Google update their search algorithm multiple times a year and 9 out of 10 go completely under the radar…
…so, the latest update shouldn’t make any waves, right?
Google’s latest change, called the E-A-T update was made on the 1st August (not exactly breaking news), but it’s not until now that we’ve started to see the massive effects it’s had on Google’s results.
Their usual updates are regularly billed as ‘big changes’, sending content marketers and SEO ‘experts’ into a flurry of keyboard bashing. In reality, they are nothing more than minor tweaks to their existing algorithm.
And that’s why I don’t (normally) inform you guys about them. If they aren’t going to have any effects on your search appearance or digital marketing efforts, why should I produce content that wastes ten minutes of your precious time?
The E-A-T update is different. You need to understand what it is and why it’s important.
The New (Digital) Way
Google’s E-A-T update is the latest movement in a host of changes that have swept across the digital landscape.
In the previous 1-5 years we’ve seen the biggest social networks, search engines and referral platforms all move in one direction…
Gone are the days of ranking easily, making massive moves overnight and ‘hacking’ the digital system. Today, it requires consistency, high-value content and digital integrity.
The E-A-T algorithm update reflects this move and has caused many websites (who rely on Google as a key traffic source) to be punished.
What is the E-A-T Update?
If you hadn’t guessed already, E-A-T is an acronym for three factors that have become much more important in Google’s search algorithm. (It’s got nothing to do with food!)
In just a moment, I’m going to run through each of these E-A-T components, explain what they are and give you a few tips for improving your site to match the update.
But before we go any further, I’d like to hammer something home: If you haven’t been working towards these E-A-T factors in your general marketing efforts anyway, you’ve been making a massive error.
There are tons of articles on Einstein Marketer’s blog that reference and explain the importance of moving towards the (new) digital way. You’ll find some of these links under each sub-head. If you’re a new reader, I’ll let you off. But if you’re already an Einstein Marketer, don’t say you hadn’t been warned!
The E in E-A-T stands for Expertise and it represents the importance of being knowledgeable and proficient in the industry/area you’d like to rank for.
The rise in significance of expertise is a clear indication that Google do not want to show their users fake news, ‘polluted’ content or unsubstantiated facts. (And nor do we want to see them).
Content creators who roam across broad topics, or constantly switch subjects in an effort to rank higher have already been penalised.
How to Demonstrate Expertise to Google
Expertise can be shown in a number of different ways:
If you’ve got your nose to the grindstone, more often than not, it pays off. Google see consistency as a clear indication of expertise.
Since the E-A-T update came in, Einstein Marketer’s organic traffic (from Google) has grown, and that’s because we consistently publish content about digital marketing.
We cover several different categories, but they all come under the same umbrella.
You should be doing the same. If you write an article about Finance on a website that predominantly covers health, your Expertise will drop for both topics! Demonstrate your expertise with consistent, relevant, high-quality content.
- Technical proficiency
How well are you demonstrating your knowledge?
This expertise factor is particularly relevant to medical, health and finance websites but it’s important that you don’t shy away from technical terms (just don’t ply your content with tons of these, it will ruin your UX). Show your expert knowledge by using industry-relevant terminology.
If you’ve won awards (or anything similar) don’t be afraid to brag about it!
This doesn’t mean mentioning it in every article. Use your About Us page to show Google and your audience that you really are an expert in your field.
- A large following/fame
If you want to be considered an ‘expert’ you need to be transparent. That means adding an author and an author bio to every piece of content on your website.
When you do this, Google are able to use the links in the author’s bio to check the following and therefore the expertise, of any authors on your site.
If you’re using WordPress, check out our Author Box at the bottom of the page, we use Ultimate Author Box Lite.
That’s a mouthful, right?
For the purpose of this section, let’s use ‘authority’ (it’ll save me constantly having to backtrack for typos).
As you’d imagine the A in E-A-T stands for authority and it is closely linked with Expertise.
The higher your level of expertise on a subject, the more authority you stand to create.
Authority relates to the position of your brand against others creating content in the same niche. For example, if both the BBC and a fashion blog published an article covering the same breaking news about a political party, who do you think would have higher authority?
How to Demonstrate Authoritativeness to Google
Google use the opinions of external sources (preferably with high authority themselves) as an indicator of Authority.
If you’re serious about ranking, it’s crucial that you take this into account and make every effort possible to boost your authority this way.
The easiest way for Google’s algorithm to compute an external source’s opinion of your content, is by backlinks.
The more backlinks you have from sites with high-authority, the higher your authority will be.
However, it’s not as simple as it used to be. Everyone is trying to gain backlinks for their site and the scramble for Google’s first page (via backlinks) is extremely competitive. The most effective way of gaining backlinks is to offer something in return, normally, in the form of a guest post.
Remember, those of you who are consistently producing high-quality content will win. If you’re trying to gain backlinks, focus on the value of your guest article and worry about the backlinks later.
Discover your website’s Authority rating and how to improve it, in our article What is Domain Authority?
The final E-A-T algorithm update pertains to the safety, security and transparency of your website.
Trust is MASSIVE to Google. If they send their users to a deceptive website, it reflects badly on them. That’s why they continuously update their algorithm to punish sites that are not considered trustworthy.
This factor is particularly relevant to websites who receive payment on their website, e.g. ecommerce store or subscription service.
How to Demonstrate Trustworthiness to Google?
The first thing you MUST do is to move from HTTP to HTTPS. The ‘S’ stands for ‘secure’ and Google recognises sites with HTTPS as much more trustworthy than those on HTTP.
This simple security change can make all the difference, especially as HTTP sites continue to drop down the search rankings.
You can make the change by adding an SSL certificate to your website. These small files encrypt your entire site for maximum security and Google like them (a lot).
Find out how to get a FREE SSL certificate in our article, Don’t Get Labelled ‘Not Secure’.
Another way of boosting your trustworthiness is to demonstrate complete transparency. You can do this by ensuring that all content is clearly marked with an author and your website is registered to an address (that is displayed somewhere on your site).
If there are any other ways of you demonstrating your trustworthiness to Google, make sure they’re clearly marked on your site. For example, any site that takes payment (e.g. eCommerce store or subscription service) should show their payment security badge and blog’s should delete spammy comments.
Of the three points in the E-A-T update, this is the easiest to demonstrate, but it will cost you the dearest if you do not get onboard. Don’t ignore it!
Google E-A-T Algorithm Update: Conclusion
Websites that are seeking quick fixes, hacks and the use of bots, spam or content scraping will be punished now more than ever before.
Google’s E-A-T algorithm update is the latest in a host of changes from the web’s biggest players and as web crawlers become more advanced, you should expect to see more and more movements in this direction.
It’s crucial that you produce high-quality, targeted content. If you aren’t, it’s about time you started. It’ll make all the difference to your digital performance.
If you’d like to learn more about this update, check out Google’s Official Search Quality Guidelines…
…or learn more about ranking with our post, The 35 Most Important Google Ranking Factors 2018.