Many SHE Media partners we talk to have heard of Google E-A-T but aren’t exactly sure what to do with it. They understand that is has to do with building trust with users and being experts in their content niche. But beyond that, turning that into an actionable part of their content process isn’t as clear.
Just like most of Google, there’s not too much information on what signals they use to evaluate this, but if you take a minute to think of what they’re trying to accomplish with this, it’s not hard to find some solid learnings to incorporate into your website content. To my knowledge, there isn’t a “trust signal” of any sort within the algorithm but instead, many different signals that give them enough information to conclude how much they can trust your site in the search results.
By understanding more on what Google E-A-T is, you’ll gain key insights on what they’re wanting brands to achieve.
But first a few things about E-A-T
1. E-A-T is included in Google’s Search Quality Evaluator Guidelines. These guidelines are used by search engine evaluators to rate the quality of webpages and the relevance of search results.
2. These evaluators do not have the power to impact any one specific site, they’re submitting data that Google then uses to tweak the broad core search algorithm on a larger level.
3. When evaluating for overall Page Quality rating, the four biggest factors looked at are Google E-A-T (Expertise, Authoritativeness and Trustworthiness), the Purpose of the Page, the Main Content Quality and Amount and the Website Information and Website Reputation.
4. E-A-T largely pertains to content niches that can truly impact the quality of someone’s life (referred to as YMYL pages, “your money your life”). These niches include financial websites, news articles, medical information, legal advice, pages where purchases are made and sensitive information regarding children, like adoption information, car seat safety or recalls.
So, What does this mean for your content?
Expertise means extremely knowledgable in a certain skill or topic. Google has ways to find out exactly how qualified I am to write on the topic of SEO. Or to find out how qualified that human writing about the best process to take when filing for divorce or taxes. Their goal is to find the experts. I read recently that Google tracks which YouTube videos or health content that doctors themselves look at online. Then Google evaluates the engagement metrics for those sessions to tell how liked they were by the doctors and that in turn, gives Google information on which sites can be trusted. Interesting, huh?
Google also sees a difference in professional expertise, as in it took a degree to know these things and the “everyday expert”, and have different value measurements for each.
If you are an individual blogger and the main voice on the site, your website will do better focused on 1-2 core topics that you’re truly passionate about, knowledgable of and an expert in. And if you are part of a larger publisher, with an editorial team, you want to make sure author expertise is thought of when accepting freelance pitches or assigning editors to cover. In today’s digital publishing landscape, writers won’t get away with compiling sentences you’ve read from other sources, slapping on a headline with a keyword or two and ranking in search.
The authoritativeness piece speaks to the content, is it thorough and accurate. Do you document evidence to support your thoughts and do the majority of topic experts agree to the angle. Make sure to cite data or quotes and include quotes from other experts when covering the more in-depth YMYL topics. Brand reputation plays into this bucket. I’m not sure exactly how they deal with a company’s reputation online, but they bring things together like ratings or reviews, backlinks and the bounce rate of the user from the SERP to the site and then back to the SERPs – these can all indicate that people have positive or negative feelings towards the pages they landed on.
Provide good customer service, don’t be shady with sales, interact with them through comments and e-mails as best you can. Make sure to avoid thin content. Although there’s a big correlation, length of content doesn’t always mean thin content. Sometimes a shorter piece is the better user experience, the reader clicks, gets exactly what they need in a concise manner and leaves. This could potentially be much preferred than a ton of content you have to weed through to get the answer you’re looking for. But for most topics that our partners are writing about, longer is better. Quality over quantity for sure, but generally, the better you cover a topic, that better experience a user has on your site.
Trustworthiness refers to whether or not users can depend on your site and trust the information. See how these are all tied together in a way? Trustworthiness impacts your authoritativeness, as does the expertise of your writers and editors. Google’s goal is to place websites in the organic results that will give users the answer they’re looking for along with a good user experience.
Consistency is key for brands of the future. Trusting a site doesn’t just mean the content. People want to trust your brand, that they can rely on your for information regularly, not just once and awhile. They want to trust that the site is fast and doesn’t time out all the time. They want to trust that your images will be compelling and your content your own.
When you keep these things in mind at all times, you’ll understand that SEO (as well as most digital marketing) is a long game. You want to establish the foundation that people will trust your brand to not publish garbage content. Publishing is a privilege that you should take seriously. Make first each and every post you publish would meet the needs of a user. Put time, attention and detail into your work. Take the extra minute, the extra research to make it great. These are the characteristics of content brands that will lead us into the future.