EAT has been in Google Quality Rater Guidelines since 2014, but it only became a buzzword online after the Medic Core Update in 2018. Try searching for ‘EAT SEO’ right now, and you will find hundreds of SEO articles.
A few months back, Google released a fresh set of Search Quality Evaluator Guidelines, which mainly focussed on improving Google search quality with E-A-T.
But what is E-A-T? Is it a Google Ranking Factor? And if it is, then how vital is EAT in SEO?
In this post, I’ll try to answer such questions, including:
- What is EAT?
- What is EAT in SEO?
- Is EAT a new Google Ranking Factor?
- Do websites receive a Google E-A-T Score?
- How to do E-A-T SEO and create content that Google wants?
What Are Google Search Quality Rater Guidelines?
Improving search quality has been a top priority for Google, and analyzing top SERPs is an intricate part of the process.
For this, Google hires numerous third-party Search Quality Raters worldwide to study the SERPs based on Google search quality rater guidelines.
After studying the SERPs, these Search Quality Raters share their feedback with Google. Based on it, the search engine determines the necessary changes to make the search more useful.
Raters also help Google categorize the information to improve its systems and algorithms.
What Is E-E-A-T?
E-E-A-T was originally E-A-T until December 2022. E-A-T stands for Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness. It has been part of Google Quality Rater Guidelines since 2014.
E-A-T is also a vital Google ranking signal, as mentioned in ‘How Search algorithm works.’
E-A-T has been used 129 times in the 176-page search quality evaluator guidelines 2022, which also resembles its importance.
The additional ‘E’ came into the picture in December 2022 when Google added the ‘Experience’ factor to the E-A-T concept.
What Does EEAT Mean in SEO?
If Google emphasized E-E-A-T so much in its guidelines for search quality raters, then wondering the role of E-E-A-T in SEO is justified. So, E-E-A-T helps Google measure any webpage’s Page Quality (PQ).
It is a crucial characteristic of a High-quality page.
The guidelines also mention the characteristics of a Low-quality page, and ‘an inadequate level of E-A-T’ is also specified in them.
A High-quality page increases its chances of acquiring better SERP rankings, more backlinks, and more credibility, which are crucial in SEO.
Therefore, the connection of E-E-A-T in SEO is pretty straightforward: if you want to improve your Page Quality (PQ), then an adequate level of E-E-A-T is necessary.
Is E-A-T A New Google Ranking Factor?
E-A-T improves Page Quality (PQ), but does that make it a Google Ranking Factor? Danny Sullivan, Google’s Public Liaison of Search, has an answer:
Danny talks about two scenarios to explain whether E-A-T is a ranking factor or not.
In the first scenario, he explains that E-A-T is not a ranking factor from a technical point of view. Wonder what that means?
Let me explain.
Every Google ranking factor is a metric that can be measured and evaluated by a computer.
For example, Speed. Computers can study how long it takes the server to receive the first byte of information from any web page or website.
That can help create an algorithm that ranks pages with faster loading speeds higher in the SERPs.
Experience, Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness cannot be calculated; they must be assessed instead. A computer cannot determine whether a page delivers the best and most relevant answer to any query; therefore, to make it as accurate as possible, Google confides in thousands of search quality raters worldwide which is the second scenario.
Google engineers tweak the algorithm and share the search results with search quality raters, who are not informed (sometimes) about the change. Once they analyze it based on Google EAT Guidelines, they share their feedback with Google. Then, based on their feedback, Google decides whether to implement the algorithm changes or not.
So, is Google E-A-T a new Google Ranking Factor? It’s hard to give a definitive answer which is accurate and not misleading.
But I can assure you that Google’s E-A-T is essential to improve your page quality and acquire higher rankings.
Do Websites Receive a Google EAT Score?
In one word: No.
There’s no Google E-A-T Score or any E-A-T rating. Gary Illyes confirmed this in PubCon. Here’s what several SEO enthusiasts around the world tweeted after,
However, Google may have multiple algorithms to analyze each letter in E-A-T.
But I wouldn’t depend too much on it since it’s still a conjecture.
Bottom Line: There is NO Google E-A-T Score or E-A-T rating.
How To Do EEAT SEO And Create Content That Google Wants?
Doing E-E-A-T SEO is pretty straightforward, but before that, you must understand what each letter in E-E-A-T means, so let’s start with,
Google prefers content created by authors who have first-hand experience or life experience on the topic.
Web page content becomes more trustworthy and fulfills the search intent more accurately when the content creator has immense experience.
Expertise means a person with an expert skill or knowledge in a particular field. Google wants content created by people with expertise. Hiring freelancers to write content won’t be considered viable if they are not experts in the said field.
Google singles out the medical sector in its search quality evaluator guidelines.
The search engine also mentioned similar guidelines for other YMYL (Your Money Your Life) topics.
Google follows a strict approach for such YMYL websites because providing misleading information in such industries can directly impact the reader’s health, safety, finance, and happiness.
Authoritativeness is all about your online reputation among your industry’s many experts and influencers, plus several review websites.
In its guidelines, Google directs the search quality raters how to check for a website’s authoritativeness,
Google asks every quality rater not to assume a website’s reputation. Instead, it advises thorough research on a website’s reputation information.
Moreover, Google specifies the guidelines for checking a website’s reputation information.
Using IBM as an example, Google puts more emphasis on reputation research,
Remember that authoritativeness depends on the nature (positive and negative) of how your website is mentioned in similar industries.
For example, Amazon is an authoritative online store, but getting mentioned on that platform will hardly have any impact on an SEO-based website.
Excellent experience, expertise, and authoritativeness breed trustworthiness, but that’s not all. A website must be transparent and factually accurate to build trust.
Since YMYL websites require a high level of trust, ensuring transparency of information is necessary, and Google explains the essentiality of this information.
Satisfying customer service information must be a priority for stores and websites that process financial transactions.
Google also mentions how to deduce a page as High quality in terms of trust.
How To Improve EAT?
Followings are a few most effective ways to improve the Google EAT SEO of your website,
Links And Mentions
While link building is an age-old SEO technique that has a powerful impact on your site’s page quality, mentions are relatively new but influential.
And, as per Gary Illyes, they both play a significant role in improving E-A-T.
SEO E-A-T is not “solely” but “largely” based on links and mentions on authoritative and relevant websites. You must keep this in mind and focus on building high-quality links.
Before moving on to other sources, raters analyze your website first to check whether it abides by the fundamental requirements of a High-quality website.
The search engine singles out YMYL websites and explains the situations in which such sites will be marked ‘Lowest in Quality.’
That means your websites must have the following details,
- Sufficient information related to contact and customer support.
- Detailed ‘About’ and ‘Team’ page.
- Author Bio.
Publish Content Written By Subject Matter Experts
If you are covering YMYL content, hiring an expert to write it is compulsory.
But not everyone can hire an expert, then how about becoming one?
Google talks about a scenario where it won’t penalize a website even when an expert doesn’t produce the content.
Google emphasizes a lot on the health niche. So, websites falling under medical YMYL sites should pay particular attention when creating content.
For non-YMYL topics, you don’t require any expertise; however, you must research the topic and provide relevant information.
You can contact experts to write guest posts or interview them and create a post based on them. But you must remember to include all the necessary information about the author.
Support Facts With Authentic Sources
Facts and statistics must link to a credible and accurate source, especially for news articles.
However, that should be a general habit that every content creator must follow.
Whenever you create a new piece of content, you must check (and re-check) the facts & stats and link/mention their credible sources.
Get More Positive Reviews
Google advises search quality raters to thoroughly research the authoritativeness and trustworthiness of a website by checking its reviews on several reviewing sites.
To improve your page quality, online reputation, and ultimately, your E-A-T, you must focus on getting more positive reviews on websites that matter and fall under your niche.
For example, for an SEO tool getting reviewed on AppSumo or Product Hunt is more suitable than receiving a review on Yelp or TripAdvisor.
But not all reviews are positive, so whenever you receive negative reviews, you must not ignore them but handle them by providing proper solutions.
Get A Wikipedia Page
Google has cited Wikipedia as a credible source in its guidelines.
The problem of authority and trust is resolved to some extent if you create a Wikipedia page for your business. But it is not that easy because every piece of information you enter, along with your sources, is rectified several times.
However, getting a Wikipedia page is an excellent authority booster for your organization. Plus, Google collects information from Wikipedia for Google Knowledge Graphs, which accounts for improving your online reputation as well.
Page quality is an essential component of SEO, and to excel at it, you need to improve your E-A-T, which requires a lot of research and gathering credible sources to create high-quality content.
Also, you must keep updating all your web pages (especially YMYL) with the latest information.
Apart from this, I recommend you go through Google Search Quality Evaluator Guidelines for a more comprehensive understanding.
Please let me know in the comment section below if you find anything of utmost importance that should be mentioned in this article.