You don’t need us to tell you that the search engine optimization (SEO) landscape evolves quickly.#Links used to be the most significant contributor to Domain Authority, but now #Google is also evaluating websites based on three additional factors: expertise, authority, and trust (E-A-T). Click To Tweet
The latest set of Google quality guidelines emphasize the renewed importance of E-A-T. Although it is far from a brand-new concept, Google’s increased commitment to serving only the most reliable sites in search engine results pages (SERPs) means that it is now playing a more significant role in the ranking process.
But before we dive into the world of E-A-T, we first need to address the term YMYL.
What is E-A-T?
Although it can be more difficult for websites to showcase their expertise, it is far from an impossible task. Besides publishing content from authors who have a degree or work in a specific field, industry awards and the promotion of any external recognition is an excellent way to show expertise and mastery within your niche.
Reviews are an integral component of demonstrating the authority of your offering. In addition to building a strong review profile, it is also important to ensure that each piece of content published on your site is connected to the wider site somehow.
You can’t just make claims without supplying evidence to back up those claims. Everything from incorporating an informative ‘about’ page to providing direct links to your customer service pages will help build trust in your site and your brand.
How heavily the three core components of E-A-T are weighted are affected by the type of content you’re putting out, which largely comes down to your industry and associated topics and themes that come off it.
Some topic areas, after all, have the potential to create more harm should misleading, or false information be spread. Google defines these areas using a system called Your Money or Your Life (YMYL).
Your Money or Your Life
Your Money or Your Life (YMYL) is used as a factor for rating the quality of a piece of content. Google doesn’t only want to deliver the most relevant information to searchers; it also wants to provide the correct information. There are a huge number of searches that could potentially impact the wealth, health, or happiness of a user in a negative way, but some more than others (being told the moon landings are fake may be patently untrue, but it’s not going to cause as much damage as spreading misleading information about a vaccine or a cancer drug for example).
Google doesn’t want to serve links to web pages that contain uneducated opinions or advice, but this is especially so when those queries are focused on issues like safety, financial, or health issues. This is where YMYL comes into play and when E-A-T is even more important when ranking in the SERPs.
5 Ways you can Improve your E-A-T Score
As with most aspects of SEO, the good news is that there are various actionable steps you, or your trusted SEO company, can take to boost the E-A-T score of your website.
Be An Expert
Every successful brand has created and nurtured a positive reputation, but if you don’t have legitimate expertise on your side, now is the time to invest in this aspect of your digital strategy.
Google actively wants to elevate content that experts in their field have written. It has even gone so far as to indicate that medical content should be written and edited by health care professionals.
So, if you aren’t a certified expert, make sure you hire one to create your on-site content because if you want to secure prominent ranking positions in 2021 and beyond, you need to be publishing content from individuals who are appropriately accredited.
Anybody can claim to be an expert online, which is why securing citations from external, high-quality sites will increase Google’s perception of your expertise, authority, and trustworthiness. To do this, not only do you need to provide a positive on-site experience to your visitors, but you also need to consistently share quality content that people actively want to recommend to others.
Create Engaging Content
In order to create engaging content that showcases your expertise, you need to know what your target audience is searching for. Keyword research plays a significant role here. It should help you determine the intent behind each search and, therefore, what kind of information will answer their questions and even exceed their expectations.
Keep An Eye On Appropriate KPIs
After establishing yourself as an expert in your field, you will want to go one step further and ensure that you are the authority. When you’re on this journey, it is important to measure your success by keeping a close eye on some core KPIs when measuring authoritativeness.
In addition to securing links from other authoritative sources, something as simple as a brief mention can significantly boost how authoritative Google thinks your site is. So, focusing on increasing your mentions and social shares is something you should be actively striving to achieve.
If your website shares information on a potentially sensitive subject, such as health, finances, and medicine, you need to ensure that you have a proven level of expertise that means your claims and content are qualified. Without this, you are going to struggle to get Google to give your site a strong ranking position in key SERPs.
The E-A-T framework should be viewed as a holistic approach to content marketing and search engine optimization. Although you are unlikely to secure any quick wins, you will ultimately be placing your site in a better position to drive positive outcomes in the future by playing the long game.