Firstly, Google does not ‘eat’ any content. That was simply a clever ploy to crowbar another SEO related acronym into the headline.
That being said, E-A-T is something you need to be aware of if you’re serious about improving your website’s search performance.
E-A-T stands for Expertise, Authoritativeness and Trustworthiness, a combination of characteristics that signal to Google that you and your site are a great resource for a specific topic or industry.
Whilst this isn’t an algorithm, it is the sum of signals that indicate you or your brand have nurtured the key elements that make you an authoritative expert visitors can trust.
So, what is E-A-T and why is it important?
“E-A-T is part of Google’s ongoing attempts to stop people gaming the system, by forcing them to create useful quality content. Websites, companies, and content creators are all under the lens” (source: Medium.com).
E-A-T came from Google’s ‘Search Quality Evaluator Guidelines’ back in 2014. This document was used for Google’s 10,000 strong human quality rating team, which in turn informed Google’s engineers on how to improve rankings (source. Moz.com).
Since then it has gradually increased its prominence as an important ranking factor however, you should remember, it is not the only ranking factor… there’s over 200 in total.
So, let’s break down E-A-T so you can understand how to create content that Google will love.
According to Wikipedia, an expert is ‘someone who has a broad and deep competence in terms of knowledge, skill and experience through practice and education in a particular field’.
Whilst that means the content needs to demonstrate a level of understanding and experience, it doesn’t mean you can turn into that annoying ‘know it all’, everyone tries to avoid.
The key for creating great content, is ensuring you understand your audience, what they are looking for and what they need to progress.
Keyword research will help you discover what people search for or the problem they are trying to solve. If you create content that is comprehensive yet simple and meets their criteria, you are onto a winner.
Google wants to understand that a website is held in high regard (source: Medium.com) and to do this, you need evidence that your content is valuable to others.
One indicator of this is how many external links are made to your site from other trusted sources.
Forget buying backlinks from dodgy websites as this will achieve the exact opposite. The more shares and mentions you build up however, the more likely it is that you will be considered an authority. There is an element of consistency here too.
Another indicator is Brand.
As marketers, we love branding, but it sometimes suffers the misconception that it is just a visual identity when in fact, brand is about perception, popularity and connection with your audience. Therefore, the more people searching for your brand AND a specific topic, will indicate to Google that you an authority in that particular field.
Trustworthiness is a vital indicator, which should be of no surprise to anyone, particularly as online reviews play such an important indicator of customer sentiment.
In today’s digital landscape, you need to be delighting customers and if you do have any negative feedback, it is important you take positive steps to resolve it.
There are other factors to consider too such as ensuring your website is secure, which is why HTTPS has been adopted by many websites.
If you’re selling products online, you should have a clear returns or refunds policy and complaints procedure.
Associating the website to physical location too, can help prove you are a genuine business.
Don’t throw the baby out with the bath water
As already mentioned, E-A-T isn’t an algorithm, it is simply a framework to help Google and users identify high quality, great value and well communicated content.
If you are experiencing declines after algorithm updates, remember E-A-T is not the only issue and that are many factors that come into play here (source: Search Engine Journal).
Fixing technical issues or updating metadata can deliver much quicker returns to problems that suddenly cause your site to drop.
Addressing E-A-T takes time. ‘Google often doesn’t do major reassessments of the overall site quality until the next core update rolls out – so any work that was done to improve E-A-T might take at least several months to be reassessed’ (source: Search Engine Journal).