You don’t have to be an SEO expert to know that Google is constantly improving and refining its search engine and the tools associated with it. The ranking algorithm updates often make site owners, SEOs, and marketers uneasy because Google doesn’t divulge much about how it does things.
Yet, there are things we know. For instance, we know that high-quality content is extremely valuable to Google and that this aspect matters when it comes to page ranking. And this is where a concept like E-A-T comes in handy.
E-A-T is not new (it has been around for about eight years), but it can be difficult to understand, even for industry experts. Still, there are ways to wrap your head around it, and in today’s article, we’ll do just that by explaining the meaning behind the E-A-T concept and how to make sure your content is aligned.
E-A-T stands for Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness, and it is one of the factors Google uses to determine the Page Quality Rating.
The other factors are:
- The Page’s purpose- is the content helpful for the main audience?
- The quality and amount of the main content
- Information about the website or content creator
- The reputation of the website or the content author
In short, Google is trying to filter out deceptive content, such as fake news, exploitative content, content that has the potential to be harmful, and more on the same line. With E-A-T, the search engine tries to ensure users will receive useful information that is accurate, truthful, and backed by experts in the field.
To do so, Google considers the expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness of the creator to judge if the content can be deemed worthy of first-page search results. This is why a well-researched piece of content created by an industry expert will top a random blog post making unverified claims on the same topic.
At first glance, E-A-T is easy to understand, but if you take a deeper dive, things start to get tangled. For instance:
- How can Google verify expertise?
- What is authoritativeness?
- When can a piece of content be considered trustworthy?
In most cases, Google recognizes that E-A-T is different depending on the context. For instance, if you post well-detailed and useful movie reviews, you don’t necessarily have to be a movie critic to make the first page. It’s enough to be a passionate moviegoer who understands the concepts behind worldbuilding in cinematography.
The same is with authoritativeness and trustworthiness. If enough people see your content as a trustworthy source, your page will rank higher.
Here are a few things you can do to up your E-A-T:
You can “borrow” authority by backing up your claims with links to reputable sources, but you must make sure you give proper credit. For this, you can use a tool like the Quillbot citation generator.
This way, both Google and your viewers will feel a bit more inclined to give your content a second look. However, it’s important first to make sure you understand the source material. Otherwise, your content may not align with the expert’s opinion, which is usually not a good practice when you want to build trust.
One way to position your content as useful and trustworthy is to solve your target audience’s problem(s). So, when you research the keywords for your next video or blog post, try to understand the true intent behind the search.
For this, run a Google search for the keyword(s) and check the top results. It should give you a pretty good idea of what the searcher wants. Also, when you align your content with the intent, you get bonus points for expertise. This will prompt other websites to link to your content, which helps scale up your backlink strategy. It’s a win-win situation!
One way to increase content trustworthiness is to have mostly positive reviews and comments. So, if there are any complaints or negative comments, try to address them as soon as possible.
When there’s too much negativity associated with a brand or business, Google equates it with low quality. If this happens, you’ll see a drop in page rank and in SERP. This is a slippery slope, and many brands can’t recover from it, so make sure to keep an eye on what people are saying online about your products and services.
While it is a good thing to align your content to the standards of E-A-T, it’s also a good idea to keep in mind that Google’s standards are not set in stone. Right now, Google is smart enough to understand that, in some areas, people make life-altering decisions based on what they read and see online.
Depending on the type of content you create, E-A-T may be treated as a decisive factor or a guideline. So, the best thing content creators can do is focus on delivering quality and respecting the needs of their audiences.
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