E-A-T and SEO

Last updated, February 19, 2019

What is E-A-T?

E-A-T stands for Expertise, Authoritativeness and Trust. This concept is discussed in great detail in Google’s Quality Raters’ Guidelines and it likely is a huge ranking factor for many sites.

We believe that E-A-T is very important most sites. However, not all SEO’s agree that E-A-T is truly a ranking factor. The team at MHC has seen quite a few websites that we believe have been negatively affected by Google Quality updates because they have a lack of E-A-T. We have also had the joy of helping businesses to improve their E-A-T with resulting traffic increases. You can see some examples of this near the end of this article.

In this article we will explain what E-A-T is and how you can make changes to help improve your E-A-T which could potentially translate into better rankings and more traffic.

Update: In February of 2019, Google confirmed that E-A-T is indeed a very important part of their algorithms.

Want to learn more about E-A-T?

Part one of our E-A-T Webinar is now live! In this webinar, Marie teaches on E-A-T and answers loads of user questions on the subject.

What do the Quality Raters’ Guidelines (QRG) say about E-A-T?

First, let’s talk about what the QRG are. This document is loaded with discussions on Expertise, Authoritativeness and Trust. We want to pay attention to this information as Google has told us that these guidelines are a key to helping us understand what Google wants to see on a website in terms of quality.

Ben Gomes, VP of Search at Google

In a CNBC interview, Google’s VP of Search, Ben Gomes was asked about the connection between Google’s Quality Raters’ Guidelines and Google’s algorithms. He said:

“You can view the raters’ guidelines as where we want the search algorithm to go. They don’t tell you how the algorithm is ranking results, but they fundamentally show what the algorithm should do.”

If you have ever wondered what it is that Google considers “high quality”, the QRG are actually a textbook that explains this in great detail!

While Google’s algorithms are not an exact representation of what is in the QRG, as mentioned above, the QRG reflect what Google wants the algorithms to do. And there is a LOT of information about E-A-T in these guidelines.

Let’s look at what the QRG say about E-A-T. The following screenshots are all taken directly from the latest version of the guidelines, which at the time of publishing this article is the version released on July 20, 2018. E-A-T is mentioned in these guidelines 186 times!

Google says that E-A-T is very important

E-A-T is extremely important for Your Money or Your Life (YMYL) sites

If your site is a medical, legal, or financial site, then having good E-A-T is crucial. Your site may also be considered YMYL if your site gives advice that helps people make an important decision. You are likely also YMYL if you sell products from your website.

We personally think that most websites on the web are considered YMYL. You might argue that your site that sells ball point pens is not helping people make major life decisions. However, if you’re taking credit card transactions on your site, then people need to be able to trust you and as such, you are almost definitely YMYL.

The QRG tell us that a YMYL site that is lacking E-A-T is to be considered a low quality site.

Again, we believe that many sites are considered YMYL. Pretty much every topic area has people who are known as experts on this subject. Even if your topic is not an obvious YMYL topic, we still would recommend paying attention to E-A-T.

Did you know that Google has a list of characteristics of high quality pages?

The QRG list a high level of E-A-T as the first characteristic of a high quality page.

Characteristics of a Low Quality Page

The very first characteristic of a low quality page listed in the QRG is a lack of E-A-T.

low quality eat

Author E-A-T is important

There are two types of E-A-T: the E-A-T of the entire website (or brand), and, if applicable, the E-A-T of authors of the site’s content.

You can see in the screenshot above that Google says that a page is to be considered low quality if “the author of the page or website does not have enough expertise for the topic”.

This is extremely important! Think of how many YMYL sites have articles that are written by people who are fantastic journalists, but who have no actual real life experience on the topic on which they are writing. If you are looking for tax advice, would you prefer to read an article written by someone with a journalism degree or by someone who has been a tax accountant for decades and is known as an authority in that field? If you have been diagnosed with cancer, do you want to read articles on your condition that are written by an SEO content writer or articles that are written by a physician who has been treating this condition for years and is known as the world’s leading expert on the subject?

Obviously, you want to read articles written by people with E-A-T. As such, Google wants to show searchers articles written by people who are known as the best in their field. If you are not currently recognized as one of the authorities in your niche, then getting more brand recognition is a must if you want to rank well on Google searches.

The QRG are loaded with examples of articles that Google considers low quality because of a lack of author E-A-T. This screenshot is from the QRG:

You can see that this is an article about a financial topic. Here is how the raters are instructed to assess a page like this:

As such, we think that it is vitally important for every author on your site to have a thorough author bio that talks about why they are qualified to write on this subject. They also should have a full author bio page that goes into even greater detail. We also recommend implementing author schema to give Google as much information as possible on your authors and their qualifications.

Here is another example from the QRG:

If you Google this author’s name, you will find that she is known as a content writer, but there is very little evidence that she has expertise, authoritativeness and trust as a medical writer.

Note: We recommend that you do this kind of search for your authors. Google their name. You may need to add a keyword if they have a common name. You’ll also want to use a negative site query so that you don’t just see posts from their sites. For example, here is a search for “marie haynes” seo -site:mariehaynes.com.

You can see that I am mentioned in places that are recognized as authoritative for SEO:

Another great way to check for perceived authority is to do the same search on Google News. You can see here that I have a couple of hundred mentions in Google news for my name in connection with SEO:

I did this same search for one of my employees, Dylan. Even though Dylan is really good at SEO and has a lot of knowledge, he is likely seen as lacking in E-A-T for this topic because there is no one else mentioning him online.

This doesn’t mean that Dylan is not good at SEO. (The opposite is true!) But, if he wanted to start publishing SEO articles, they likely would not rank well until he builds up online authority.

Going back to the example in the QRG, with the author who has written about the flu, this is what the QRG say about her:

It is vitally important that your authors are recognized as an authority in your vertical.

How does Google measure E-A-T algorithmically?

While no one outside of Google knows the answer to this, I have some theories. I believe that a major unnamed algorithm update on February 7, 2017 was Google’s first strong attempt at determining which sites have good E-A-T.

Shortly after February 7, 2017, we had a large number of people approach us for a traffic drop assessment after seeing drops that looked like this.

In each case, it was really obvious that according to the criteria in the QRG, they would be considered as lacking in E-A-T. Most of these sites were losing ranking positions to the sites known as big players in their field. Their articles were all being outranked by ones that were written by authors with loads of E-A-T.

Another update that had a strong E-A-T component was the one released by Google on August 1, 2018. This update caused huge drops for YMYL sites that were lacking E-A-T.

Tip: Trying to figure out if you’ve been affected by an E-A-T related update? There is information here on looking at Google organic traffic in Google Analytics and you can cross reference the dates against my Google algorithm update checklist.

Our point in showing this screenshot is to say that we believe that February 7, 2017 was one of the first dates on which Google started to make E-A-T an important part of the algorithm.

Just five days after this update, Gary Illyes tweeted a “random” reminder to read the QRG:

There are other quality updates as well that have been confirmed by Danny Sullivan to be connected to the QRG. When asked how to recover from the August 1 (Medic) Update, he told us that the QRG was a great source of information to tell us how to improve site quality.

You can see my algo update post for a full, regularly updated list on which algorithm updates were likely connected to E-A-T.

We have a few thoughts on how Google determines E-A-T.

1) Links and even unlinked mentions are measured

Gary Illyes said at Pubcon Austin 2018 that Google is really good at determining which links and mentions to count. If your business is getting amazing press mentions, this really can help. The incredible thing though is that Google feels really confident that they can determine which mentions are there because there is true buzz circulating about your company, and which are just there because they’re paid, incentivized or self made.

There is a big difference between a mention from a Forbes contributor and a Forbes staff journalist. Google knows to ignore the former, and most likely, they can recognize the latter as a vote for your brand’s authority.

2) Google knows a lot about which mentions to trust

How does Google know which parts of the web to trust and which to ignore? The new Penguin algorithm (released in September of 2016) is supposed to just ignore links that are not from trusted sources. We think that Google is ignoring a large number of links that are on the web and only trusting ones that are true votes for a site. They’re not perfect yet, as some spammers can still get away with ranking sites using Private Blog Networks (PBNs) and other tricks. But, they are really good at figuring out which links should count in terms of passing PageRank.

Bill Slawski wrote about a Google patent that gives us some insight into how Google would know which pages to trust. This patent, which was updated in April of 2018 is called, “Producing a ranking for pages using distances in a web-link graph.” It talks about the original PageRank patent, saying:

Some web pages (called “spam pages”) can be designed to use various techniques to obtain artificially inflated PageRanks, for example, by forming “link farms” or creating “loops.”

It then goes on to propose a solution so that pages using spammy techniques would not be able to game PageRank:

“One possible variation of PageRank that would reduce the effect of these techniques is to select a few “trusted” pages (also referred to as the seed pages) and discovers other pages which are likely to be good by following the links from the trusted pages.”

In other words, what the algorithm wants to do is to select “trusted” (also known as “seed”) pages that are known to be good and trustworthy and then to build a network of trusted sites by following the links on that page.

For example, let’s say that the New York Times has been established as a trusted seed site. Google’s algorithms can then determine that sites that are linked to from the New York Times are probably good sources for trusted seed sites as well.

The patent actually specifically mentions the New York Times as a manually selected trusted site:

“For example, Google Directory and The New York Times are both good seeds which possess such properties. It is typically assumed that these seeds are also “closer” to other high-quality pages on the web. In addition, seeds with large number of useful outgoing links facilitate identifying other useful and high-quality pages, thereby acting as “hubs” on the web.”

The patent talks about the struggle in determining which sites are seed sites. This makes sense, because every vertical is going to have different sources of authority. The rest of the patent discusses ways to mathematically determine seed sites and it gets super complicated. The main point though that we want to take from this patent is as follows:

Somehow, Google has created a small handful of trusted sites and pages. These are the sites that are recognized as authoritative for your vertical. Links and mentions on those pages, or pages linked to from those pages are the ones that Google wants to count.

I hope to write an article soon in which I go into more detail on trusted seed sites. I think it is possible that this practice of choosing seed sites has evolved so that sites with high E-A-T are automatically considered seed sites rather than being manually selected. But this is a discussion for another day.

Given that Google is super confident in its ability to know which parts of the web are trusted authorities, this means that gaming E-A-T is hard.

If you are not known as an authority and have no natural mentions in authoritative places (or even places linked to from those authorities), it is likely going to be quite difficult for you to rank well.

In a later section of this article we will talk in more detail about which kinds of sites Google instructs the quality raters to look at when they are trying to find information about a website or author online to determine their E-A-T.

3) There are many different signals that Google can glean from across the web that contribute to E-A-T

The QRG speak about the importance of reviews, the reputation of the company, and even forum mentions when it comes to E-A-T. We’ll now look at each of these in great detail and talk about how we can learn from this information in order to make improvements that should translate into better rankings for our business.

How to improve E-A-T

We have established that E-A-T is an important part of Google’s algorithms. A lack of E-A-T makes it very hard to rank. So, does this mean that only sites recognized as authorities can rank well? Is there nothing else that can be done?

E-A-T can definitely be improved upon. At the end of this article we will share examples of sites that we believed saw ranking improvements after implementing our E-A-T suggestions.

To discuss ways of improving E-A-T, we’ll look again at quotes that come from the QRG.

1) Get good reviews

What people say about your business online matters. Here is how the Quality Raters are instructed to do reputation research.

They are told to look at Yelp, the BBB, Amazon and Google Shopping amongst other sources:

John Mueller from Google has said in a help hangout that it is unlikely that Google specifically uses ratings from third party sites in their algorithm, saying, “I would venture to guess that you are correct that we wouldn’t use something like the BBB score for something like this. As far as I know that’s certainly the case.” However, given that that quality raters are told several times to look at this type of information, and given that Google says that the information in the QRG reflects what Google’s algorithms want to accomplish, we believe that you should be paying close attention to what people are saying about your business online.

If you want to read more on our theories on this subject, you can read this post on how Google likely uses information from sites like the BBB.

What we believe the quality raters are trying to do here is to determine what the overall public sentiment is for your business. If you have the odd bad review, that is not likely to hurt:

But, if it is obvious that most people who are reviewing your business online are complaining, then we believe that this can affect Google’s assessment of quality for your site.

When we do site quality reviews, here are some factors that we look at based on things described in the QRG:

  • Do competitors have significantly more reviews online? If more people are talking about your competitors, then this might be a sign that they are more highly recognized as an authority than you are.
  • Do competitors have a much larger number of positive reviews than you do?
  • Is the general overall sentiment of reviews negative?
  • Do competitors tend to have BBB listings with positive reviews? If so, how does that compare to your BBB profile? If not BBB, are there listings on other trusted sites such as TrustPilot or others?

2) Get Wikipedia mentions, or better yet, your own page

Wikipedia is mentioned a lot in the QRG. It is clear that Google recognizes them as a trusted seed site. In the past, SEOs would often say that links from Wikipedia don’t matter as they are nofollowed links and don’t pass any PageRank. But, we think that this is where mentions come in to play. Even if PageRank is not flowing through Wikipedia links, being mentioned on such a large authoritative site can really help.

Getting your own Wikipedia page is really hard. You have to meet Wikipedia’s standards on notability which include the following:

  • All information about your company has to be verifiable.
  • The business has to have received significant coverage from reliable sources.

That sounds a whole lot like E-A-T, right? This is why it is hard to fake authority. Having a Wikipedia page can help improve your perceived authority, but you can’t get a Wikipedia page unless you already are perceived as an authority!

Still, we do think that positive mentions of your company on other Wikipedia pages can help as well. In some areas, you can edit Wikipedia articles in order to place a mention of your company. But, you need to be really careful. If the Wikipedia community perceives you as self promoting, you’ll get your link quickly removed.

When we do our site quality reviews we look at whether competitors have their own Wikipedia page. If all of the top ranking sites for your keywords are recognized as authorities by Wikipedia and granted their own page, and your site does not have one, there is a good chance that you’re going to struggle to rank for these keywords.

What we don’t know is whether Google’s algorithms say, “Ah, this site has a Wikipedia page, so it must be an authority!” or whether Google is picking up on the same information that Wikipedia is to help determine whether you should be considered an authority. Regardless, we would recommend that if your business is notable enough to possibly have a Wikipedia page, you should attempt to get one.

3) Get mentions on authoritative sites

This is probably the most important aspect of E-A-T. The “A” in E-A-T, meaning “Authoritativeness” is most likely determined by your authoritative mentions.

As mentioned previously, Google is getting much better at determining which mentions across the web truly are votes for your business. If a link or a mention is easy for you to obtain because you have provided content, paid for the link, or in some way incentivized the site owner to link to you, most likely, this mention will not do much to help.

But, if people in authoritative places are truly mentioning you because they want to recommend you, then this is the type of thing that can speak to your authority.

When Barry Schwartz mentions me on SERoundtable, that likely helps improve my perceived authority on the topic of SEO.

Good authoritative mentions are usually difficult to get. But, if you want to be known as an authority, it is vitally important that you find ways to get them.

In the QRG, they give this as an example of an author who has good E-A-T:

Remember when we Googled the name of the author who did not have E-A-T to write about the flu? When you Google the name of the author in this example, you can see that she is mentioned all over the place, on authoritative sites, in connection with parenting:

And here is what the QRG say about this author:

It is not enough to just have experience, in order to have good E-A-T, you also need to be known online as an authority in your field.

If you are struggling to get authoritative mentions, here are some ideas that may help:

  • Publish original research. This often will get mentions from authoritative places.
  • Summarize current scientific research. Let’s say you have a site that sells products for diabetics. Let’s also say that new research has just emerged that explains in great scientific detail a new treatment for diabetes. You can take that information and summarize it in layman’s terms. This often attracts links and mentions.
  • Connect with journalists on HARO or via Twitter.
  • Create connections with people who are known as authorities in your field. You would not believe how many emails I get from people whom I have never heard of who want me to promote or link to their latest blog post. The people who have a much better chance of getting my attention are those whom I have met in person at a conference, or have had good discussion with online. You will have better success in getting links and mentions if you can truly develop good relationships with influencers in your field.

Note: We are thinking of launching a service whereby we can help to connect you with journalists who are looking for sources. If you are interested in having us send you opportunities, please let us know. (This will be a paid service.)

4) Get mentions on forums

This may not be applicable to every business, but if people all over the web are raving about your competitors, then you want to have the same thing be true of your business as well. It may seem ludicrous for me to suggest that forum mentions can help improve your rankings. After all, this is something that could be easily gamed. However, this is what the QRG say:

I believe that it is not difficult for Google to determine which forum mentions are worthy of contributing to E-A-T and which ones are not. For several years, my main line of work was in doing link audits. I have seen thousands of forum mentions. It is usually quite easy for me to determine whether the chatter is real or whether it is artificially generated by an SEO.

Why would Google look at forum information? Think of how you search. I recently had the privilege of speaking at the RD Summit which was held in Florianopolis, a beautiful island in the south of Brazil. When I researched Florianopolis I started by looking at sites like TripAdvisor and even Wikipedia. But, the most helpful information came from me reading the user generated content on sites like Reddit and other discussion forums.

I know that there are some of you right now who are preparing angry tweets and blog posts because I have just suggested that Reddit posts and forum mentions are a ranking factor. I am not suggesting that you spam forums to get links. But, I do think that Google can again, gather information from these kinds of discussions in order to determine the overall public sentiment surrounding your business.

If your competitors are being discussed in forums all over the place, and you are not, then most likely, you are not as well recognized as an authority.

While I do not recommend spamming forums, I do think that we should all be monitoring the internet for discussions about our brands. If there are negative discussions happening online, then jump in and try to rectify the problems. If people have questions that you could answer, then join the discussion and get your brand known.

5) Be trustworthy

We believe that Google made significant changes to their algorithms in an attempt at algorithmically determining trust, starting with the August 1 (Medic) update. Just prior to this update, Google released a new version of the Quality Raters’ Guidelines. While a lot of things changed in this version, the most notable, in our opinion, is the addition of the words “safety”. The highlighted words below were added in the latest edition of the QRG:

With the August 1, 2018 update, and again with the September 27, 2018 update, we saw that sites that dropped in rankings consistently had issues with trust. These included things like the following:

  • Loads of negative reviews online.
  • Customers complaining about not being able to get a refund.
  • Medical articles that had no scientific references, or that were making claims that contradicted current scientific consensus.

I have written a very thorough article on Trust and how it relates to E-A-T. I would encourage you to read this article if you want more information on how Google likely algorithmically determines trust and how you can improve on this metric.

6) Do all that you can to demonstrate your E-A-T on your website

While Google has told us that E-A-T is mostly determined via off-site links and mentions, we feel that we have seen improvements by extolling your E-A-T on your website. We like to see this type of information on both the homepage and your About page. In our site quality reports we usually have several pages dedicated to ways in which the business can better display their E-A-T. At the end of this article, you will see examples on how we feel that this has helped these businesses.

Is E-A-T really a ranking factor?

At MHC, we do believe that E-A-T is indeed a ranking factor. We also think that E-A-T is highly connected with links. As mentioned previously, you really want to get good links from authoritative places in your niche. Most likely though, Google is attempting to measure things beyond links in determining E-A-T. We know that they instruct their quality raters to determine whether a business has a good or bad reputation, whether they are being mentioned in authoritative places and whether they are a trustworthy business. We also know that Google has said that the QRG reflect what Google wants their algorithms to accomplish.

It is possible that some of the things that I mentioned in this post are not yet being algorithmically measured. But, it is my belief that if something is mentioned in the QRG, then Google is either already measuring this algorithmically, or they are working on ways to do this. You do not want to ignore E-A-T!

E-A-T Success stories

We have seen quite a few websites make nice improvements after implementing changes to help improve their E-A-T. Here are some examples of sites that have worked on improving E-A-T and have seen gains. I am using screenshots from SEMrush here as not all of our clients have given us permission to share their analytics data. Please know though, that I will only share SEMrush traffic estimates when they are similar to what we are seeing in Google Analytics.

Early E-A-T success story – Saas brand

This is a site that we had been working with for months and were struggling to see improvements for. They were one of our first E-A-T success stories even before we knew what E-A-T was. We had recommended the following which we believe contributed to their success:

  • Getting better known as a top player in their space (software as a service). This meant getting a lot of authoritative mentions.
  • Being more clear on displaying why users should engage with them. In other words, we put more verbiage on the website to encourage people to trust this business.
  • Cleaning up thin content. While this is not directly an E-A-T issue, we do think that it can contribute to trust. If Google sees that 90% of your content in the index is junk, this likely can lower the quality of your site.

Medical site sees great gains after improving author E-A-T

This is a large well known site. They were hit hard in February of 2017. Most of the changes that we recommended centered around E-A-T:

  • They added author profiles to each of their posts. Each profile boasted about the author’s E-A-T and then linked to a full article on that author that went into great detail on awards they had won, places they had been mentioned, etc.
  • They hired physicians who were well known in their field and had them medically fact check each of their articles. Physicians were also given an author box and their E-A-T was extolled.
  • Improved upon the use of medical scientific references.
  • Added a “last updated” date to all of their posts and made quarterly reviews to determine whether new information should be added to these posts.

News site sees nice improvements after beefing up author E-A-T

This site reports on tech news and has a lot of competition. After they were hit hard in February of 2017, they had us do a site quality review. This site has been seeing nice gains. However, we don’t attribute all of these gains to E-A-T as we also worked on improving technical issues and trimming out thin content. However, here are the E-A-T related changes that we recommended:

  • Less aggressive use of annoying ads. (This likely contributes to trust)
  • Added more information to the About page to tout how much experience they have and awards won.
  • We encouraged them to get more authors who were already known as authorities in tech.
  • Less writing on subjects for which they did not have E-A-T. For example, previously they had articles that really should have been written by medical experts. Now, they focus much less on medical topics and more on tech topics.

eCommerce site jumps to page one for competitive terms

This is one of our favorite stories. This site is a brand that is relatively well known in their space. They sell a big ticket item with a lot of competition. Although they hadn’t been hit by a quality update they came to us to see if we could help them do even better.

Again, we made some changes on this site that were not specifically E-A-T related such as improving upon their internal linking. But, we also recommended the following which we believe contributed to their ongoing success:

  • Loads of improvements on their About page to demonstrate why they are known as one of the best in their field. This included adding information on awards won, celebrity endorsements and places in which they had been mentioned in the press.
  • More information on their homepage to tell people information related to E-A-T.
  • Added customer testimonials across the site which helps users to trust them more.
  • Made it more clear who was responsible for the website’s content.

Another successful medical site

This site came to us after a strong hit connected with a quality update. We made the following recommendations:

  • Added more information on each author to extol their E-A-T.
  • Hired physicians to medically fact check articles.
  • Improved use of scientific references.

Legal site that was hit hard with a quality update

This small legal site saw a big hit in late 2017. We recommended a number of technical changes for this site, but they also made big improvements in how they display E-A-T.

  • Added loads of information the home page to tell potential customers why their office is known as one of the best in the city.
  • Did a lot of boasting on the home page plus the about page on awards that the practice had won.
  • Added customer testimonials.
  • Added more boasting on their successful verdicts.
  • Created a page for each lawyer that extolled the lawyer’s E-A-T by mentioning awards won, places that they have been mentioned, schooling, and more.
  • Added a press page.

They’re not back to where they were before the hit, but they are getting there.

 

Join our E-A-T webinar

Have questions about E-A-T? We will be running a webinar in which you can ask me, Dr. Marie Haynes, questions on E-A-T. The first installment of this webinar will be on December 13, 2018.

Additional E-A-T information and references

In this section, we will try to keep you updated on everything that you need to know regarding E-A-T. If you want to stay continually up to date on new E-A-T news, I’d recommend subscribing to my newsletter:

We’ll be doing our best to keep this list of references updated each week as we publish new newsletter stories.

November 2018

Debate begins on whether Google uses information from the BBB as a ranking factor. Marie joins the discussion on the 15th.

October 2018

John Mueller reinforces that we should be doing more to promote author E-A-T including adding author schema.

Having a physical address isn’t always a sign of trust. It is often used this way for pure eCommerce sites and if your top competitors all have a valid address listed on their site.

Cyrus Shepard shares great tip for keeping an eye on your E-A-T.

September 2018

Google confirms in a blog post that authority is a ranking factor, saying, “For starters, the authority of a web page is now a more important signal in the ranking.”

August 2018

John Mueller made some comments in a hangout about Google’s Quality Raters’ Guidelines and how they relate to author E-A-T. He talks about how E-A-T is a factor rather than seeing this explicitly to rank your website.

July 2018

Great E-A-T idea from Marie RE: vet open house day.

June 2018

A great E-A-T developing idea from Marie inspired by Lululemon.

Marie suggests, following a case study, that social mentions can increase your E-A-T.

Link building tip for E-A-T inspired by Domino’s filling potholes.

May 2018

There was a quality update. At MHC, we saw some clients who had been working on improving E-A-T see nice gains.

Can social mentions improve E-A-T? In this newsletter episode, we give an example of a brand that found a way to make a crazy product go viral. We do believe that large amounts of positive social mentions can help improve Google’s assessment of your brand’s authority.

April 2018

An algorithm update on April 16, 2018 may have been a tweak to the way in which Google algorithmically assesses E-A-T. We saw improvements for clients’ sites that had been working on E-A-T improvement.

A new Google patent, written about by Bill Slawski talks about a new way in which Google can calculate PageRank so that link equity only passes through trusted pages. Most likely, those trusted pages are pages that have good E-A-T.

March 2018

An algorithm update on March 7-9 was confirmed by Google. Google confirmed that this update was primarily about relevancy. Many sites that were affected had E-A-T issues.

Customer testimonials can help improve Google’s assessment of Trust for your site. Here is a great article by Joel Klettke on how to get high quality testimonials.

Gary Illyes from Google said at Pubcon Austin that Google’s algorithmic assessment of E-A-T is largely based on links and mentions on authoritative sites.

December 2017

A significant algorithm update on December 26, 2017 affected sites with E-A-T issues.

November 2017

Google started showing new information in knowledge panels to show a publisher’s awards, and reviewed claims. This shows us that Google can determine information about awards (which speaks to trust) algorithmically.

October 2017

An algorithm update on October 28-29, 2017 seemed to affect sites with E-A-T issues.

An algorithm update on October 8, 2017 happened. We saw nice improvements in a couple of clients’ sites who had worked to improve the E-A-T of individual authors.

September 2017

An algorithm update on September 6-8, 2017 happened. We saw good improvements for a site that had been working at improving E-A-T.

July 2017

In my newsletter I shared about how you can determine what industry Google thinks you are in. It is then important to make sure you have E-A-T for that industry. For example, if Google has you classified as a medical site, but you have no authors with medical experience, this could make ranking in your space difficult.


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E-A-T and SEO November 26, 2018

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Marie Haynes is the founder of HIS Web Marketing, formerly at www.HISWebMarketing.com. In 2015, she rebranded the company to Marie Haynes Consulting Inc.
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