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What is Google’s E-A-T and why it matters

Jan 11, 2021
Reading Time: 5minutes

Google always prefers websites that place a strong emphasis on quality content and have a good E-A-T strategy. But what is E-A-T and why does it matter?

Post summary:

  • What is E-A-T?
  • It’s impact on YMYL webpages
  • Online security matters
  • Personal branding in regard to E-A-T
  • Google’s June Broad Core Algorithm update

On the 1st August 2018, Google released a broad core algorithm update that helped better content rank higher in SERPs.

Moreover, the key to creating better and more relevant content was listed in Google’s Quality Raters Guidelines.

Google’s Quality Rater Guidelines are utilised by humans to designate quality scores to search results for specified queries.

Simply put, pages that apply these guidelines would receive high-quality ratings and are more likely to rank well in Google SERPs because they are the types of content Google wishes to rank well. 

Among the guidelines was a much stronger emphasis on E-A-T

What is E-A-T for web pages?

Google’s E-A-T stands for:

  • Expertise
  • Authority
  • Trustworthiness

Although Google’s quality rater guidelines don’t raise a page’s rankings, having expertise, authority and trust are still significant because it determines a ’website’s value to visitors.

Quality raters keep E-A-T in mind when assessing how good a website or page is when providing visitors with what they need. They examine to see if they’re getting an excellent online experience and whether the content meets those standards. 

If the raters believe a user would feel comfortable reading, sharing and recommending the content, then this earns the web page or site a high level of E-A-T.

Marketers and web developers should approach E-A-T as the reason why users would pick their site over the competition. E-A-T is likely to have a direct impact on how Google receives — and ultimately ranks its website and plethora of web pages.

How E-A-T impacts “Your Money or Your Life” websites

Your Money or Your Life (YMYL) websites are what Google terms as providing products, services and advice on the following areas:

  • Legal advice
  • Medical Advice
  • Financial Advice
  • Online Shops

Any topic that could positively or negatively affect a user’s happiness, health or wealth. 

Examples of YMYL include:

  • An online store requesting credit card information for purchases
  • A parental blog giving parenting advice
  • A legal website providing legal advice on the law
  • A financial institution blog offering financial advice and services/products
  • A medical health page listing symptoms for diseases and medical ailments

High-ranking YMYL pages will demonstrably display a high level of E-A-T  because the safer a user feels whilst visiting a webpage; and the content meets their search query, the more it will meet the needs of Google’s E-A-T. 

Websites that are genuinely offering useful and helpful advice to a problem or a solution will meet these needs more promptly than webpages and sites that try to cheat Google’s system.

Online security matters more than ever

Trustworthiness isn’t just about reputation or accuracy.

It’s also about security.

A shopping checkout page that has an unsecured connection is an example of a page that should receive a Low score.

With Google Chrome marking all HTTP pages as “Not Secure,” any website without an SSL certificate and that does not automatically redirect to an HTTPS URL is seriously going to jeopardise their E-A-T score.

This is why we at Blu Mint Digital, even though we never take payment information over our website have moved to HTTPS so that both our users and Google acknowledge that we respect our visitors browsing privacy and security.

What is Google's E-A-T and why it matters

Up your personal branding game

If the reputation and E-A-T for the named content creator are lacking for the purpose of the page, the Low or Lowest rating should be appropriately awarded. For example, a contributor writing about legal advice should be a lawyer, not a freelancer found on Upwork. 

Raters are encouraged to review reputation information created by third parties, rather than relying exclusively on content created by the brand or the author.

The guidelines do stress to raters that reputation information isn’t always available and that this isn’t necessarily a bad thing in cases of smaller businesses and organisations.

So, content writers and contributors should have a positive personal brand if they wish the quality score for their page to outrank others in their niche.

Businesses should be wary of their content writers and contributors who have a reputation for spreading misinformation as this will severely limit their websites ability to rank well.

Meanwhile, it should be noted that lacking a reputation won’t hurt a writer wither; it will mean that authors with a positive and better reputation will likely outperform. 

For content writers and contributors then, they should ensure their personal brand is in tip-top shape by: 

  • Ensuring your social media profiles are active and interact with influencers and their audience.
  • Developing leadership in their niche by guest posting and placing articles on trusted platforms. 
  • Telling your story to connect with an audience.

All of the above will aid you in developing a positive reputation in your industry and earn those endorsements from others a reliable, trustworthy expert on the niche you discuss first and foremost.

You are what you E-A-T

Your website and webpages will only be as effective as what effort you place into it. Since E-A-T impacts both the site and page-levels and off-site, you will need to ensure every part of your website is trying to meet Google’s requirements. Moreover, if your pages qualify as YMYL pages, this is even more critical.

However, don’t only take my word for it. Google says that a page or site found lacking in E-A-T is “a sufficient reason to give a page a Low-quality rating”. So, if you aren’t an expert, an authority, or trustworthy, your site page could be considered low quality.

We began with re-writing our About page– ensuring that our visitors find the information they need to know about our company, the reviews from past and current clients, company details, social media accounts, and how to contact us. Ultimately demonstrating that we are open transparent, and ultimately trustworthy and experts in all matters digital marketing and business management.

What is Google's E-A-T and why it matters

The latest modifications to Google’s quality rater guidelines and algorithm updates suggest that expertise, authority, and trustworthiness play a more prominent role in rankings now than ever before.

Google’s June Broad Core Algorithm update

In June 2019 Google updated its broad core algorithm. Google updates this on frequently yet with this update it had devastating consequences for websites who frequently adhered to Google’s E-A-T philosophy.

So-called “high authority” websites actually dropped in rankings – the Daily Mail, a major UK news site apparently lost 50% drop in their organic traffic. Another website, CCN.com that discusses bitcoin news had a 71% drop overnight on their mobile search – with the site now stating it will shut down because of it. Another bitcoin news site CoinDesk also suffered severe drops in traffic.

So what is going on? Does E-A-T no longer matter?

As the SEO community struggles to find out why this occurred, it has become evident that this update has taken issue with websites that offer obscure services, sensationalist stories and “clickbait-y” headlines.

However, all these websites adopted E-A-T so surely they should not have such an impact from this algorithm? Well, Google’s mission is “to organise the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.” Whether crypto websites and questionable news sites are no longer relevant or useful is up for conjecture.

What is critical, now more than ever, website owners must create engaging, useful, and accurate content. Plus, they must implement E-A-T to satisfy the needs of both quality raters and actual visitors. Do that, and you’re doing what Google wants.

Be sure to keep this page bookmarked – you never know when you may need a reminder to implement E-A-T correctly.

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