Good Enough to E.A.T

Good Enough to E.A.T

It’s no secret that content that’s created with the audience and their interests in mind leads to priority consideration in search engine results pages (SERPs) but how does Google measure this value?

Written by

Peter Dimakidis

Published

6 July 2021

Categories

Acquisition

Marketing

Strategy

Introducing E.A.T.

Yep, another day, another acronym.

E.A.T emerged in 2018 upon the search giant’s release of the ‘Google Search Quality Evaluator Guidelines’. It provides website owners and content creators with a framework to review the quality of their content, and it’s used by Google’s ‘Human Quality Raters’ to assess the quality of Google’s search results. Yep, you heard that right – Human Quality Raters.

Although much of this kind of evaluation is achieved using machine learning, that intelligence has to come from somewhere and Google has a legion of tens of thousands of people worldwide who are tasked with monitoring and measuring E.A.T. scores of pages that appear in top search results.

While Core Web Vitals is a key component for evaluating the technical aspect of a page, E.A.T evaluates content based on its integrity and ability to deliver results the user values.

If a website or page is ‘high E.A.T,’ then it will most likely rank higher than a website/ page with a comparatively ‘low E.A.T’. That’s why considering E.A.T. when you’re developing your content marketing/ SEO strategy is essential.

So, let’s dive into the three pillars.

What do they stand for?

  • Expertise of the creator of the content.
  • Authoritativeness of the content creator + authority of the content the creator produces + the authority of the website.
  • Trustworthiness of the content creator + trustworthiness of the content the creator produces + the trustworthiness of the website.

Expertise

Google wants to know that the content they’re guiding their users to is written by a credible source/s. This refers to the content author but extends further to the accuracy and reliability of what’s written.

Except for situations where advice is medical or requires a similarly high level of certifiable expertise, Google takes real-life expertise into account too. Expertise, by and large, refers to the content creator being a subject matter expert who writes in an informed and factually accurate way.

An example of this might be someone who writes about punk bands. They might not be an esteemed music journalist but through their appreciation and dedication to the genre and the knowledge they’ve accrued and shared as a result, they might find their article on, say, ‘The Life and Times of The Ramones’ makes it to page one of SERPs.

Improve your chances of being viewed as a subject matter expert by using a bi-line and, ideally, including a short description that outlines your relevant skills, knowledge and accreditations. Another way to build an expert profile is to provide links (on- and off-site) to similar articles you’ve written or contributed to to help raise your status.

Authoritativeness

Creating expert and factual content is one thing, but E.A.T. also critiques your level of authoritativeness.

From Google to their Human Quality Raters (Google Search Quality Evaluator Guidelines):

“Use reputation research to find out what real users, as well as experts, think about a website. Look for reviews, references, recommendations by experts, news articles, and other credible information created/written by individuals about the website.”

Authority is gained through other websites referencing the well-placed expertise insights of the content you’ve created because it’s an endorsement of its high quality.

Building a valuable resource on your website, such as a high-quality blog that offers valuable insights, or perhaps a content hub, is a good place to start. Choose an overarching topic that you want to become a go-to source for and work on accruing top-notch content around the subject.

Your content should then be promoted through your owned channels and distribution networks to gain exposure. In some instances, supporting this content through paid media platforms could help audiences discover your content and improve your authoritativeness.

Trustworthiness

This one is crucial for YMYL sites – those dealing with topics that impact ‘Your Money or Your Life’. This is because information related to these topics could hurt someone’s quality of life or their financial well-being; as such, the legitimacy, transparency, and accuracy of the website and its content are paramount. Google looks at these under an especially concentrated microscope.

When it comes to trustworthiness, brand reputation plays a big part. Your trustworthiness rating will suffer if you have many negative online reviews or complaints. It’s also important to maintain and update your content for (trustworthiness and authority) to reflect new standards, findings, guidelines, information, etc. as it could render them inaccurate.

Safeguard trustworthiness by clearly stating your sources. Don’t expect someone to take your word for it, especially Google – they simply won’t unless you were the very first person to develop the idea, concept, product, innovation, etc.

On the flip side, be sure your sources are credible. If you haven’t undertaken thorough research and associated your articles with those with a low trust value, you could be tarred with the same brush. Similarly, stealing someone else’s ideas is not trustworthy, so give credit where credit’s due.

As the saying goes, it takes years to earn trust and seconds to lose it, so use the tips we’ve outlined to protect it and reap the benefits.


There are other ways to build trust by including some features on your website which demonstrate your credibility and trustworthiness.

For example:

  • Ensure your site has implemented an SSL certificate (HTTPS) to secure your domain.
  • Include clear-cut details and options for your customer to be able to contact you.
  • Provide clear policies, such as returning items if you sell products.
  • Incorporate a T&C page that can be easily accessed.

Building trust is no short-term secret, and it shouldn’t be approached that way, either. Focus on the right things, and you will slowly but surely accumulate trust over time, which, in turn, will benefit your website and rankings.

Conclusion

E.A.T. requires dedication and effort to implement – it’s an endless feast, not a snack on the go – and must be considered strategically. Consider the industry, sub-culture or niche you’re in and how you can add value to the discussion and information available. Review your existing content and compare it to the competitor content that ranks well in Google. From a strategic content marketing standpoint, you can start planning how you’ll improve and develop opportunities to build more expert, authoritative and trustworthy content.

As far as your existing content, do a thorough audit and rate your content against the E.A.T pillars. Be honest with yourself and decide if one of Google’s ‘Human Quality Raters’ would rate each piece of content well by E.A.T standards if they were to land on it. Chances are it'd tank if it’s old, flimsy, poorly researched, or features questionable sources. Update it or ditch it and start again.

There is no short-term solution. This long-term strategy will benefit your search engine optimisation efforts if you plough in the time and effort needed to make your content good enough to E.A.T!

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Written by

Peter Dimakidis
The dog and bone.
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