What Is E-A-T And Why It's Important For SEO
1.1 E-A-T the new focus in Google's Quality Rater Guidelines
1.2 What does E-A-T stand for?
2. The impact of E-A-T on SEO
2.1 Is E-A-T a ranking factor?
2.2 How E-A-T is influencing Google results
3. How to optimize E-A-T from a SEO perspective
3.1 Short-term measures
3.2 Long-term measures
For reasons of transparency, Google has been publishing these guidelines since 2013. In 2018 for the first time a version was published that intensively describes quality criteria based on the E-A-T principle. This was followed in August 2018 by a Google Core Update, which caused strong fluctuations of search results in the medical field. Although far more than just pages with a medical character were affected, the update was called "Medic Update" by the SEO branch at that time. Further Core Updates followed quarterly, which had significant impacts. Looking back over all these updates, it is evident that these changes are strongly related to the E-A-T principle described in the Quality Rater Guidelines. Not all industries will be affected to the same extent in the future. Nevertheless, most site operators will not avoid this issue if they want to benefit from valuable search engine traffic in the future.
"Formal expertise is important for YMYL topics such as medical, financial, or legal advice. ", QRG, p. 26.
Nevertheless, practical life experience is not ignored. This is especially important beyond the YMYL pages.
"If it seems as if the person creating the content has the type and amount of life experience to make him or her an "expert" on the topic, we will value this "everyday expertise" and not penalize the person/webpage/website for not having "formal" education or training in the field. ", QRG, p. 20.
Google even considers personal experiences if these correspond to the search intent.
"For example, there are forums and support pages for people with specific diseases. Sharing personal experience is a form of everyday expertise ", QRG, p. 20
„Look for reviews, references, recommendations by experts, news articles, and other credible information created/written by individuals about the website […] Look for information written by a person, not statistics or other machine-compiled information. News articles, Wikipedia articles, blog posts, magazine articles, forum discussions, and ratings from independent organizations can all be sources of reputation information. Look for independent, credible sources of information."
The more independent voices are added up, the more an author is seen as an expert on other sites. Or the more positive reviews of good experiences with a company are reported, the higher the level of expertise is considered. As in link building, the relevant context is decisive here. Expertise must be proven for those topics that a website should be listed in the Google search results.
YMYL sites must also meet higher requirements than private websites: „However, the amount of information needed about the website or creator of the MC depends on the purpose of the page. For personal websites or non-YMYL forum discussions, an email address or social media link alone may be sufficient.", QRG, p. 35
Furthermore, the correctness of statements is contributing credibility. If false statements or unreasonable objections against an established consensus of other experts are accumulated, the trustworthiness of content decreases.
Is E-A-T a ranking factor? Not if you mean there's some technical thing like with speed that we can measure directly.— Danny Sullivan (@dannysullivan) October 11, 2019
We do use a variety of signals as a proxy to tell if content seems to match E-A-T as humans would assess it.
In that regard, yeah, it's a ranking factor.
For the E-A-T principle it is essential that it is clear who is running the site. An imprint is the minimum which in some countries worldwide is already a legal requirement. It is better if there is also an informative About Us page and structured data is used to make information available in machine-readable form.
Pages containing substantial information should mention a specific author. This author should also be identified within the structured data. Ideally, an author box should link to an author detail page. This page should provide further information about the author's experience and qualifications that enable him or her to give advice. If the author maintains social profiles, these should also be linked. Structured data can be used to store all information in machine-readable form.
If the website is dealing with YMYL topics, there should be telephone contact options in addition to an email and postal address. Ideally, the telephone number should be clearly visible on each page and also be marked with structured data.
If no experts are working in your own company or if there is a lack of reputation, it is legitimate to cooperate with experts. For example, experts can be recruited to publish guest articles on your own website. Freelance journalists with expertise in certain range of topics can also be engaged.
The Quality Rater Guidelines emphasise the importance of reviews. In the long term, it should be ensured that there are more and mainly positive evaluations. It is forbidden to incentivise evaluations, i.e. to combine them with something in return. However, depending on the business model, it is possible to invite customers to write reviews in the after sales process. Positive business relationships deserve a "thank you", which can be combined with a little attention and an invitation to write a review. Who could decline giving feedback at this moment?
Negative reviews should be reduced by paying attention to a customer-centred service that takes criticism as free advice and reacts to it with optimization measures.
Both for the website and for the authors themselves, a reputation should be permanently worked on. The most important means for this is the generation of links and mentions. This requires a profiled corporate identity and a good network. Both can be addressed through clear marketing messages and participation in professional discourse at trade fairs, conferences, industry events and in the digital area through interviews, guest post articles and much more.
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