E-A-T SEO: Exploring three factors Google is using to rank your website
E-A-T: Expertise, Authority, and Trust. These are three core factors (amongst many other things) that Google uses to gauge where your website shows up in their search results. Google’s primary goal is to give the people searching the best experience possible, so it only shows websites that they fully trust.
Still unsure of what this means and how it applies to you/your own SEO strategy? Continue reading and I’ll breakdown:
- Where E-A-T came from
- Define Expertise, Authority, and Trust.
- Understanding Google’s Main Goal
- Examples to help you better understand
- Why it’s so important
- How to improve your E-A-T
Where did E-A-T come from and should we trust it?
The E-A-T acronym comes directly from the guidelines published by Google’s quality assurance team, or as Google likes to call them the “Search Quality Raters Team.” You can view their 164 page PDF here if you’d like.
Expertise, Authority, and Trust, Defined.
Expertise: As defined by Webster’s Dictionary “Expert skill or knowledge in a particular field.” You need to demonstrate that your knowledge level for your particular service matches or exceeds the competition. If you and your competitor had a showdown of who knew more about that specific subject, the person who accurately displayed their depth of insight and knowledge would make you stand out. The same goes for your website.
Authoritativeness: A website that is “able to be trusted as being accurate or true; reliable.” When people venture over to Google to search, they’re looking for an authority figure who can give them answers they can trust.
Trustworthiness: “The ability to be relied on as honest or truthful.” You can have all the content in the world about your subject, but it’s another thing for it to be trustworthy. Google emphasizes measuring trust in a website based on the uniqueness (meaning, your content isn’t scraped from another website) of your content and the backlinks to your website. The more trust the site in the domain you’re getting the backlink from, the more trust it’ll pass on to you.
Understanding Google’s Main Goal
Let’s step back and take a second to understand what Google’s primary goal is (besides knowing everything about every one of us). Simply put, Google wants to give its customers (the people searching) the best experience possible. How do you provide a great experience? By always showing relevant, helpful, and valuable results to the search query. If your website is demonstrating strong expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness, Google will start trusting your site. The more Google believes your site, the more you’ll be rewarded with higher placements in the search results.
Let’s take a look at the example below. You just got a new dog, and you’re looking for the best place that offers dog training in your area so Baxter will stop staining the carpet.
Website A: Total of three pages on their website, five backlinks from different Chinese sites, zero reviews, no links to social media, no SSL certificate on their website, no Google My Business page set up.
Website B: Total of six pages on their website, ten backlinks from a dog website out of state, links to social media, a blog with three posts, the site is secured with SSL certificate, Google My Business page set up but no reviews.
Website C: Total of ten pages on their website, fifty backlinks sourced locally (Chambers of Commerce), a blog that has over fifty posts talking about dog training methods updated weekly, links to social media, the site is secured with SSL, Google My Business page with twenty reviews.
Based on what we know above, which site do you think Google “trusts” the most? Website C is the answer, and since Google trusts Website C the most, it’ll rank that website the highest in the Search Results.
Why E-A-T is so important
If your dentist lacks expertise, authority, and trust, you’re likely to look around for a better alternative. You can expect Google’s users (searchers) to do the same. When they land on a website that lacks expertise, authority, and trust, they’ll look elsewhere for the answers they’re searching for. Google’s algorithm is trained to look at the three metrics (E-A-T) and using them as signals to determine whether they should trust that website to be able to satisfy the searcher’s needs. Simply put, if Google finds a website that provides a better experience for the searcher than your site, Google will place them higher in the search results.
Hopefully by now you have a better understanding of what E-A-T is and why it’s important. A lack of E-A-T makes it very difficult for Google to trust your site, resulting in lower rankings. We’ve outlined a few ways for you to make sure you’re staying on top of implementing E-A-T across your website so Google can better trust your site and reward you with better rankings.
- Get good reviews. What customers are saying about your business online (Yelp, Google My Business, BBB, etc) matters! A few bad reviews aren’t going to ruin your website, but if the overall consensus of your website is negative, Google will definitely take note of this. Reviews go a long way in strengthening your website (for a magnitude of different reasons), so make sure getting reviews is always part of your follow-up process.
- Quality over quantity. It’s important that the content on your website is valuable for the reader and you’re actually providing them insight on the subject. Google loves sites that are continually adding new content to their site (or blogs). Content is where you show Google that you’re the expert on this topic. It doesn’t need to be every day or even every week, but if your site goes months at a time without adding any new fresh content, Google will take note.
- Earn backlinks from high authority sites. Backlinks are crucial when it comes to the “A” and the “T” in E-A-T. Backlinks are created when one website links to another, for example when the Chamber of Commerce list your company on their website. When you’re acquiring backlinks from high authority, relevant sites, these backlinks act as a “vote of confidence.” Similar to content, you’ll want to focus on “quality over quantity” when it comes to gaining backlinks as well.
In your relationships in life, trust is earned and not given. Interestingly enough, the same rules apply here when it comes to your website and Google. There are over 1.5 billion websites on the web, so you need to gain Google’s trust to be rewarded with the high rankings.
Questions about E-A-T? Reach out anytime… we’re here to help!
Digital Marketing Strategist & SEO Specialist