Apart from describing what it is that your company or products can offer consumers, content has the power to do so much more for your brand. Like with a well-told story, a love poem or a song lyric, your content can take customers on a journey.
Yes, expertly crafted content gives companies the opportunity to captivate, inspire and delight customers. And, great content can also inform, persuade and influence your audience, unlike anything else. Together with good design and images, your website and social media platform’s content can offer your audience something they can connect with. And, when customers can relate and connect with a brand, they are much more likely to choose your product or services over competitors.
Of course, creating authentic and useful content is also critical for search engine visibility. Therefore, content should be at the core of a successful search engine optimization (SEO) strategy. Whether it’s blog posts, product descriptions, an About Us page, customer reviews or anything else you create for your audience to read, getting your content right means you have sound infrastructure to support all of your other SEO efforts. So how do you write quality content? And, more importantly, how do you get your quality content seen?
Understanding Google’s EAT & YMYL Algorithms
Before we dive into content, first, we need to understand how Google algorithms read content. Google wants to make sure that sites producing high-quality content are rewarded with better rankings and the sites creating low-quality content get less visibility. To do this, Google created two algorithms: Expertise, Authoritativeness, Trustworthiness (E-A-T) and “Your Money or Your Life”(YMYL).
Originally E-A-T and YMYL came from a Google document known as “The Google Search Quality Evaluator Guidelines.” In 2015, Google officially released this very important document that gave us guidelines on how the search engine identified high- or low-quality websites.
These guidelines were actually written for Google’s human rating team. The job of Google’s rating team is to evaluate which websites top the search engine results pages (SERPs) for various searches. Google employs people from all over the world to carry out these spot-checks – a process designed to check if the ranking algorithms effectively identify web page quality.
These learnings are then taken from the rating team and shared with Google’s engineers on how to better tweak the algorithms already in place. Google makes it known that their ranking algorithms are continuously changing and improving, which means updates are being made fairly regularly.
So, now that you know more about how these algorithms came to be, let’s take a closer look at E-A-T and YMYL and share the best practices for each and how you can use both concepts to boost your on-page SEO content.
What does E-A-T stand for? As mentioned above, Google’s E-A-T stands for Expertise, Authoritativeness, Trustworthiness. Google uses this framework to assess individual web pages and a website as a whole. Google uses these three factors to measure how much trust it should place in a website. After all, Google wants to give its search engine users the best experience possible, so it only wants to promote websites that it fully trusts. Plus, it makes Google look bad if it delivers results that aren’t quite what you asked for, right? Each of the three words represents a measurement of a company’s right to be considered a leader within their specific field.
Now that we’ve answered, “What does E-A-T stand for?” let’s unpack the three pillars in more detail below:
The first aspect of E-A-T Google measures is expertise. Here, a website and its various pages are examined to see if they offer a higher level of expertise over other websites. As we mentioned above, Google wants to provide its users with links to websites that offer content that is accurate and relevant to their search.
When it comes to certain niches (such as medical, legal and financial) demonstrating your brand’s expertise within these fields is crucial. Generally, search engine users are coming to your website to find answers to important questions that they have. And, they are trusting Google to provide them with helpful and factual search results to help them find the answers they are looking for.
We know what you’re thinking – how can content creators be experts in every possible field? Well, here’s where “everyday expertise” comes into play. See, Google understands that not all content creators hold medical, financial and law degrees. However, the content creators have the ability to research and gain the necessary understanding and insight to create informative content on a variety of topics. Also, a company’s owners, CEOs and brand managers can share their insights and knowledge with content creators, who can then put pen to paper.
Google has used its PageRank system to understand authoritativeness within websites since the start. And, one of the main signals for authoritativeness is the humble link. Yes, links, and specifically the quality of these links, continue to be a top-ranking factor for Google. The more quality links you have, the better. So, while the expertise factor demonstrates knowledge, authoritativeness relates to what other relevant websites think of you. ‘Authority’ is when others (inside and outside of your industry) recognize and back up your knowledge and expertise. This recognition can come in the form of links, mentions, or shares. Many SEO experts compare a company’s authoritativeness to your online reputation.
The final pillar of E-A-T Google quantifies is Trustworthiness. This is perhaps the hardest of the three to master, as it takes hard work, perseverance and time to get it right. With saturated markets loaded with fierce competition out there, for your brand to gain the public’s trust is no easy feat. With so much content online, how do users know which content to trust? Google measures trust based upon the backlinks that it detects from other domains.
There are several ways to facilitate trustworthiness, from reviews and testimonials to mentioning the qualifications held by content creators on a website. In a recent study conducted by MOZ, it was revealed that online reviews impact 67.7 percent of respondents’ purchasing decisions. So not only do positive reviews persuade a customer to purchase or use your services, but they also help Google to identify your trustworthiness.
Trustworthiness ties in with the next important Google algorithm, YMYL. This is a quality rating for content that stands for “Your Money or Your Life”. Google doesn’t just care about pulling up the most relevant information for its users — it also wants to deliver information that’s 100 percent correct. YMYL is specifically used to measure websites that sell products or provide services or information that can impact the happiness, health, financial stability or safety of its users. And, as you can imagine, Google demands that the content on these YMYL sites is of the highest quality and demonstrates complete accuracy. After all, your money and your life could depend on it! Therefore, Google does not make light of false information or misleading claims in the area of finance, legal, health, or any other sites that are deemed unsafe.
Google’s white paper sums it up best as:
“For these “YMYL” pages, we assume that users expect us to operate with our strictest standards of trustworthiness and safety. As such, where our algorithms detect that a user’s query relates to a “YMYL” topic, we will give more weight in our ranking systems to factors like our understanding of the authoritativeness, expertise, or trustworthiness of the pages we present in response.”
So, what constitutes YMYL pages? Below are some of the most common examples:
• Shopping or financial transaction pages: Online stores and banking pages that allow users to make purchases, transfer money and pay bills online.
• Financial information pages: Pages that provide advice or information about investments, paying taxes, retirement planning, property purchases and buying insurance.
• Medical information pages: These pages provide advice or information around health, drugs, diseases or medical conditions and include mental health, diet and nutrition.
• Legal information pages: Pages that offer legal advice and info on topics such as divorce, child custody, wrongful dismissal and accident claims, for example.
• Public or official information pages: These fall under the category that includes information about local/state/national government processes, policies and laws.
• News websites: Pages that include information about important topics such as international events, politics and current affairs.
• Other: There are many other topics that Google consider as YMYL, some of these include child adoption, car safety information and so on.
Tips to Boost Google E-A-T & YMYL Websites and SEO Ranking
On top of including accurate and trustworthy E-A-T SEO-rich content, below are a few other ways that will help Google to rank your individual pages and overall website better: E-A-T Google
Make the Most Out of Bios and About Us Pages
Create bio pages and bylines for blog posts that your staff, guest bloggers, or freelancers write. Be sure to include details and specifics that show the authors as experts or influencers within their field. The same applies to your company’s About Us or team page, be sure to mention all the relevant expertise you have within your team.
Cut Content That Isn’t Performing Well
If a blog post that was published two years ago isn’t getting many hits or mentions, don’t be afraid to remove it. This one dud of a blog post could be pulling your site’s overall Google ranking down when it comes to measuring E-A-T SEO.
Push for Personal Recommendations
The use of personal recommendations is of particular importance for YMYL sites, where the opinion of a friend or family member will instill confidence in potential buyers. One tactic you might consider is to use referral schemes and referral fees.
Contacting You Should be Easy
Make it easy for users to get in touch with you. Straightforward calls-to-action, contact us links and pages, click-to-call buttons and chat features are all good ways to increase the way Google measures trust.
Be Fast and Mobile-Friendly
Sites who lack the coding for fast access (seven seconds or less) and are not optimized for mobile are penalized in their search rankings. Experts suggest using responsive website layouts and implementing regular speed tests to help stay on top of this.
Remember, Good Things Take Time
Using Google’s E-A-T (and YMYL websites if applicable) guidelines means you’re building a strong infrastructure to support your SEO strategies. Making sure your website possesses these fundamental pillars is the only way you’ll be able to rank pages on Google for the best search terms in your industry.
However, if done right, your website will make its way up the Google ranks. And, if you keep on top of these algorithms, it is likely to stay there. Remember that Google’s algorithm standards are continually evolving and changing too, so be sure to stay abreast of these changes and you’ll be sitting on top for a very long time.
Need help with a deeper understanding of “What does E-A-T stand for? Or perhaps content writing, YMYL & E-A-T, Google rankings, E-A-T SEO, or optimizing your YMYL pages? Our team of experts at Thrive is here to help.