The Ultimate Guide to E-A-T in SEO – Where Did E-A-T Come From & Why is It Important?

Expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness – that’s what makes a high quality webpage. In Google’s eyes, and the eyes of its Search Quality Raters, the top ranking websites on the search results should all possess these qualities. That’s why, though not a direct ranking factor, anyone wanting to fly high on Google needs to make sure they E-A-T!

Squarebird is an experienced digital marketing and SEO agency based in Bristol. Our tried and tested methods encompass all aspects of website performance, allowing you to rise successfully and sustainably up the search rankings.

In this guide, we explain everything you need to know about E-A-T, and how you improve yours.

What is E-A-T in SEO?

E-A-T stands for expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness, and it’s high on the agenda for Google’s Search Quality Raters. Google is continuously making updates to the way the algorithm functions in order to improve the quality of the search results. Search Quality Raters are the people responsible for reviewing the search results with and without the proposed change to provide insights on its effectiveness. From Google’s perspective, a change that leads to more results with a high E-A-T will have enhanced the performance of the algorithm.

Is E-A-T a Ranking Factor?

E-A-T is not a ranking factor in the same way as something like loading speed. Whereas speed is something tangible that can be measured, abstract human qualities like expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness are harder to pin down. Despite this, Google recognises that these factors are integral to what constitutes high quality content and high quality web pages. The solution? Search Quality Raters.

As we mentioned, when a new change to the algorithm is proposed, Search Quality Raters help Google assess its impact on the search results. A webpage that performs well for each of these criteria is likely to be deemed high quality by the Raters, which in turn is likely to mean the change is implemented, and the algorithm is adjusted in its favour. Using this system, Google is better able to understand the metrics and tangible signals that align with high E-A-T. So, though not a ranking factor, E-A-T does affect the way the algorithm is tailored.

How Important is E-A-T?

A high E-A-T score is always desirable and likely to mean any adjustments to the algorithm favour your website. However, E-A-T is particularly important for certain queries – what Google calls YMYL or ‘Your Money Your Life’. YMYL topics might include financial advice, medical information, as well as things like news, information for groups of people, and e-commerce websites. Any webpage that has content on a YMYL topic has the potential to significantly impact someone’s future happiness, health, financial stability, or safety if it is inaccurate. That’s why these webpages will be held to much higher standards of E-A-T than non-YMYL webpages.

How is E-A-T Evaluated?

Expertise

Expertise means the content creator behind the webpage possesses a high level of knowledge or skill in the topic. For YMYL pages, this is evaluated through markers of formal expertise like qualifications and level of education. For non-YMYL topics, expertise can be less formal and more centred on lived experience, so long as you still come across as a subject matter expert.

Authoritativeness

Authoritativeness is all about reputation. For Google’s Raters, a webpage with high authoritativeness will be one that is seen as a go-to source of information on the subject or within the industry. It will also be highly respected by other relevant experts and influencers. To assess this, Raters will look for reviews, recommendations, and other webpages referencing it.

Trustworthiness

The final element of E-A-T concerns the accuracy of the webpage’s content and the website’s overall transparency. The content creator – especially for YMYL topics – must be easily identifiable, with clear information about who they are and how to contact them. The content itself should be factually sound and any statements upheld by other online sources that Google deems reputable.

How to Improve E-A-T

Considering the importance of E-A-T, anyone with a website who wants to remain visible in the search results should be looking to improve in line with its criteria. Otherwise, the next major algorithm alteration could see your website plummet!

Though not an exhaustive list, here are some things you can do:

  • Write high quality, precise, and accurate content.
  • Check your facts and make sure they align with expert consensus elsewhere.
  • Try to get links and mentions from other reputable websites.
  • Review and update content regularly, especially when it concerns YMYL topics like medical or financial advice.
  • Cite legitimate sources to show where your information has come from and back up your assertions.
  • Encourage happy customers to leave reviews as these will provide insights into your reputation within your industry.
  • Don’t hide who you are; have an ‘About’ section on your website, make sure to include any credentials and qualifications, and provide clear contact information.
  • Make sure content is as comprehensive as possible.
  • Enlist the help of an experienced, knowledgeable, and extremely passionate group of SEO experts (yes, that’s us!).

Soar Up the Search Results with Bristol SEO Agency

At Squarebird, we craft bespoke SEO strategies based on years of experience and our own tried and tested methods – our results speak for themselves! We don’t take shortcuts; instead, we take the time to understand all aspects of your website’s performance and work holistically to get you seen by the right users.

For help understanding your website’s E-A-T, and what can be done to improve it, give us a shout or pop into our studio! We’re always here to help.

Get a free consultation call with our team.