There are folks who believe that E-A-T is one of the most important SEO success factor known today. At the same time though, there are others who feel that it is quite overblown.
Is E-A-T a direct ranking factor, or is it more indirect? Or is it even a factor at all?
E-A-T is an acronym for Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness, and the debate over it was made famous by its inclusion in Google’s Search Quality Evaluator Guidelines will likely be going on for a while.
But there are many took this whitepaper as confirmation that E-A-T is an important ranking signal.
Here is what some consider the “smoking gun” from the whitepaper:
“Our ranking system … is specifically designed to identify sites with high indicia of expertise, authority, and trustworthiness.”
Does that mean E-A-T is a ranking factor? It could be. But not necessarily.
It’s important to not overlook this sentence from the whitepaper:
“Google’s algorithms identify signals about pages that correlate with trustworthiness and authoritativeness.”
This makes it seem like it’s more of an indirect relationship.
This isn’t exactly new though, as Google has been trying to make its algorithm as “human” as possible. The company has bee using identity, authority and trust signals in its ranking system for a while now.
The Google algorithm has never been perfect though. Also, user behavior and technology is always and evolving.
This is where search quality evaluators come in.
Google collects E-A-T scores from these search quality evaluators (the human raters Google employs to test the quality of its search results).
Actual E-A-T ratings that are given by search quality evaluators aren’t ranking factors.
The data that Google collects from human raters don’t directly impact the ranking of any individual website.
Although E-A-T doesn’t count as a direct ranking factor, it can still assist you in ranking.
This is because it’s important to understand what E-A-T is and why it matters for on-page SEO.
The following link to an SEJ article will explain E-A-T, as well as YMYL, and offer actionable tips for how you can use these concepts to boost your on-page SEO.