What “E-A-T” does in SEO? – The explanation for non-experts.
If “EAT” have anything to do with SEO, it is something that websites feed on to boost its ranking in search engine. No idea what that meant? Let’s break it down.
“E-A-T” in SEO does not mean the websites consume something. Yet, it is the three fundamental pillars that demonstrate the “expertise”, “authority” and “trust” of a website. Putting it into the human relationship aspect, these are the factors to consider your confidence to someone.
Expertise | Noun
The more knowledge in someone, the better you will tend to trust them, like accredited accountants and doctors. Such concept also translates into determining the quality of a website.
The information on offer in a website should represent expert opinions to demonstrate the ability of the website in bringing quality and useful ideas to the readers. It does not mean it is necessary to bring unique or industry-leading ideas to the table. But, at the bare minimum, the knowledge should at least reference experts in the area, such as Neil Patel when discussing SEO.
Authoritativeness | Noun
This piece of the puzzle is riding between objective factors and subjective factors. Objectively, the age of a website is one of the possibly millions of factors that Google considers when determining the authoritativeness of a website. On the other hand, subjective factors include the overall information on offer in the website are used to determine the authority of the website.
While expertise looks into the ideas being introduced in the website, authoritativeness takes a top-down view in reviewing the website to check if searchers should trust the knowledge provided in that website. Websites with numerous quality information, like Quora, will have better authoritativeness compared to other generic websites.
Trustworthiness | Noun
While interpersonal trust builds on character and behaviour, trust in websites are translated into quantitative measurements, such as SSL certification of a website, the expertise and authoritativeness of a website and the expertise of the writer.
Trustworthiness can be seen building on top of the former two factors to determine the overall credibility of a website and whether a user should trust a website and its associated products or service.
Translating into real-world scenarios
Concepts and theories remain vague if there are no evidence to prove. With the information above, in order to reach great “E-A-T” status, the information on offer in a website is utmost essential to the performance of it in search engine.
There are pre-set limitations to “E-A-T” to start with. Industries with written-out regulations are generally better with “E-A-T”, including solicitors, accountants or doctors. Their accreditation already demonstrated their expertise that build a solid base in the three pillars.
Yet, it does not mean other websites will fail when competing with them. Relevance is also a huge factor to “E-A-T”. If a solicitor is writing an article on wine tasting while boasting her accreditation as a solicitor, the relevance of the article is minimal to wine that will negatively impact “E-A-T”.
While some websites inherently have better “E-A-T” to start with, like Quora or Wikipedia, if the information differs from the topic in question, the website will not be ranked on Google Search as well.
Your Money or Your Life (YMYL)
As the trend of website generally separates into selling services or products and offering advices, these YMYL topics are more reliant on the “E-A-T” factors in order to raise its ranking in search engines.
The focus of Google on “E-A-T” in YMYL websites is a signifier of its effort in offering quality content to the searchers and reduce chances that users will receive deceptive or incorrect knowledge from online sources.
Therefore, while there are strategies (often referred as Black Hat) in boosting the ranking of a website in a short period of time, such options often scarifies “E-A-T” that, over the long term or a substantial search algorithm update, the ranking of the website will drop massively.
While quality content is essential, honesty is one that we recommend following. Do not fake professional identity or bluff about your expertise. Such will become obvious as the content fail to resonate with the expertise.
Instead, bring your ideas to the table to encourage a discussion. Be a part of the wider community to discuss about a viral content would be a much better option than bloating an article to differentiate your website apart but risking your “E-A-T”.