What Is E-A-T And Does It Really Matter in SEO?

E.A.T. “Expertise, Authoritativeness, Trustworthiness.” If you manage the SEO of a website that does any business with Google, you will undoubtedly know of this acronym. The acronym is used as an unofficial guideline for defining quality content for search engines. Expertise – is the creator of the main content (MC) an expert on the subject? Authoritativeness – is the MC creator a generally recognized authority on the subject? Trustworthiness – are the creator, the content, and the website trustworthy?

Some other guidelines marketers have been made privy to are “Beneficial Purpose” (websites and pages must be created to help users in some way); and “YMYL” or “Your Money or Your Life”, which reminds marketers of how seriously Google takes content based out a person’s happiness, health, financial stability, and safety. Google’s algorithms hold these pages to a deservedly higher standard.

But E-A-T stands apart from these two concepts because it is not the determining factor of a page’s quality rating, as the aforementioned concepts are – it is one factor of many, including a page’s purpose, the amount and quality of content, information about who is responsible for the MC, etc.

This article will be discussing how E-A-T is better optimized as an influence on Beneficial Purpose and YMYL, instead of a chief ingredient in page quality.


YMYL – Properly Displaying Authority & Trust

Let’s say you are managing a site dedicated to proper hair hygiene & care. As an offshoot of the Health category, this practice falls under YMYL categories. So, Google will be particularly exacting in how its algorithm judges your website.

If you do not properly employ the principles of E-A-T, then Google may not favor your site. For example, if you or your client has the proper accreditations for speaking about hair hygiene, it must be displayed somewhere on the site. Evidence of experience, sources, and proof of claims must be listed as well.

Content that is too general or varying in its topics may also be considered to be too light on expertise or authority. Try to maintain a clear vision in your copy of what topics you and your clients are most qualified to speak on, and stick to those.

This is where proper demonstration of E-A-T would greatly benefit your website. With the appropriate attribution of authority and usage of trustworthy evidence, Google will not come down hard on the page quality of your website.


Beneficial Purpose – Putting The Customer’s Experience First

If your site is not found by Google to be maintaining its Beneficial Purpose requirement, then its SEO might take a palpable hit. Fortunately, utilizing proper E-A-T can get you out of this jam.

One way Beneficial Purpose might be lacking is if your pages are populated only sparsely with content, or with content that is duplicated from or linking to external sites. It’s understandable to some extent; businesses may think that they can save time by using a one-size-fits-all template for many pages on their site if their initial SEO is good. However, these landing pages must have the content that users are looking for (and clicked on your ad for) on the page to maintain your brand’s credibility and by extension, its visibility.

Instead of using too little content or relying too much on external links, help out your visiting users more by improving the architecture of your site to better fit the strengths of the content – however much or little of it there is – that you do have. This can mean if you are somewhat light on content, consolidate what you can into appropriate pages. If you are heavy on on-page content, try cutting the fat where you can based on available performance metrics and consolidate.