You may have heard the acronym ‘E-A-T’ being tossed around in SEO or search engine ranking circles. But what does it mean? And why is it important?
In 2016, Google made some updates on how they rank search results to provide the digital public with more quality content and to fight the proliferation of unreliable sources of information.
Expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness (E-A-T) are three important factors that Google takes into account when ranking websites.
In this article, we will discuss what each of these terms means and how you can optimize your content and your entire website with an effective EAT SEO approach.
What is Google’s E-A-T?
In Google’s search quality rater guidelines, E-A-T is defined as a three-point concept that search quality evaluators use to rank a web page in the search algorithm. Expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness are all indicators of a high-quality page that provides valuable information to users.
A YMYL or “Your Money or Your Life” site with a high E-A-T is more likely to rank higher in search results because it is seen as a reliable source of information. There are a number of ways to improve content quality using E-A-T, some of which are discussed later in this article, together with what YMYL sites are.
If the content written has the expertise, authority, and trustworthiness that the search quality rater guidelines are looking for, then it will perform better in SEO and will rank higher on Google.
Is Google’s E-A-T a ranking factor?
The answer to this question is not a black or white thing. While Google E-A-T helps rank content, it is not a scoring system. Search quality evaluators simply use it as a guideline to differentiate high-quality content from poor-quality content.
This means that if you’re creating high-quality content for SEO with all the best practices that achieve E-A-T, quality evaluators will see that your content possesses the E-A-T that can make it rank higher on SERPs.
In the sense that it helps evaluators determine whether a piece of content should rank higher or not, yes—it is a ranking factor. But to treat it as a scoring system where you can put numbers on how a piece of content reflects Google E-A-T, then it is not the ranking factor that some may see it to be.
Google E-A-T is simply a concept that quality evaluators use to assess whether your content should rank higher on SERPs or not.
E-A-T Impacts SEO
Keyword usage is not the end-all-be-all of ranking high on SERPs. The keywords used, the quality of the content, and who delivers the information also matter to Google.
As seen in how search quality evaluators examine a content’s E-A-T in Google’s Search Quality Evaluator Guidelines, factors relating to expertise, authority, and trustworthiness also help determine a piece of content’s ranking.
Google has been vocal about its plans to focus on E-A-T in its algorithm. They want to give users the best possible results and believe that including E-A-T signals will help them do that.
Earlier, we mentioned “YMYL” websites. So what does YMYL mean?
What are YMYL Websites?
Your Money or Your Life (YMYL) websites are specific types of websites that Google takes into greater consideration when ranking in their search engine. YMYL websites are those that deal with personal finance, health, or legal issues. This is why it’s called “Your Money or Your Life” sites or YMYL sites.
Because the content on these websites can directly impact a person’s life, Google places greater weight on their ranking. This is especially true regarding the top results, which can often be the difference between life and death in some cases.
If a particular website’s main focus of discussion circles around these topics, you can assume that Google will be more strict regarding site audits.
How is E-A-T Gauged?
After defining what it means and how it relates to SEO, it’s crucial to understand how E-A-T criteria are looked at in an actual piece of content. Let’s find out how E-A-T or expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness reflect in content.
The first letter in E-A-T stands for expertise. Expertise is all about the depth of understanding behind how a topic is presented in the content.
For the expertise behind a piece of content, quality evaluators will gauge whether you, the creator of the content, or the website giving the content have the qualifications and education to talk about the topic.
Google wants to see that you are an expert in your field and can provide valuable and verified information that can help others.
The second letter in the abbreviation stands for authoritativeness. Authoritativeness is about being seen as a reliable source of information on a particular topic or niche by your audience and other experts.
If your website is about consultations regarding careers, you’re considered an authority in Google’s eyes if people link to you, or go to you, whenever they look for authoritative sites for career advice.
Google wants to see if other websites view your site as an authoritative source on your topic. So your authority is about how others see you and the content you provide.
And lastly, the “T” in E-A-T stands for trustworthiness. Trustworthiness is about being a reliable source of information. It talks about the transparency and legitimacy of the content, the website, and the author.
To determine your page quality or how trustworthy your content is, quality evaluators will assess if the articles written, or if the website itself can provide accurate information and basis about the topic and the site owners.
Google wants to see that users can trust your site to provide accurate and up-to-date information. Your trustworthiness depends on what you’re able to provide so that others can know more about you and your content.
Here’s one tip to help you improve your SEO approach with E-A-T.
TIP: To help Google assess your content’s E-A-T, create content on one nature of focus only—that is, YMYL topics or non-YMYL topics. Try not to mix both on one website.
Improve Your SEO with Simple Approaches to E-A-T
If you want your website to rank high on Google search results, then you need to observe E-A-T to create content Google wants.
Here, we will go over how you can achieve E-A-T in your content one by one.
Prove what made you an expert
In order to show Google your expertise, you need to have a proven track record in your niche. This can be demonstrated in many ways, depending on if your niche is a YMYL or a non-YMYL topic.
If your content talks about YMYL topics like…
- Health and Medication
-you can demonstrate your expertise with formal education and qualification to back you up when discussing these sensitive subjects.
Suppose you advise how someone should strategize their IRA or individual retirement accounts. In that case, you can show that you’re an expert if you have a degree in economics, accounting, business, or law.
You can also prove that you’re an expert in the field of financial advisory if you have a proven record of working in an insurance company.
Likewise, if you’re going to create content about the effects of diet on mental health, it’s crucial to prove your expertise by providing proof that you have the formal background to discuss the science behind the subject matter.
If you’re not a psychologist, nutritionist, or doctor, it’ll be tough for Google to see that you’re an expert when it comes to topics on science and health.
But what if your niche is not a YMYL topic? Does Google require formal qualification for non-YMYL topics for it to be deemed an expert insight?
No—you don’t need to be a doctor to impart your expertise on non-YMYL topics. However, you can still show your expertise in these fields by demonstrating your “everyday expertise” or relevant life experiences that gave you knowledge about the subject matter.
For example, if you’re sharing your expertise about cycling, it helps to provide your background as someone who’s been biking for years. If you’ve taken part in triathlons, that would also help prove your know-how about using aero bikes.
Your niche is considered non-YMYL if it talks about topics like…
- and alike
Authority that is proven by others
One way content creators can show authority is to invest heavily in strengthening their brand awareness. What’s interesting about this second part of the Google E-A-T is that it has something more to do with what others say about you and not what you say about yourself.
Like what we briefed about earlier in this article, authority is about your reputation and how your audience, and the other experts in your niche, see you.
You can prove your authoritativeness to Google, or its search quality evaluators, through…
- Positive reviews
- and a Wikipedia page
-made about you or your website. This is why building brand awareness is essential. It’s challenging to prove your authority as a resource when there’s no evidence about your work or your contribution to your niche.
Getting your own Wikipedia Page
Wikipedia is one of the most popular sites on the internet. It is often one of the first places people go to learn about a topic. It’s also a great source of information for content creators looking to build their own authority and expertise in a particular field.
So how can you get your own page on Wikipedia? The first step is ensuring you meet Wikipedia’s criteria for inclusion.
Your page must be notable, meaning it must have received significant coverage from reliable sources. You’ll also need to provide accurate and unbiased information, and your page must comply with Wikipedia’s guidelines on notability, verifiability, and neutrality.
Once you’ve met these requirements, you can submit a request for a page. You’ll need to provide some basic information about yourself or your business and links to supporting evidence. If your page is approved, it will be added to Wikipedia’s database of articles.
To get your own page on Wikipedia, you’ll need to meet Wikipedia’s standards regarding:
- Notability test
- Many references
- References have a Wikipedia page
- Bad Wikipedia sources
For more information about how to create your own page on Wikipedia, check out Wikipedia’s “Wikipedia: How to create a page” guidelines.
How to say “trust me” properly
There are a few things content creators can do to show they’re trustworthy. Like what we briefed about trustworthiness earlier in this article, this part of the E-A-T focuses on the accuracy of the information you give in your content and your identification as a resource.
To pass as high-quality content, evaluators will check if the information given in a piece is accurate. This is why it’s critical for you to always provide links to your source and to give verified and updated information.
If you want to present yourself as someone your audience can trust, Google will also have to see that your identification is verifiable.
If you show only your picture on your author’s page or ‘about me’ page on your website but don’t provide how people can reach you, it’ll be difficult for evaluators to consider you a trustworthy resource.
To provide your audience and evaluators with transparency and accurate information, provide your…
- social media channels
- email address
- contact number
- and the links to your sources to back up your claims in a content
Whether you’re creating content about YMYL topics or non-YMYL topics, practicing the tips above is essential to helping others see you as someone that is transparent.
E-A-T SEO Recap
If you want to improve your website’s Google E-A-T to rank higher on SERPs, there are a few things you can do:
- Provide proof of your expertise
- Include social proof
- Build links from high-quality websites
- Ensure your page include identification for accountability
- Make sure your information is updated
- Get your own page on Wikipedia
Google, or Google’s search quality rater guidelines, considers a website’s E-A-T (expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness) when ranking it in the SERPs or search engine results page.
If you want to rank your website higher or your brand to win at SEO, you must focus on building your site’s E-A-T by following the practices discussed in this article.
There are several ways you can do this; some are easy to do, like optimizing your author’s page or ‘about me’ page, while some will require more effort and time, like building your own web page on Wikipedia.
But, if you’re willing to put in the work, you’ll see results in more traffic and a higher Google ranking.
Brian Shelton is an entrepreneur, marketer, and life-long learner committed to helping businesses achieve impactful results. He founded Grow Predictably to provide tailored marketing strategies to generate predictable, profitable growth. With over a decade of experience in the industry, Brian has helped businesses, large and small. reach their goals and drive positive change in the world.