What is E-A-T? 

E-A-T stands for Expertise, Authority, and Trustworthiness, key criteria that Google uses to assess the quality of web content. These elements are central to Google's Search Quality Guidelines and influence how websites rank in search results.  

"Expertise" refers to the specialized knowledge or skills presented in the content. This factor ensures that the information is not just accurate but also comprehensive and valuable to the user. For example, a medical article written by a healthcare professional will carry more weight in terms of expertise compared to one written by a person without professional knowledge. The content should also be comprehensive, covering the topic in enough depth to fully inform the user, but without overwhelming them with jargon or complexity.

"Authority" assesses how reputable or recognized the website or content creator is within their niche or industry. This is often determined through quality backlinks from other authoritative websites, as well as mentions or endorsements on credible platforms if a tech blog is frequently cited by established technology news websites, that serves as an endorsement of its authority in the tech space.

"Trustworthiness" involves two key areas: the reliability and factual accuracy of the content. Trustworthy content should be well-researched and supported by credible sources. On the security front, implementing features like HTTPS (as opposed to the less secure HTTP) assures users that their data is protected, thereby boosting the site's trustworthiness.

How important is EAT?

The concept of E-A-T matters for several reasons:

  • User satisfaction: Google's primary goal is to provide users with the most accurate and relevant search results. A high E-A-T score directly correlates with providing credible and valuable information. If a user is searching for medical advice, Google's algorithm prioritizes content created by qualified healthcare professionals to ensure the information is trustworthy.
  • Competitive edge: A strong E-A-T profile enhances your website's ability to rank higher in search results, providing a significant competitive advantage. Sites with high E-A-T scores are likely to attract more organic traffic, as they're deemed to be more reliable and informative by Google's algorithm. 
  • Conversion and retention: Websites with high-quality content not only attract visitors but are also more effective at converting these visitors into customers. Reliability and expertise in content can lead to higher user engagement rates, longer time spent on the site, and ultimately, better conversion rates. Over time, this fosters long-term customer relationships.
  • Reputation management: E-A-T serves as an indicator of your brand's online credibility and a high E-A-T score can set your website apart as a trusted source. It also acts as a form of endorsement by Google, which can significantly influence public perception of your brand.

Is E-A-T a ranking factor? 

E-A-T is not a ranking factor in the traditional sense, like backlinks or keyword optimization, that you can directly measure and manipulate. However, it is a significant concept that aligns closely with many algorithmic signals that Google uses to rank web pages. 

For example, a high level of expertise and authority can lead to more backlinks from reputable websites, a known ranking factor. Likewise, a secure, well-designed website supports the "Trustworthiness" aspect of E-A-T and also aligns with technical ranking factors like website security and user experience.

So while you can't optimize for E-A-T in the way you can for other ranking factors, improving your website's expertise, authority, and trustworthiness can positively impact those aspects of your site that do directly affect rankings. 

How to optimize your website for E-A-T? 

To elevate "Expertise," ensure that content is produced or checked by individuals with recognized credentials or significant experience in the subject matter. Back this content with credible sources, research studies, or expert quotations to add another layer of authority.

For "Authority," aim to acquire high-quality backlinks and guest posts on reputable platforms in your industry. A strong social media presence can further establish your site's authority. 

To boost "Trustworthiness," use HTTPS for secure data transmission and display clear privacy policies. Easy navigation and a transparent "Contact Us" page also enhance trust. Regular content audits to remove or update outdated information are advisable. 

Final words

Although E-A-T isn't a direct ranking factor, aligning with its principles can positively impact your site's search performance, making it more credible and visible to users.