You may have heard the acronym floating around the publishing world over the past couple of years. But what does E-A-T actually mean? And how can you ensure you achieve a higher Google page rank for your articles with a few best practice protocols?
In this blog post, we’ll unpick the definition of E-A-T, identify the most affected article topics and how you can improve your E-A-T score as a publisher or editor in 5 simple steps.
Let’s dig in!
What is E-A-T, and why does it matter?
Essentially, E-A-T is a set of guidelines that helps Google identify high-quality content. The acronym stands for “Expertise, Authoritative, and Trustworthiness” and articles that display a high level of this will have a greater chance of ranking well on Google.
So, let’s break it down a little further into each of the three pillars:
- Expertise — Publications with a high level of expertise will be able to demonstrate an impressive level of knowledge or skill in a particular field.
- Authoritativeness — A high level of authoritativeness indicates that you are accepted as a leader in your industry.
- Trustworthiness — If your publication’s content has a high level of trustworthiness it will provide honest, true information that is accurate.
This set of standards is most applicable to what’s known as YMYL (“Your Money, Your Life”) content. These are articles that can have a real impact on the lives of readers if the information isn’t reliable. In these cases, E-A-T is essential.
Check out Google’s Quality Rater Guidelines. It’s a goldmine of insights into what Google is looking for when assessing the quality of your content.
For more advice on how your team of journalists can craft the most trustworthy articles, read our blog post: Telling Fact from Fiction: How to Identify a Fake News Story.
What is YMYL content?
Just when you thought you had E-A-T sussed, here’s another acronym to digest (sorry). But we promise we’ll keep it simple.
As we just explained, YMYL stands for “Your Money, Your Life” content. In the words of Google, these are “pages or topics that could potentially impact a person’s future happiness, health, financial stability, or safety.”
- News and current events
- Civics, government, and law
- Finance (e.g. articles on personal insurance or tax advice)
- Medical advice (e.g. articles on nutrition or mental health)
Getting this information right has real life consequences. Therefore, these articles are weighted more heavily in terms of E-A-T to determine their credibility.
How does E-A-T affect Google page rank?
This is when we deliver a slight plot twist. E-A-T isn’t technically a ranking factor. However, it is undoubtedly important for SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) and something every publisher should keep at the forefront of the mind.
While Google’s algorithms aren’t directly looking for E-A-T, its raters are. And this is why it’s still important to make sure content scores well as human raters will follow specific guidelines to check how well the algorithm is performing.
So, follow the best practice for what the raters are looking for and you’re almost guaranteed to hit the mark in terms of what Google’s algorithm is measuring.
Is E-A-T a ranking factor? Not if you mean there's some technical thing like with speed that we can measure directly.
We do use a variety of signals as a proxy to tell if content seems to match E-A-T as humans would assess it.
In that regard, yeah, it's a ranking factor.
— Danny Sullivan (@dannysullivan) October 11, 2019
5 takeaway tips to improve your E-A-T score
Now we’ve got the basics down, here are some actionable tips so you can follow best E-A-T practice in all of your articles.
1. Focus on less topics, and do them right!
Rather than spreading out your expertise across the board, focus on less areas to build up a strong level of expertise.
You want to make sure your readers come away with a strong understanding of a specific topic. Format your text so it’s easy to digest and incorporate key takeaways.
2. Review and update content at regular intervals
The top priority for any publisher looking to achieve a high Page Quality Rank should be creating comprehensive, trustworthy content. The content should also be reviewed and updated on a regular basis.
Here’s where LOYAL can help. With our tool, you can access your editorial archive in seconds and update past content with recent information and links to improve the trustworthiness of your entire content library.
By quickly running LOYAL on past articles you can sense check them against recent news and developments so they never drop in accuracy.
Here’s a quick explainer video:
Make sure you clearly display the date each article was last modified to notify readers that you are regularly updating.
For more information on updating content from your archives read our piece How to Find and Unlock the Power of Evergreen Content.
3. Provide information about the author
Don’t let the author be a mystery! To increase the expertise of an article, provide additional author information e.g. a short description, CVs and links to other online profiles to help raise their expert status.
Direct links to other authoritative pages in which the author features is another great way to demonstrate expertise.
4. Make sure all your content is well-researched and accurate
This should already be high on any journalist’s checklist, of course. But it’s especially important for boosting E-A-T. Find out how LOYAL can help your team of journalists research for an article with powerful SEO-scoring ratings on each new article to improve the accuracy of information.
5. Focus on audience-first journalism
Understanding your audience and using an effective audience-first model is crucial to engaging readers, getting click-throughs, and ultimately delivering great journalism.
Make sure you cater to their needs and expectations by thinking about them first and foremost. Ask yourself:
– What terms are they searching for?
– Are you answering their questions?
– What value does your content provide?
Follow these simple tips for all your articles and you’ll increase your chances of achieving a high E-A-T score – something every publisher should build into their SEO strategy going forward.