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2022

What is Google E-A-T, and How Is it Affecting Your Site’s Rankings?

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  • What is Google E-A-T, and How Is it Affecting Your Site’s Rankings?
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As you may have heard, Google has been making adjustments to their search engine algorithms—again. Like they always are.

And while they never release all the details, one of the topics that have been getting a lot of airplay in the SEO world a lot recently is “E-A-T.”

So. What is E-A-T? (Besides a sketchy-looking restaurant off I-10.)

Well, as far as Google is concerned, it’s another way to measure the overall quality of your website.

As usual, they’re constantly battling spammers, scammers, and black hat ne’er-do-wells, striving to make sure that only the best, most authoritative, and trustworthy websites appear at the top of their search results.

Now, for a site owner, there’s no doubt that what Google actually wants from you can be a bit tricky to figure out.

After all, what determines whether or not a website is authoritative or trustworthy?

First, let’s look at what E-A-T actually stands for:

  1. Expertise.
  2. Authoritativeness.
  3. Trustworthiness.

These are the three pillars of Google’s E-A-T rating system, and that makes them absolutely essential qualities for any website that wants to rank highly in its results.

There are a few things you can do to help your website meet Google’s E-A-T standards. Again—remember that Google’s goal is to provide its users with the best possible experience, and that means giving them access to high-quality, accurate, authoritative information.

How Does Google Know if Your Content Is “Authoritative”?

Incoming backlinks have, historically, been one important way for a site to show its authority to search engines.

When a whole bunch of links point towards your content, Google can guess that you’re probably pretty knowledgeable about the topic in question.

As always, Google doesn’t disclose all of the information they use to gauge a page’s authority—or even most of it—but incoming backlinks is one of the few factors they have openly acknowledged in the past.

An experienced SEO professional who keeps on top of all the latest search engine and content marketing news, as well as the latest Google algorithm changes, can tell what 99% of the other factors are, of course.

However, almost exactly 1 year ago, Google came out and fully disclosed that it’s actively using AI technology to determine whether the content is authoritative or not:

“By combining our deep knowledge of spam with AI, last year we were able to build our very own spam-fighting AI that is incredibly effective at catching both known and new spam trends.

For example, we have reduced sites with auto-generated and scraped content by more than 80% compared to a couple of years ago.”

Basically, Google is using artificial intelligence to aid their bots in understanding whether your content is superficial, or if it has the features and “contours” that its AI associates with things like in-depth research, useful guides, and interesting, hand-written content in general.

Again, we don’t know explicitly what all of the factors Google and their AI use to determine whether your content has the “expertise” and “authoritativeness” they want—but it’s not really important as long as you’re actually providing real, useful, entertaining content. (Psst… we can also take a peek at their research papers and patent applications to get a better idea of what they’re looking for.)

Many of Google’s patents and research papers that describe link analysis, content analysis, and natural language processing all revolve around understanding what users want and understanding what webpages are about.

How Does Google Know if Your Content Shows “Expertise”?

Expertise—as Google sees it, anyway—is demonstrating “competence” and “technical skill.” In other words, content that shows expertise is content that its AI detects to demonstrate things like depth of knowledge, mastery of the topic, and/or hands-on experience.

As an example, when the topic of a piece of content involves health, mental illness, or other medical concerns, that particular content should be written from a more technical, scientific point of view than a topic about, say, making better pour-over coffee.

Content that shows expertise on a topic provides knowledge—it teaches things to the reader. It reveals things to the reader.

“Depth of knowledge” can be signaled by raising/addressing subtopics, as well as including links and citations to authoritative sources and other useful, relevant content.

Not all content needs to show expertise to be valuable, but if your content isn’t entertaining, isn’t authoritative, and doesn’t teach anything—why should anyone care about it? (Let alone a judgmental AI program owned by the world’s 4th largest company.)

Simple Ways to Help Improve Your E-A-T Score

1. Make sure your website has high-quality, original content

The first (and most important) step in meeting Google’s E-A-T standards is to make sure your site’s content is high-quality, useful, and original. This means writing well-researched articles, content that engages your audience, and—obviously—avoiding plagiarism and spun content at all costs.

If you’re a business owner, you may already be acquainted with the fact that most business owners—deep down—didn’t get into their business because they wanted to write exhaustive articles and guides all the time.

If you can’t write yourself, don’t have the time to spend, or just don’t want to spend the time churning out new blog posts and articles several times a week, you can still provide high-quality content to your target audience by hiring a professional content marketer. (Click here to schedule a call with me.)

2. Verify your website with Google Search Console

Google Search Console is a free service offered by Google that helps you monitor and maintain your website’s presence in Google Search results. You can use it to submit your sitemap, view your search traffic, and get alerted when there are issues with your website.

It’s a valuable tool for any website owner, but it’s especially important for businesses that rely on organic search traffic for leads and sales.

Unfortunately, far too many website owners don’t bother to verify their site with Google Search Console. As a result, they miss out on important data and insights that could be helping them improve their site and ranking.

3. Create a well-structured site map

A site map is a list of all the pages on your website. It’s an essential part of any SEO strategy, and it can also help you meet Google’s E-A-T standards.

When you provide a site map, you make it easy for Google to crawl and index your website. This helps them understand your website’s structure and content, which is one of the factors they use to determine a website’s E-A-T rating.

4. Optimize your website for mobile devices

Google has been emphasizing the importance of mobile SEO for a while now, and it’s no secret that they place a lot of weight on a website’s mobile usability. In fact, in late 2018, they announced that starting in July 2019, mobile-first indexing will be the primary ranking algorithm for all websites.

This means that if your website isn’t optimized for mobile devices, you’re going to have a hard time ranking high in Google search results. So make sure your website design is responsive and easy to use on all devices.

One of the most important factors that Google considers when determining a

5. Use structured data markup to help Google better understand your content

Okay, as you can probably tell, this one’s a little more technical than the others. Let me explain:

What is structured data markup?

Structured data markup is a way to add extra information to your website’s code. You can use it to specify things like the type of content on your page, as well as its author, publisher, and other important details.

Why use structured data markup?

By adding this extra information, search engines can understand your site’s content better, as well as display “richer,” more detailed search results for your site.

And when Google’s bots use this information to interpret your website’s content, their findings can improve its E-A-T score.

Besides the E-A-T advantage, adding structured data markup to your site can help you attract more visitors from richer, more visually attractive search results. 

These listings might include extra information about your site, such as reviews, prices, or contact information. Including this information can help your site stand out from the competition and attract more clicks.

6. Increase the number of high-quality backlinks to your website

Google uses a variety of factors to determine a website’s E-A-T score, and one of the most important is the number and quality of its backlinks.

What are backlinks?

They’re just like regular links, except they point to your website instead of another one. 

In other words, when somebody else links to your website, that’s a backlink. 

Pretty simple, right?

Each backlink is essentially a vote from other websites that says, “Hey, this content is worth checking out!”

The more high-quality backlinks you have, the higher your website will rank in Google’s search results. (Don’t bother creating masses of low-quality backlinks—it’s not the early 2010s anymore.)

So. How do you get those high-quality backlinks?

Well, that’s the website owner’s question of the century, isn’t it? There are basically two different ways:

  1. You can reach out to other website owners and beg them to link to your content.
  2. Or, create content that’s sooo good, that people can’t help but share it and link to it.

So there you have it, a “quick” crash course in Google’s E-A-T.

Now that you understand how these important ranking signals work, what are you going to do to improve your website and make sure Google (and potential customers) trust your content?

Final Thoughts

I hope this has helped you better understand why E-A-T matters, and a few ways you can work on improving it on your own site. Don’t hesitate to reach out if you have any questions or need help getting started with a comprehensive content marketing strategy to improve your company’s search engine rankings.

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