If you’re looking to establish yourself in Google’s search engine, you’ll need to keep an eye out for three simple letters – E-A-T. This is the metric that Google uses to determine whether a site is trustworthy, and each of the letters contains an attribute that you should be using to make sure your content fits the bill before you publish.
E stands for Expertise, where Google determines if the information presented on the website is accurate, especially for anything in a field like medicine or finance.
Authority is where Google looks for how well-sourced your content is and whether the information can be traced to reliable sources. Trustworthiness is where they look at the site itself and whether there’s a paper trail for contacting the people involved.
Why Is E-A-T Important for SEO?
Not every SEO specialist focuses on E-A-T as a cornerstone of their SEO strategy because some are more concerned with spreading the word through multiple channels. But Google’s core updates treat it as a major consideration, which gives it a centralized way to track all websites and rank them accordingly.
This makes it easier for Google’s coders to prioritize content that boosts organic traffic and provides content from authoritative sources. They weigh this especially heavily on YMYL (Your Money, Your Life) sites that deal with important topics like health or news.
If you neglect E-A-T as a strategy for your content, you’re taking a risk that Google will de-prioritize your site. If you focus entirely on it, you’re risking losing out on opportunities to broaden your reach to other audiences.
That’s why it’s recommended to incorporate it into your strategy and ensure your site passes basic metrics but not exclusively focus on it.
Is E-A-T A Ranking Factor?
E-A-T may not be a traditional ranking factor, but it can have a dramatic impact on how your site shows up in the Google rankings.
According to this system, Google’s quality raters judge your content, and this information is put into the algorithm. It will not kill your site’s ranking unless it’s repeatedly deemed to be spreading false or harmful information.
Where E-A-T is most critical, though, is with YMYL sites. As these sites significantly impact public health, any content not deemed to be authoritative, trustworthy, or without proper Expertise is given less exposure.
If you have an expert publishing YMYL content, make sure it’s well-sourced and from a reliable figure without a history of being viewed negatively.
Both the content creator and the webmaster can be reached easily if Google’s search quality raters have any questions. Check out this guide on E-A-T content for link building for more information.
Following E-A-T SEO Guidelines
For sites that don’t follow EAT guidelines, they could see themselves being ranked lower on Google’s search engines. This doesn’t necessarily mean a site is being actively punished – Google makes decisions based on multiple factors, including E-A-T and organic traffic. A site that gets the most traffic but lacks E-A-T content might fall behind.
To ensure your site gets the full benefit of its traffic, here are some tips for meeting all three metrics.
For Expertise, you’ll need one key talent on your content team – fact-checkers. This is especially important if you’re publishing in the YMYL sector, but even if you’re not, you’ll want to make sure every piece of information in your content matches the evidence. Keep your content up to date as well – a piece that’s accurate when published might not be two years later.
Authority mainly reflects who you have written your content, not what the content contains. If you’re publishing blogs in the YMYL sector, make sure they come from someone with experience in the field. If someone is a layman or hobbyist writer, make sure this is reflected in the text and not misrepresent the content.
Trustworthiness reflects how accessible information about your site is. Ensure your site is easy to navigate and accessible and has information on how to contact everyone involved. The same goes for all your contacts — make sure to provide content information for all your writers.
E-A-T Your Way to Success
E-A-T is a critical component of any social media strategy. Your organic traffic is the key to a high ranking, but ensuring your content meets Google’s standards is how you keep it. Take each letter on its own, and your content will help you climb the search rankings.