Among the many SEO buzzwords flying around these days, E-A-T is probably one you’ve heard of many times before. E-A-T is a guiding principle for site owners, who have the tough task of proving to Google that their content is worth a second look. Google, after all, has tirelessly combatted low-quality content since its inception. Nearly every major Google algorithm update has been with quality in mind, including E-A-T. So, what exactly is E-A-T? How does it impact your rankability?
What does E-A-T stand for?E-A-T is short for expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness. It was introduced in 2015 as part of Google’s Search Quality Evaluator Guidelines, an extensive document used by human quality raters to analyze websites like yours. Note: “human.” Despite Google’s investment in AI, machine learning, and other impressive tech—the company still mobilizes a human team to spot-check sites and search engine results pages (SERPs). The Search Quality Evaluator Guidelines—and E-A-T—give us one of clearest views into how Google assesses and ranks content.
E-A-T and YMYLWhile E-A-T has been around for many years, it was thrown into the spotlight in 2018, when Google launched its Medic update. This change to Google’s ranking algorithm sought to better qualify content published by “Your Money or Your Life” (YMYL) sites. We know what you’re thinking: “great, another acronym to remember” (eyeroll). But “YMYL” is a particularly important acronym to note. As explained by Google, YMYL sites are sites that disseminate information that impacts a person’s happiness, wealth, or health. Some examples:
- Legal sites
What factors are considered for E-A-T?Let’s break down the three pillars of E-A-T.
- Expertise. This criterion applies to the author of the page in question. Does he or she have the credentials to be advising on the topic at hand? The exact measurement (or standard) of expertise depends on the topic, per Google’s guidelines, but Google generally wants to see that you’ve been credited as an expert by other sources and have consistently posted about the topic before.
- Authority. This criterion applies to the author, website, and the content itself. Search engines will look for certain signals (think: backlinks or media mentions) that verify your leadership in an industry. In other words, they don’t just want to hear you claiming that you’re the best source for XYZ advice or information. You need the support of other unbiased sources that can substantiate your claims.
- Trustworthiness. This criterion applies to the author, website, and the content itself. Google needs to know that people trust your content—that you’re not simply publishing buzzworthy content for attention, but are actually presenting accurate and honest information.