In the world of pharmaceuticals, a drug can often serve to treat more than one health condition for which it was originally created, tested, and cleared by the FDA. For example, gabapentin (Neurontin) was originally part of a class of drugs to control seizures for epilepsy. Today it a popular drug used to control nerve pain that painkillers cannot touch. Botox (botulin) was originally used for cosmetic uses in clearing facial lines, crows feet, etc., but neurologists have discovered its positive effect on helping to control chronic migraines. This happens a lot in pharmacology once a drug has been released and proven in the market. The secondary uses become known through further testing, clinical trials, sometimes many years later. These multidisciplinary uses can save time and money while being beneficial to patients.
Google has created something within its search guidelines that can serve dual purposes related to SEO and your organization, company, and brand. E-A-T is Google’s acronym for Expertise; Authoritativeness; and Trustworthiness. According to Lily Ray, SEO Director at Path Interactive, “Google created E-A-T within its research guidelines and uses it to describe what’s happening with its core algorithm and core updates. E-A-T started with the “medic update” by Google in August of 2018. While initially serving medical and health-related services, brands, or company sites it also included anything under the acronym “YMYL” (Your Money Or Your Life) impacting anyone dealing with one or more of these in their business or website. E-A-T has expanded in regard to anything related to a searcher’s happiness, finances, and health.
Trust has become a huge factor for Google. Not only does the search engine need to trust websites it’s promoting through search and ranking, but it also needs searchers or those performing queries to know they can find exactly what they need through Google. You can no longer rely solely on keywords, phrases, and tags, but you’ve got to be a trustworthy authority providing expertise in whatever is being searched. While E-A-T has been around for a few years SEO is just discovering or appreciating its value.
Ian Booth writing for MOZ puts it this way:
“So, when it comes to health, financial issues, and safety, Google doesn’t want to serve up links to pages that share uneducated advice, opinions, or potentially fraudulent websites. Google wants to be as certain as possible that they are recommending sites that display a high level of expertise, authority, and trustworthiness — which is what E-A-T stands for! It’s Google’s way of protecting searchers from low-quality content that has the potential to be detrimental to a searcher.”
What drives the E-A-T bus? Google wants to make sure it is recommending search results that are experts, have authority in their field, and can be trusted. Google wants to make sure you are providing value for your customers, offering them quality products/services, ease of use, customer service, how to make a return on the site and is it a smooth or awkward process? In other words, are you really providing the product or service you advertise?
In terms of trustworthiness, E-A-T wants to know how your company is using customer information? How do you provide privacy and secure financial information? Again, Google wants to know if you can be trusted which is why trust source validation is important. This is why informational content helps support Google’s view of your organization or company.
Let’s say Dr. Taylor Henry holds a patent on a basketball that never loses air or its grip. Sounds great, but if there is little to no information on your website describing the process and the science that got you there with the very experts contributing you are limiting your reach. You may be making a strict brand play and lose valuable traffic in the process. By applying E-A-T you find ways to prove the product, back up the science behind it with credible or trusted experts. You can be a brilliant scientist or researcher in rubber and plastics, but your knowledge base can still be relatively unknown.
This is where SEO and E-A-T can serve one another. In your site listing of the bios page, everything needs to be reviewed, changed, or added to/for the scientists who created the innovative basketball. Perhaps they have written an article for a journal, magazine, credible blog sites then bringing all of them into play so whenever Dr. Taylor Henry comes up one place his articles, speeches, etc., show up elsewhere on the web as trusted and validated. Even those are bout other products. Citing third-party sources in your articles and providing expert attribution will help move the trust needle until it begins to respond to the good doctor’s name or your company repeatedly.
Again SEO expert Lily Ray, “Google doesn’t look at that as a ranking factor but to determine if the experts working to review your content are worthy of the facts, opinions, and information they are making. This is more of a.content play instead of a ranking signal….E-A-T is not a keyword in your title tag. It’s more like an overall evaluation or assessment of the experience that you portray with your brand and content.”
Strong websites have these but you would be surprised how little production, R&D talks with sales, and vice versa to communicate critical information that both may be omitting from the website. “For those already employing SEO strategies, it’s probably already there from a content and UX standpoint. It’s about thinking like the customer and if your content and your brand can be trusted. It has as much to do with company culture, brand strategy, SEO, and everything in many respects” says Loren Baker of Search Engine Journal.
If you employ E-A-T correctly you see over time that it is like the one drug that has one purpose initially, but in fact, affects many others when coupled with best SEO practices. To be found consistently trustworthy, safe, and legitimate by Google is a long-play prize that can yield a strong ROI. However, you’ve got to be able to back it up!
At Webspeak Media we understand SEO and how to ensure E-A-T can establish your business or service as trustworthy, safe, and knowledgeable of your subject matter and, or products. Give us a call today for more information about Google, SEO, and E-A-T.
Charles Carter, Partner
Greer, SC 29651