What is E-E-A-T and How Does It Affect Your Online Shop’s SEO?

Google is constantly adapting its algorithms in order to identify relevant search results and match them to user queries in the best way possible. Even though Google isn’t being transparent about how these search engine bots actually operate, SEO experts are aware of some of the most relevant ranking factors.

For one, we know that Google constantly assesses the quality and trustworthiness of websites and their displayed content. The so-called “E-E-A-T principle” plays an important role in this process. But what are the E-E-A-T guidelines about and how do they affect the ranking of your website?

What is E-E-A-T?

In short, when talking about the E-E-A-T guidelines in SEO, we refer to four pillars taken into account by Google when assessing a website's quality and usability.

It's worth noting that Google only recently added a fourth pillar (i.e. Experience). The concept of E-E-A-T was known as E-A-T until fairly recently.

According to Google, these four pillars are:

  • Expertise: When determining the ranking of search results, Google’s algorithm will always take the respective “expertise” of the content into account. Expertise thereby refers to the know-how provided by the respective website. The search engine will check whether the information displayed on a given website was created by someone qualified in the given subject. For example, Google will try to examine whether the content published on a legal advice website was actually written by qualified lawyers.

  • Experience: Google looks into the experience of the content creator. The search engine will factor in whether the content was made by someone with actual real world experience. For example, if a restaurant review were to be written by someone who has never eaten at the restaurant, this would be considered a low/no experience level.

  • Authoritativeness: Google will also check the authority and validity of the content itself, as well as the authoritativeness of the creator of the content and the respective website. To do so, the search engine will, among other criteria, evaluate positive reviews and comments from external sources, take into account the website’s or company’s reputation within the respective industry, or check for high-quality sources cited in the text. If Google deems the content of a website to be of high authority, the site is more likely to rank higher in the SERPs.

  • Trustworthiness: Within this pillar, technical issues related to website security (e.g. SSL certificate) are taken into account, but so is the content itself. In terms of trustworthiness and credibility, Google will reward sites that provide adequate sources and link to other websites with a better ranking position. When it comes to online shops, the "About us" page is actually one of the most important factors in this regard, as well as providing sufficient contact information on the website. Additionally, the search engine will check if the site states who is responsible for the content created.

Recommended Reading:
3 Questions Shoppers Ask When Assessing a Shop’s Trustworthiness

As you can see, these four pillars consist of similar concepts. However, Google will assess each criterion independently.

Website operators and SEO experts first learned about the E-A-T guidelines in 2018 when Google implemented the so-called Medic Update. Since then, the search engine has increasingly focused on the quality of content when determining the search ranking.

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YMYL sites

However, the E-E-A-T guidelines don’t apply to all sites on the internet.

After all, not every website contains only content which can be classified as expert content - the internet is full of blogs or casual sites run by enthusiasts instead of content creators who are considered professional experts.

The situation will be different, for example, in the case of health advice websites. When analysing them, Google will more strongly adhere to the three pillars mentioned earlier. Among others, such sites are referred to as so-called “YMYL sites”.

YMYL (Your Money, Your Life): are sites whose erroneous, unreliable content or low quality can harm the user's life, health, well-being or finances.

In addition to the aforementioned medical and health websites, the range of E-E-A-T websites includes:

  • Legal websites,

  • financial and economic websites,

  • information services,

  • government bodies,

  • online shops.

It is these types of websites for which Google will consider the E-E-A-T guidelines the most.

In other words: whether or not to implement the E-E-A-T principle on a given page to boost the website’s ranking, highly depends on its purpose.

Running an e-commerce website, you have to deal with payments and transactions on a daily basis. For this reason, we recommend you to implement the E-E-A-T principle in order to be rewarded with the best possible ranking in Google.

Does E-E-A-T affect your SEO?

Yes and no.

The issue with E-E-A-T is that it cannot be measured. Unfortunately, there is no tool, no system that allows you to evaluate and rate your sites in terms of the E-E-A-T principle.

On the other hand, given Google’s focus on helpful and trustworthy content, a site's high level of expertise, experience, authoritativeness and trustworthiness will increase the likelihood of that particular site ranking higher in Google’s search results.

As many website operators and SEO experts had been wondering whether or not E-A-T was an actual ranking factor, back in 2019, Google’s search expert Danny Sullivan finally revealed:

Also, Google included a dedicated note in one of its blog posts:

developers text

Source: Blog post Google Search Central Blog

Needless to say, apart from the E-E-A-T guidelines, website operators will still have to take other ranking factors into account.

On-page optimisation, getting other quality websites to link to your site (backlinks), and technical SEO will still be just as important as before. And, just like everything related to SEO - it takes time and a lot of patience.

Recommended Reading:
Off-Page SEO: What Is It and How Can You Use It for Your Online Shop?

However, apart from the optimisation issues, you want potential customers to trust your brand and convince them to make a purchase in your shop.

This is why it is worthwhile to follow the three pillars described above when creating content – for your business blog, for example - to ensure that your content is relevant to your potential customers.

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How to improve your website’s E-E-A-T

what is E-E-A-T

Source: shutterstock/Sasha Al

We have to point out that before you even get down to optimising your website with respect to the for E-E-A-T principle, you need to determine what the overall purpose of your website is.

In the case of an online shop, the answer is rather simple: sales and revenue. But you can also use your website to share expert knowledge, whether you do so in your dedicated business blog or in your product descriptions.

Without a doubt, the basis of your website should be good content. When talking about “good” and “high-quality” content, we don’t only refer to correct spelling or punctuation, but also to the language and tonality used.

Is the topic covered sufficiently? Is the topic presented in a way that is comprehensible to the reader?

In addition, make sure to emphasise who the author of the text is. Although it is not considered an official ranking factor, a short biography about the respective author might be considered valuable information for your readers - especially if you manage to get a statement from an industry expert.

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Keep your content up to date

Even though adding new content on a regular basis is important, you shouldn’t forget about the publications you already created. Be sure to keep your content up to date.

This will not only help in terms of providing potential customers with useful and relevant content, but also help you achieve a higher ranking in Google. The search engine favours up-to-date content.

Acquire links

Backlinks are one of the pillars of successful search engine optimisation – and are also an important aspect when it comes to E-E-A-T.

It's simple - the more trustworthy people cite your content and link to it, the greater the authority of your site.

Of course, you can look for and get in touch with websites that are open to accepting guest articles. Naturally, you would include links to your online shop or blog page (and if it is a site of a recognised expert in your industry, you will kill two birds with one stone).

Show off with your SSL certificate

All YMYL websites should make sure to show their trustworthiness at first glance. It is therefore important to implement an SSL certificate and to show company data, privacy policies, or regulations in easy-to-find places. This will give users (and potential customers) a sense of security.

In matters related to finances, the users must be able to contact the right people in case of a problem. If you cannot provide 24/7 customer service, you can install a chatbot on your website instead or indicate what hours your customer support will be available to customers.

Website visitors will feel even more confident when noticing that the website they are visiting has an authentic trustmark displayed – e.g. the Trusted Shops Trustmark. A certificate awarded by an independent, neutral company is the kind of reference that will strengthen your brand’s credibility and trustworthiness.

Building trust with reviews

Did you know that reviews can also positively impact your website’s SEO? In fact, many positive reviews are considered a positive ranking signal to Google as hundreds of people have already trusted your business.

This, in turn, inspires trust and credibility - not only from the point of view of the search engine, but also from the point of view of potential customers.

That is why we recommend you actively encourage customers to rate their experience with your online shop, e.g. in a customer review or comment on your blog.

Recommended Reading:
Why are Customer Reviews so Important for Your Online Shop?

In short

Google’s E-E-A-T guidelines aims to provide search engine users with the best possible quality content.

When it comes to determining the ranking, Google will then take the respective expertise, experience, authoritativeness and trustworthiness of a given site into account.

Apart from other aspects, the E-E-A-T principle is one of the most important ranking factors in the world of SEO – especially for online shops.

Taking care of your website’s and brand’s reputation, as well as constantly improving the quality of your content will therefore help you rank as high as possible in Google’s SERPs.

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This article was originally published on our Polish Trusted Shops blog: Zasada E-A-T w SEO. Jak Google ocenia jakość stron?

11/01/23

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