Google’s E-A-T Algorithm Update and What it Demands

Over the past few months, you’ve probably seen the buzzword (or acronym, rather) “E-A-T Algorithm” floating around. Google confirmed the release of a full core algorithm update on August 1st, which said, “Better Content means higher rankings.” And the key to creating better content is Google’s Quality Raters Guidelines.

Google’s Quality Rater Guidelines are used by humans to assign quality scores to search results for specified queries. In other words, pages that would receive high-quality ratings from raters applying these guidelines are the kinds of pages Google wants to rank well.

Among the changes was a much stronger emphasis on E-A-T Algorithm:

Expertise.

Authority.

Trustworthiness.

Several references to “high quality” were updated to refer instead to “high EAT.”

Besides, references to E-A-T Algorithm for specific authors, rather than only brands or websites, were added.

Initially, this “medic” update seemed to have hit loads of websites offering health and medical advice, more than any other vertical. While this update certainly did hit many medical websites, it also hit many other websites that could be categorized under what Google calls “YMYL sites” — yep, another flippin’ acronym.

YMYL is a quality rating for content that stands for “Your Money or Your Life.” Google doesn’t just care about delivering the most relevant information — they also want to deliver the correct information. With certain types of searches, there is a huge potential to negatively impact users’ “happiness, health, or wealth”— in other words, were these pages low quality, they have the potential to impact a user’s well-being.

So, when it comes to health, financial issues, and safety, Google doesn’t want to serve up links to pages that share uneducated advice, opinions, or potentially fraudulent websites. Google wants to be as sure as possible that they are recommending sites that display a high level of expertise, authority, and trustworthiness — which is what E-A-T Algorithm stands for! It’s Google’s way of protecting searchers from low-quality content that has the potential to be detrimental to a searcher.

If your business falls under the umbrella label of happiness, health, or wealth, then E-A-T Algorithm might be vital for you to understand, so keep reading!

Expertise

Expertise, as per Google’s Quality Rater Guidelines is defined as the process to communicate your knowledge in a way that engages people. It comes down to not only having the information but also knowing what your audience wants and how best to deliver the information to them.

Whenever a Googler is asking the question “How can my site improve its rankings?” the stock answer most often seems to be something like: “Create great content that your audience loves.”

How do we create content that people love? Well, here are a few tips for answering that question:

Find out what your audience is searching for, then meet and exceed their needs. This begins with keyword research.

  • Try to understand the searchers intent behind the terms you discover during that keyword research.
  • You should understand the stages of the customer journey as somebody getting involved in your industry. There are a plethora of situations here, depending on your specific case, but if you’re targeting, for example, a search term that is for somebody new to the subject matter, then try not to use too much jargon and or gloss-over points that a novice is unlikely to understand.
  • Find the balance between being comprehensive while keeping it simple. This comes down to formatting your text, so it’s digestible, using visual aids or rich media like video or audio. We want the consumer of the content to truly understand the subject by the end, without making it too difficult. 
  • Think about the next queries a searcher might have and have content ready to answer that, too. Suitable supplementary content should be internally linked and easy to access. It’s all about becoming the go-to source of information in your field.
Authority

When other experts or influencers in your vertical are citing you as a source of information or when your name (or your brand) becomes synonymous with the relevant topics, then you are not just an expert — you’re the authority.

Here are some of the KPI’s when it comes to judging your authoritativeness:

  • Links from relevant and authoritative websites are, of course, a huge factor when it comes to ranking websites, and we certainly can’t discuss any framework for SEO success without emphasizing this. 

Note: When we talk links, it’s all about building your domain’s authority. This means we want relevant websites which have gained influence in the space already to recommend us and there is no better endorsement that a website can get from another website owner, than a link. 

While links are ideal, being mentioned in the news or on authoritative websites in your space will still boost your authoritativeness, in Google’s eyes. So, mentions are also something to strive for.

  • We can use the Moz or SEMRush Domain Authority score to help us understand the authority of a website. It can be used for a quick look at our website or the websites linking to us and gives us an idea of the current level of authority.
  • If your content is widely shared, genuinely, and consistently across social media, this is also a sign of growing authority.
  • Building a brand is a good idea for many reasons, not least for SEO authority. Branded search volume is a good measure of how your brand authority is doing. If more and more people are searching for your brand name, this is fantastic news. If they’re searching for your brand name with a relevant keyword attached, that’s even better.
  • Having a Wikipedia page for your brand and the people in your company is a significant signal that you’re an authority. Keep in mind, getting a Wikipedia page is not easy unless you’re a recognized person/brand. However, this does come up within the Google raters’ guidelines, so it is something to strive for.
Trustworthiness

Proven trustworthiness is essential. While expertise and authority are factors that boost your rankings, trustworthiness or rather a lack thereof is what can quickly tank your rankings on Google.

If you don’t reign-in any negative sentiment around your business, you will suffer on Google. Fundamentally, you need to be delighting your customers, and if you have any complaints, you should address them before you end up with too much negativity attached to your brand. Google is very clear about this in their guidelines; too many bad reviews is a sign of low quality.

Positive reviews on places like Tripadvisor, Glassdoor, Facebook, Google My Business, and so on are going to help. 

Some ways that we can promote trustworthiness on our website are:

  • Having a clear way to make contact with the website owners.
  • Associating the website with a physical location, i.e., your office or store address.
  • Having a term of business or T&Cs page, which is easily accessible to users (usually from the footer).
  • Making sure your website’s domain is secure. Correctly implementing HTTPS is very important to Google and helps to ensure a nefarious 3rd party entity won’t intercept any data your users’ input.
  • Having a privacy policy which is accessible (usually from the footer).
  • If you’re accepting transactions, you should have clear refunds and returns policies.
  • If you’re selling products, try to include comprehensive specifications of the product and include any safety advice that might be relevant.
  • If you’re sharing knowledge, in general, it’s a good idea to have an author biography included and to cite external sources where relevant. Linking out to authority sites is a good thing.
E-A-Ting The Author

There are two types of E-A-T Algorithm: the E-A-T Algorithm of the entire website (or brand), and, if applicable, the E-A-T Algorithm of authors of the site’s content.

According to Google,  a page is to be considered low quality if the author of the page or website does not have enough expertise for the topic.

This is extremely important! Think of how many YMYL sites have articles that are written by people who are fantastic journalists, but who have no actual real-life experience on the topic on which they are writing. If you are looking for tax advice, would you prefer to read an article written by someone with a journalism degree or by someone who has been a tax accountant for decades and is known as an authority in that field? If you have been diagnosed with cancer, do you want to read articles on your condition that are written by an SEO content writer or articles that are written by a physician who has been treating this condition for years and is known as the world’s leading expert on the subject?

You want to read articles written by people with E-A-T Algorithm. As such, Google wants to show searchers articles written by people who are known as the best in their field. If you are not currently recognized as one of the authorities in your niche, then getting more brand recognition is a must if you want to rank well on Google searches.

Well, all this was about Increasing Your Site Quality

Anyone who wants to continue to rank well in search engines needs to keep up with the constantly changing landscape of SEO. Especially Google’s major algorithm changes are always a cause to re-evaluate your strategy.

The E-A-T Algorithm algorithm update is no exception, correctly if you run a YMYL site. It is another step by Google toward providing searchers with the best, most relevant, and most trustworthy results. If being considered as such was already on your agenda, you probably didn’t have that much too fear. For everyone else, it’s a chance to think about how to improve your site further and make it fit for future changes.

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Every brand has stories to tell—stories that will not only engage, inform, surprise, delight, and impact their audience, but that will also deliver on measurable business goals. And I’m a conduit between brand and consumer.

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