Content Optimization: Beginner’s Guide to Google’s E-A-T Principle

Screenshot of Google's E-A-T Expertise Authority Trustworthiness section from Google Search Guidelines
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Google has been using something called E-A-T to rate websites since it was first published in Google’s Search Quality Guidelines in 2014. Focused on three key elements — Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness — E-A-T is a set of principles that measures content and its relevance.

SEO experts and content marketing professionals continue to deem it as an important factor to incorporate into their SEO and content marketing initiatives.

Although there is no definitive answer about whether or not E-A-T is a ranking factor, we do know that Google relies on it when recommending websites to users.

Each principle is individually important, but content that excels in all three will likely rank higher on search results.

Let’s dive into the individual components of E-A-T and how you can incorporate each in your content marketing strategy.

Expertise

Expertise pertains to having advanced knowledge and skill about a particular subject. It’s evaluated at the content level.

Google evaluates whether each piece of content is written by an expert or a person with other specialized knowledge in the subject.

The content should provide a high level of knowledge on a subject. This is particularly true for topics like finance, medicine, and the law.

Tips on Creating Content that Provides Expertise

  • Use keyword research to find what your audience is trying to find
  • Produce relevant, well-researched content that will meet their specific needs
  • Include details on the author, name and bio at a minimum, enough for the reader (and Google) to determine if they are an expert or not

Authoritativeness

Authoritativeness pertains to the strength of the website’s domain and content.

Many content pieces on the web are written by experts. However, authority is based on what other writers, experts, and websites choose to cite you as a source of knowledge.

When you are deemed an authority in a subject area, you will see your name and/or your company/brand name start to show up in relevant searches.

Tips for Establishing Authoritativeness

  • Earn quality, contextual backlinks from strong domains
  • Get yourself mentioned or quoted on authoritative websites in your niche
  • Create relevant content that can be shared across all media, including social media platforms

You can measure authority by using Majestic’s Flow Metric Scores. Trust Flow and Citation Flow scores rate your content based on quality and the strength and quality of backlinks linking to your content.

Trustworthiness

Trustworthiness measures the authenticity of your website and its content.

To improve trustworthiness, focus on positive reviews, consistent business information, physical location, accessibility to users, terms and conditions, and domain security, among other associated metrics.

Tips for Establishing Trustworthiness

  • Build of a volume of positive reviews in your local market that serve as a solid ranking signal for local SEO
  • Include all of your business information in easy to find places on your website
  • Always include a clear Privacy Policy and website Terms and Conditions as sitewide links, where they are easy to find
  • Maintain topnotch transparency with products you sell, including full information, data, and specifications
  • Have a secure website, with an SSL Certificate and full HTTPS consistency across all elements on the domain

Before you publish any blog post or new copy, ask yourself these questions to test whether it shows E-A-T:

  • Is the content written with factual information or data?
  • Does the content contain expert information?
  • Was it written by someone who is knowledgeable on the subject?
  • Is the title of the content true to the message of the article?
  • Does the page look good on any device? This also serves as a significant ranking factor for Technical SEO.
  • Is the content link-worthy? Will other authoritative websites find it valuable enough to link to it?

If you answered yes to all of these questions, then your content is good to go.

Otherwise, consider revising the content to ensure it will be well received by users as well as Google.

YMYL: Your Money or Your Life

Google also takes Your Money or Your Life (YMYL) content very seriously.

YMYL is content that directly impacts the reader’s safety, health, and life.

Here are some examples of content types that we can consider YMYL:

News / Current Events

News topics like international events, business, politics, science, health, and technology are considered YMYL.

However, there are specific topics under these categories that aren’t considered YMYL, such as sports, entertainment, and lifestyle topics.

Government and Legal / Law

Important information that has anything to do about informing citizens. This would include things such as voting, social services, legal issues, and similar topics.

Financial Advice and Information

Articles containing financial advice and information about investments, taxes, loans, banking, and insurance fall under YMYL content.

Transactional Information

Transaction information contain contain content that allow people to make a purchase or transaction online.

Health and Safety

Health and safety content is YMYL, focusing on medical issues, hospitals, drugs, and other safety-related content.

Groups of People

These are content pieces pertaining to groups of people. Examples of groups that fit this category are those based on religion, age, race, gender, and sexual orientation.

Major Life Decisions and Safety

These are topics related to big decisions or important aspects of people’s lives like housing information and nutrition.

Google highly regards people’s safety, stating that they have very high Page Quality rating standards.

This level of thoroughness is important, because low quality YMYL pages can negatively affect a person’s health, finances, happiness, or safety.

Produce High Quality Content with the User in Mind

To rank well with materials that both users and Google will trust, you have to:

  • Create content that’s valuable and relevant to the user
  • Provide content that’s factual and based on expert knowledge
  • Aim to produce content that’s valuable enough to be shared and earn natural links
  • Make sure to have a secure website
  • Work to acquire positive reviews that will secure and boost your website’s authenticity and trustworthiness
  • Surpass the highest E-A-T standards with YMYL content, since these materials can directly impact the readers’ lives

Google will always prioritize the user’s safety. If you want to maximize the ranking potential for your own content, it’s a must for you to closely align with their E-A-T guidelines.

If you get this right, you’ll enjoy more organic traffic and ultimately increase your overall revenues.


Feature image taken as a screenshot from Google’s Search Quality Evaluator Guidelines.

Disclaimer: The views and opinions stated in this post are that of the author, and Return On Now may or may not agree with any or all of the commentary.

This guest post brought to you courtesy of Return On NowProfessional Austin SEO and PPC Services Company.

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Itamar Gero is the founder of SEO Reseller, a global digital marketing solutions provider that empowers agencies and their local clients all over the world. When he isn’t working, he’s traveling the world, meditating, or dreaming (in code).

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