If you want to rank on Google, you need to pay attention to your blog’s expertise, authoritativeness and trustworthiness (E-A-T). Here are 15 easy ways to improve your blog’s E-A-T score.
What is E-A-T?
E-A-T stands for Expertise, Authoritativeness and Trustworthiness. It’s a term that comes from Google’s Search Quality Rater Guidelines – a 175 page document Google’s human Quality Raters use to assess the quality of Google’s search results.
These assessments are then fed back to Google and used to improve Google’s algorithm to ensure that the best quality, most authoritative content rises to the top of Google’s search rankings.
Why Google cares about E-A-T
Why does Google care about E-A-T so much? Because Google wants to ensure that its users can trust the advice they get from the websites Google ranks.
Clearly this matters more in some niches than others. Google is particularly concerned with E-A-T where it affects highly important aspects of people’s lives – such as health or finances. In fact, the concept of E-A-T first came to most blogger’s attention when Google launched their ‘medic’ update in 2018 – an update which seemed to particularly target YMYL (Your Money, Your Life) blogs with low E-A-T.
Think about it this way… if you have some worrying medical symptoms and go to Google to find out what medical problem you have, what kind of sites would you want Google to show at the top of the search results – respected medical websites or a bunch of random bloggers?
But E-A-T is not just important for blogs giving medical or financial advice… improving your E-A-T will improve your search rankings no matter what niche your blog is in.
Why E-A-T is important for SEO
Put simply, E-A-T is important for Search Engine Optimization (SEO) because Google cares about E-A-T. So, the better your blog’s E-A-T score, the better your blog posts will rank in Google’s search results.
E-A-T also affects your SEO in a slightly more indirect way. It’s not just Google who cares about E-A-T, your readers do too! OK, your readers might not call it E-A-T, but they still care about whether your blog appears authoritative and trustworthy!
Imagine you are searching for some information and you click on the top two results in Google. One of those websites looks high-quality and like it was written by an expert, the other looks very amateur and it’s very obvious that the blogger does not know much about the topic. Which blog post will you carry on reading? Clearly the one that looks most authoritative and trustworthy!
If your blog has low E-A-T, readers will vote with their feet… and this tells Google that your blog did not give a good user experience (UX), which will in turn result in lower search rankings.
Of course, while E-A-T is very important – and becoming increasingly important, it’s just one aspect of SEO. For more information on what else affects you SEO check out my guide to SEO for bloggers.
15 easy ways to improve your blog’s E-A-T score
The good news is there is lots you can do to improve your blog’s E-A-T – both for Google and for your readers. Here are 15 easy ways to improve your blog’s E-A-T score.
1. Link to authoritative sources
A very easy one to start with… Whenever you write a blog post, ask yourself, ‘could this blog post be made better by linking to an authoritative source?’. For example, whenever I include nutritional information or make a health claim on my food blog (such as, ‘Sweet potatoes contain lots of vitamin A’), I always link to an authoritative source in the health space.
Linking to authoritative sources, where appropriate, makes your blog more trustworthy and credible both in the eyes of your readers and in Google’s eyes.
2. Always edit your blog posts
A well edited blog post is clearly going to come across as more authoritative and trustworthy than a blog post littered with spelling, punctuation and grammar mistakes!
For more information on how to edit your blog posts, check out my article on How to edit a blog post (tips from an ex English teacher turned blogger).
(And notice how I have underlined my expertise in the subject line of that blog post!)
3. Write longer blog posts
Longer blog posts are usually more authoritative and trustworthy because they are more comprehensive and answer the searcher’s question more fully.
Of course, a longer blog post is not always better. A long blog post full of irrelevant information and fluff is clearly not as authoritative as a shorter, better written post.
Longer, better quality blog posts also usually provide a better user experience and help you establish yourself as a go to authority in your niche.
High quality, authoritative content will also naturally attract backlinks – another marker Google uses to rate the E-A-T of a website.
4. Don’t hide your identity
Google’s Quality Rater Guidelines state that:
“Understanding who is responsible for a website is a critical part of assessing E-A-T for most types of websites. High quality pages should have clear information about the website so that users feel comfortable trusting the site.”
And that there should be
“satisfying information about who is responsible for the content of the site”
Google’s Quality Raters are then asked to assess this based on the type of website.
This obviously means that you need to make it clear who you are. Whatever you do, do not hide your identity or make it difficult for your readers (and Google!) to know who is responsible for your website.
As a bare minimum, you should have an ‘About Me’ page on your website (see below) which you link to in your menu bar and, ideally, a brief bio on every page of your website – perhaps in your sidebar or below each post.
If you have guest posts on your website, you should make it clear who the author is on each guest post and underline the particular credentials of that person – for example, in an author bio at the end of their post or in the introduction to the post.
5. Make your about page awesome
An easy way to boost your E-A-T is to write a really good ‘About Me’ page, explaining exactly who you are and why you are qualified to write about the topic of your blog.
This does not have to be official qualifications or awards, necessarily (though this helps) – experience and your own personal success count too!
For example, in my ‘About Me’ page for this blog I talk about the fact that I have a business degree from one of the UK’s top business schools and years of business and marketing experience, that I have many years experience teaching English as a foreign language (which makes me qualified to teach things about writing and editing blog posts) and that I have been blogging since 2015 and that blogging now provides me with a very good full-time income.
To help you do this well, put yourself in your readers’ shoes. Imagine one of your readers came to you and said, ‘Why should I listen to YOU rather than any other blogger who blogs about this stuff?’ What would you say to them? THAT is what you should write in your ‘About Me’ page.
Want more help with this? Check out my blog post on How to write the perfect ‘About Me’ page for your blog.
6. Shout about your credentials
But, of course, if you do have official expertise, make sure you make this very clear on your blog. Include things such as relevant academic qualifications, awards you’ve won, authoritative sites you have been featured on, publications you have been featured in and anything else which marks you as an expert and authority in your niche.
All of this will improve your E-A-T both in the eyes of your readers and with Google.
7. ‘Borrow’ authority
Another way to add legitimacy to your content would be to ‘borrow’ authority from other experts in your niche. There are a number of ways you can do this:
- Guest posts by experts in your niche
- Interviews with experts in your niche
- Roundups of expert advice (for example this post where I interviewed PRs on their tips for bloggers)
- Having an expert vet your content
Having an expert vet your content is not something most bloggers will need to do, but if you blog in the YMYL space and don’t have any official expertise, this could be a way of getting round the problem of your lack of credentials.
For example, a healthy food blogger who does not have any official nutrition qualifications might get a nutritionist to vet their blog posts – this would give those blog posts much more authoritativeness and trustworthiness.
8. Write guest posts
One easy way to increase your authoritativeness is to write guest posts for other well-known, respected blogs in your niche. This will not only help improve your credibility in the eyes of Google, but also your readers… Because if you were not a trustworthy and authoritative person, why would they let you write for their site?
To find blogs which accept guest posts, do a search like ‘[YOUR NICHE] write for us’ or ‘[YOUR NICHE] contributor guidelines’. Alternatively, reach out to established bloggers in your niche who you know personally and ask them directly if you can write for them.
To take this to the next level, you could pitch article ideas to relevant magazines and newspapers. For more on this, check out this article on how to pitch article ideas to magazines, newspapers etc. (incidentally, written by one of my guest posters!)
9. Be present on social media
Social media tips on this blog are as rare as hens’ teeth! But while social media may not be a very productive way to drive traffic to your blog, it does help in a small way to establish your E-A-T, because social media is another external validation that you are an expert and an authority in your niche.
You don’t need to spend hours and hours on social media to establish E-A-T. Simply make sure you are present on the main and most relevant social media channels for your niche (this varies a bit, but usually some combination of Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn). Make sure your bios are complete and up-to-date and post at least semi-regularly, so it is clear your social media channels are still active.
Better still, automate posting to your social media channels so you can be present and active without having to spend very much time on social media.
10. Niche down
It is very hard to be an expert or establish authoritativeness and trustworthiness on multiple subjects… or even one fairly broad one, like ‘travel’ or ‘food’.
Instead aim to become a go-to expert in a much smaller more focused niche – for example ‘luxury travel for the over 50s’ or ‘Greek food’. In other words: niche down! Cover one small niche well and in depth. Deeper is better than broader when it comes to E-A-T!
Niching down will improve your E-A-T with Google and with your readers, plus it will have other useful knock-on effects, such as better media opportunities (when a magazine editor or radio researcher wants an expert on your topic, they are more likely to ask you) and guest post opportunities.
READ MORE >>> How to choose the right niche for your blog
11. Get certified
OK, perhaps not the easiest way to improve your E-A-T in this list, but you don’t need to get a degree in your subject! In most niches there are short courses and certifications you can take to improve your expertise. Anything you can do to improve your credibility helps!
For example, say you are a running blogger – you don’t need to go and do a full-time degree in sports science, but a part-time running coach qualification would definitely help your E-A-T.
Or say you are a food blogger who blogs about healthy food or a certain kind of special diet. Again, you don’t need to go to university and study nutrition, but taking a well respected short nutrition certification would do wonders for your E-A-T!
12. Encourage comments and reviews
Positive comments, reviews and star ratings are another vote for a blog’s expertise, authoritativeness and trustworthiness. So, it’s a very good idea to do what you can to encourage these.
For example, you could include a call to action at the end of each blog post to leave a comment or review. (See an example of this at the bottom of this post!)
13. Get an SSL certificate
Getting an SSL certificate is another way you can boost the trustworthiness of your blog, since an SSL certificate makes your blog more secure for your readers.
These days most blogs have one, but if you don’t, you really need to get one ASAP. Your blog host should be able to set one up for you for free. (And if they can’t, it might be time to move hosts!)
14. Delete or update old low E-A-T content
If you have been blogging for any length of time, you will no doubt have older blog posts on your site which are dragging down your E-A-T – for example, old content which is very short, does not link to authoritative sources, or which is out of date.
If the old content is worth keeping, you should update it to improve the quality, add links to authoritative sources where relevant, and bring the information bang up to date.
If the old content is not worth updating, you should delete it.
READ MORE >>> How to update an old blog post (and why you should!) + CHECKLIST
READ MORE >>> Should you delete old blog posts?
15. Create a course or ebook
While not the quickest way to improve your E-A-T, creating a course or ebook related to your blog’s niche is easier than you might think.
Just the sheer fact that you have a book or course will improve your authoritativeness (we naturally perceive someone who has written a book or created a course to be an expert in that topic). But once you have some happy customers, willing to write you testimonials, this will further boost your E-A-T, as well as help you become known as a go-to authority in your niche.
READ MORE >>> 20 reasons why you should create an online course
READ MORE >>> How to create your first online course – 10 step plan!
Future proof your blog
E-A-T is not going away any time soon, and, in fact, is only likely to get more and more important over the coming years, especially as Google is getting smarter and smarter all the time.
Spending a small amount of time on E-A-T now will definitely be a wise investment. It will help you future proof your blog and help protect you from getting penalised in future Google algorithm updates.
However, it is important not to try and game the system. Many bloggers in the past have tried to game their blog’s authoritativeness – for example by paying for lots of spammy links or fake guest posts – and are paying a high price for this now.
Google is getting ever smarter and is beginning to be able to view our blogs almost like a human would – able to tell the difference between genuine a genuinely authoritative, high quality, helpful website and one which has attempted to trick Google with a slew of underhand, ‘black hat’ SEO tactics.
The best way to ensure your blog passes Google’s E-A-T tests for years to come is simply to think like a human… because ultimately your readers and Google want the same things.
So, take a long hard look at your blog and ask yourself, ‘what would a new reader make of my blog – would they see it as authoritative and high quality? If not, take steps to make it so. Even if these are things that Google can’t measure right now, there’s a good chance Google will be able to measure those things in the not too distant future!
Over to you
Have you found this blog post helpful? If so, I’d love to hear about it.
Let me know in the comments below!
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