It was confirmed by Google that for your money, your life (YMYL) queries, they will give more weight in their ranking algorithm to factors that focus on expertise, authoritativeness, or trustworthiness – also known as EAT in the industry.
The confirmation was made by Google after publishing a new 30-page white paper (PDF) which explains how the company fights disinformation across Google search, Google News, Google Ads, YouTube and their other products. This proves the debate that Google changes the weight of their ranking signals depending on the query sectors.
Google wrote on page 13 of the white paper, “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.”
This confirms that Google adjusts the weights of their ranking algorithms based on the query type.
Not only that, Google is going to increase the expertise, authoritativeness, or trustworthiness – i.e. EAT – signals in order to provide search results that comply with the “strictest standards of trustworthiness and safety.”
In order to determine EAT, “Google’s algorithms identify signals about pages that correlate with trustworthiness and authoritativeness,” Google commented on page 12. “The best known of these signals is PageRank, which uses links on the web to understand authoritativeness.” It isn’t just PageRank of course.
According to Google’s John Mueller in a webmaster hangout Tuesday morning, he answered a question on this at the 12:25 minute mark into the video. “Google just explained in a whitepaper released a few days ago that it uses PageRank (via links across the web) to evaluate authoritativeness and trustworthiness *algorithmically*. Can we assume that expertise (E) is primarily evaluated via content quality (algorithmically)? Can you elaborate on this at all?” asked Glenn Gabe.
John responded by saying that he doesn’t “have any insight” into the document. He said that he saw it when it was published, just like everyone else. John said that we shouldn’t be focusing too much on the PageRank comment by saying, “it’s a fairly long paper and there are lots of different topics in there and PageRank is more or less a side comment there. So I wouldn’t say everything is just PageRank.”
Here’s the video: