How does the Google E-A-T algorithm work?
Google’s goal has always been to provide users with relevant, high-quality search results. As a part of that approach, in 2014 (according to Search Engine Journal), they started implementing a new policy (and a search algorithm) called E-A-T, which stands for expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness. What is Google E-A-T about? And what does it mean for content creators and website owners? Let’s have a look.
Google E-A-T is one of many elements allowing Google to ensure that it displays high-quality content to users worldwide. E-A-T is a part of Google search quality rater guidelines (so-called quality raters) that help Google categorize and index websites. If you want to thrive in this search engine, you have to be aware of this important ranking factor and take care of your web page quality. But let’s start with the beginning. What do you need to know about Google EAT?
- 1 What is Google E-A-T?
- 2 What are YMYL websites, and what does E-A-T mean for them?
- 3 What should you avoid when it comes to Google E-A-T?
- 4 Summary: Make the most of Google E-A-T
What is Google E-A-T?
As you already know, this abbreviation comprises three elements: expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness. In short, that’s what your website’s content should be. If you want to create high-quality, factually accurate content that ranks high on Google, you have to make sure that it’s trustworthy and expert. But what does it actually mean? Here, we have to mention two significant elements:
- All the texts that you publish have to be expert and well-researched.
- They should be written by real authors with proven experience and knowledge.
The goal is to provide Google users with information that will help them, not hurt them. That’s the most important ranking factor in Google E-A-T. Google has no interest in promoting unverified information that can be potentially harmful or even dangerous to readers. In fact, Google EAT can refer to anything you post online. Even hobbyist texts can be a subject of E-A-T criteria. For example, suppose you run a cycling blog and encourage your readers to buy expensive brakes that have negative reviews online. In that case, that’s also a violation of Google’s E-A-T rules – because you encourage readers to waste their money.
GOOGLE EAT: HOW DOES IT WORK?
To understand how this Google’s algorithm works, we are going to show you two everyday expertise examples (mind you, it can be less-formal expertise as well). Here’s the first one: Suppose you run a medical website. It’s a good example because it’s also a YMYL website, but we’ll get to that. Your texts should be created by people with appropriate knowledge and experience, in this case, doctors and scientists. Medical knowledge is something that continually evolves, so it should be regularly verified and updated. Even the language that you use is important. It shouldn’t be dramatic or sensational because such a way of writing characterizes rather low-quality texts. Professional sources are usually well-balanced and even-tempered.
And now, the second example. If you run a news website, the texts you publish should be created by professional journalists, and the materials themselves should be thoroughly described and verified. If you refer to specific data and sources – mention them in the text. Do not publish unverified information, especially if it can affect the safety of your readers.
Earlier, we mentioned that the author is also very important in E-A-T. What does it actually mean?
E-A-T is not only about what you post but also about who wrote it. That’s what authority and trustworthiness are all about, and that’s yet another vital ranking factor. All your texts should be written by real people with high authority and, if possible, recognition. Again, a quick example. Who will you trust more when it comes to SEO strategy?
- Neil Patel, a world-famous SEO expert who has been publishing articles about SEO for years and is highly appreciated in the SEO community
- Or some random blog that has been created recently, is anonymous, and not exactly refined?
The answer is obvious, isn’t it? We trust real people who have the necessary knowledge and experience and can show a proven track record. That’s why, generally speaking, when it comes to health-related questions, we trust doctors, and when it comes to money-related questions, we trust people with experience in financial institutions.
When it comes to Google search results, the authority of the author is also increasingly important. If you want to be a person creating high-quality texts, you have to take care of your online image. How can you do that?
It all starts with professional social networks, especially LinkedIn. Use this platform to show your knowledge and experience. Link to web pages that have published your pieces in the past and build your content marketing strategy around them.
What’s also essential, you need to create high-quality content regularly. Find a place where you can publish (it can even be your own blog, but also check websites like Medium.com) and put something online at least once a week. Make sure every piece contains your full name and a short bio. This way, you will shortly build credibility in Google and grow your website’s E-A-T.
The last point that should be mentioned in the context of the author’s authority is transparency. The more you write about your work experience, the better. Anything that shows readers (and Google bots) that you know what you’re talking about is useful. Here, we mean especially professional titles, diplomas, and certificates. Put them on your website and LinkedIn profile. Make sure people know you are a seasoned expert who has something valuable to convey. Of course, positive reviews are also very helpful.
All of that is particularly important in one category of web pages that are frequently referred to as YMYL websites. Let’s talk a bit more about them.
What are YMYL websites, and what does E-A-T mean for them?
YMYL is yet another crucial abbreviation that stands for Your Money Your Life (not Your Money or Your Life). The term YMYL comprises all websites that provide content or advice that may have a significant impact on the health, stability, well-being, or even happiness of their readers. When you think about it, the list of YMYL sites can actually be quite long. This category covers financial, shopping, health, legal, and informational topics.
Again, let’s use a quick example. Suppose you run a website about investing money, and you encourage people to participate in pyramid schemes as a great way to make money. In that case, this is an example of a bad YMYL practice, and Google will give you minus points for that. Because the vast majority of your readers (if not all of them) will lose money because of your advice, and they expected the opposite.
Obviously, YMYL also refers to all kinds of medical websites. In this case, providing readers with uncertain, unproven, or even harmful knowledge can directly and adversely affect their life and health.
What should you avoid when it comes to Google E-A-T?
Google EAT shows what to do and what to concentrate on but also what to avoid. Here are all the crucial things that you have to avoid at all costs. If some of them are a part of your current SEO efforts, you should quit them as quickly as possible. Otherwise, your E-A-T score will never be satisfactory.
Here’s what to avoid:
- Automatically generated content (Google’s evaluating websites, i.e., for the validity of their content, so make sure every piece you publish has been written by a real person)
- Duplicate content (Google values uniqueness as well)
- Malicious links and content
Additionally, remember that high-quality content means no fake news!
Summary: Make the most of Google E-A-T
Expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness – that’s what E-A-T is all about. This update surely changes the way digital marketers work, especially when it comes to YMYL pages, but not only. Today, E-A-T SEO is all about producing useful, well-thought-out, and transparent content that helps readers instead of getting them into trouble.
Make sure that you create content Google loves by sticking to the rules and suggestions we outlined in this article. Publish only articles written by real experts. Gather high-quality links. Showcase your everyday expertise. Avoid misleading and unproven information and texts. If you cannot verify specific information – don’t publish it. Treat your website like a Wikipedia page. This way, search engines will value your website more. Indeed, Google’s E-A-T surely changes the way website owners should think about their content.
If you have a hard time implementing Google’s E-A-T recommendations, you can always ask for our help! Drop us a line, and let’s talk about the details!