E-A-T stands for expertise, authoritativeness and trustworthiness and relates to how Google ranks webpages in the search engine results page (SERP).
E-A-T derives from Google’s Search Quality Rating Guidelines which is designed to establish what it takes to create a good-quality website which ranks well.
Let’s talk more on what expertise, authority and trustworthiness really means...
Expertise refers to the creator of the main content and considers their credibility. For example, a person who does not have any qualifications in healthcare but blogs their own theories and diagnoses of health-related issues is unlikely to rank above an established healthcare professional or service provider; essentially, expertise indicates if the writer is an expert in the topic in question.
That said, in Google’s guidelines, they verify that expertise can be demonstrated less formally, such as in detailed reviews or forums - although this is less likely in YMYL (Your Money or Your Life) topics, depending on the content’s purpose.
Authoritativeness is all about proving your site is an authority in your area. The number of backlinks you have from relevant, authoritative sites helps to build your site up as an authority. For example, if your website is an online fashion retailer and fashion magazines begin to mention your brand in their online articles and link to your website, your authority can increase as search engines will start to recognise your site as recommended and trustworthy.
Trustworthiness is exactly how it sounds - how trustworthy your site is. This can be demonstrated by having a secure domain which protects users’ personal information and through positive customer reviews. It’s worth noting that If you receive too many negative reviews, search engines will interpret your site as of poor quality which will impact your position on the SERP.
Why is E-A-T important for your business?
Demonstrating that your business has E-A-T can seriously bump you up on the SERP. This is because search engines such as Google can see that your website is trusted, recommended and legitimate. It’s likely that you’ve come across some shady websites during some of your previous online searches and this is what Google is trying to prevent users from coming across. For example, it could be dangerous for an unauthoritative website to rank at the top of the SERP if they are providing false information (especially if it’s health or finance related). It’s for this reason that Google will take into account the E-A-T of a website to prevent users from harm and to only provide quality content which will meet the user’s needs.
As you can see in the image below, the NHS are the first result for this health related query as they are a trusted website in the UK with authority and expertise.
In this instance, E-A-T is vital for the health and safety of online users, but E-A-T is useful in other respects as there are different types of “expert” websites (including forums and gossip websites!)
Let’s look at this next example...
As you can see, the user is possibly looking to make a purchase on this occasion, so there’s an opportunity for car dealers to make a sale or receive an enquiry through the SERP. Google has also kindly provided a ‘local pack’ so the user can find car dealers near them.
The top result for this search is Autotrader, the UK’s largest digital automotive marketplace, so we did a little research to find out why…
Firstly, we used the trusty SEO tool Majestic to explore their referring domains, backlinks and trust flow. As you can see in the below image, Autotrader’s root domain has a LOT of backlinks (with a whopping 2,888,593 in the last 90 days from 13,204 different domains!) It’s also important to note that these links are considered to be of good quality and judging by the topical trust flow, they’re relevant to the automotive business sector.
Moreover, Autotrader’s website has a rating of 4.7 from over 50,000 customer reviews on Trustpilot, which also contributes to their site’s trustworthiness and authoritativeness.
Similarly, Google’s Local Pack results also feature positive customer reviews, indicating that Google has taken these into consideration as part of their ranking factors. The key takeaway here is that by working on your E-A-T, you can improve your brand’s digital presence and attract more traffic to your site (and hopefully, increase leads and sales too!)
How to improve E-A-T SEO
You can improve your website’s expertise by ensuring that you understand what your audience is really searching for and meeting their needs. The first step in doing this is to conduct keyword research and then develop a strong keyword strategy. Really grasping user intent is worth the time and effort because when you understand a user’s motives, you can cater to them.
Once you’ve established your target audience and their needs, you can create useful content for them. Regularly blogging about a related topic to your products or business is a great way to do this. For instance, if you are a health food store, you could post about healthy meals and share recipes. It’s also important to ensure that content is easily digestible. In the case of creating recipe-based blogs, you could include video demonstrations or use numbered lists to clearly layout the steps involved. Moreover, you can always get ahead of the game and include related search queries in your content so that you answer as many queries the user may have as possible - demonstrating your brand’s knowledge and expertise.
There are a few different ways that you can improve the authority of your website, including:
Link building is absolutely invaluable in the world of SEO and backlinks are an active ranking signal. If you can get other relevant websites which have authority to link to your website, it essentially tells search engines that others are recommending your brand and indicates that you also have expertise. Find out more on how to build links for SEO here.
You can check your domain’s authority score using a tool such as Semrush and can even discover websites who have mentioned your site or opportunities to build links and boost your authoritativeness.
Utilising social media platforms
Sharing your content and interacting with leads and customers will work wonders for building your brand, especially if it leads to more people searching for your brand directly. If you can demonstrate consistency and get your content out there, you will grow your authority.
Ensure that your web domain is secure
Back in 2014, Google announced that HTTPS (Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure) would be used as a ranking signal. Essentially, HTTPS is a secure internet protocol that will protect users’ data, so it’s a good idea to migrate from HTTP to HTTPS to prevent yourself being flagged as not secure.
Why not read our ‘what does migrating a website mean?’ blog to learn more about what site migrations involve and how we can help.
Encourage customers to leave reviews
You could have the happiest customers in the world who would gladly sing your praises...but Google won’t know this unless they leave a review. Gently encourage clients and customers to leave you a review if they are happy with your service or consider featuring customer testimonials on your website as this will help to strengthen your brand’s trustworthiness and authoritativeness.
Deal with negative reviews
Don’t let negative reviews stack up by addressing them sooner rather than later. As mentioned earlier, if your business receives too many negative reviews, your website will be seen as poor and untrustworthy, because in Google’s eyes, you’re clearly disappointing users and customers somewhere along the lines.
Include privacy policies, refund/return policies and a terms and conditions page
These should be easily accessible for users to find (they’re typically found in the footer).
Include NAP information
NAP stands for name, address and phone number - including these details will help search engines to identify your location and will also make it easier for users to get in touch with you. Create a Google My Business profile to verify your business to Google.
Want to improve your E-A-T?
Working on your E-A-T can help to improve your business’s online visibility, helping to generate more leads and sales. Here at Adido, our team of SEO experts know exactly how to boost your brand’s E-A-T to help you reach your goals.