To date, even expert digital marketers have different views about whether E-A-T is a ranking factor. But one thing is inarguable – Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness, abbreviated as E-A-T, are essential to Google.
It doesn’t matter how many Google Algorithms come or alter with time; one thing that stays constant throughout your SEO strategies to rank on top results is ‘quality content.’ High-quality content always attracts the audience and search engines.
If your website has well-written, thoroughly researched blogs, and accurate copy about your business, nothing can stop you from dominating the SERPs. Yes! It indeed takes hard work and dedication to produce amazing content, but you can’t do it without some sort of ‘recipe.’
‘That ‘recipe’ is E-A-T!!!
So, what exactly is E-A-T?
Is it really a ranking factor or something that may influence your site’s ranking? Should digital marketers be worried about their website’s E-A-T score?
Dr. Marie Haynes, a reputed leader in the SEO industry, explains:
‘There is no single E-A-T score that Google assigns to a website. Rather, there are multiple algorithms at Google that use the idea of E-A-T.’
Instead of including a factor of its own, E-A-T influences other ranking factors, making it indispensable for SEO pros.
Let’s dig more into this concept and figure out its value for your content marketing strategy.
How Necessary Is E-A-T?
E-A-T is undoubtedly important for all queries, even crucial for others.
Understand this by example! Suppose your search query is ‘cute baby pictures,’ then probably E-A-T doesn’t matter. The query is subjective, and it’s no biggie if you don’t see a cute baby.
However, suppose your search query is ‘can I take Cortisol if I have diabetes?’ Now, in this case, E-A-T plays a significant role. If Google were to show results on this topic written by an amateur or non-specialist and it is published on an unauthorized website, there are high chances of getting wrong or misleading information.
Given the nature of examples taken here as search queries, that’s not just slightly inconvenient but potentially lethal.
E-A-T also responds to searches like ‘how to improve your credit score?’ Here, information from an unprofessional writer or unauthorized website can be illegitimate.
Google includes these types of queries under YMYL topics. YMYL means Your Money or Your Life. Any topic/page/query that could potentially impact someone’s life, happiness, health, safety, or financial stability, comes under YMYL. So, for websites built around YMYL, E-A-T is crucial.
How Is E-A-T Evaluated?
Expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness are three pillars of any business. They might sound similar but are not identical. You can evaluate it using distinct criteria.
Expertise refers to skill and advanced knowledge in a specific field. Mainly, it is evaluated at the content level and the website level. Google looks for content created by a professional.
For YMYL topics, expertise is all about the qualifications, education, and experience of the content creator. For instance, a dentist is more qualified to write about periodontal disease than someone who has read a few posts about the ‘importance of brushing teeth.’
Some topics require less formal expertise and can be demonstrated through ‘everyday expertise.’ If the person creating the content has enough experience to consider him/her as an ‘expert’ on the topic, Google will value it as ‘everyday expertise.’ Any person/webpage/website will not be penalized for not having the required education or qualification in the field.
However, Google also adds that ‘everyday expertise’ is not valid for all YMYL topics. For instance, take a query like ‘how does it feel to have diabetes.’ Someone with diabetes can answer this better than any qualified or experienced doctor with years of expertise in the field.
Authoritativeness directly implies reputation, especially among other veterans and influencers in the field. Putting it in simple words, authoritativeness is when someone considers a person/webpage/website as a more reliable source of information about the topic than others.
To evaluate authority, rates search the web for insights into the eminence of a person/website. Rates look deeply for independent sources when doing the evaluation. For example, Wikipedia is an incredible source of information that Google recommends.
You can use Wikipedia as a source of information about other companies and their reputation, including awards and recognition, issues, controversies, etc.
However, it is necessary to remember that authoritativeness is a relative concept. While Bernard Arnault and Louis Vuitton are authoritative sources of information about luxury goods, they may have little to no authority for SEO or web development.
Trust stands on three aspects – legitimacy, transparency, and accuracy of something.
Several factors are responsible when rates evaluate trustworthiness, including whether the website owner openly takes responsibility for published content. This applies to both YMYL and non-YMYL topics.
Having sufficient contact information is utterly necessary, mainly for YMYL topics and eCommerce stores. For example, if a financial transaction website has only an office address and email address, it might be challenging to assess issues related to transactions.
The next thing that rates consider is content accuracy and uniqueness. The ‘main content’ or MC must be factually right for information pages or new articles on a website. It must be supported by genuine consensus or links from other authoritative websites.
Just like authoritativeness, trust is also a relative concept. Websites cannot be perceived as trustworthy in every area. Master Infotech is a reliable source of information about brand identity design and web design, but not bodybuilding.
Is E-A-T really a Ranking Factor?
Well, according to a Twitter post by Danny Sullivan, Google’s Public Liaison of Search, E-A-T is a ranking factor.
Interestingly, Google doesn’t give an E-A-T score to any website. There is no E-A-T rating that can improve your ranking in SERPs. It is a concept, not a ranking factor.
However, the E-A-T framework displays pretty clear signals that Google uses for ranking purposes. It is a significant part of search experiences, and Google knows how to retrieve and disseminate information using E-A-T.
Google uses E-A-T to analyze the authenticity of all content. This reveals that E-A-T must be included in all pieces of content regularly. It cannot be manipulated or ignored. It has a bright future in the coming digital marketing era. Ignore it at your peril.
No! There is nothing like ‘E-A-T score’ or ‘YMYL score’ exists. Google’s quality rating guidelines are the only guidelines for raters. E-A-T and YMYL are just concepts that allow the general audience to understand Google’s ranking algorithms in layman’s language.
Of course, some conflicts might occur when deciding about the YMYL topics falling under E-A-T. A few cases that definitely come in the category are essential news, law & civil society, finance, health, and Groups of People (related to race issues, religious groups, sexual orientation, etc.).