Expertise, Authority, and Trust
E-A-T …Google’s Framework to Distinguish High Quality Content
“Without a strategy, content is just stuff, and the world has enough stuff”
Ever since the inception of Internet Marketing, the importance of creating Good Quality Content has only increased. Content is still the KING that decides the Success or Failure of a marketing strategy.
In its Search Quality Guidelines, published in 2014, Google first introduced the E-A-T Concept. Since then, it’s one of the prime topics of discussion for many SEOs. After the Google Algorithm Update, released in August 2018, E-A-T has grabbed the spotlight and has been in talks all the while.
In this post we’re going on a detailed tour on the subject of what Google and other Search Engines consider as essential factors to create high-quality content. We want to help you understand how to ensure you write to work with Google’s needs to start your ranking higher journey. Going to cover some of the answers to these questions:
- What is E-A-T?
- What is YMYL?
- How E-A-T is evaluated?
- Is E-A-T a ranking factor ?
What exactly is E-A-T?
E – Expertise
A – Authority
T – Trust
The technical description goes like this, “it helps a webmaster understand what Google looks for in a web page.”
Putting it simply, Google et al are loaded with content on different subjects. But not all this content shares genuine information. Google upholds its reputation for being the best because it offers searchers E-A-T answers, so if it didn’t have rules on what web content is trustworthy (as an example), then relying on details without being policed (we’re not just talking GDPR), could take a great toll financially, physically or even mentally on a searcher.
Example: “Weight Loss Exercises” – if someone searches with this “keyword” (phrase), thousands of results will appear on the SERPs.
Each page provides some information about the topic, but the Google can’t decide which page, among these hundreds of thousands, gives us the genuine answers to the queries. This is when E-A-T comes into the picture!
E-A-T helps Google to prioritise the results based on the Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness of any web page.
High Quality Content – Decode Google’s viewpoint
Google, let’s face it, is the powerhouse of all Search Engines in the world. The reason being? It provides genuine and high-quality answers to any queries.
Google has evolved a lot as a Search Engine and it pays genuine attention to its “User’s Interest”. It’s almost IMPOSSIBLE now to rank content that doesn’t share correct information with its savvy readers. Google’s always updating its Search Algorithms for more advanced and accurate results. SEOs are forever researching Google’s changes and are keen to decipher its algorithms, but for obvious reasons…Google is tight-lipped about that!
After analysing thousands of websites, we’ve short-listed a few important FACTORS that Google and other Search Engines consider important to create High Quality Content.
- In-depth discussion
- Accurate information
- Relevant images and infographics
- Genuine resources
Google, taking a step ahead, has summed up all of these important factors into its Search Quality Evaluator Guidelines (SQEG), named “E-A-T”.
Technically, this GUIDELINE helps the Human Search Evaluators of Google to decide how the different algorithms are doing. Additionally, because of this reason, the guideline also helps understand what Google looks for in a high-quality web pages.
This guide works to differentiate high-quality content from low-quality content. Working with the “YMYL” (another important acronym by Google) should be a great start to understanding what high quality content is in the eyes of Google.
What is YMYL?
All web pages and topics are symptomatically categorised by Google and other Search Engines. Some topics are directly related to a person’s health, happiness, financial stability, safety, future, etc. These are considered as YMYL (Your Money or Your Life) topics. Very emotive….
E-A-T has the maximum impact on these web pages.
In the above example, the search results for “weight loss exercises” will certainly be YMYL websites since they provide information that’s directly associated with human health.
So in this example, the webmaster will consider the Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness of the pages more than any other non-YMYL websites.
How E-A-T is evaluated?
How E-A-T is evaluated for a particular web page is the biggest headache for SEOs. We have a insanely detailed discussions about the different aspects of E-A-T. But remember, the Search Quality Guideline does not provide any Direct Answers, it gives us CLUES.
We’ve deeply analysed those clues and now we’re going to share our findings with you.
EXPERTISE in E-A-T
In real life, who do we consider as an expert?
Someone who has Exceptional Knowledge and Skill on a particular subject. He/she is someone who has the answers to all the related queries on that particular subject. For the YMYL websites, Google prefers the opinions and comments of an EXPERT than a normal person giving similar information.
However, the search engine’s take on ‘Expertise’ is slightly different. According to that, “only sharing knowledge is not enough to have the traffic flooded on the website from the search engine.”
Google prioritises how knowledge is presented to the readers.
If you want to create High-Quality content for your web pages, it’s important to understand Google’s take on Expertise. Here are a few things that we need to analyse and keep in mind when creating content:
- How the information is presented matters hugely! We need to maintain a fine balance so that all the details are shared in a digestible manner for the searchers. There are readers of different levels – beginners, intermediate, and advanced. The information shared should be understandable for all.
- The visual appearance also plays a very important role to decide the Expertise level of the content. Using relevant images and videos can help readers (see learning styles below). Google wants the subject to be elaborate, but not laborious for its readers (and let’s not, Google’s readers are also its customers) to get the best insight and understanding.
- Always try to answer the follow-up queries of the readers. A particular search may include so many different queries, those queries should also be answered in the correct order. To simplify the approach, using authority external or internal links are helpful. Example, this article has internal links to other pages in our website that we think you (as the reader) will find useful; as well as linking externally (e.g to Google’s Guidelines here) to show you and Google that we really want to help you with your complete findings!
Not all websites come under the YMYL category. Many topics do not require any formal expertise, and sharing real-life experience is enough to update the readers about that. A huge percentage of readers search for product reviews, travel tips, and other topics that don’t need any formal expertise.
However, if someone is searching for financial, legal, or health tips…Google would prioritise content with EXPERTISE!
AUTHORITY in E-A-T
While expertise is about sharing the knowledge and skill, authoritativeness is all about the reactions after recognising the expertise.
Google has been considering the PAGE RANK since its beginning to understand the authority of a particular domain. This is certainly one of the most reliable signs of authority for a website. However, if we analyse the latest Search Engine Evaluator Guide, we can find a detailed clue on how to improve the authoritativeness of your website.
NOTE: This isn’t directly related to creating high-quality content, but it’s important to know how your content is going to be accepted or what are the steps that we can follow to improve the acceptance, followed by the authoritativeness.
Here are a few factors that Google considers as an “Authority Gainer”
- When your website receives links from other relevant websites, this certainly is a huge factor that gains authority for your website. The website authority grows proportionately with the number of quality links.
Earning links from genuine and relevant websites improves the domain authority. This is one of the best endorsements for your website from another website. Also, remember that it’s not the quantity, but the quality of links that matters the most.
- Apart from links, a simple mention of your name on other relevant and high authority websites is also a determining factor for Google and other search engines about your website’s authority.
- Social sharing is yet another very important indicator of the high authoritativeness of a website or a particular web page. Numerous social platforms are around. If your content is being largely spread, this is a sign of growing authority.
- What Google perceives as a real authority builder is when the search with your brand name increases. It’s a measure for the search engines of your brand authority. FURTHERMORE, if more people are searching with your brand name along with some relevant keywords, then it’s even better. You get the what we’re saying right?
- Having a Wikipedia page is also a sign of great authority for your brand. It’s not easy to create a WIKI page unless you are a renowned individual or brand. Why not think forward and think BIG?! We are too….see you there!
In a nutshell, however your website receives recognition – be it Links, Shares, Name Mentions, Reviews, etc, as long as they’re from genuine sources, it’ll help improve the AUTHORITY of your website.
TRUST in E-A-T
TRUST is a very important factor for any brand to grow on the internet platform. Google is keen on promoting those brands on the SERPs that have earned the trust of the visitors.
While Expertise and Authority help gain better ranking, trust is also a positive catalyst in that sense. It’s important that we entice readers onto our page, and so in line with Google’s research (they partnered with a Kantar to gather their findings of consumer behaviour online) we’re able to explain to you what we all need to be doing to get our audience onto our pages. The research concluded that there are six canonical consumer needs:
- Surprise Me
- Help Me
- Reassure Me
- Educate Me
- Impress Me
- Thrill Me.
So, with the above in mind along with creating High-Quality content, this should be high on the agenda for any business’s content strategy.
Anyone can share their views about a particular brand, product, or service on the internet. Not all of those are helpful to develop trust for your brand. Google considers reviews on Trustpilot, Facebook, Google My Business as genuine and this improves the trustworthiness (there can be negative reviews of course, but if dealt with properly it’s a valuable “platform” for trust).
Acquiring highly positioned ranking for your strategic keywords on Google doesn’t happen overnight. Have a look at these effective steps below, if you follow them in a consistent manner, they’ll really help to improve the trustworthiness of your business (and its online marketing strategy).
- Stating clearly how to contact the website owner is a sign that your approach is genuine. You should mention the physical address, contact details, etc. Websites that seem generic may be seen as spam, with no personal details of photos on the About Us page, as an example.
- Search Engines prefer clearly stated Terms and Conditions on the website and don’t forget in the UK all business websites must, by law, have updated Privacy Notices.
- Selling products or services through a website has become very easy! Ecommerce websites must be secured as they deal with Confidential Customer Details (CCD). Acquiring SSL certification shows you are keen to protect those details from being misused by third-party users. This makes you trustworthy to Google. Data protection, GPDR laws and cybercrime aside, Google Chrome is starting to penalise websites withOUT the HTTPS or an SSL Certificate.
- If you are receiving payments through your website, there has to be a clear Refund and Return Policy as this earns the trust of the users, as well as Google.
- No matter if your website falls under the category of YMYL or not, if you are sharing some information or creating blogs and articles on the website, it’s always good to share valid information about the Author.
TRUST is a relative matter. As per Google’s algorithm, a website must obtain viewers’ trust in the specific subject matter that it deals with.
E-A-T and Google Ranking
Google (or any other Search Engine for that matter) doesn’t directly answer the queries related to ranking factors. However, after analysing the Search Engine Guideline, we can safely say that E-A-T is an influential element for a website determined to achieve improvement in its ranking.
The number of high-quality backlinks is definitely one of the most important factors for higher rankings. It’s easy for Google engineers to identify those web-pages with the highest numbers of backlinks through customised programming.
You know…Expertise | Authority | Trust is a concept built for humans, with reactions by humans. However, all these factors are indicators of a genuine website. You can earn authority and trustworthiness only when your expertise is presented in an understandable manner to your perfect audience and therefore (hopefully) your readers!
Remember, Google is a robot. You are writing for humans and human emotions.
Key Takeaways from Google’s E-A-T
Google is very stringent about the accuracy of the information that is being shared on web-pages that rank highly on the SERPs. Or, it works the other way – pages that share accurate and in-depth information, rank highly on the SERPs.
Google never entertains misleading information, especially on YMYL websites.
E-A-T works as a framework that guides how TOP CONTENT should Look and Read like! Like many other Search Engines, Google’s highest priority is focusing on satisfying its searchers’ intent.
When in doubt, just remember Google’s acronym of E-A-T, be authentic to your audience and guide them to your call to action.
OR when in doubt, come and have a chat with Elaine and the team. We are really friendly, experts in our field, and genuinely want our clients to find success through online marketing.