop the relationships that you’ll need for others to want to refer to your experience in certain areas.
The last letter in E-A-T is Trustworthiness, and this one really becomes determined by how others have viewed you. I don’t mean in the same manner as authoritativeness, which is on whether others see you as an expert. No, trustworthiness looks at the broader aspect of how the internet and people view you or your website. Google has a patent, which doesn’t mean they use it, but this patent discusses how they are able to gather information about a website, a brand, and even an individual by looking at various items online that together provide Google with a good idea of what they think about you, your brand, or your website.
Reviews can be a good way to establish trustworthiness, especially if you’re getting a lot of good reviews as that can help Google see that people are happy with the services or products that you offer. People also talk about you on forums, so it could be a good idea to go online and see what people are saying. Great customer service could get people to help spread the good word, much like word of mouth style marketing, but in this case, it’s to show that your site has quality and trustworthiness. To enhance this, make sure that your contact information is clearly found and that it’s accurate. Make sure that your refund policies are also very easy to find. Index both your refund policy and your contact information to make it easier.
As we discussed, getting to understand Google’s Quality Raters’ Guidelines as well as familiarizing yourself with E-A-T, Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness are extremely important for the growth of your business online. As the top search engine, Google is working hard to make sure that they provide the best quality search results for the various queries that people make. It is in their best interest to help websites understand what they’re looking for and provide access to the information they’ll need.
There is no easy way to master E-A-T and it’s not a system that can be gamed, at least not by any definition of easy, which is what Google has been trying to do. SEO is still necessary and now includes E-A-T as another aspect that needs to be worked on. However, this isn’t something that can be done in a vacuum, which means that if you’re hiring an SEO team, you need to be available to work with them on these things. If you’re interested in learning more about what we can do to help you, contact us!
Authorship: Doyle C.