E-A-T SEO stands for “Expertise”, “Authoritativeness”, “Trustworthiness” and it’s a test that Google runs against content to judge its ranking. In short, if your content passes the “E-A-T” criteria, it will rank well and beat the competition. So, become an expert, promote yourself, so you are an authority and become trustworthy. That’s it.
The changing face of Google’s desire for content
The SEO world has gone through a lot of changes during its brief history, but most of the time, the route to getting your website found has been through content.
Before Google got good at its job, it used its processing power to work out how much content linked to your website and if you had more than the other guys, yours came out on top.
However, people quickly learned how to game the system, and by using bots and dodgy tools they built lots of spam links from any old site that would accept them.
Google got wise, and sites lost all their ranking overnight.
Then, “content is king” became the mantra, and everyone was writing articles for their website of at least 300 words (because someone guessed this must be a good number), and they’d write a blog every other day.
Some people wrote one every day.
Many of these blogs were crap.
Some sites used artificially generated articles where you punched a keyword into a website, and it would regurgitate optimised Google fodder with which to fill up the Internet.
For a while, though, Google lapped it up.
It gobbled up all the content it could, digesting it and pushing it up the rankings so that if you searched for “Cheap plasma TV”, a site with a gazillion articles all about plasma TVs would appear.
It had a lot of content, but very little in the way of information, just lots of links to sell stuff and make the owners money.
These sites ruined everything, so a while back, Google kicked those into touch as well.
OK, then, better links
Now we start to get somewhere.
We’re currently in the phase of “better links from guest posts = better ranking”.
Everyone is selling guest post links.
These are links from sites that happen to be writing an article about the subject of your website and they link to you.
Imagine a news site is talking about the number of floods that occur in Watford, and you happen to be a company selling flood defences.
In the middle of that article, it would be absolutely awesome if there was a link to your website.
It would help to increase your ranking no end.
Are links the be-all and end-all of ranking a website?
It’s still all about the content.
The most important Google signals
Think about this analogy:
If a book is good, people will read it to the end.
If it’s great, they’ll tell others about it.
If it changes their life, they’ll quote parts of it and become an “ambassador” for it.
Have you ever read “How to win friends and influence people”?
I was an ambassador for this book because it is incredible.
People were put off by the quirky name, but I read it, and it changed my entire outlook on life.
It’s done the same for millions of people, which is why it’s still being sold today.
Now, imagine you wrote a blog post that did that.
Google measures how long people spend reading a particular page on a website.
They also measure how many people go to a page and leave it without doing anything else (called a ‘bounce’).
If people read an article all the way through, and they then go on to read other parts of the site (because it’s interesting to them, obviously), then it’s a fair assumption it’s a quality article and website.
E-A-T then, what’s that about?
There are apparently over 200 signals that Google takes into account when working out a site’s ranking.
That’s lots, and to be honest, you may as well ignore the statistic.
It means absolutely nothing and serves only as a method by which SEO companies try to crow about how good they are.
Screw it, move on.
However, Google did announce something in its guidelines a few years ago.
“…the amount of expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness (E-A-T) is very important.
- The expertise of the creator of the MC (main content).
- The authoritativeness of the creator of the MC, the MC itself, and the website.
- The trustworthiness of the creator of the MC, the MC itself, and the website.”
The guidelines go into a lot more detail about how and why sites should be judged, but because it’s wrapped up in jargon, let’s try and translate some of it to the real world.
Beating down fake news and misinformation
The web is full of crud.
There’s information all over the place, much of which is of dubious value.
So how do you know which to trust and which to ignore?
The problem is, if you search for something, you might get information from a source that isn’t trustworthy.
For example, if you wanted to get information about how to fix a broken leg, there might be lots of dodgy medical sites that will explain the benefits of dipping the injured limb in a mixture of cat urine and nettles.
There’s also some good medical advice out there from people who know what they’re talking about and have qualifications, years of training and a proven track record.
They tend to write for websites that have a history of providing good, solid, reliable advice.
The writers are experts, they have authority, and they can be trusted.
Google will rank such content on these websites extremely well.
How does Google know?
It’s not all about an algorithm.
Google employs hundreds of thousands of people who look at web content and rate it based on the E-A-T methods, and this feeds the beast so the machine can learn, too.
Of course, the internal learning of the algorithm will also play a part.
If you write a great article that gets lots of reads and shares and people keep coming back to it, it’ll tell Google that it’s a cracking article and people should take note.
Your ranking will improve.
How to use E-A-T to improve your ranking
I’ve said this through my entire career as an SEO.
“Write as much as you can about your subject, give as much detail away as possible, tell people everything.”
You want your website to be the authority on your subject.
You need to be the person people come to for help and advice.
And to do this, you need to tell them everything for free, on your website.
But people won’t use me if the information is free!
If I want to fix a leaking tap, I can search for it and find how to do it.
When I had a leaking tap, I still called a plumber.
We explain on this site exactly how to improve the ranking of websites, but people still hire us to do it.
I can do my accounts, replace a tyre and bake a cake, yet there are still accountants, mechanics and bakers making a pretty good living.
Knowing how to do something is different from doing it.
Improve your E-A-T ranking using our guide
All of the above sounds extremely complex, long-winded and a right royal pain in the backside, so, alongside this article which is definitely categorised under “why you should do it”, we’ve created a section of our website for “how you should do it”.
We’re amazing like that. Click below for the answers.