Since April last year, we have found a lot of our analysis and conversations are revolving around the E-A-T update. The update was released on August 2018 and focused improving rankings for websites that could demonstrate Expertise, Authority and Trust within product and services online
As with any Google update, there are winners and losers, and techniques adopted or rejected by SEO agencies and a need to share data at an industry level to determine best practice moving forward. Here we will break down some of our findings.
We touched on the overall definition of E-A-T earlier – but here’s some further detail for you.
Expertise — How knowledgeable the site owner or content author is on the subject matter they talk about. This is especially important for the aforementioned YMYL sites, not so much for gossip websites or similar. Are you an expert in your field?
Authoritativeness — The websites online profile in general and how google can perceive your brand to be positive or negative in the public eye. Are you an authority figure in your subject matter? Do you have some reviews somewhere that say you aren’t great and you don’t provide a good service (or the opposite)?
Trustworthiness — Relating to the sites quality and ability to be trusted by a user. Specifically, elements around data and site security etc.
YMYL – what is and what is its relevance to E-A-T?
These guidelines were released as an addition to the earlier YMYL update focusing specifically on healthcare sites, which if you aren’t sure stands for Your Money Or Your Life.
Specifically defined by google as pages or websites that have an impact on the “happiness, health, financial stability, or safety of users.” Examples that they give include:
- Shopping or financial transaction pages: webpages that allow users to make purchases, transfer money, pay bills, etc. online (such as online stores and online banking pages).
- Financial information pages: web pages that provide advice or information about investments, taxes, retirement planning, home purchase, paying for college, buying insurance, etc.
- Medical information pages: web pages that provide advice or information about health, drugs, specific diseases or conditions, mental health, nutrition, etc.
- Legal information pages: web pages that provide legal advice or information on topics such as divorce, child custody, creating a will, becoming a citizen, etc.
- News articles or public/official information pages important for having an informed citizenry: webpages that include information about local/state/national government processes, policies, people, and laws; disaster response services; government programs and social services; news about important topics such as international events, business, politics, science, and technology; etc. Please use your judgment and knowledge of your locale. Keep in mind that not all news articles are necessarily considered YMYL.
- Other: there are many other topics that you may consider YMYL, such as child adoption, car safety information, etc. Please use your judgment.
So what is the significance of E-A-T with regards to YMYL and these types of websites?
E-A-T is effectively an extension to the YMYL guidelines and further defines what Google’s algorithms will be evaluated when considering where your website should be positioned within the search results.
Ultimately, E-A-T can be summarised as trusted quality, and in order to build trusted quality, your SEO strategy needs to be more than just on-page enhancements and an offsite link building campaign – it needs to consider the difference between a page that users what to use to know something and whether want to do something (such as buying a product or service).
Considering E-A-T, what should our SEO strategy look like?
Your SEO strategy should be an all-encompassing, 360-degree strategy, that considers:
- Who your target audience/s are
- What your target audience(s) needs to complete the desired action online (and whether your site currently offers this)
Business offering & credibility
- Why your business can be trusted by these audiences
- How your website demonstrates your businesses ability to be trusted (security, accreditations, iso standards, testimonials, reviews etc)
- Is there an opportunity to improve this trust
Relevancy & usefulness
- Detailed, relatable content to a user search query (how-to guide, Q&A answers, video content)
Content & digital PR
- What is your communication strategy for the year ahead?
- How are you utilising PR to expose your communications to your target audiences via trusted online websites (more than just a link building campaign, this is about getting market reach)
- Are you connecting with social influencers that can help share your communications (think Instagram, Twitter, Tik Tok)
Google search quality guidelines
All of these guidelines, in essence, are covered within a document google released giving guidelines to its 10,000 strong quality raters – individuals worldwide that assist in checking and rating the search engine results pages.
In essence, E-A-T requires auditing and planning of your business strategy as a whole. It is no longer safe to just consider how to get people online to convert and you should be considering how your business is perceived and trusted.
How can you measure your website's E-A-T?
As always, there is no clearly definitive way to measure your website's performance against such algorithms or guidelines. We recommend keeping an eye on the usual metrics, such as
- Domain authority
- Page authority
- Keyword visibility
My website isn’t in the medical or financial sector – does E-A-T still apply to me?
Whilst google clearly states within its guidelines document that these guidelines primarily apply to medical and financial websites, we believe it's good to follow these guidelines regardless of your sector, as they are all indicative of providing website users with a website experience that’s informative, trustworthy, safe, and secure.