When it comes to SEO, a lot of the focus tends to be on the creation of good quality content, keyword research, on page optimisation for landing pages and link building – with some social media, paid search and perhaps A/B testing thrown in for good measure. There is a crucial part of the SEO puzzle that doesn’t often get much time in the spotlight but it’s defiantly something that should play an important part in your SEO strategy – E-A-T. So what is it? What does it mean? How can you roll it out?
What is it and what does it mean?
Let’s start at the beginning. E–T sounds like a food chain but in SEO terms it stands for Expertise. Authority. Trustworthiness. You can apply these three cornerstones to almost any aspect of your SEO activity but they’re perhaps most commonly used to judge content and the credibility of that content.
The reason this is key and something that you should always keep at the back of your mind when performing any kind of SEO work or developing any new SEO strategy is that it’s important to Google.
The E-A-T acronym comes from Google’s Web Quality Guidelines. This document is provided to search quality evaluators and is one of the yardsticks by which reviewers assess web content. The raters assess web pages to determine how well they meet their purpose and how well (or otherwise) they serve visitors. The Web Quality Guidelines run to 164 pages so E-A-T is by no means the absolute final word on whether or not a page of content gets a glowing review but, it is a key tenant of the process.
What does Google say?
Google’s own definition of E-A-T and its advice to raters is illuminating. It says,
“Websites or pages without some sort of beneficial purpose, including pages that are created with no attempt to help users, or pages that potentially spread hate, cause harm, or misinform or deceive users, should receive the Lowest rating. For all other pages that have a beneficial purpose, the amount of expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness (E-A-T) is very important.
- The expertise of the creator of the MC (main content).
- The authoritativeness of the creator of the MC, the MC itself, and the website.
- The trustworthiness of the creator of the MC, the MC itself, and the website. Keep in mind that there are high E-A-T pages and websites of all types, even gossip websites, fashion websites, humour websites, forum and Q&A pages, etc. In fact, some types of information are found almost exclusively on forums and discussions, where a community of experts can provide valuable perspectives on specific topics.
What this means is that you don’t need to be writing about a very complex topic to be held accountable to E-A-T. Whatever your niche and whatever your audience, your content will be judged within the parameters of how informative, useful, reliable and valuable that content is. There are nuances here too of course – if you’re writing about a medical device or dishing out health advice, your author should be qualified in that field. Likewise, if you’re in the cosmetics business, a page of content about make-up trends should come from someone with expertise and experience in that field.
How can you roll it out?
E-A-T is essentially about credibility. It boils down to how knowledgeable and authoritative you are on your given subject and how trustworthy the information you present to website visitors is. This means that it’s not a one and done deal, where you can tick a few boxes and move on. It’s a long-term undertaking that should underpin every facet of your content creation. This of course, isn’t just an exercise to appease Google and better your rankings. Taking the time to ensure your content is accurate, reliable, up-to-date and of a good quality also has a direct impact on your bottom line. It shows visitors they can trust you and trust in you.
Rolling out E-A-T therefore is more about embracing the principles behind it. Having genuine experts create your content, ensuring it’s fact checked, using credible resources and data and is carefully proofed before publishing. Your content should be detailed, not thin, well-formatted and easy to read. Consider adding author bios which showcase the writer’s capability and authority in the field and above all, focus on quality not quantity.
Here at Adrac, we’re committed to always producing great quality content by subject experts. If you need help getting E-A-T working for your brand, get in touch with us to find out more.