Expertise, Authority, and Trust (E-A-T) score plays an important role in Google’s understanding of a page’s quality.
According to Google’s Search Quality Evaluator Guidelines, E-A-T is one of the most important factors when determining page quality:
Why is E-A-T Important?
With one of Google’s primary goals being to deliver the highest quality of content to its users, and E-A-T having a huge influence on a landing page’s perceived quality, E-A-T score and Search Engine Result Page (SERP) visibility go hand in hand.
“Our algorithm is designed and gets improved to better reward good content.”
-Danny Sullivan, Google’s public search liaison. Source: Twitter
For a page to have a high expertise score, the main content must be written from point of view of an expert on the topic.
Site content must be also useful to the user in some way and demonstrate that the author has a significant skill or experience level with the subject matter. Beyond this, the ideas, imagery & language used throughout web content should match the level of experience that Google expects to see from authors for any given topic, whether that’s everyday or formal expertise.
- Everyday. Not all topics require a degree or certification to be considered as an expert in them. One such example of this would be for someone writing a blog about their cat. You don’t have to be a veterinarian or animal behavior professional to create an expert level blog post about having a pet cat; all it takes is a sufficiently demonstrated level of everyday experience.
- Formal. For topics relating to the financial, medical, or legal industries, professional certification or accreditation is used to distinguish experts from the rest. For sites that write about these topics, Google requires the information to come from qualified experts to receive a quality rating higher than “Low.”
Your Money or Your Life Sites
Sites that sell products, offer legal, medical, or financial information are considered by Google to be part of the Your Money or Your Life (YMYL) category. E-A-T score has an even heavier weight in the search algorithm for YMYL sites as authors of their content must display formal, not everyday, expertise.
Establishing your site as an authority for any given subject takes time, but the key is developing a history of demonstrating proficient knowledge of your subject matter. For a site to have authoritativeness, its authors must consistently present factual, expert level information.
Google considers authority to be particularly important for YMYL related industries as misinformation, accidental or deliberate, can cause serious harm to users’ wellbeing.
Domain Trust is built from two main sources:
- Having an SSL certification installed on your website. This means the site is secured (HTTPS) rather than unsecured (HTTP) and that data sent to/from the domain has a level of encryption that makes it harder to steal.
- Having “high-quality” backlinks, or links from Google trusted domain, point to your website. (Although some webmasters may imply that these links can be bought, we never recommend this route as the risk of being slammed with a manual penalty is never worth the short term rewards of buying links.)
The more links you are able to obtain from trusted websites, the more trusted your domain becomes & the better it will perform in search results.
Social media presence is another signal that contributes to a domain’s trust score. The logic here is that untrustworthy sites are less likely to be able to build large social media followings, so sites that actively post & maintain larger follower counts are more likely to be trustworthy sources of information.
How to Improve E-A-T Score
- Backlinks & Trust Score. Creating content that experts from trusted domains want to link to is the best way to earn quality backlinks and trust score for your domain.
- On-Page Optimization. Author information should be readily available wherever their content appears on the site, whether this is a short bio to give background information on everyday expertise, expert certifications received, educational degrees earned, or a link to an about us page where all of this material can be found.
- Mobile-First Indexing. Make sure your site is quick on its feet & designed with mobile-friendliness in mind.
- Wikipedia Entry. To have a Wikipedia page, a subject matter must have a high level of external notability. Aside from the trust your site can earn by having links from Wikipedia, having an official Wiki entry can help the topic become eligible for a knowledge graph result.
What knowledge graphs & rich results look like:
Example of how they can affect a domain’s visibility in search results:
E-A-T is Important for All Websites
Expertise, Authority & Trust have a major impact on how sites are ranked in search results. Learning how to legitimately build this score is an important skill that many webmasters are trying to shortcut. Beware the fools who try to say that you can buy E-A-T score with illegitimate reviews & link wheels, as you can only outrun the law for so long.