E-A-T is not a fancy term used to describe a new local eatery or even a new business. Instead, it’s an acronym used by Google and it is far from a new concept. In fact, it’s been in use longer than we probably realize.
Now, the SEO community and digital marketers use E-A-T as a framework to determine what websites actually show off expertise, authoritativeness and trustworthiness in the online world.
And that’s exactly what E-A-T stands for – Expertise, Authority, and Trustworthiness.
Why E-A-T is Somewhat Complicated
Unlike links and keywords, E-A-T isn’t a quick fix. It has become quite a hot topic in the SEO space because there is no straight answer as to how it works – or even if it really matters in your ranking.
Sure, you could ask Google but they won’t give you an answer. And if you search Google for an answer, you’ll find that E-A-T is both a major ranking factor and that it isn’t a significant ranking factor.
Google uses E-A-T to determine the page quality for the search engine. While the concept of E-A-T is important for all content, Google believes it is especially important for content that has the potential to impact you in certain ways.
This includes a person’s happiness, health, financial stability and safety. Or – as Google would say – “your money or your life.” In other words, if content can have an impact on your happiness, health, financial stability and safety, Google wants to make sure the content is correct and comes from an authoritative person.
Google wants to make sure you get not only correct information, but relevant as well.
What is Expertise?
To obtain expertise, it’s not enough to just call yourself an expert. That would be too easy.
Google has raters, who are instructed to value your website to see if you qualify for their expert status. Basically, they look through all the information on your website and compare your site to what’s on the internet in general.
There are dozens of quality signals they are looking for. While we don’t know the signals, we have come to understand that content must be produced by an individual or organization with the proper expertise, education or qualifications that are relevant to the topic in question.
This can include life experience.
One example is someone writing about having cancer. The person is sharing the experiences and emotions of having cancer, not giving medical advice. It’s meant to be a peer-to-peer experience, not diagnostic or medical advice.
One way you can judge expertise would be to look for credentials, the author or company bio, an author page, and the number of articles that have been written on the same subject matter. The question of expertise could be self-evident.
How to Evaluate Your Authority
Expertise and authority are not the same. Expertise comes down to what you know and how you present it.
Authority, on the other hand, is about how others see you. Authority comes down to what others say about you in your industry or your audience at large. Your authority is evaluated by searching for you and/or your organization.
Your authority factor may see a boost if you have awards in your name or if experts have spoken positively about you. Ratings and reviews will also help your authority online.
How to Become Trustworthy
The last part is trustworthiness. It’s an interesting concept because it is multi-faceted. It is a combination of factual and accurate information with a dose of transparency and a sprinkle of reputation.
But it’s more than that.
If you are representing a business, trustworthiness also comes from. your company description, terms and conditions, your contact information, your refund policy and other pages that help identify your business and its operations in relation to your customers.
In the end, it comes down to whether the content can be trusted and if the facts used in your content are recent.
Should You Spend Time on E-A-T?
E-A-T is great and all, but should you spend time on it?
It’s important to know that E-A-T isn’t the only criteria for page quality. You don’t have a low-quality page simply because you don’t have the expertise, authority, and trustworthiness right. E-A-T can, however, help you improve the quality of your content, which can directly influence your user experience.
Even though the purpose of E-A-T may have diminished over time, it still plays a role when it comes to SEO.
The important thing to understand is that E-A-T isn’t measured algorithmically. So, you can’t cheat the system.
A good way to think about E-A-T is to go back to high school history class. Google uses backlinks to help determine the E-A-T of a page, just as your history teacher would grade your paper based on your research – and referencing your research. It’s all about citing your sources, so Google can see that you did your homework.
Don’t spend time focusing on E-A-T to boost your ranking, because there is no way to crack it. Instead, use it to improve your page quality and user experience, because that’s the only way you can truly see the benefits.
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