Google’s E-A-T has been causing quite a stir recently, with more and more businesses reviewing their content marketing strategy at the start of the year. Whilst Google’s E-A-T has been around for a couple of years now, its significance remains at the forefront of everyone’s minds. It’s not just E-A-T you need to pay close attention to either, as Google’s Rater Guidelines provide what was once highly confidential insight into how the search engines Raters rank content.
As an award-winning digital marketing agency, we’re well versed in the SEO agency and content marketing world and have the in-house expertise required to take your marketing strategy to the next level. To find out more about how we can help boost your websites online visibility, get in touch with a member of our specialist digital marketing team on 0800 088 6000.
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E-A-T stands for “Expertise, Authoritativeness, Trustworthiness” and, for your website to be E-A-T approved, you need to prove that you are an expert in your field. In addition to showing that you are an authority, you must be able to convince users that they can trust what you are pitching to them.
Alongside E-A-T Google “constantly experiment with ideas to improve the results you see”. Most people believe that quality raters could include bias within their results. They do, however, have an entire textbook to base their answers on called the “Quality Rater Guidelines”. These Raters help Google to categorise information, further enhancing their systems. According to the search engine, these responses “don’t directly impact how [the] search results are ranked.”
Ben Gomes, Google’s vice president of search, assistant and news, commented:
“They don’t tell you how the algorithm is ranking results, but they fundamentally show what the algorithm should do.”
Essentially, it should be clear who is responsible for the website and who created the content on the page. For your website to be considered “trustworthy”, it must also feature various contact information. The best way to identify what contact information your website needs to feature, check your ranking competitions to see what information they have included. You should also consider the needs of your audience and the type of contact information they may require.
According to Google, the Quality Rater Guidelines “primarily cover Page Quality (PQ) rating and Needs Met (NM) rating; however, the concepts are also important for many other types of rating tasks.”
In the first few pages, Google highlight the significant of the search experience and the purpose of Search Quality Rating. Within Google’s Rater Guidelines, they also explain what low-rated pages look like and what could be the difference between a high rating and a low rating. They specifically state that “good search engines give results that are helpful for people in their specific language and locale.”
Types of Lowest Pages include, as stated by Google, are pages that potentially spread hate, are potentially harmful, may misinform users or deceive them, lack purpose or fail to achieve their purpose.
Pages that fail to achieve their purpose may include pages that contain inadequate information about the website or creator or are overall unmaintained. This includes websites that may have been hacked, defaced or considered spam.
So, how can you achieve a high rating and avoid low-ranking factors?
Google encourage SEO’s and site owners to ensure that all grammar and punctuation is correct and, if the content is written by a non-English speaker, to have it checked over before publishing.
Google also share some of the most important factors within their guidelines. These are:
The contents of the guidelines may make sense, but understanding how Google Raters rank a page is a good indication to what work you need to carry out to ensure that your site receives a high rating.
Raters use what is know as the “Page Quality slide scale” or “slider” for short to analyse the overall Page Quality rating. It looks like this:
YMYL is a term that is often thrown around in the digital marketing agency world, meaning “Your Money Your Life” or otherwise websites that are “about more than just money”.
According to Google, pages including content that can affect someone’s health, happiness, safety or financial stability are considered a YMYL page.
In terms of E-A-T, Google advise that medical advice and related information should be updated on a regular basis, as they must represent a “well-established scientific and medical consensus (unless the user is clearly seeking an alternative viewpoint)”.
YMYL pages that show a high level of Expertise, Authority and Trustworthiness rank higher than those that don’t as the user visiting the page is said to feel safe. So, the more the content meets the search query, the better! This will result in your site being awarded a higher level of E-A-T. It’s pointless trying to beat Google’s algorithm too, as sites that offer genuine advice will be awarded compared to those who try to cheat the system.
For all information pages, you should check for accuracy and confirm that the information is supported by expert consensus where such consensus exists. As stated in the guidelines, this can be achieved by:
Whilst having good User-Generated Content on your website is a good thing, bad UGC could be detrimental to your rankings.
Social Media Explorer explained that:
“UGC platforms literally speak to, attract, and entice action from social audiences, in a way that maximizes overall search visibility for a particular digital campaign.
Optimization takes place when audiences actually interact within a given environment, and create content through dialogue, interaction, and other reactive behaviors.”
Though it can help to bring additional value to your website, the UGC on your website needs to be monitored as whilst enabling reviews and other forms of testimonials on your site is a great way to create this type of content, doing so can lead to numerous pitfalls.
For example, a bad review can immediately impact a businesses brand awareness, with the potential to lead to further negative UGC if the time is not taken to respond and find a solution.
Common types of deceptively designed pages include pages that disguise ads as main content or as website navigation links, pages where the main content is not usable or visible and any page that has been designed to trick users into clicking on one or more links.
To make sure that your content complies with the Google Quality Rater Guidelines, we’ve put together our very own set of best practices, combining all the insight available in Google’s guidelines:
Now that you understand how Google’s E-A-T works, there’s no better time to refresh your content than now. We’ve put together a list of “quick wins” to help get your content on track, below:
Google has rolled out a number of content-related updates over the years, starting with the Vince Update in January 2009 followed by the Caffeine Update which changed the way that Google would crawl pages, the May Day Update and the Panda Update.
Recently, more and more of these updates have placed a large focus on content with the Freshness Update and BERT being the latest two to change the way businesses write content for their website. BERT was a particularly significant update, introducing “a new way for Google Search to better understand language to further improve search result accuracy.”
With similar characteristics to the RankBrain update, an artificial intelligence program used to help process Google search queries, BERT is “oriented around improving language understanding, particularly for more natural language/conversational queries” in order to “help Search better understand the nuance and context of words in Searches and better match those queries with helpful results.”
Google stated that the update was suitable for “particularly for longer, more conversational queries, or searches where prepositions like “for” and “to” matter a lot to the meaning,”.
Whilst we are unable to predict Google’s next step, the last two algorithm updates – the September 2019 Core Update and the January 2020 Core Update – both largely focused on content patterns suggested that Google could be working towards rolling out another content update as big as RankBrain and BERT in the coming months.
Google constantly updates its search results, with an average of 9 updates taking place each day. Despite this, E-A-T has remained a prominent player within Google’s latest changes, helping the search engine to further define the quality of a web page and its contents. For more information, get in touch with a member of our expert SEO team on 0800 088 6000, today.