A few days back, I had a severe rash on my hand.
I searched Google for the causes and treatment of rash.
And the site that topped my search results was none other than WebMD.
We all know that WebMD is an authentic medical domain educating on various health conditions.
But why Google trust it? Why it places WebMD on the top of SERPs related to health and medical advice?
As a webmaster, I can give you several reasons why Google shows WebMD on top.
But one driving factor behind all those reasons is its E.A.T.
E.A.T stands for Expertise, Authority, and Trust.
It means that WebMD has got the expertise, authority, and trust. The content is created and verified by medical experts, making it authentic for users.
The users come here, trust it, and share it, making it reliable for Google.
This is just a rough overview of E.A.T to show its role in the search engine results.
LET’S UNDERSTAND E.A.T IN DETAILS
What is E.A.T?
E.A.T stands for Expertise, Authority, and Trust. Launched in 2014, E.A.T has become a key metric of ranking.
It is a framework mentioned in Google’s Search Quality Guidelines that helps people determine how helpful or useful a page is to solve their queries. Google wants to provide users the quality results for any queries, and websites with sound E.A.T are likely to get higher rankings.
Here is a brief explanation of each E.A.T component.
A content creator should be an expert in his field. Although it might not be that critical for gossip or entertainment sites, it really matters for financial, legal, and medical websites. For example, providing an author bio in any piece of writing can help people know about the content’s expertise.
Authoritativeness is referred to as the quality of being accurate and reliable. Google measures that by backlinks, reviews, and mentions associated with your website.
Trustworthiness comes into play when a website asks users to provide sensitive information such as credit card information. Therefore, a user should feel safe while exploring your site. The primary way to build trust is by implementing an SSL on your website.
“Proven trustworthiness is really important. While expertise and authority are factors that boost your rankings, trustworthiness, or rather a lack thereof is what can easily tank your rankings on Google.”
– Ian Booth, SEO Executive
Keep in mind that these three components work together to help your website be in Google’s good books.
It might not work if you are an expert and produce low quality or irrelevant content. If you have expertise and authority in your content, then the last thing to worry about is your website’s security.
Therefore, you have to be eligible for all components of E.A.T.
However, EAT is not a ranking factor as confirmed by Google’s Danny Sullivan—
“Is E-A-T a ranking factor? Not if you mean there’s some technical thing like with speed that we can measure directly. We do use a variety of signals as a proxy to tell if the content seems to match E-A-T as humans would assess it. In that regard, yeah, it’s a ranking factor.”
But it can’t be denied that it plays a vital role in getting your website recognized by Google.
WHAT IS GOOGLE’S QUALITY RATERS GUIDELINES OR QRG?
E.A.T is essential for the success of your website in search results. It helps build your website’s credibility among the users.
It is also important to know that E.A.T is an integral part of Google Quality Raters Guidelines 2020.
Well, Google QRG is a 166-page long document that contains essential guidelines to rate a website.
This document has been provided to 16,000 human raters employed by Google just to check every website manually. After all, humans can assess the value of the content better than any machine.
These raters use this guideline to determine the quality of the websites.
But these raters don’t have the power to rank the website based on their ratings.
Instead, they report to Google’s engineers, who then assess their algorithms based on the information provided.
Simply put, the raters’ feedback is used by Google to adjust its algorithm.
“ Quality Raters are spread out all over the world and are highly trained using our extensive guidelines. Their feedback helps us understand which changes make Search more useful.
Raters also help us categorize information to improve our systems. For example, we might ask what language a page is written in or what’s important on a page.
We use responses from Raters to evaluate changes, but they don’t directly impact how our search results are ranked.”
You can download the complete Google Quality Raters Guidelines from HERE.
Broadly speaking, Google Quality Raters’ Guidelines works on four things to rate the website:
- Needs Met (does your page satisfy the users?”
- Your Money or Your Life (Important content related to life, money, and health. It calls for utmost expertise.)
- Page Quality (Misleading titles, ad-blocked content, and obtrusive ads might harm your ranking.)
“They don’t tell you how the algorithm is ranking, but they fundamentally show what the algorithm should do.”
– Ben Gomes, Google’s VP of Search, in an interview with CNBC over Google’s QRG
The Relationship Between E.A.T AND GOOGLE’S QRG
Again, quality raters cannot influence the rankings of your website.
But Google surely leverages their reported information to show the high-quality website first in the search results.
“These ratings do not directly impact ranking, but they do help us benchmark the quality of our results and make sure these meet a high bar all around the world.”
Even Google is likely to align its algorithms majorly on the E.A.T principles.
Being the most highlighted section in the guideline, it will be predominately used by raters to check the website quality.
|TRIVIA: E.A.T has been used 135 times in the 168-page Google Rater’s guideline|
And this quotes from Google Quality Rater Guidelines says it all—
“If any of Expertise, Authoritativeness, or Trustworthiness is lacking, use the ‘low’ rating.”
For example, the changes in Google Algorithms proposed by the QRG have a significant impact on the rankings of health, fitness, and medical websites.
Here the graph showing the dropping in their ranking as Google rolled out the algorithm in 2018.
(image source: AHREFS)
Many of these websites lack E.A.T; traffic went below when the core update is released, and Google’s ability to detect E.A.T enhanced.
How to Create E.A.T Friendly Content
So far, you must have read that GOOGLE’S QUALITY RATERS GUIDELINES is more or less based on E.A.T principles.
Google is likely to tweak its algorithm based on the report of these guidelines.
Therefore, the message is clear—only an E.A.T friendly website has good chances to rank, no matter what algorithm comes.
There is no right time to update your website according to the E.A.T norms. Do it now.
Create Quality Content That Stands for Expertise:
Whether you write medical content or run a recipe blog, make sure it has the reflection of your expertise. Otherwise, it is better to get it done by an expert of that field, especially if it is related to medical, finance and health, or any other area of Your Money, Your Life (YMYL)
However, formal expertise is not required in the content related to life experience or everyday expertise. For example, someone mentioning his experience with depression in any form won’t be penalized. Because Google thinks that the person is sharing his knowledge, not expertise.
Here’s what Google guideline says about it.
“Consider this example. Here, forum participants are telling how long their loved ones lived with liver cancer. This is an example of sharing personal experiences (in which they are experts), not medical advice. Specific medical information and advice (rather than descriptions of life experiences) should come from doctors or other health professionals.”
Use Authentic Sources:
Make sure to link your facts and statistics to a credible and accurate source. This makes your content looks authentic.
Google pinpoints this thing in its guideline—
“High E-A-T news articles should be produced with journalistic professionalism—they should contain factually accurate content presented in a way that helps users achieve a better understanding of events.”
Look for Positive Reviews:
One of the E.A.T rules is to gain positive reviews on your content. It will improve your page quality as well as build a reputation. Positive reviews are triggered by high-quality content that helps your audience.
Besides, you should take care of negative reviews by trying to know their problems and providing solutions accordingly.
Make a Wikipedia Page:
For Google, Wikipedia is a reliable source.
Joshua Hardwick, the head of content at AHREFS and the founder at the SEO Project, opines—
“News articles and Wikipedia articles can help you learn about a company and may include information specific to reputation, such as awards and other forms of recognition, or controversies and issues.”
In fact, having a Wikipedia page for your business can help you gain authority and trust to some extent. It is also worth mentioning that Google extracts information from Wikipedia for Google Knowledge Graphs, which is a critical point in improving your online reputation as well.
OVER TO YOU:
Google Search Quality Raters’ Guidelines impact algorithms. And E.A.T is going to be a crucial factor in that. Therefore, optimize your content according to E.A.T so that your website can easily pass an algorithm test on any given day.
What do you think? Let us know by commenting below!