In an effort to remove low quality content from search results, Google created a set of requirements for estimating the trustworthiness of content. These requirements are known as E-A-T (Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness) and Google first mentioned them in the 2014 publication: Search Quality Guidelines.
E.A.T requirements are applied to YMYL content (which stands for Your Money or Your Life). According to Google, YMYL content has a “high standard for accuracy and well-established medical/scientific/historical consensus.” Furthermore, it could “potentially impact a person’s future happiness, health, financial stability, or safety.” If you publish YMYL content, you will need E-A-T assets to verify your credibility before Google will consider your page for relevance and other ranking factors.
In the Fall of 2018, Google rolled out a core update that put a heavy emphasis on E-A-T. This update was nicknamed Google Medic and it had a significant impact on healthcare and financial websites. Many of these companies had to scramble to make up for lost traffic and leads.
Keep in mind that E-A-T assets are unique to both industry and brand. For instance, a strong brand with well-established history would not need to worry as much about E-A-T assets. Warren Buffet could write about investing without worrying about them, however, an unknown brand would. Still, if you are going to publish YMYL content, I recommend starting your E-A-T analysis at the brand level before starting work on page and site levels. Not every page will require E-A-T. The discovery landing pages and blog posts do as well as any page conveying brand/topic expertise information.
What E-A-T assets does your brand have?
- Trophies are industry awards, certifications, and acknowledgements from influencers in your industry. List as many of them as possible. If you have sufficient recognition from your industry, you can build a trophy page on your site. This page would include links to off-site pages that mention your brand awards.
- In some cases, individuals can add to your E-A-T. A specialty doctor or a high-profile CEO are good examples of this. If you can, make a list of individuals that can influence your E-A-T. These individuals should be the authors of your YMYL content. They should also have an onsite profile page as well as social pages like LinkedIn that associate them with your brand. The social page should have references to other pages not on your website that support your E-A-T. These pages could include speaking engagements, participation at industry events, published papers, etc.
- E-A-T pages should be laid out to support E-A-T assets; According to Google, these rules include a picture of the author, a link to their on-site profile, and if possible, links to other related content produced by this individual.
How will your website demonstrate Expertise, Authority, and Trustworthiness?
- For E-A-T, a brand needs to show a history of successful experience in their industry, market, or vertical. This could come in the form of case studies proving customer trust. Testimonials and links to validated off-site reviews can accomplish this.
- Extolling your brand values can have a positive impact on E-A-T. Include your commitment to customers and make sure these values are part of on-site messaging.
- Brand reputation is important and can be used as a satisfaction asset. Your website should include the years you have been in business, customer service awards, and star ratings from Google reviews.
It may take some time to build your E-A-T assets but the benefits are well worth the effort. Improving E-A-T will promote your brand to your audience in a more favorable light and provide you with a significant conversion advantage.