Google’s Emphasis on Expertise, Authority, and Trustworthiness
It may be the world’s most highly guarded secret—no, it’s not the secret sauce in Big Mac, and it’s not the recipe for Coca-Cola. It’s Google’s algorithm. Though the company won’t disclose the nuts and bolts of its ranking factors, Google has identified certain attributes it considers important for search engine performance by featuring the acronym E-A-T in its Search Quality Rater Guidelines.
What Are the E-A-T Factors?
Google uses the term E-A-T to represent the expertise, authority, and trustworthiness of the content on a specific page:
- Expertise—Pages that demonstrate strong knowledge of the site’s subject matter, as well as experience with issues or products related to the topic of the page, will perform at a higher level.
- Authority—Content that is valued by others who serve or influence the same audience will also get better results in Google.
- Trustworthiness—The more accurate and reliable the information on the page, the better the page will perform. Google also gives more weight to pages that present content ethically and that take appropriate steps to protect user information.
Is Google All About the E-A-T Factor?
Though a Google insider has stated that the company does not have any specific metric for measuring expertise, authority, and trustworthiness, there are indications that the company considers these factors when ranking web pages. For example, the “consistent publication of high-quality content” is, according to Wordstream, the factor that gets the greatest weight in Google’s ranking of a webpage. It’s reasonable to assume that “high-quality” content refers to pages considered to be reliable and that demonstrate experience and knowledge with respect to the relevant subject matter. Additionally, the factor given the next most weight is the number of backlinks received by a page, which speaks to its perceived authority.
Strategies for Increasing Your E-A-T Performance
Here are some ways you can E-A-T better on Google:
- Regularly post fresh content online—Posting new and informative content tells Google that you have considerable knowledge and experience.
- Take the time to post unique content—If you’re already telling people what someone else has told them, you won’t be viewed as an expert. Focus on what makes you and your practice different.
- Always give credit where credit is due—Never use someone else’s content without permission or attribution. Plagiarism will destroy your trustworthiness in an instant.
- Know your audience—Gear your content toward your potential patients first. Don’t use medical jargon, and don’t stuff your content with keywords for the search engines.
- Keep a handle on user-generated content—There’s benefit to letting others post or comment on your site, but you need to monitor it to make sure it doesn’t get out of control or negatively affect your credibility.