Google’s E-A-T Guidelines are here as the internet giant remains steadfast in its mission to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful. At the heart of this mission is to produce quality content that would best cater to the needs of millions of web users.
With the massive amount of data available on the web today, it’s impossible to get an accurate response to search queries without Google’s careful organization of web content. Information from a huge number of webpages is stored in a Search index which functions similarly to a library that houses all of the world’s data.
Through a series of Search Algorithms, ranking systems are then designed to further sort data from billions of webpages and present information that matches your search instantly. These results come in a variety of formats such as text, images, videos, etc.
To constantly improve the usefulness and integrity of search results, Google runs rigorous processes such as search quality tests, live traffic experiments, side-by-side experiments and launching of search changes deemed useful by Google’s seasoned team of data scientists.
In order to understand deeper how Google evaluates the quality of search results, it’s crucial for webmasters to understand three key metrics: Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness of content.
E-A-T are concepts discussed in detail on Google’s Search Quality Rater Guidelines. These guidelines are used by thousands of trained external Search Quality Raters in measuring how well a website provides results to a user’s query. Essentially, any tweaks in the search engine’s algorithm are tested by these raters and help Google determine which changes should go through.
Initially, E-A-T is crucial for Your Money or Your Life (YMYL) sites which are generally those coming from the medical, finance, legal and news industries. These types of webpages are those that potentially impact the future “happiness, health, financial stability of users,” with the addition of the term “safety” after Google has updated the guidelines last July 2018.
Although QRG guidelines don’t necessarily tell webmasters how search algorithms rank results, Google’s vice president of search engineering, Ben Gomes reveals that it shows what algorithms should do. Hence, these guidelines remain as helpful benchmarks in the process of highlighting relevant user content.
Why do You Need to be Serious about E-A-T?
Did you know that E-A-T was mentioned 186 times on Google’s QRG? Search Engine Marketing Expert, Marie Haynes confirms this. To put simply, E-A-T is an indispensable criterion that can make or break your website’s traffic and visibility on SERPs. Top web marketing expert, Neil Patel further tells us that to produce valuable content of the highest quality means passing Google’s E-A-T guidelines criterion. In fact, Google’s QRG lists High level of E-A-T as the first characteristic that makes a high-quality page.
How to Build Your Authority by E-A-Ting
The irrefutable impact of the E-A-T criterion over website rankings lies on its power to guide webmasters in establishing authority on their given field. As Google’s Ben Gomez once stated, “we’re really driven by metrics— that’s the core of how we operate.” Thus, tailor-fitting strategies with these metrics in mind are crucial for your web page’s placement in Google rankings.
Here are key factors to help you determine which type of results Google wants you to create for users’ queries:
1. Expertise – establishing a high level of knowledge or skill in a particular area is the core definition of expertise. However, in the world wide web, possessing knowledge isn’t enough for Google to reward your website with rankings. You need to communicate this knowledge in a manner that will revert relevant results to a user’s query. To do this, you must:
- Find Out What People Are Looking For – To achieve better rankings in search engines, find and research alternative search terms that people input into search engines by practicing keyword research. You can make use of multiple tools available for free online such as Google Ads Keyword Planner or even Google Suggest Feature.
- Understand the Intent Behind a Query– Make sure your webpage is armed with content that responds to a searcher’s query, at any given stage of their journey as someone who gets in touch with your industry. Creating a balanced content for a beginner to an expert searcher can help you harness expertise in your niche.
- Establish a Clear and Satisfying Information About the Creator Of Main Content – Being able to provide valuable perspectives on specific topics isn’t enough to convince Google that you’re the best in your field. In the examples found in QRG, website owners should clearly communicate the level of expertise of the author of the content. Having a comprehensive biography that shows why an author is qualified to write the content would help provide evidence of expertise and thus a benchmark for a high page rating.
It’s important to note, however, that there are topics that may require less formal expertise. In this case, Google recognizes those “everyday experts” whose information may come from extensive life experiences without having to penalize the website for not having formal training in the given field. As a rule of thumb, Google’s standard for expertise is contingent on the topic of the page. Thus, identifying which level of expertise is required for the page to achieve its purpose well is crucial.
2. Authoritativeness – Building up your online authority in your given field is vital to start gaining significant traffic for your website. You can do this by:
- Build Quality Links– Demonstrate authority by capitalizing on link building. Reach out and get links from authority sites that show quality content that is credible and trustworthy. Link from sites with a higher Domain Authority versus your website. Connect with journalists through social media sites like Twitter. You can also establish a good reputation by getting mentions from forum discussions.
- Increase Conversion Rate with Customer Reviews- Another surefire way to boost your website’s visibility on Google is getting reviews from your customers. A study found that third-party review is deemed the most powerful purchase influence. Don’t be afraid of getting any bad reviews! Google tells us to be proactive towards negative reviews online. This reflects that we are customer-driven and that their optimum satisfaction comes first always. Ultimately, by filling your website with genuine user-generated content, you are able to send signals to Google that you’re an authority in a given niche which is beneficial to your overall SEO strategy.
3. Trustworthiness- With the addition of the “safety” quality in QRG, websites that have consistent trust issues experienced a considerable drop in search rankings. Learning from this, it’s imperative that you make concrete steps towards ensuring users’ safety in your website. Here are tips:
- Provide a Complete and Update Customer Service Information- Establish an accurate “About Us” section, provide a complete company name and physical address. If you’re running an e-commerce website, be sure to have a working contact detail that is reachable to customers.
- Have a Clear Terms and Conditions Section– To help a customer resolve issues, it is important to have a terms and conditions page that’s accessible. If your website is selling products and services, be sure that your refund policies are well articulated and are customer-centric.
- Ensure Security of Customer Data with HTTPS – Protect sensitive user data such as credit card numbers and passwords by using a HyperText Transfer Protocol Secure (HTTPS) system. Google has also considered the use of HTTPS as a ranking signal. Thus ‘unsecured’ websites will experience not just a drop in ranking but also a loss of conversions for being flagged as unsafe by Chrome.
By following these guidelines you’ll have a better chance long term in keeping your website ranking higher in the search engine. Are you ready to make these changes?