Did you know Google changes its search algorithm around 500-600 times a year? If you’re a digital marketer, then you probably did. Some changes can just be minor tweaks, but others can really keep you awake at night and seriously shake up the SERPs.
The Google E-A-T algorithm update is a prime example of how Google changes the way it ranks websites and although it didn’t make as big a splash as some other updates, it did come with important implications that you should know about.
This algorithm update comes with their own guidelines, which have been released in Google’s Search Quality Evaluator Guidelines. These are used for Google’s own ranking evaluators to do their job, but they can also give you insider information about what they are looking for in high-quality pages and how websites can perform better, which will help you with your SEO rankings and efforts.
This document is pretty hefty, so in this blog, we’ve summarised what this algorithm update is, the effects on search and what you can do to make sure your site continues to perform well, get visibility on Google’s search results and drive traffic for your business.
Don’t want to read all of it? Skip to the bits you need here:
What is Google’s E-A-T algorithm update?
Last month, Google announced a broad core update, which mostly affected sites that were in the health, fitness, nutrition, wellness, and medical industries in terms of seeing losses in rankings. These types of sites are often known as YMYL sites: ‘Your Money, Your Life’.
Due to this, the update was dubbed the ‘Google Medic Update’, but other sectors, such as e-commerce and business also saw big changes.
Unfortunately (and annoyingly!) with all Google algorithm updates, they don’t really say what they’re about and usually, their response on how to deal with the losses in rankings remains vague. There’s not much you can do or ‘fix’ as such. Just carry on writing and optimising high-quality content!
But what constitutes ‘high-quality content’? Google defines it as content that has “a beneficial purpose and achieving that purpose well.” That’s where Google’s E-A-T guidelines come in and it means that your content should express:
- Expertise – how knowledgeable the site owner or content author is on the subject matter they talk about. This is especially important for the aforementioned YMYL sites, not so much for gossip websites or similar.
- Authoritativeness – the credibility of the website publishing the content, such as any credentials, outside reviews and testimonials.
- Trustworthiness – examines how trustworthy the site is, the overall site quality and site security.
Basically, these E-A-T guidelines are all about whether Google and its users can trust you and your content. If Google can trust you and your expertise, then your rankings will improve and you will be seen on Google search results. Simples!
What characteristics do high-quality pages possess?
According to chapter 4.1 of Google’s search quality guidelines, there are a few characteristics that sites and content pages should have, in addition to containing a high level of expertise, authoritativeness and trustworthiness, in order to be evaluated as high-quality:
- Having a sufficient amount of main content that satisfies user needs for a page’s subject matter.
- Having a positive reputation for its page topics.
- Featuring enough auxiliary information, such as about us, contact and customer service pages.
- Featuring additional content that enhances user experience and enjoyment.
- The page is designed in a functional fashion that allows users to easily locate the information they want.
- The website is maintained and edited regularly and frequently.
These are all traits that every website and content owner should strive for, but you can definitely see the relevance of these guidelines for the health, fitness, nutrition, wellness, and medical industries. As a user, you would hope that content about health is written and published by authoritative and trustworthy experts.
The key takeaway here is that some pages require higher levels of former expertise than others and to determine this accurately, content creators need to think about how much expertise is needed in order for the page to achieve its purpose and to provide useful, helpful and detailed content.
How to implement Google’s E-A-T guidelines
Now that you understand what Google’s E-A-T guidelines are and some of the traits your website should have, you’re now probably wanting to know exactly how to implement them. Here are a few secrets:
1. Optimise your ‘About Us’ page and manage your reputation
It should be clear as to who is responsible for the content on your site as Google and your users need to trust you. You can do this by including content and images of you and your team members, awards you’ve won, positive press, client reviews and testimonials and your contact details.
2. Include author names and biographies
This is especially for editorial content, such as blog posts as the writers need to be displayed as experts in the subject matter. If this isn’t available or easy to find, this could hurt your E-A-T score.
3. Improve your existing content
Your content should be the centre of your being when it comes to SEO and we already know that it needs to be expert, authoritative and trustworthy. But this doesn’t just include new content.
It also includes all existing, guest and press content. In order to identify which content to improve, dive into your analytics tool and find out which pages aren’t driving traffic or conversions. Please note, if you decide to get rid of any pages, make sure you put redirects in place.
4. Invest in personal branding
Having a positive brand reputation and personal reputation is crucial if you want the quality score for your page to beat your competition. Do things like flesh out your social media profiles, interact with your audience and influencers and develop thought leadership.
5. Provide users with technical security
Verifiability and security are taking seriously when it comes to ranking on Google. Make sure you have an SSL certificate for your site, use your own assets, such as logos and no one else’s, display contact information and any verifiable badges and certifications.
6. Moderate User Generated Content (UGC)
Sites that contain UGC, such as comments and advice, needs to be monitored and limited if the content isn’t written by experts or doesn’t contain links to reputable sources.
In summary, the Google E-A-T algorithm update is all about increasing site quality through publishing expert, authoritative and trustworthy content, which plays a more important role in SEO than ever before.
If you incorporate the above advice into your SEO strategy, continue to produce high-quality content and optimise existing content, you will secure your position and visibility in Google’s search results.
At the end of the day, although it sounds like a lot of work, it’s a step towards providing searchers with the best and most relevant and trustworthy results so why would you not want to be a leader in this?