What is E-E-A-T & how can you optimise for it?
Wednesday, February 22, 2023
Search is always evolving, which is why Google created E-A-T and does continuous algorithm updates – all with the ultimate aim of providing the best answers for users, as quickly as possible. Although we focus on Google in this article, it is important to remember that mosts search engines will have a similar metric, such as QC: quality and credibility from Bing.
What is E-E-A-T?
Formally just E-A-T, E-E-A-T stands for experience, expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness. It is worth noting that Google has stated that the T (trust) is the most important member of the E-E-A-T acronym.
E-E-A-T is an acronym created by Google, referenced in its Search Quality Guidelines – a document that is used to access the quality and credibility of content on the web. It became more well known within the industry after the infamous Medic update – which saw a huge shift in the search landscape regarding medical and YMYL sites (your money, your life).
In the Search Quality Guidelines, Google states that E-E-A-T considers not just the main content itself, but the creator of the content and the website. For websites that are classified as YMYL, E-E-A-T will be extremely important to unlocking the full organic potential of the website.
What is YMYL?
YMYL is another acronym from the Search Quality Guidelines from Google. It stands for Your Money, Your Life. Anything that can impact a person’s future happiness, health, financial stability or safety will come under YMYL. This isn’t limited to a website either, YMYL can also be individual pages of content, should it fall under the above categories.
For example, the NHS website would be YMYL as it contains a lot of information on health. Other examples may include website’s that encourage investing money, including cryptocurrency, or a WikiHow article on how to stop somebody from choking.
How does Google use E-E-A-T?
Google employs a team of search quality evaluators who use E-E-A-T as a criteria when evaluating search results. Often, Google will use human quality raters rather than algorithmic ratings to ensure the criteria is being met.
Raters’ feedback is incorporated into Google’s future algorithms, although it’s important to understand that the raters’ scoring does not directly influence Google’s results. Instead, Google uses their feedback as data points to help ensure that high quality content appears in the search results within future algorithm updates.
Why is improving E-E-A-T important for SEO?
As mentioned previously, the Medic update in 2018 caused a lot of volatility within the search engines, and appeared to be closely linked to Google’s emphasis on E-E-A-T. Fast forward to present day, we often see YMYL websites and content being disproportionately impacted by Core algorithm updates – especially in the cases where specific content was lacking sufficient E-E-A-T signals.
As a result, many sites whose content contained medical, financial or legal advice saw large traffic declines. This is because Google’s search results had been adjusted to surface only the highest quality, most authoritative and most trustworthy content. Content that didn’t contain sufficient E-E-A-T signals often lost their high ranking positions within Google.
Nowadays, a focus on E-E-A-T is a primary part of SEO strategies that allow websites within YMYL spaces to stay competitive.
How can you optimise for E-E-A-T?
When optimising for E-E-A-T, it is important to highlight the qualities that both users and search engines are looking for. To repeat, that is experience, expertise, authority and trust.
Ultimately, you need to instil a sense of trust in your users, so that they know that the content you provide is accurate, credible and most importantly, safe. As it stands, there are no explicit or confirmed ranking factors that contribute towards good E-E-A-T, apart from PageRank and external links. However, having strong on-page signals and sentiments around the brand will benefit any site in organic search.
With that in mind, some things we recommend are:
Being as transparent as possible on who your experts are, who your company is and what you stand for
When writing articles, display experience and expertise, whether that is through technical content or by using authors established in your industry
Cite sources where possible to show that your content is credible
Utilising third party review platforms to instil trust in the user
These are a couple of points to give your website a boost in E-E-A-T. If you require something more in-depth, please get in touch with one of the SEO team here at Clicky!