On August 1st, 2018, Google released a new broad core algorithm update. Usually, SEO experts and content marketers take Google’s announcements about “big changes” with a grain of salt. We are all used to seeing updates that, in fact, are just minor tweaks to the old algorithm. Such updates don’t have any considerable impact on digital marketing or search results, however, the E-A-T update is completely different.
Google’s Danny Sullivan tweeted that you need “great content” to have higher rankings, while John Mueller stated that content should be more relevant. Fortunately, you can also find more specific instructions in Google’s Quality Raters Guidelines. These guidelines are used by humans who rate search results in terms of quality. Pages that receive high scores from such raters are also considered high-quality by Google’s algorithm, as well. Therefore, a high E-A-T score will help you rank well in search results, so let’s consider this algorithm in more detail.
What is Google E-A-T Rating?
E-A-T stands for Expertise, Authority, and Trustworthiness. During the last five years, we could see how social networks, referral platforms, and search engines emphasize quality, making it the main parameter for evaluating content. Getting high rankings is no longer an easy task. Now, it’s impossible to get a tangible change in search results overnight. You need a consistent strategy, digital integrity, and content that actually provides value.
You should be proficient in your area. The importance of expertise is caused by the abundance of fake news and misleading content of any kind that often lead to quite serious consequences. Thus, Google is trying to help users get valid information from people and companies that actually know what they are writing about. As a result, websites that don’t have any particular topic or switch subjects all the time, trying to rank higher, get penalized.
Authority is closely related to expertise because the higher your expertise level, the more authoritative you can be. The authority of a brand is determined by its position compared to other content creators in the same niche. For example, if CNN and a fashion blogger post the same news about politics, CNN will certainly have higher authority.
Trustworthiness includes several parameters, such as transparency, security, and safety. Trustworthiness is very important for Google. If Google sends its users to a website that’s not trustworthy, it will have a negative impact on the company and its reputation. That’s why Google puts a lot of effort into punishing such websites, and this is the main reason why its algorithm gets updated so often. Trustworthiness should be the main priority for any websites that receive payments, such as subscription services or e-commerce stores.
Things You Should Do to Improve Your Google E-A-T Rating
1. Add bios and bylines to your content
According to Google, a key element of E-A-T evaluation is understanding who is responsible for content. For example, pages devoted to such issues as health, safety, happiness, or financial stability, are categorized as YMYL (Your Money, Your Life). Such content should be written by experts who are perfectly familiar with their topic. When assessing landing pages and product pages, Google requires you to make any contact information easy to access. In the same way, users should always know who’s written a certain blog post. If the information about the author is absent or unclear, your E-A-T score will decline significantly.
2. Optimize your “About” page
The more your visitors know about your website, the better. Not only need you to clearly indicate who is responsible for the content, but also provide any information that will help your visitors (and Google) understand whether or not your website is trustworthy. Therefore, your “About” page should inform visitors about the experience of your team and authors. Include any nominations or awards that you have, testimonials from customers, and academic qualifications.
3. Develop your personal brand
If your brand is new, Google won’t expect you to have a well-established reputation. However, reputation information is crucial for large organizations and well-known content creators. Raters from Google also look for third-party sources to find reputation information, as authors and brands cannot be fully trusted. If other companies and brands outrank you in terms of reputation, they will also rank higher on Google’s SERPs. You should also be careful when hiring authors because content creators that spread misinformation will damage your reputation. Develop good relationships with your audience and connect with influencers on social media to build a strong reputation in your niche.
4. Improve your content
Your content is the most important factor that determines your performance in search engines. “It must be authentic, authoritative, and trustworthy. The same goes to guest posts. Any content created by guest authors should meet the same high standards,” explains Emily Barney, an SEO expert at College-Writers. Therefore, we recommend that you create a style guide to make sure that all the content meets the necessary requirements. The style guide will also help you make your content consistent. In addition, we suggest that you analyze data and check Google Search Console to identify pages that don’t generate traffic or conversions. You may try to improve them or just delete them completely.
5. Make sure that your site is secure
As we’ve already mentioned above, your website should be trustworthy. The least you can do is get an SSL certificate. Google Chrome labels all HTTP sites as “not secure,” so if your URL doesn’t start with “https,” it will have a terrible impact on your score. Obviously, you should be even more serious about security if you have an e-commerce site.
The E-A-T update to Google’s algorithm sets clear priorities for content creators and site owners. Tackling fake news and misleading information, Google makes sure that trustworthy websites with the content written by authoritative experts receive the highest rankings. Therefore, you should put more effort into building a strong reputation. Provide as much information about your brand and content creators as you can, make sure that your website is secure, and create high-quality content. If you provide valuable and relevant content, your E-A-T rating will increase, driving more traffic to your website.