How to Improve Your Website’s E-A-T

What is E-A-T?

“Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness” are three essential elements that can improve the SEO value of your website from the perspective of a digital marketing agency. In order to better understand these attributes, let’s dig a little deeper into each one.

  • Expertise: Information is backed up by research written by credible experts and cited by scholarly sources, providing users with peace of mind.
  • Authoritativeness: This section highlights industry experts, particularly those with relevant credentials and who can be backed up with references, reviews and case studies.
  • Trustworthiness: By using badges, certifications, and SSL encryption, users are assured the website they are visiting is safe, trustworthy, and reliable.

Why Should You Care About E-A-T?

YMYL (Your Money Your Life) websites have always incorporated E-A-T guidelines, but recent algorithm updates have demonstrated that websites with strong E-A-T signals perform better than their competitors.

The search engines understand that users want information that is backed by sources and credible experts, whether they’re looking for wedding cake themes or skincare tips. Brands in other non-traditional industries should also make an effort to implement these recommendations, but websites belonging to the YMYL category should make it a priority to incorporate strong E-A-T metrics.

4 Ways to Improve Your Website’s E-A-T

1. Add Sources

It’s a good idea to cite your sources in your content, especially in cases where you’re quoting someone or writing about someone else. It boosts authenticity and credibility. Creating a relationship with high authority domains or individuals is also a very natural way to establish a relationship with Google.

How Do You Know If a Website or a Person Is Good to Include as a Source In Your Content?

The way Google determines a person’s credibility is by searching for other writings that person has created, rather than statistics or other machine-compiled data. Google’s quality evaluator guidelines state in section 2.6.2 that “news articles, Wikipedia articles, blog posts, magazine articles, forum discussions, and ratings from independent organizations are all sources of reputation information.”. “Find credible, independent sources of information”. It is more likely that a person is a credible source if he or she has more accessible and recognized works on the internet.

Read more: How to Use Twitter to Grow Your Business

Credibility can be determined by looking at an organization’s credibility, its institution, news publication, or government agency. It is generally recommended to use sources that are well-known companies or brands in your content, as they tend to be more credible in Google’s eyes.

2. Add Author Information

Your website should clearly state who is in charge of the content. In order for a search engine to rank a site, it needs to be obvious who is responsible for the content. While it is possible to leave the content of a site anonymous, it is not recommended.

Utilize the following three key elements on your site to provide visibility into an article’s authorship.

Add an Author or Reviewer Section to All Posts

Individual contributors should either write or review all articles on the site. Include information about the contributor’s relevant credentials, industries, and years of experience in the author section. This linking should also include an author headshot, as well as links to relevant external profiles such as LinkedIn.

Create Individual Author/Reviewer Pages for Each Contributor

This individual author page should provide details about the contributor’s experience, years of experience, and knowledge of the subject matter similar to the author sections of blog posts.

Tip: Be proud! Use words like “x years of experience” or “…for [x] years” to describe the author’s qualifications on either their bio page or about page. Include any awards or degrees, and includes links to external profiles that highlight other relevant areas of expertise.

Create a Meet the Team Page

In the bullet above, links to the author’s individual pages should be provided. As with the other elements, the credibility and expertise of your team should also be highlighted on this page. Include links to other profiles, accolades, and positive media coverage.

3. Add Disclaimer Statements and Affiliate Statements When Applicable

The transparency of a website is crucial. The editorial guidelines should be made clear in any news or blog content, in order for visitors to be able to trust they are receiving up-to-date information that is free of ethical concerns, conflicts, and misinformation. We will scrutinize online content more than ever in the age of fake news. It is imperative that publishers reveal their commitment to fact checking and process for correcting any false or outdated information. Earlier, we discussed the need for the reader to be able to quickly access any sources of information, and that any opinion-based views need to be clearly defined by the author. This includes affiliations, sponsorships, and group relationships.

In order to build trust on websites and comply with Google’s E-A-T guidelines, disclaimers and affiliate statements are especially important. It should be clearly stated in any product or service review if the item or service was gifted to the author or if there was any other incentive that might influence the review. Also, affiliate links within the content of a page should clearly indicate that the publisher receives a commission if the purchase is made using the link so that a reader is aware the author may be biased.

As defined by Google, affiliate links must be tagged appropriately. An affiliate statement or disclaimer doesn’t have to be extravagant or flashy; a simple statement at the first or end of an article works fine, as long as it is visible to readers. According to Google’s guidelines, disclaimers, affiliate statements, and editorial guidelines are all effective methods for building trust.

4. Avoid Unnatural Backlinks and Over Optimization of Backlink Anchor Texts

When Google awards rankings to web pages, backlinks are an important factor. Furthermore, they have a tremendous impact on a site’s E-A-T score, which is important for both Page Authority as well as Domain Authority.

Google also uses backlinks to determine E-A-T metrics (both good and bad) for search engine results pages. Natural, relevant, and high quality backlinks can raise a web page’s position on search engine results pages. To gain a deeper understanding of how backlinks affect Google’s E-A-T score, let’s examine the following:

  • Expertise: As a matter of common knowledge, if your webpage is shared by other reputable websites in or near your niche, Google gathers the impression that these websites know what they are talking about.
  • Authoritativeness: Backlinks have traditionally been viewed as “authority” signals by Google, due to the way backlinks were traditionally viewed. A backlink from an authoritative website can pass some of that authority to the page on your own site (and, if the link is put in the right place, throughout your whole site).
  • Trustworthiness: Google recognizes a domain with backlinks from trusted sites as one that can be trusted to deliver accurate and relevant content to searchers (bonus points if it ends in .org, .us, .gov, .edu, etc.).

As you can see, once all the on-page elements are in place, off-page SEO plays a vital role in establishing your E-A-T profile.

You may think that adding as many backlinks to your site as possible would be the easiest way to improve your E-A-T score. Unfortunately, that technique has largely gone out-of-date with the contemporary belief of “quality over quantity” taking its place.

The power of links can be hard to compare, but one powerful backlink from an authority, expert, or reputable source is worth more than several weaker links. Strong backlinks are steadily becoming more valuable as that of weaker links continues to erode as a result of the Medic and Penguin Google updates.

How to Use Backlinks to Improve E-A-T Score

Developing an off-page strategy focusing on quality content is the best way to increase the E-A-T score from your website. Even if you optimize your on-page E-A-T, you won’t be able to build backlinks that improve E-A-T score if your content isn’t up to par.

The next step is to plan an outreach campaign to promote your content to authority leaders in your niche who may view your piece as a complementary piece to their own content. Even a few powerful links from the right sources can drastically change your Google E-A-T score despite being a labor-intensive and time-consuming process.

It is time now to begin cleaning up your existing backlink profile so that your website has quality content and you are working with authoritative, trusted, and expert websites. It’s possible for other websites, scrapers/bots and even malicious actors to link to your pages on your site – for better or for worse. It is possible to receive the occasional worthwhile backlink, but in the majority of cases, your site will be harmed by toxic backlinks.

You can generate a disavowal list by regularly reviewing your backlinks to identify potential problems. Since Google has learned that the web can sometimes be unfriendly, its disavowal list can be used to tell it where to ignore backlinks.

Sources:
  • https://ahrefs.com/blog/eat-seo/
  • https://www.semrush.com/blog/eat-and-ymyl-new-google-search-guidelines-acronyms-of-quality-content/

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