Is there anything bigger than Google right now? Approximately 92.37% of the total population on the Internet are Googling stuff they are looking for! These many people are typing Google in their search engine, and finding out information from A to Z. So, how is it even happening? How Google can have answers to all the questions in the world? How can it understand what people are looking for and giving them a solution for the same? Well, Google is a know it all!
People are creating content, some relevant, and some not so. Google reads all of it. Google has algorithms, which are designed to judge the quality and trustworthiness of the content published across the web. Google selects the best ones and shows them when a user types a random question like, ‘Where do lost socks go when they go missing?’
But how can Google do this? There is a team of real people who are responsible to get the job done from Google. It is true! Google has employed a team of contractors who spot-check the algorithm’s accuracy by manually performing the same Google searches that actual people are searching.
This team that checks spots on algorithms are called Quality Raters (QRs). Quality Raters are given a list of searches to perform, such as, “Which is the best laptop in the market near me?” and they cross-check the quality of websites that are ranked highly on those searches. This is an extensive job which requires proper training under set guidelines called, Search Quality Rating Guidelines, which were discovered in 2013. These guidelines can be summed up in E-A-T: Expertise, Authority, and Trustworthiness. The latest version of the same was rolled out in 2018 called the Medic update.
Let’s talk about E-A-T, and how is it relevant for your brand’s presence.
E-A-T is an acronym for the three principles that Google has established to assess all the content that it crawls. An elaborate take on the same:
- Expertise: The author should have expertise on the topic. Quality Raters check the quality and consistency of the subject and then rank them accordingly. The author may or may not have a formal education in the subject matter, but experience on the topic will reflect as expertise.
- Authority: The author should be known face in the industry he or she is writing on. They may or may not have 20,000 followers on LinkedIn or Twitter, but they must have won awards on the topic, making them an authority on the subject.
- Trustworthiness: Quality Raters check the website as a whole, and establish a level of trustworthiness for the website. QRs focus on finding sitemap, website policies, security updates, etc. for the same.
Quality Raters confirm the Google ranking of the website on the basis of above-mentioned acronym. They award points based on Expertise, Authority, and Trustworthiness of the website if they are less authoritative or highly trustworthy.
YMYL is another concept that affects the ranking of pages. YMYL pages, Your Money, Your Life pages directly affect the lives and choices of people. Google reads and crawls every piece of content online; and for pages that fall under the YMYL category, Google doesn’t give higher preference to the website until the author has wide expertise in the subject. These pages include:
- Financial Pages
- Shopping Pages
- Medical Information Pages
- News Articles to keep the citizens updated on the business/financial on-goings
- Legal Information pages
If your brand lies in any of the above categories, it is suggested that the content that you publish on the website is very well-researched. You do fall under the E-A-T category but more emphasis is given on the quality and relevance of your content for the target audience.
What are Google’s Principles for high E-A-T?
Any website aiming for high E-A-T should fall under these three categories:
- High Reputation: the publication should be well-known. Articles written by renowned authors, like Ravish Kumar, Arundhati Roy, etc. are received well by Google crawlers. This is because these people have won awards in their industry, thus establishing higher repute and value amongst its competitor’s publications.
- Good User Experience: the publication should fulfil the need of the user. WedMeGood, a Wedding Planning Platform for the Indian Market, is one example of the Good User Experience Platform that Google crawler will appreciate and promote. The wedding platform is able to meet the needs of a user and gets them what they are looking for, thus high E-A-T.
- Self-Reference: The publication should be relevant to its existence. It is not necessarily important for the companies to be well-known in the market to perform well, if they have talked about their relevance through the content they share on their website to engage the user, it will have a high repute in the eyes of Google.
Well, from this we can learn is that a user may not be well known in the market, but can still benefit from Google’s high E-A-T by providing its users with a rich valuable experience, well-researched quality content and by making sure every piece of content on your website is high in quality and expresses your authority in the field.
What can you do to avoid a situation of Low E-A-T?
You can have created a website to become relevant and present, but it will be a waste of resources if your website is:
- Unprofessional: When the main content is poorly written and is full of typos, there are 100% chances that Google will give it low E-A-T. For e.g., The House Café by 29’s website showcases un-interest, and unprofessional-ism.
- No Expertise: When there is lack of experience and no expertise in the content published on the website, Google will automatically give low E-A-T to the website and the website will stop appearing in newer/latest searches.
- Demonstrably Inaccurate: When the information cannot be traced and is incorrect, or can say has no evidence. There is also no author given, no sources cited, and there is very little information about the news organization who published the content.
So to avoid a situation of low E-A-T, the organization has to provide valid information backed with proof of knowledge and expertise. The author should be well-versed with the content it is publishing and should be valuable.
What should you do to improve E-A-T?
The website needs to keep evolving and being relevant to its existence with increasing quality and quantity of content published on the website. You need to follow these steps to improve your E-A-T apart from following the Google Guidelines:
- Optimize your ‘About Us’ Page: Better the quality of content on your author and management page, better for Google to understand your expertise and authority. The page should explain why you are an expert in the field and your content has meaning.It will be an additional benefit if you link your social media handles to your website.
- Make your ‘Contact Us’ page available: The user should be able to reach out to the company or author of the page/website when he or she visits the page and is interested in getting in touch. This basically means that the company is transparent and doesn’t have anything to hide. This is an important factor for good E-A-T as per the Quality Rating Guidelines by Google.
- More Positive Reviews is always better: Having a number of reviews on other relevant platforms (like, for café reviews on Zomato, Dineout, etc.)apart from a company’s website will create trust and will improve the listing of the website as per the Quality Rating guidelines by Google.
- Get rid of low E-A-T content: Whenever your site had started, it can be possible that low E-A-T content got published on your website. Now is the time that you get rid of that content and get rid of low E-A-T from your website.
- Ghost-writers instead of Writers with No expertise: The content on your website should represent the value that comes from a thought leader, CEO or top position holders in your organization. Content written under a company’s CEO’ name by a ghost writer is way better than the content written by an intern in your organization.
- Invest in Security Certificates or Portals:Security is a big deal for Google since 2015. The portals with SSL Certificate get much higher value over the ones with none. This enhances the trustworthy quotient and gets higher E-A-T to a website.
- Create Editorial Guidelines:If you write and publish content on your website, you should consider creating editorial guidelines. This step is specifically called out in Google’s Search Quality Rating Guidelines.
Do better with E-A-T
Google has put major emphasis on Search Quality Ratings and E-A-T; it has mentioned the same over 100 times to make the guidelines clear amongst its users. It is time that SEO specialists munch upon E-A-T, and start embedding these values on every page of the company’s website. This will definitely not happen overnight, but meanwhile initiating the process will take ahead.
Simran Saluja is working as a Content Specialist at The Marcom Avenue. She is an avid reader, a full-time dog lover, and content creator by passion. You can always find her giving her take on life on social media.