I’m Lyrical Communications’ Head of Marketing, responsible for promoting and overseeing Lyrical’s three brands – InstallerSHOW, InstallerONLINE and elemental across all marketing channels – including our websites. In this mini-series of articles on improving your online presence, I’ll be looking at some of the ways you can optimise your sites and bring value to your audience.
You could be forgiven for not knowing what E-E-A-T and YMYL stand for. No, they’re not new sustainability acronyms, but knowing what they represent and how to implement them, will stand your company in good stead where Google is concerned.
What exactly is E-E-A-T?
E-E-A-T, which stands for Experience, Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness, is a set of criteria used by Google to assess the quality and credibility of web content.
In the context of Google’s search algorithms, E-E-A-T is crucial for evaluating the reliability of information and ensuring that its users are presented with trustworthy and authoritative content in search results.
Google uses real life people to assess web content, based on their Search Quality Rater Guidelines. These guidelines were once kept under lock and key as they were considered Google’s ‘secret sauce’ but they’re now available for anyone to read online – all 176 pages of them. Google currently updates these guidelines around once a year.
Although E-E-A-T is not a direct Google ranking factor, the search engine does want to serve results with strong E-E-A-T, so it’s worth bearing in mind when adding content to your site. E-E-A-T also has an impact on a web user’s trust, which in turn can lead to increased conversions for your site, as people see it as a trusted source.
Here’s what Google means by E-E-A-T
- Experience: Quality content can demonstrate the creator’s first-hand experience with the subject matter. This helps prove that suggestions are tried, tested and authentic.
- Expertise: This refers to the level of knowledge and expertise demonstrated by the content creator or the website as a whole. Google values content that is created by experts or authorities in their respective fields.
- Authoritativeness: Authoritativeness assesses the reputation and credibility of the content source. Content from well-established and respected websites or individuals is considered more authoritative by Google.
- Trustworthiness: Trustworthiness evaluates the reliability and integrity of the content. It involves factors like accuracy, transparency, and the absence of deceptive or misleading information.
Google’s algorithms use E-E-A-T as a guideline to rank and prioritize content. Websites and creators that exhibit strong E-E-A-T characteristics are more likely to appear higher in search results, providing users with reliable and valuable information. Google says this underscores its commitment to delivering high-quality search results and combating the spread of misinformation online.
Some content examples that would be considered trusted sources of information include:
Experience – this might include an in-depth blog or vlog from a games reviewer who has spent hours playing a particular game and is therefore qualified to give their opinion on gameplay, rendering, characterisation. Even better if the blog includes images taken by them from the game or a section of gameplay.
Expertise – this could include a website where people are searching for important information from qualified individuals, e.g., the NHS website. Users will want to know that the information presented is based in fact and that the people providing it are qualified to do so.
Authoritativeness – an example of authoritativeness could be a renowned scientist’s work presented online with citations from peer-reviewed sources. Contrast this with the work of an anonymous blogger, with no scientific credentials or qualifications, writing about important subjects, such as climate change or COVID, and you can immediately see how issues might occur.
Having backlinks on your site is also an ideal way to demonstrate that other sources see it as a trusted source of information. The days of paying for these from random sites are long gone, it’s always best to agree with other trusted sites or connections to link back to your site. When used properly, a good backlink is like an upvote for your site. It’s also good to ‘link out’ and make sure that if your content includes links to other sites, that they’re also trustworthy and reputable.
Trustworthiness – This is the most important role of Google’s Quality Raters. When rating sites, they will be considering who created the content, the quality of the content itself and the website. Does the site include contact details for the company, so there is transparency relating to contacting them? If the site has any e-commerce functionality, does it include assurances that it has a secure checkout system in place? It should also be clear who wrote the content that appears on your site, that any facts your content contains have been checked and that trustworthy sources are cited. This will give users assurances that your content is up to date, relevant and correct.
In my next article I’ll take a look at what YMYL means and why it matters for websites.
This is just a taster of the areas that online content providers need to consider. Feel free to reach out on email – you can contact me on firstname.lastname@example.org – if you’d like to chat about any of these points further.