Defining E-A-T in SEO
E-A-T is an acronym that stands for expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness. It’s a set of guidelines that Google uses to evaluate websites, particularly those in the “Your Money or Your Life” (YMYL) category.
YMYL sites are those that could have a direct impact on someone’s life, health, or finances. They include sites in industries like banking, healthcare, law, and e-commerce. Because the stakes are high with these sites, Google wants to ensure they’re providing users with accurate and trustworthy information.
Let’s break down the three components of E-A-T a bit further:
When it comes to having expertise, Google wants to see that you have a level of knowledge and experience that qualifies you to be writing on a particular topic. This doesn’t mean that you need to have a graduate degree in the subject matter, but you should be able to demonstrate that you know what you’re talking about.
It mainly targets your content instead of your website as a whole. So, for example, if you run a blog about fashion, your post about shopping on a budget might demonstrate expertise even if your site isn’t an authoritative source of financial advice. However, Google will typically prioritize those with relevant field experience.
There are a few different ways to show that you have the required expertise:
- Write from a personal perspective: Share your own experiences and stories related to the topic at hand.
- Hire qualified writers: If you’re not an expert on the topic, hire someone who is.
- Stay in your lane: Don’t try to write about topics you know nothing about just for the sake of ranking. Stick to what you know, and place a focus on quality over quantity.
One of the SEO tips you’ve probably already heard of is establishing your website as an authority on a specific topic. But what does it mean to be an authoritative source? An authoritative site is one that’s respected by others in the industry. It’s where others go to find information on a particular topic. For example, Wikipedia is an authoritative source for general information, and WebMD is an authoritative source for medical information.
It all boils down to your online reputation, which several factors can influence. From positive reviews and references to media mentions and industry awards, there are many ways to show that you’re an authority in your field.
Other tips for building your website’s authority include:
- Get involved in the community: Share your expert insights on relevant forums, Reddit threads, and other online communities.
- Publish original research: To be seen as an authority, you must produce original content. It could take the form of blog posts, infographics, whitepapers, or even just data-backed opinions.
- Seek out collaborations: Team up with other authority figures in your industry to boost your reputation. That could involve guest posting, co-authoring research, or exchanging links.
- Be unique: You likely won’t beat the IRS website for authoritativeness on tax information. But you can become an authority in your niche by writing unique content not readily available elsewhere.
Trustworthiness is probably the most crucial factor in the E-A-T equation, as it directly impacts a website’s credibility. A trustworthy site is one that is transparent about its purpose, as well as its limitations. It’s also one that takes measures to protect its users’ information. In other words, it’s a site that users can feel confident about using.
Note that trustworthiness is not the same as popularity. Just because a website is popular doesn’t mean that it’s trustworthy. In fact, some of the most popular websites on the internet are also some of the least reliable. This is especially true of sites that host user-generated content, such as social media platforms and review sites.
There are a few key ways to show that visitors can trust your site:
- Be transparent about your identity: Include an About Us page on your website that gives visitors a clear idea of who you are, what you do, and why you’re qualified to be doing it.
- Encrypt your site: HTTPS encryption is now a ranking factor in Google’s algorithm, so it’s more important than ever to ensure your site is secure. This will also help to protect your visitors’ information.
- Source your information: Any claims you make should be backed up by credible sources. When possible, link to these sources so your visitors can check them for themselves.
- Disclose any conflicts of interest: If you have any financial or personal stakes in the products or services you’re promoting, be sure to disclose this upfront. For example, affiliate links should always be clearly marked.
- Respect user privacy: Collecting and using user data should always be done with the utmost respect for users’ privacy. This means being transparent about what data you’re collecting and allowing users to opt out of data collection altogether.
E-A-T best practices
Your mind is probably already racing with ideas of how you can start improving your website’s E-A-T. And that’s great! But before you start making changes, it’s important to keep a few best practices in mind.
Updated content is key
One of the best ways to show that your website is authoritative and trustworthy is to keep your content up-to-date. Updated content shows that you’re actively maintaining your site and have the latest information on whatever topic you’re covering. It also helps to build trust, as users will know they can rely on you for accurate, up-to-date information.
We recommend updating articles that are more than two years old, and rewriting articles that are more than five years old. Of course, this will vary depending on your industry and the type of content you’re publishing. But in general, it’s a good idea to keep things fresh.
Of course, this can be time-consuming, so you might consider hiring a freelance writer or proofreader to help you keep your content up-to-date. This can be a great way to free up your time to focus on other aspects of your business.
A wikipedia page can go a long way
Wikipedia is an excellent platform for building expertise, authority, and trust, as it’s seen as a reliable source of information. Google mentions Wikipedia a handful of times in its Quality Raters Guidelines, so it’s safe to say that having a Wikipedia page can help improve your website’s E-A-T. And because Wikipedia pages often show up high in search results, they can also help to increase your website’s visibility.
People who see your website has a Wikipedia page will be more likely to trust it. Anyone can submit a Wikipedia page, but getting approved takes time and effort. Wikipedia is constantly monitoring pages for accuracy and making sure they meet its standards.
Backlinks and mentions are still important
Though E-A-T is a relatively new concept, some of the best practices for building it are tried and true methods that have been around for years. One of these is backlinking. Backlinks are links from other websites to your own. They help to improve your website’s SEO by increasing its link popularity. And they can also help to build your website’s E-A-T.
Backlinks from high-quality, high-authority websites can show that your website is also high quality. If a website with a lot of authority and trust is linking to you, that says something about your own website. Of course, not all backlinks are created equal. Only go after backlinks from websites that are relevant to your industry and have a good reputation.
Mentions are another great way to build E-A-T, as it means there is a conversation happening about your website. Mentions can come in the form of name-dropping on other websites, articles, or even just social media posts.
Author credentials are a must
If you want to be seen as an expert in your field, your posts need to be written by someone with the appropriate credentials. Whether that’s you personally or someone on your team, make sure that the author of each post has the necessary expertise.
Including author bios with each post is the best way to showcase credentials. These should include information about the author’s credentials, experience, and education. You can also link to the author’s personal website or blog if they have one. It’s a great way to prove an author is a real person with the necessary expertise.
Your website itself should also be considered an expert in its field. A well-crafted “About Us” page can help with this. Include information about your team, your company’s history, and any awards or accolades you’ve received.
Is E-A-T an official ranking factor?
Google has never confirmed that E-A-T is an official ranking factor, mainly because it is not a quantifiable metric. Bots and crawlers can’t measure it like they can with other ranking factors, such as keyword density or website speed.
However, that doesn’t mean E-A-T isn’t important. In fact, Google has said that Quality Raters consider E-A-T when assessing websites. These human evaluators are tasked with looking at websites and determining their quality. And they use a set of guidelines that includes criteria for E-A-T.
So while E-A-T isn’t an official ranking factor, it can indirectly impact your website’s SEO because the Quality Raters’ assessments can influence SERPs. If enough Quality Raters mark a website down for having low E-A-T, that could lead to a drop in the website’s search rankings.
Can you outsource E-A-T?
One of the best ways to improve your website’s E-A-T is to outsource content creation to a reputable content partner. A good content partner will have experienced writers who can create quality, expert content for your website.
The combination of their fact-checked, engaging writing and your expert credentials will help you create the kind of content that will improve your E-A-T. You can also outsource things like your “About Us” page, author bios, and other E-A-T-related pages.
At Draft, we vet hundreds of experienced writers who can help you improve your website’s E-A-T. Whether you’re focused on social, search, or sales, Draft can help.