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SEO 10 min read

What Is E-A-T (Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness) In SEO & How To Improve It

Natalie Yelton photo

Natalie Yelton

Content Writer @ Galactic Fed

Published 04 Aug 2021

No, we aren’t talking about the verb used for putting food in your mouth and chewing it. However, I’m now a bit hungry.

We’re referring to the acronym E-A-T, first appearing in the digital marketing world in 2018. E-A-T was tied to Google’s core algorithm update that took place in August of that year, bringing with it legitimacy that Google’s ranking system notices and considers your company’s online reputation.

But what does it stand for? And does it or does it not affect your business’s search engine optimization (SEO?) And if it does affect SEO, how can you improve your E-A-T score? 

In this article, the growth marketing experts at Galactic Fed answer all of your burning E-A-T questions and clarify if and how your E-A-T score affects your search engine ranking. 

Let’s start with defining what exactly E-A-T is…

What is E-A-T? 

E-A-T was created by Google and stands for:

  • Expertise, 
  • Authoritativeness, and 
  • Trustworthiness. 

Each of these three words acts as an online barometer to gauge if your company should be considered a leader in its niche industry, no matter which sector or field you are active in. 

Google uses each of these three metrics to measure your company’s expertise, authoritativeness, or trustworthiness online. They base this on the content you publish, how you are perceived by others online, and the footprints of your content creators or authors themselves.

E-A-T comes from Google’s Search Quality Rating Guidelines, designed to explain the recipe for creating a high-quality website that ranks well.

Let’s explore what each of Google’s three metrics means. But first, a quick word on Y.M.Y.L, which is referenced in Google’s search quality rating guidelines of which we assume you’ve already read all 175 pages?!

Source: Moz

What is Y.M.Y.L? 

The acronym Y.M.Y.L stands for “your money or your life.” It refers to websites or pages where some kind of monetary transaction takes place. It’s also applied to a wide range of websites that involve products, services, ideas, or practices that could impact the health and wellbeing of its visitors.

So Y.M.Y.L sites and pages are those that have the potential to impact a person’s happiness, health, wellbeing, financial stability, or safety.

It’s worth noting, though, that this doesn’t just mean medically-focused websites, nor does it just mean web pages where actual purchases are made, like on an eCommerce website. 

Google explains Y.M.Y.L websites as those that touch on:

  • Job search
  • Housing 
  • Colleges and universities 
  • Healthy and safety 
  • News and current events
  • Government, civic, and law
  • Finance (including banking, investments, planning, taxes, loans, and insurance)
  • Shopping 

Google sums it up by saying, “We have very high Page Quality rating standards for Y.M.Y.L pages because low-quality Y.M.Y.L pages could potentially negatively impact a person’s happiness, health, financial stability, or safety.”

Expertise 

Expertise refers to having top-level knowledge about a particular topic or a proven skill in a specific field. It’s measured at the content level, not at the company or website level - a very important distinction. In other words, Google is keeping an eye out for content created by someone who is objectively a subject matter expert.

When it comes to Y.M.Y.L, Google notices a content creator’s formal qualifications, education, and expertise. For example, an Oncologist is more qualified to write about different cancer treatments than someone who’s read a few articles on WebMD. 

When creating content on non-Y.M.Y.L areas, Google is looking for relevant life experience or everyday expertise. 

Everyday expertise meets Google’s guidelines for some Y.M.Y.L areas. Let’s say someone performs a search online, “what does chemotherapy feel like?” Someone currently undertaking this type of cancer treatment could be better placed to answer this than a doctor who hasn’t had chemotherapy themselves.

Authoritativeness 

Authoritativeness calculates how much your company is viewed as an authority in your inch industry. A decent number of backlinks to your site from other relevant, credible websites is a strong indicator of how authoritative your company is. 

On the other hand, Google may penalize your site if broken or bad links are present. Suppose you’re not sure what state your backlink profile is in. In that case, we recommend undertaking a backlink audit to protect the flow of organic traffic to your site and ensure your business is viewed as authoritative as possible in the eyes of Google.

Trustworthiness  

How accurate is the content on your site? 

Are you transparent about who is publishing each piece of content? 

Do you have legitimate references and sources when writing about topics in your niche industry? 

All of these factors can play a part when raters are looking at how trustworthy your company is. A secure domain that keeps visitors’ personal data and information safe can be trusted as another example. In addition, a company that can be contacted easily with contact details available on their website should have a decent trustworthiness score.

Does E-A-T affect your company’s search engine ranking? 

The short answer? Yes, your E-A-T score can impact your company’s search engine ranking but indirectly. 

It’s not as clear and simple as, say, measuring the page load speed of your website. 

When it comes to expertise and authoritativeness, while desirable qualities of your content, they are human concepts. The Google algorithm isn’t advanced enough (yet!) and hasn’t figured out how to tell a computer how to rank webpages by E‑A-T.

The rater guidelines are essentially where Google wants the search algorithm to end up. They don’t tell you exactly how the algorithm is ranking results, but they give you a pretty good idea of what the algorithm should do.

Does my company’s website have an E-A-T score? 

No.

Google evaluates the E‑A-T of your content that can be found on your site, lead by Quality Raters, but does not give your website an E-A-T score

That being said, there are ways to improve your site’s user experience that lend themselves nicely to enhancing the overall E-A-T score of your content. Check out our five steps to improving your site’s core web vitals, for example, to ensure your company’s website is firing on all cylinders. 

How to improve your E-A-T score in five steps 

Galactic Fed helps many clients improve their E-A-T daily, and in doing so, everyday tasks emerge that can make or break a decent score. Let us walk you through our five steps to improving your firm’s E-A-T: 

  1. Publish regular, evergreen content 

This step may seem obvious given how clear it is that best E-A-T scores are all about quality content. But how do you define quality when it comes to content that raters will pick up on and rank? 

Firstly, your company should perform a content gap analysis to identify where improvements can be made. 

As a general rule, your content should be reviewed, edited, and maintained regularly to ensure it remains relevant and up-to-date. Always have an author with their title displayed when you publish an article, too:

Source: Galactic Fed

  1. Build backlinks  

This step provides the most tangential proof when it comes to having an impact on your E-A-T score. Why? Because backlinks can be qualified and measured relatively easily. 

Is your company already in the middle of a link-building campaign, but you’re getting lackluster results? Take it to the next level with our six proven backlink-building tips

We’ve also pulled together the five link-building strategies your company needs to know about in 2021. 

A general rule of thumb Galactic Fed follows: 

Source: Ahrefs

  1. Be contactable 

One of the most straightforward tips we can suggest is ensuring your company is easily contactable, with contact details available clearly on your website. 

Legitimate businesses display their company information, phone number, email address, and point of contact:

Source: The Maple Guild

  1. Collaborate with experts 

It should come as no surprise that real, credible collaboration with other industry experts can boost your E-A-T score. What better way to prove your expertise and authority on a topic or subject matter? 

But what exactly does collaborating look like online? And what type of collaboration do Quality Raters notice and rank? 

Galactic Fed suggests starting with a guest post-link-building campaign. In addition to improving your E-A-T score, guest post-link-building offers up a handful of other benefits for your company.

  1. Gain great reviews 

Source: Galactic Fed

Easier said than done? It doesn’t have to be.

We’ve got some thoughts on how to get those initial reviews of praise that can seem like a challenge to acquire at first, found in our digital marketing guide for the food and beverage industry. 

User-generated content is also a great way to indicate to Quality Raters that people are happy with your product or service.  

Improve your company’s E-A-T score to reach more customers 

By publishing regular, evergreen contact clearly written by a human being with a relevant job title, you can signal to Google’s Quality Raters that you know what you’re talking about. 

Build backlinks to boost authority and ensure people can contact you when they need to foster trust with precise contact details on your website.

Collaborate with experts in your field and try guest posting to show raters your niche expertise. Lastly, work on getting some great views in order to illustrate how credible your business is. 

Think you might need some help boosting your E-A-T score? Galactic Fed to the rescue! Contact us today and let us assist you with ensuring Google is aware of your expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness in your industry. 

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Natalie Yelton photo

Natalie Yelton

Content Writer @ Galactic Fed

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