Google’s E-A-T principle, which stands for competence, authority and trustworthiness, is how the search engine determines the value of content on the web.
But what does it mean that content reflects competence, authority and trustworthiness?
“Expertise, to me, is the amount of knowledge you have in a field,” said Kevin Rowe, founder and CEO of PureLinq, in a recent webinar. “Build more experience the longer you are in a field.”
“Authority is how other authority figures validate you – this is reflected through authoritative links. And trust is [competence and authority] over time,” he added.
When most marketers take E-A-T signals into consideration, they often focus their efforts on creating high-quality content. And while this is one of the most important factors, these professionals may be missing out on potential ranking signals from authoritative backlinks.
According to Rowe, considering the E-A-T when building links to your site and generating content is a great way to improve rankings, especially for those in the YMYL (your money, your life) space.
What Google says about E-A-T and YMYL
Google offers marketers plenty of resources for marketers looking to improve their sites’ E-A-T signals, Rowe says. Whether it’s documentation like the General Guidelines or communications on social platforms like Twitter, these resources can provide additional context in how the search engine determines the authority, competence and trustworthiness of the site.
The information suggests that Google relies heavily on the E-A-T concept when evaluating YMYL content. According to the Guidelines, it is “possible to have daily experience in YMYL topics”. This can be presented in the form of forum posts, articles detailing your personal experiences, or any other content that seeks to provide advice to users.
However, despite all the resources available, Google doesn’t really offer specific strategies on how to improve the E-A-T or even how its algorithms work alongside it.
“They give a lot of information about how they want the search engine to work, but it doesn’t always work that way,” Rowe said. “So, we need to use tests and analyzes to understand cause and effect relationships.”
E-A-T is not an update or an algorithm; is a principle to follow when optimizing your site in general. Therefore, marketers should use Google’s guidelines and documentation to inform their testing and optimization efforts to better adhere to this principle.
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While there are no direct steps on Google’s part to improve E-A-T, marketers can work to improve quality signals for their sites through strategic link building and content creation efforts.
“It’s about how authoritative your links are and how expertly driven your content is,” Rowe said.
Rowe highlighted three ways marketers could start sending higher E-A-T signals.
Create subject matter expert content. Write content from a position of expertise. Your pieces should be the go-to resources for readers interested in a particular topic. If you are not an expert in the area, hire someone who can create this content for you.
Sculpture of the message. Focus on the needs of the audience you write for. People looking for YMYL content want recognizable messages that speak to their personal situations, so make sure your writing reflects this.
Identify link building opportunities. Look for reputable and easily recognizable sites and start presenting your content to them. A great resource Rowe recommends is HARO, which connects subject matter experts with reporters posting content in those areas.
High quality content and links from authoritative sources are the basis of E-A-T. Rowe highlighted how these aspects are inextricably intertwined: “Expertise, authority and trust are about the amount of knowledge and content shared on [and from] your site. It’s about who you are, who writes the content and what others think.”
Watch this webinar presentation at the Digital Marketing Depot.
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About The Author
Corey Patterson is an editor for MarTech and Search Engine Land. With a background in SEO, content marketing, and journalism, she covers SEO and PPC industry news to help marketers improve their campaigns.