Since the start of search engines, Google and other search engines have had one primary goal: to serve their users the best and most relevant results. And as search engines advance, content is becoming more and more important.
If your content is lacking in terms of substance or quality, Google will overlook it in favor of content that it perceives as “better” – higher in quality, more valuable to the user.
And all of that depends on E-A-T.
What Is Google’s E-A-T?
If you’re a marketer, you’ve probably heard a lot about E-A-T in recent years. This stands for “Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness” and it’s part of Google’s algorithm and Search Quality Evaluator Guidelines.
This guideline is a basis to measure your content and shows both search engines and search engine users the level of quality of your content. Because Google’s goal is to provide the most relevant results to users – not to boost your business – it wants content from creators who know what they’re talking about.
Essentially, Google wants to provide the most accurate, up-to-date, and actionable information for users, which means you need to raise the bar.
What Are Google’s Search Quality Evaluator Guidelines?
Google is constantly working to provide a better search experience to users, which may be why it’s the most-used search engine in the world.
One of the ways Google provides better results is by getting feedback from third-party Search Quality Raters. This audience is spread all over the world and trained using extensive guidelines to categorize information and improve the results.
Though the Raters provide information to evaluate changes, they don’t directly impact how the search results are ranked.
With E-A-T, Raters are asked to consider:
- The expertise of the creator of the main content
- The authoritativeness of the creator of the main content, the content itself, and the website
- The trustworthiness of the creator of the main content, the content itself, and the website
E-A-T isn’t limited to certain websites or industries, however. Everything from fashion websites to gossip websites have information that can provide valuable perspectives on specific topics. Each of these are evaluated according to relevant criteria.
- High E-A-T medical advice should be produced by organizations with expertise or accreditation and should be edited, reviewed, and updated regularly
- High E-A-T news articles should demonstrate journalistic professionalism and accurate content.
- High E-A-T information pages on scientific topics should be written by organizations with the appropriate scientific expertise.
- High E-A-T financial, legal, and tax advice should come from appropriate expert sources with regular updates.
- High E-A-T advice pages on topics like parenting issues, home remodeling, and more should come from experienced users.
- High E-A-T pages on hobbies should also have appropriate expertise.
Some topics don’t require this level of expertise, such as pages that offer reviews of products or restaurants, tips on forums or blogs, or lifestyle pages with people sharing their first-hand experiences. This is considered “everyday expertise.”
How to Create “E-A-T”-Friendly Content
“High-quality content” is ubiquitous to the point that it lost some of its meaning over the years.
What makes content “high quality?” Is it the images? Length? Metas? Links?
With E-A-T, Google is providing some insight into what is considered high-quality content according to its guidelines, and that can be a huge asset for SEO and content marketing. These guidelines show reviewers – real human reviews with understanding of context and nuance – what type of content Google regards as high quality.
Conversely, pages that spread hate, misinform, cause harm, or otherwise deceive users will receive a lower E-A-T rating from Raters.
Here are some ways to make your content E-A-T friendly:
Tell Users Who You Are
The pillars of E-A-T guidelines show what Google wants to know who is behind the content and organization and whether it’s a reliable and trustworthy source. It’s important to have an About Us page that provides information about your organization, team, and content creators.
This is a simple way to establish expertise, authority, and trustworthiness.
Work with Experts to Create Content
In the eyes of Google and the Raters, high-quality content comes from people who know what they’re talking about. It’s not enough to have edited, updated, and visually appealing content.
So, instead of hiring cheap ghostwriters to rehash topics with a bunch of keywords, work with expert copywriters and content writers in the field to create content that Google inherently trusts, based on its own guidelines. This could mean conducting interviews with experts, bringing in an expert for a guest post, or working in collaboration with another company to publish original research.
Show a Clear Purpose with Your Content
Your content should always have a goal, and that should be clear to the audience (and Google). Are you intending to inform? Explain something? Persuade the audience? Describe a process?
Titles and headings can help you make the purpose of your content clear, and make sure you’re using straightforward language. For example, using questions as headings illustrate that you will be providing answers to common questions about the topic.
Also, avoid writing a novel before you get to the point. The rare reader will go through your entire piece, but most will skim and look for the information they need. Don’t produce long content for the sake of it – everything should count.
Keep Content Updated
Businesses have access to more data than ever before. We’re expected to have 463 billion GB of data every day by 2025, so content can become outdated quickly.
People move onto new jobs, tools are updated, sites change names or go offline, and Google updates the algorithm. With all these factors, you can expect your content to be current and relevant for two years, maybe less in certain industries.
Make sure you’re keeping your content up to date and accurate. With every page, you have the option to update it, delete it, or combine it with other content. For example, if you have an older post that performed well years ago, but it’s outdated now, update it with accurate information. If it’s completely obsolete, it may be best to delete it completely.
Include regular updates in your SEO content writing strategy. You should check and update stats, check for dead links, and look for new information to add. It’s also good to stay current on best practices and edit your content as needed.
Link to High-Quality Sources
If you’re looking to establish yourself as an expert, that takes real data. Link to official sources, studies, and research to support your assertions and show the audience that you’re a reliable source of information.
Some universally trusted sources include NCBI and JSTOR, both of which offer studies and research you can link to. You can also find industry-specific databases, tweets, papers, and reports published by industry experts.
Consider Multiple Viewpoints
Content that comes across as too biased will be a concern for Google. When you’re presenting an argument, consider problems from multiple angles and consider how they apply to the larger conversation.
Few topics have a single, black-and-white standpoint that’s always correct in every case. Be objective in sharing the different perspectives and pros and cons, ensuring that the reader has the information they need to make an informed decision.
Mind Your Online Reputation
Your online reputation plays a big role in the trustworthiness of your website and content. Make sure you protect your reputation by monitoring social media and responding to negative comments and reviews.
You should also claim your social profiles under your brand and your Google My Business Page. This ensures that no one can claim your pages and damage your brand reputation. You should encourage customers to leave positive reviews as well.
Build the Right Backlinks with Off-Page SEO
Backlinks from relevant, high-authority domains are essential to an effective SEO strategy. When an authoritative site backlinks to your content, some of that authority passes on to you.
Of course, the relevance matters. If you’re in the tech industry and you get a backlink from a gossip website or a teen fashion brand, it’s probably not going to do much for your brand authority.
In fact, Google could penalize you if you resort to those types of tactics. Doing it right takes time and effort, but it’s well worth it. You have to earn backlinks by creating valuable, unique content that sites want to link to.
Invest time and resources to position your brand as an authority, then build relationships with publishers and influencers. Eventually, high-value backlinks will come.
Earn Mentions from Trusted Sources
Along with backlinks, getting mentions from trusted sources can improve your E-A-T credentials. The more your brand is mentioned by authoritative sources, the more Google will regard your website as an authority.
According to Google Patent, implied links – plain text mentions of your brand – are a type of backlink. The patent considers both actual links and plain text as a link from a credible website, and by extension, more authority for your brand.
How can you get more mentions? Here are some tips:
- Guest post on authoritative sites
- Speak at events
- Host events
- Become a guest on podcasts
- Partner with influencers
- Secure interview opportunities
- Create valuable resources that other industry sites can link to or reference
- Sponsor charity events
Show Contact Details
This is a small detail but having contact details makes a huge difference in showing that your website is a real company with real people. Websites that don’t have contact information are generally viewed as untrustworthy and a potential fly-by-night scam site.
Include all the ways people can get in touch with your and your company’s physical address, which garners trust.
Build a Content Marketing Framework
Consistent content creation is a good way to gain authority. Effective content marketing through blog posts, articles, podcasts, videos, and more enable you to demonstrate your authority in clear and defined ways.
It takes a lot of work to create good content, however. This is where many brands fail, as they’re trying to push out so much content that the quality and value come second.
Having a content creation framework solves this problem. You need a defined, repeatable process that you can use to create high-value content on a regular basis, ensuring that you’re doing all you can to boost your authority.
Your framework should have a content calendar with:
- The type of content
- Required resources
- Your publishing pace
- Your target audience segments
- Target keywords
- The steps involved and timeline for creating content
- A list of who is responsible for each part
- The desired goal of your content
Limit Ad Space on Your Site
Most sites have ads, and Google understands this. In fact, Google may directly benefit from your ads.
It’s easy to go overboard, however. Having too many ads, ads that block content, or ads that otherwise impact the reading experience (slow loading, won’t disappear, etc.) cause users to click away. They also make your website seem biased and untrustworthy because users may assume that everything you offer is sponsored and subjective.
Get a Wikipedia Page
This may be surprising but having a Wikipedia page can go a long way toward boosting your SEO.
Despite misconceptions, Wikipedia has a rigorous editorial process and flags content that may be incomplete, biased, or otherwise questionable. A backlink from Wikipedia to content is a sign of confidence.
Wikipedia is another great source of brand authority in your industry. You have an opportunity to mention your accomplishments as a brand, such as content in news publications or awards, and show Google that your company is legitimate.
E-A-T Well, Rank Well
When Google has an algorithm update, the whole of the marketing community stresses over the changes and what it means for content and SEO. With E-A-T, Google made it clear that it isn’t a huge factor in search rankings, but it does matter. Essentially, it’s an internal guideline that Google uses to determine if content is high quality. You can use these guidelines to provide better content for Google, and by extension, better serve your audience with information they can use.