What Is E-A-T & Has It Changed How We Do SEO?

By Daniel Hales | Published 20/01/2020

If you’ve been trying to keep up with changes in the SEO industry over the last couple of years then you’ve probably noticed the term E-A-T get thrown around and to some it seems to be some revolutionary idea and has changed how they look at SEO. However…

E-A-T hasn’t changed how we do SEO at all!

We believe that E-A-T is just a new phrase being thrown around for things that you should have already been doing. In this post we discuss what E-A-T actually is, what we think this actually means for Google’s algorithms and why this should be nothing new to SEO practitioners.

So What Is E-A-T?

E-A-T is a term that comes from Google’s Search Quality Evaluator Guidelines. This is essentially a document that’s given to testers of their search results pages in order to evaluate the quality of them. E-A-T stands for:

  • Expertise
  • Authority
  • Trustworthiness

There are plenty of articles saying what qualitatively these could mean. Instead of this we’ve looked at how Google could actually go about measuring such things and why these things aren’t new.

Expertise

How Could Google Measure This?

Remember, Google is essentially a machine and it’s a lot harder for them to understand expertise compared to a human. These are some of the signals which we think may be related to expertise:

  • Content accuracy – using language modeling and their own knowledge of facts they should be able to see whether your content is accurate or not.
  • Related articles – if they see that your article goes against what others are saying this may be a red flag that you may not be an expert. Of course this can’t always be accurate.
  • Authorship – has the article been written by an expert? The only issue with this potential signal is that it could easily be manipulated. If we’ve learnt anything from the past, it’s that Google doesn’t like relying on easily manipulated signals.
  • Accreditation – Could Google look at how your business is accredited? For example would they check if a plumber is gas registered to make sure they’re actually experts.

Why This Shouldn’t Have Changed SEO

So you didn’t want to show your expertise on your website before? If you’ve been publishing content for your business this should be a given. The only way this could have affected your SEO in the past is if you’ve been trying to optimise your website for search engines above users. But what’s the point of getting people to your website if they’re just going to leave straight away?

Authority

How Could Google Measure This?

We believe that this one could be slightly easier to measure from Google’s point of views. Some signals we think they may be using includes:

  • Backlinks and mentions – essentially Google are asking whether the website and webpage are a point of reference for other people. If people are linking to your site to prove their point it’s likely that you’re the authority on that subject.
  • Gov Domains – This one’s less proven but we think they may be giving gov domains an advantage in terms of authority. For example if you look at health related search terms the NHS is usually shown in the first position. This is only our speculation however and this may be correlation over causation.
  • Branded Search – Google knows how many people are searching for your brand, this could be an indication to them that you’re more authoritative in different subject areas.

Why This Shouldn’t Have Changed SEO

Links have always been a way in which to give yourself a competitive advantage over competitors. E-A-T has only re-enforced this and you should have been considering link building way before it came along.

Trustworthiness

How Could Google Measure This?

This is possibly one of the easiest parts of E-A-T to check against what Google’s doing and make changes to your website in response to it. This includes:

  • Can you easily make contact with the company – You can make it easier for Googlebot by using Schema markup.
  • Does the company have a physical location
  • Does the website have key legal pages such T&Cs and a Privacy Policy?
  • Does the website have an SSL certificate?

Why This Shouldn’t Have Changed SEO

These are all things which should have been done in order to focus on a user first experience. If you are serious about your business then these things should be on your website to not only show that you’re legitimate but to prove your trustworthiness to users who are then more likely to convert on your website.

Note On How Google Search Quality Team Works

It’s worth pointing out that the Google search quality team does not directly change the search results. The team is used to assess impact on algorithm changes as well as providing information on future updates.

E-A-T is essentially a new term which has been coined in regards to things you should have already been doing. As long as you have previously been focusing on providing a great experience to your websites visitors alongside any SEO work then you should have no need to worry about E-A-T.

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