By Monique Ahmad, Marketing Specialist at Smart IS International
Every company, blogger and freelancer is focused on building SEO and coming out at the top of their relative Google searches. SEO is a topic always on everyone’s mind, especially because getting to the top isn’t an easy race with many contenders running to get to the same spot. Understanding the way Google thinks and measures SEO rankings is the first step to building a strong strategy for yourself.
Obviously, there isn’t a straight and simple answer to give. There are many theories, strategies and algorithms out there. E-A-T, Expertise, Authoritativeness and Trustworthiness, is an often discussed concept used by Google. People take this as an algorithm used to determine rankings, but it is more of an ideology and guideline than an algorithm (Search Engine Journal). It can be a bit confusing to understand what this really is and how important it is.
The main purpose of E-A-T is to avoid the spread of false information and to build up the credibility of the top results on searches. Google isn’t looking to give us false information, hence the focus on pushing expert information that can be trusted. In 2018, Google increased its efforts to better the reliability of its search results by incorporating systems to measure credibility for a site (Search Engine Journal). So, E-A-T is more of a criterion put in place internally by Google to ensure that the information they are pushing is actually true.
E-A-T is not a score and is not a black and white determination of a website’s SEO standing. In fact, it isn’t even applicable to all websites and businesses. This method is most helpful for sites that are focused on YMYL (Your Money or Your Life) websites such as professional advice websites and e-commerce sites. Whereas a site by a personal blogger may not find this as a useful strategy to abide by as their content is not as much fact-based (Search Engine Journal).
E-A-T puts a big focus on the author of the content, meaning that someone who doesn't have a certain level of credibility will not do well on it (Social Media Today). For example, if there is a website on a particular method in Business Management and the author has long-standing experience in running a business, relative education and certifications, then their E-A-T score might be on the higher-end. On the other hand, if someone is a business student without any experience or a built up a reputation, then they will receive a low score. The author must be an expert in the field, with relative knowledge, have an authoritative reputation in the field which in turn will lead them to be trustworthy (Social Media Today).
E-A-T is not a standalone method for your overall SEO strategy, it works along-side the overall optimization and UX of your website (Search Engine Journal). If you’ve been working on your SEO ranking, E-A-T is a concept to keep in mind to ensure that your content is on the right path (Social Media Today).