E.A.T. At Google … How to Rank in the Search Engines in 2020

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If you want to rank high in Google today, you better EAT!

Expertise, Authoritativeness and Trustworthiness are the buzzwords for Google in 2020 and beyond.

If you have been relying on backlinks alone to boost your rankings in the search engines, you won’t get very far … which is a good thing! This means less manipulation by black hat marketers. 

Although Google explicitly says that E-A-T is NOT a ranking factor, they are ranking websites that are “aligned” with a good “EAT assessment” (as said from a tweet by Danny Sullivan of Google, and this post from Google clarifying the 2019 updates.)

While the age of the domain, quality content, backlinks, your title and 200+ other factors go into Google’s ranking, we’ll just be concentrating on the latest acronym to enter Google’s lexicon.

Before anything else, remember that your audience is your target market. Not Google! So write with your readers in mind.  

Let’s first discuss what E-A-T actually means to you, the content you write and your website:

E is For Expertise

Let’s start with Expertise. What does that mean? Simply put, when people do a search, they are looking for something that solves the problem they are having. If they want to build a bird feeder, they expect somebody who knows how to build these feeders to be the first result. If somebody has a medical issue, they definitely want Google to retrieve a web result written by a doctor who can answer their questions!

In this case, Google is concentrating on the credentials and expertise of the author of the content more than other factors on the website.

A is For Authority

Does your website have authority? That is, who else refers to your website? How long have you been around? Why should visitors go to you first before other websites? While this sounds like the quality of backlinks your website has, there is more to it than that, as we will discuss below.

T is for Trust

Google has to trust you first before they believe that users will also put their trust in you. That means high quality content on secure, clean websites. Not too many ads (and with respected advertisers), no clickbait, and your content has to be accurate and not misleading. Have an easily accessible privacy policy and terms of service, and an easy way for people to contact you.

How Does E-A-T Factor into the Rankings?

Google has thousands of human quality raters to review webpages. They are provided with quality research guidelines that mention E.A.T. over a hundred times. If you’re interested, you can read the whole document here (PDF).

When quality raters are evaluating websites, they are looking at the E.A.T factors of the content authors and the overall website. This is in line with Google’s desire to provide search results that lead to accurate and relevant information.

This is especially significant when the well-being of people is at stake, and it especially targets “YMYL”-type (Your money or your Life) websites … that is, content concerned with health and wealth.

For example, when searching about making investments, Google wants to ensure we are getting advice from an expert on the subject. The last thing Google wants is to serve people incorrect or fraudulent information!

Ways to Improve Your E-A-T Score

Create an Author’s Box

This not only improves your expertise score (if there really is one) but your authority score too. Your box can include your educational background, professional experience and a link to sites like LinkedIn or to an organization you belong to.

What is essential is having references on your website so people can know you better and have more confidence in what you offer.

Links to Other Properties

Yes, backlinks are still very important. They are one of the main factors in the authority of your websites, but it is important to have the right type of links. Look for similar but non-competing websites in your niche and offer to become a guest writer (which also helps your author profile and authority). Your LinkedIn profile, YouTube Channel, Facebook Group and other links also help.

Create Partnerships

Why settle for links when you can have mutually beneficial partnerships? Maybe your website can complement one another and vice versa?  A partnership with a reputable organization can improve your authority and send more traffic to each other’s site.

Share Your Expertise

Be a guest writer and contributor and share your knowledge! Writing articles for other websites is one of the best ways to establish backlinks to your own website. When you contribute to other sites, you begin to establish yourself as a credible authority in your field.

Create Unique Content

Google’s main job is to evaluate content. They will compare your content with others in the same field. It can determine if it’s identical or a rehash of another webpage. So remember, it’s not enough to just not plagiarize.

Be original or address a particular need if you want to improve your authority. If there are many other high-ranking pieces of content, think of a different angle or unique perspective that will be interesting and useful to your readers or viewers.

Unique content is also a great way to generate backlinks, as other websites will link back to you if they see interesting, authoritative content that they are interested in sharing.

Also, think of more specific content with fewer competing results. It would mean less people searching for your article, but you stand a better chance of ranking near the top.

Consider the following keyword phrases:

How to Bake Chocolate Chip Cookies: 50 Million plus search results

How to Bake Chocolate Chip Cookies without an oven: 20 Million search results

How to bake Chocolate Chip Cookies for the health-conscious: 5 Million search results

How to bake Chocolate Chip Cookies with Arugula: 1.9 Million search results.

However … note that there are no actual results on how to bake chocolate chip cookies with arugula. The search results only provide the closest matches to the query, which are just chocolate chip cookie recipes. Maybe you can be the first to write this! (Though, sorry, I won’t eat them.)

The point is to narrow down your article to where there aren’t as many results, so you have a better chance to rank and be seen as an authority by other websites.

Do A Site Audit

Check the internet for apps that can measure your domain authority and your backlinks. Some examples include:

Google itself has the free Search Console that lists top websites that link to you, as well as pages you show up for in search queries and any troubles your website might have.

Tips on How To Rank Your Ecom Store

Trust is Vital

More than any other type of website, your ecom store MUST have a solid privacy policy, terms and conditions, contact page, shipping and clear refund policy. Your website must also provide secure financial transactions with a reputable payment processor.

Describe your USP (Unique Selling Proposition)

Don’t lose heart if you’re not Amazon, Ebay or Etsy … in fact, that is likely your core strength. Describe the uniqueness of your brand and why people should shop from you. If you are selling chemical-free products, add “chemical-free” to your domain name, content title, or product description. It will increase your authority and help distinguish yourself from your competitors.

Post Great Photos of your Product

We mean excellent and not just “good enough” photos. Hire a professional photographer or anyone who can take great pictures. Or, borrow lighting equipment and search for tutorials on “how to take great photos.” There are tons of resources for you. This will help your expertise.

Links and Social Media

Use Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest and other social networks to help spread the word about your store. Ask your family, friends and colleagues if they can share your links as well. Social media is a powerful tool that can increase your ecom store’s exposure, increase authority and create more traffic and sales to your website.

Knowing what Google is looking for in a quality site is key to ranking well and gaining free and organic search engine visitors to your website. By building your author Expertise, website Authority and Trust, you are well on your way to dominating the rankings in Google.

EAT well and your business will prosper!

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