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The Ultimate SEO Handbook to Google's E-A-T Guidelines

The most comprehensive E-A-T guide for SEO on the web. Learn why and how to improve expertise, authoritativeness & trustworthiness no matter what type of website you have.

How is this article unique?

  • We share very specific how-tos, use cases, and examples of best-in-class implementation organized by Technical, Content & Off-page approaches
  • It’s helpful for SEO beginners & SEO veterans
  • We include links to fantastic resources & insights from other SEOs 
  • No ads or paid placements
  • We did not use AI to write this article

What is E-A-T?

E-A-T is short for expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness. It's a set of guidelines that Google's quality raters use to measure the quality of content on the web. E-A-T defines a specific set of considerations within Google's Search Quality Rater Guidelines<span class="material-symbols-outlined">open_in_new</span>— a 167 page document that Google's quality raters (real people) use to measure the quality of web content. 

E-A-T is not only described as "very important," it's referred to more than 124 times throughout the guidelines and is a key criteria when assigning ratings for:

  • Page quality (p. 9-72)
  • Website quality (p. 15-21)
  • Website reputation (p. 18-21)
  • Content creator reputation (p. 18, 38-39, 47-48, 66)

<div class="post-note" role="note">One part of Google's Search Quality Rater Guidelines we will not cover in this article is Search user intent matching (p. 74-157). We will create a follow-up article that explores search intent.</div>

Expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness are each evaluated for the main content on a web page, the content creator, and the website itself.

There are three main elements to E-A-T:

  1. Expertise is about having depth of knowledge and experience in a particular topic. To show expertise, your content should be well researched and accurate. You can also include things like author bios, awards, degrees, and certifications. Keep in mind a satisfactory level of expertise will look different for a page about identifying skin cancer vs a page about hosting the ultimate 4th of July BBQ.
  2. Authoritativeness is about showing that you're a credible source of information. To assess authoritativeness, Google's quality raters are instructed to do "reputation research" on the content creator, the website, and the organization behind the website, and seek out "independent sources of reputation information" (source: p.18). To build authority, you can get links from other websites, list your credentials, and have other people vouch for your expertise.
  3. Trustworthiness is about being honest, transparent, and reliable. You can build trust by disclosing any potential biases in your content and being upfront about sponsored content or paid links. About and Team pages with legitimizing details and real contact information also help establish trust with potential customers (more on that below).

E-A-T matters for all kinds of topics—especially YMYL

Google specifies what kind of expertise, professionalism, and accreditation raters should look for on pages or websites that cover YMYL (Your Money Your Life) topics. These are subjects which can significantly impact people's finances, health, safety, or living situation. Examples of YMYL content include medical information, legal/tax advice, consequential transactions (such as a home or home renovations), and parenting. Hear more from Google's John Mueller on the importance of E-A-T for YMYL websites in this article <span class="material-symbols-outlined">open_in_new</span> from Search Engine Journal.

But informal or "everyday expertise" is also valued:

"If it seems as if the person creating the content has the  type and amount of life experience to make him or her an 'expert' on the topic, we will value this 'everyday expertise' and not penalize the person/webpage/website for not having 'formal' education or training in the field. [...] Think about the topic of the page. What kind of expertise is required for the page to achieve its purpose well? The standard for expertise depends on the topic of the page." (p. 23)

Throughout the guidelines, Google's quality raters are encouraged to think critically about what would best serve real people. This is how you need to evaluate your own website content to improve its E-A-T.

Why is E-A-T important for SEO?

E-A-T is important because it helps people find authentic content. When you improve your E-A-T, you're not just "doing SEO", you're helping your potential customers. You’re improving brand sentiment. It’s a long-term play that’s good for SEO and brand-customer relationships.

Improving E-A-T can help your content rank higher in search results, bring more traffic to your site, and lead to more leads or sales. While E-A-T is not a direct ranking factor, it's part of the Google algorithm and corresponds to signals used to rank search results.

<blockquote>"E-A-T is a template for how we rate an individual site. We do it to every single query and every single result. It's pervasive throughout every single thing we do." </blockquote>

—Hung-Jin Kim, VP of Search at Google, excerpted from his talk at SMX Next 2022

Keep in mind that improving E-A-T takes time and effort, but it's worth it if you want to improve your website's rankings and visibility. Give your strategy at least 6 months before looking for measurable increases in visibility, traffic, conversions and other performance metrics. 

Google has invested heavily in creating better results for shoppers and researchers since its Zero Moment of Truth (ZMOT) study in 2011. Yes, the study is over 10 years old, but ZMOT has been at the core of every Google ranking and quality update since its release.

Google knows people are tired of seeing the same content rehashed on different websites.

Primer on the Zero Moment of Truth (ZMOT) study

In 2011, Google released a study called The Zero Moment of Truth <span class="material-symbols-outlined">open_in_new</span>, which found that people are increasingly turning to the internet for research before making a purchase. ZMOT revealed that:

  • 60% of people begin shopping research with a search engine
  • People consult an average of 10.4 sources of information before making a decision 

The study highlights the importance of having a consistently strong online presence, as people are now more likely than ever to research a brand before buying in.

Your online audience is facing a problem

People don't want to consult 10 sources before making a decision. They want to find the solution to their question as quickly as possible. But with the current state of search engines and influencer content, the issue isn't finding options, it's feeling authenticity.

Google sees opportunity in authenticity

Since 2020 there have been over 20 announced Google updates. Each update has been focused on providing more relevant, higher-quality, and more authentic search results.

Google has also introduced:

In a single 16-month span—between April 2021 and September 2022—Google released five ranking updates specific to product reviews [April 2021, December 2021, March 2022, July 2022, September 2022].

Why?

Google knows its users are realizing they don't have to sift through overly-SEO'd Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs). Google knows people are tired of seeing the same content rehashed on different websites. Google knows people are turning to places like Reddit to get real product feedback from users and experts. Others are using TikTok to see what people like them think about products and places. Even if the ranking systems on those platforms are just as flawed, the content feels more genuine.

Google sees the writing on the wall. It knows that if brands don't improve their content that ranks in organic search, fewer and fewer people are going to use Google search to find answers, content, products, and brands.

Here’s some examples of overly SEO’d web pages that offer little to no value to readers: 

A keyword stuffed landing page that's trying to rank in organic search for "Milwaukee SEO"
A keyword stuffed landing page that's trying to rank in organic search for "Milwaukee SEO". Side note: this company doesn't have an office or remote location in Milwaukee and is relying on spammy SEO techniques to rank in organic search results.
Keyword stuffed and over-SEO'd footer links on an SEO agency website.
Keyword stuffed and over-SEO'd footer links on an SEO agency website.

Google knows it has to give searchers what they want to hold on to its market share. It's not enough to use machine learning to understand search queries. It has to understand both the search query and its intent, then deliver results that truly fulfill the query. Google has to show that its results can match the authentic feel of Reddit threads and TikTok videos.

But, there's a massive content quality gap on the web.

You might say, "E-A-T doesn't matter because it's not a ranking factor" or "My link schemes are still too complex for Google to flag as spam". My response to that is:

  • E-A-T matters for many reasons, but especially for the long-term viability of owned digital media and owned digital content.
  • If you're using SEO tactics that go against Google guidelines, you're part of the problem with the SEO industry.

Google sees the writing on the wall. It knows that if brands don't improve their content that ranks in organic search, fewer and fewer people are going to use Google search to find answers, content, products, and brands. Google's recent switch to communicating algorithm updates feels like a plea to SEOs to help fix the web. To be clear: Google doesn't want to fix the web because it's the right thing to do; Google wants to fix the web to retain its relevance and revenue. No, it's not the SEO industry's job to help Google remain the internet overlord. But it is our job to deliver users to brands. We marketing folks, especially SEOs, need to do a better job across all industries to provide content of value to our audiences. It's a win-win situation. We get to continue to reap the benefits of the organic search channel while helping our potential customers.

There's no doubt there will be larger (and more frequent) shakeups to Google's ranking algorithms as it gets more desperate to hold onto marketshare.

Understanding and demonstrating E-A-T on your web pages is the antidote to anxiety around Google algorithm updates. Now that you know the end goal each update is working towards, you can actually benefit from algorithm updates by proactively and consistently providing the type of content that Google and searchers want.

How to improve E-A-T for SEO

Improving your E-A-T can be accomplished through various on- and off-page tactics. Here are 28 places to start improving E-A-T.

Technical SEO & structural signals

These are straightforward, one-time tasks you should implement to demonstrate trustworthiness and provide a good user experience. 

1. Enable HTTPS on your domain

If you don’t already have the HTTPS protocol on your website, make it a priority. A secure browsing experience is the foundation of a trustworthy site, especially (but not exclusively) for ecommerce websites. 

an https "Connection is secure" notice in a Chrome browser
Example of "Connection is secure" message in Chrome

Make sure all external resources and links on your website also use HTTPS protocol. To do a quick check on a webpage, view the page source (right click → view page source, or command+shift+U on Mac). Then search “http://” and “”//”” separately to look for insecure and potentially vulnerable resources.

A Chrome browser search for "http://" to find insecure resources in the source code
Example of searching a website's source code for insecure resources and links

2. Improve semantic HTML

Semantic HTML is code that gives meaning to the structure of a webpage. It helps search engines, web crawlers, and accessibility tools understand the structure and content.

Examples of semantic HTML5 tags include:

  • The header element defines an introductory content for a page or section. Pages can contain multiple <code>&lt;header&gt;</code> elements. Don't confuse <code>&lt;header&gt;</code> with <code>&lt;head&gt;</code>!
  • The nav element defines a set of navigational links. Pages can contain multiple <code>&lt;nav&gt;</code> elements.
  • The main element defines the main content of a document. There should only be one <code>&lt;main&gt;</code> per page.
  • The article element defines a self-standing piece of content, like a blog post. Technically there can be multiple <code>&lt;article&gt;</code> elements on a single page.
  • The aside element defines nonessential content but is related to the main content of a document. You’ll often find <code>&lt;aside&gt;</code> elements used for sidebars and related links.
  • The section element defines a section within a page. <code>&lt;section&gt;</code> is best used within other hierarchical elements, like <code>&lt;header&gt;</code>, <code>&lt;main&gt;</code>, <code>&lt;article&gt;</code>, <code>&lt;aside&gt;</code>, and <code>&lt;footer&gt;</code>. It is similar to the <code>&lt;article&gt;</code> element, but differs in that it is not a piece of content that is standalone.
  • The figure element and the figcaption element define a figure <code>&lt;figure&gt;</code> (an image, video, or other piece of content) and its caption<code>&lt;figcaption&gt;</code>.
  • The footer element defines a footer for a page or section. Most often you’ll see a single <code>&lt;footer&gt;</code> element used on a page, but you can technically use more than one.
Visual representation of a scenario where semantic HTML5 elements are used correctly when the aside is part of the main content
In this case, the aside element is used for content that is closely related to the article content of the page, for example, an “About the Author” section on a blog post. 
Visual representation of a scenario where semantic HTML5 elements are used correctly when the aside is not part of the main content
In this case, the aside element is used for content that is not closely related to the article content of the page, for example a global “About our company” statement that exists across the blog.

You can find more information about semantic HTML on the W3C website<span class="material-symbols-outlined">open_in_new</span>. 

Consider using WAI-ARIA role attributes<span class="material-symbols-outlined">open_in_new</span> to improve accessibility, device adaptation, server-side processing, and complex data descriptions. These attributes are helpful when you can’t implement HTML5 semantic elements and tags.

Example of WAI-ARIA role “main” attribute used. Source: Wikipedia article source code.
Example of WAI-ARIA role “main” attribute used. Source: Wikipedia article source code.

3. Dive deep into structured data

Use schema.org markup to help Google more easily understand your content and improve your chances of appearing in featured snippets, other rich SERP features, and free product listings. 

Examples of common schema.org markups include:

<div class="post-note" role="note">A featured snippet (aka answerbox) is a type of rich result that ranks above the #1 organic result and provides a concise answer to the searcher's query, like this Google search example <span class="material-symbols-outlined">open_in_new</span>.</div>

An example of a featured snippet in Google
An example of a featured snippet in Google

<div class="post-note" role="note">Sitelinks are a type of rich result that allows users to click directly to a section on the page listed in SERPs or to a closely related page on the same website.</div>

An example of sitelinks in an organic search listing
An example of sitelinks in an organic search listing

<div class="post-note" role="note">Product rich results are a type of rich result that shows user ratings, price, and availability directly in the organic search result.</div>

An example of product rich results in an organic search listing
An example of product rich results in an organic search listing

4. Use headings correctly

Use proper heading elements (e.g. <code>&lt;h1&gt;</code>) instead of re-styling normal text to appear larger or more prominent. This adds helpful structure to your content. Make sure heading elements are applied in the right order: <code>&lt;h1&gt;</code> is the first heading element on the page, followed by <code>&lt;h2&gt;</code>, on through <code>&lt;h6&gt;</code>, if needed. Don’t skip sequential headings when organizing your content (e.g. <code>&lt;h2&gt;</code>should be followed by <code>&lt;h3&gt;</code> , not <code>&lt;h4&gt;</code>.

You can technically have multiples of any heading tag, but most SEOs agree that only one <code>&lt;h1&gt;</code> should be used per page. 

It’s perfectly fine to have several <code>&lt;h2&gt;</code> elements on a page, each with <code>&lt;h3&gt;</code> and <code>&lt;h4&gt;</code> beneath it, if needed. 

Just like semantic HTML5 elements and tags, proper use of headings helps search engines understand and index your content, and it improves accessibility for users with disabilities.

5. Focus on web accessibility

Make sure your website is accessible to people with disabilities. Web accessibility is not only the right thing to do, it can also help your SEO efforts.

  • Make your images accessible by using descriptive filenames and alt text. This will help people with visual impairments understand what's in your images and improve your chances of appearing in Google Image search results.
    Consider updating image formats to webp<span class="material-symbols-outlined">open_in_new</span>, or at minimum, compress and resize image files to reduce the size.
  • Provide transcripts for videos or audio recordings on your website. This will improve your chances of ranking in Google Video search results and help people with hearing impairments access your content.
  • Use the right heading tags to structure the content on your website, as described above. Don’t force heading tags either, because there is no value in adding heading tags to try to target additional keywords. 
  • Don't stuff keywords into your heading tags or text just for the sake of it. Use relevant keywords and natural language for your topic’s context.
  • Use clear and concise language to make sure your website copy is easy to read. Use short sentences and paragraphs. Break up long blocks of text with images, headings, and lists.
  • Make internal links accessible by using the correct HTML tags—like <code>&lt;a&gt;</code>— not JavaScript links, and by using ARIA labels<span class="material-symbols-outlined">open_in_new</span> appropriately. If clicking an element changes the URL, use link anchors <code>&lt;a&gt;</code> (web best practices). Form submissions (POST and GET) should use the <code>&lt;button&gt;</code> tag. 

<div class="post-note" role="note">There are fringe cases—for instance within ecommerce product filtering—where non-accessible link types within faceted navigation are acceptable. But the pros and cons of this approach should be evaluated on a case-by-case basis.</div>

A visual checklist for the E-A-T content items discussed above
Use this on-page content checklist for general SEO optimizations, but make sure you're also analyzing the expertise of the author and content on the webpage.

6. Focus on improving Page Experience & Core Web Vitals

Page Experience and Core Web Vitals are reports within Google Search Console.

Page Experience evaluates both the mobile and desktop user experience on your web pages. Page experience metrics are measured for individual pages and used as ranking signals. HTTPS, mobile usability, and Core Web Vitals are all page experience signals. The Core Web Vitals report rates the speed, responsiveness and stability of a web page while it's loading.

The “Experience” menu in Google Search Console
The “Experience” menu in Google Search Console

Common page fixes recommended by Google<span class="material-symbols-outlined">open_in_new</span> include:

  • Reducing page size to <500KB (including all resources, like images, JavaScript, CSS)
  • Limiting page resources to 50 for mobile performance
  • Using external testing tools to uncover and test more fixes
  • Cutting back on data tracking scripts

<div class="post-note" role="note">While Page Experience and Core Web Vitals aren't technically part of improving E-A-T, aspects of web pages that create positive and negative user experiences are detailed in the search quality raters' guidelines. Taking a holistic approach to SEO aligns with Google's mission to give search engine users the information they're seeking along with a great user experience.</div>

7. Create or upgrade your about page(s)

If your company’s about page is minimal or generic, it’s not giving potential customers a reason to trust you (or your website content). Show readers your brand personality and reason for being. Give them insight into your business’s story, values, processes, and the people who do the work. Emphasize the details that differentiate you from competitors. Share business awards and achievements, but be transparent about past mistakes, where you see room for improvement, and the steps you’re taking to grow as an organization.

<div class="post-grade" role="note">Best in class E-A-T “about us”: REI<span class="material-symbols-outlined">open_in_new</span></div>

A screenshot of REI.com's about us section on its website
REI.com’s “about us” content hub keeps company information organized and accessible.

8. Create or upgrade your author bio page(s)

Create a team page and individual bio pages for staff to show potential customers who they’d be working with. Include names, pictures, job titles, years of experience, significant achievements, awards—and show some personality! 

When your in-house experts write content for the website, provide an author credit and link to their page on your site. If you can’t identify one person as the author, give credit to a team or department, and talk about their combined years of experience. 

Create individual bio pages for all contracted authors as well (pages for contributing writers can be organized separately from your employee/team pages).

Don’t skip adding “Author” and “Person” structured data to these pages to help connect the dots for Google’s Knowledge graph.

<div class="post-grade" role="note">Best in class E-A-T author bio pages: Search Engine Journal<span class="material-symbols-outlined">open_in_new</span></div>

Search Engine Journal’s Author Bio pages help show each author’s expertise in the topics they write about.
Search Engine Journal’s Author Bio pages help show each author’s expertise in the topics they write about.

9. Provide real contact information

Include contact information for your business, ideally a physical address, phone number, personalized email (not @gmail.com), and links to your company’s social media accounts. Make it easy for users to find the right person or department to contact with issues such as product returns, troubleshooting, or membership questions.

<div class="post-grade" role="note">Best in class E-A-T contact information: Warby Parker<span class="material-symbols-outlined">open_in_new</span></div>

WarbyParker.com’s customer service menu in the footer provides clear information to help customers reach them.
WarbyParker.com’s customer service menu in the footer provides clear information to help customers reach them.

10. Use social proof and show reviews

Consider adding reviews and testimonials to your site, from customers or other businesses you’ve worked with. Link to the original source of these reviews (Clutch, Google, Yelp, BBB) as often as possible.

A wix.com social proof testimonial from John Mueller from Google.
Wix.com is using quotes from industry experts as social proof, though we don't consider this best in class because there's no link to the source to verify that this is a real quote.

11. Publish the fine print

If applicable, create web pages for your company’s terms and conditions, privacy policy, warranty, and any other necessary disclosures. Link to them from the footer.

Content signals for E-A-T

These are recommendations for creating and updating high-quality content to demonstrate expertise and provide value to your readers.

12. Create a content mission statement

Develop a content mission statement and publish it on your website. Link to it from all blog posts and articles. This helps people understand your approach to content and offers you a place to explain your process behind publishing accurate and helpful content.

<div class="post-grade" role="note">Best in class E-A-T content mission: New York Times<span class="material-symbols-outlined">open_in_new</span></div>

If you’re displaying data, include a caption that includes information about how this data was gathered, who owns it, and why you’re using it. 

Example of “About this data” caption from The New York Times
Example of “About this data” caption from the New York Times COVID-19 dashboard

13. Think about topics as entities

Google's Knowledge Graph database is where it stores information about entities (people, organizations, objects, places). This database also has a "Topic Layer" to organize all that information into topics and subtopics. Check out this masterful summary and analysis for a comprehensive explanation of How Google Understands Entities Through the Topic Layer <span class="material-symbols-outlined">open_in_new</span>.

Since Google search is entity-based, it's a good idea to view your main topic and subtopics as entities. This means 1) publishing content that covers all the topics related to your business, and 2) providing plenty of context.

One way to improve context is by using semantically-related words. These are words that are related to your target keyword, but aren't necessarily synonymous with it. For example, if you're trying to rank for the keyword "dog food," you might use semantically-related words like "dog," "puppy," "pet food," etc.

If helpful and not distracting to your readers, link to trustworthy and authoritative sources such as Wikipedia (Wikipedia is mentioned 48 times in the quality raters' guidelines), PubMed, a government website or Wikidata to provide definitions and additional context.

And finally, make sure your website's internal linking structure logically connects related topics (more on this below).

14. Don't get lazy with internal linking

Use internal links to help Google understand the relationships between your pages and improve the flow of PageRank through your website. Keep your internal linking focused and clean, and focus on what’s most helpful for users. You should audit internal linking 2 to 4 times per year as your website grows.

<div class="post-grade" role="note">Best in class E-A-T internal linking: Crate & Barrel’s Coffee Table category page<span class="material-symbols-outlined">open_in_new</span></div>

An example of a Crate & Barrel category page that uses deliberate, effective, and UX-friendly internal linking
Crate & Barrel’s category page internal linking offers products, guides, and buying information which helps expand the usefulness of this page for multiple user intents.

15. Improve same-page navigation

Add a table of contents or a sticky on-page navigation bar to make it easy for people to navigate your content. This is particularly important for long-form articles and guides.

16. Update content regularly (4x per year)

Make sure your website is up-to-date with the latest trends, research, and information. This will not only help keep your visitors engaged, but it will also show Google that you're relevant and an authority in your industry. At minimum, include the date that each article was updated (at the top of the page), but you can also include the original publish date if that’s helpful for your readers (i.e. news publishers). Make sure that this date makes it into the structured data within the “dateModified” attribute. More about published and modified structured data here <span class="material-symbols-outlined">open_in_new</span>.

Keeping content up to date is especially important for YMYL content (p. 23):

  • High E-A-T medical advice should be written or produced by people or organizations with appropriate medical expertise or accreditation. High E-A-T medical advice or information should be written or produced in a professional style and should be edited, reviewed, and updated on a regular basis.
  • High E-A-T financial advice, legal advice, tax advice, etc., should come from trustworthy sources and be maintained and updated regularly

If you notice a gradual decline in rankings, in most cases it will make more sense (and be more efficient) to update an existing piece of content than to write a new one from scratch. 

When updating existing content, revisit your target topics and the keywords within them to make sure the intent is still appropriate—SERPs for the same search term may look different compared to when the article was first written. There may also be new (or newly trending) keywords and related questions you’ll want to cover to keep your content up to date. The SERP might even look completely different, especially for local and commercial searches.

17. Don't write about things you're not an expert in

Keep your content focus within one degree of separation from your product or service. In other words, don't write about things you're not an expert in. Ideally, write about topics where you have first-hand experience.

<div class="post-alert">And stop pushing out AI (GPT-3) written content. You're going to be in for a harsh reality check once Google finds your AI content. If it hasn't yet, it will. Even AI-generated content with human editing has seen ranking decreases with Google's October spam update.</div>

If you try to rank for topics that are too far removed from what you do, you'll have a hard time convincing Google (and potential customers) that you're an authority on the topic.

<div class="post-help" role="note">Not sure if you're an expert? Here's a quick test—would you feel comfortable teaching a class on the topic? If not, then you're probably not an expert.</div>

18. Use credentialed writers (and sources)

If you're going to outsource your content writing, make sure you use credentialed writers and sources. This will help improve the quality of your content and make it more credible in the eyes of Google.

Credentialed sources could include:

  • Industry experts
  • Thought leaders in your field
  • Well-known bloggers
  • Respected websites
  • Trusted news outlets

You may find experts willing to work with you who don’t have the time or skillset to deliver well-written copy. In that case, provide an author credit for the copywriter who wrote the content, and a reviewer byline (that also links to a bio page with Person JSON/LD markup) for the expert who reviewed the content for accuracy.

If you’re publishing large amounts of expert-reviewed content, consider making a webpage explaining your editorial process and standards (to signal trustworthiness and transparency).

<div class="post-grade" role="note">Best in class example of using and showing use of credentialed writers: Everyday Health<span class="material-symbols-outlined">open_in_new</span>. Everyday Health uses credentialed reviewers and writers and features their bylines and links to their bio pages within the <code>&lt;article&gt;</code> <code>&lt;header&gt;</code>:</div>

The <header> and <nav> section within the <article> content of an Everyday Health web article
Clear and concise communication of authority is simple to implement from a design perspective.

19. Cite and link to references

Stop being scared about losing your page authority by linking to other websites. Google actually wants you to do this. When you link to other websites, you're giving them a vote of confidence. This helps Google understand the relationships between entities and ultimately improve the flow of PageRank across the internet.

Just make sure you're linking to high-quality websites that are relevant to your industry.

<div class="post-grade" role="note">Best in class E-A-T citations: Healthline articles<span class="material-symbols-outlined">open_in_new</span>. It pains me to acknowledge this due to Healthline’s parent company, Red Venture’s borderline unethical dominance of YMYL SERPs on Google, but Healthline’s implementation of in-text citations is top-notch:</div>

Example of Healthline's citation hover effect on desktop devices
Healthline’s in-text citations help showcase accuracy and due process. The feature also works well on mobile devices.

20. Leverage your uniqueness

Google doesn't want to index and rank web pages that restate the same key points found on countless other sites. Read what your competitors and top-performing websites have published on a topic, and then go out of your way to provide original content not found on their websites. Show readers what differentiates your business, and offer a fresh perspective whenever possible. Write in your own style, and share insights and anecdotes from your own experience. This will demonstrate expertise and help your content stand out from the crowd.

21. Use original visuals

Opt for original photos instead of stock photos whenever possible, especially if the image represents your services or products. Create original charts or infographics to clarify complex subjects, or give credit to the images and graphics you got from another source. We like to use Canva<span class="material-symbols-outlined">open_in_new</span> for imagery—it's a great online graphic design tool with user-friendly templates and tutorials for non-designers.

22. Include facts and figures

Google values hard data and specific details over general information and noncommittal statements. We’ve all seen web pages filled with words that don’t say anything definite—don’t let yours be one of them. Seek out and cite trustworthy sources (such as studies that use quantitative research methodology) to inform your content and give searchers detailed information that truly fulfills the query. 

Generally good sources for data include: 

  • Peer-reviewed medical & scientific studies: PubMed<span class="material-symbols-outlined">open_in_new</span>, New England Journal of Medicine<span class="material-symbols-outlined">open_in_new</span>, OMICS International<span class="material-symbols-outlined">open_in_new</span>, JAMA<span class="material-symbols-outlined">open_in_new</span>
  • Population statistics & survey data: U.S. Census Bureau<span class="material-symbols-outlined">open_in_new</span>, United Nations<span class="material-symbols-outlined">open_in_new</span>, Statista<span class="material-symbols-outlined">open_in_new</span>, Pew Research Center<span class="material-symbols-outlined">open_in_new</span>
  • Current events: The Associated Press<span class="material-symbols-outlined">open_in_new</span>, Reuters<span class="material-symbols-outlined">open_in_new</span>

Off-page SEO efforts

These are things you can do outside your website to increase authoritativeness and trustworthiness.

23. Claim and optimize Google Business listings

If you’re a business with a local footprint via brick-and-mortar locations or a specific service area, you should claim, verify, optimize, and keep your free Google Business listing up to date. You can manage your Google reviews on the listing, and share links to encourage customers to leave a review. 

Momentic’s Google Business listing, displayed as a knowledge panel.
Momentic’s Google Business listing, displayed as a knowledge panel.

<div class="post-help" role="note">Here’s a separate Momentic guide about Google Business listings<span class="material-symbols-outlined">open_in_new</span>.</div>

24. Get press

If you want to improve your SEO, get press. Any time your website is mentioned in the press, it's a good thing for your SEO. This is because press mentions can:

  • Help build brand awareness—The more people that know about your website, the more likely they are to visit it.
  • Show Google you're an authority—Any time your website is mentioned in the press, it's a sign of authority. Google will take notice and may give you a rankings boost.
  • Get you high-quality backlinks—Backlinks from high-quality websites can help improve your search engine ranking.

To get press, start by reaching out to journalists and bloggers in your industry. The Keywords Everywhere<span class="material-symbols-outlined">open_in_new</span> (free) browser extension lets you see which backlinks other webpages have. You can also use tools like semrush to compare your backlinks to your competitors’. You can also give HARO a try, or hire a PR firm<span class="material-symbols-outlined">open_in_new</span>. 

25. Ignore spammy backlinks

You may have read that disavowing “spammy” backlinks will boost authority, but it’s almost always a waste of time <span class="material-symbols-outlined">open_in_new</span>. One exception is if you (or an agency you hired) deliberately paid for or created spammy backlinks to your site—those specific links should be disavowed <span class="material-symbols-outlined">open_in_new</span>.

A tweet from Google’s John Mueller about ignoring link disavows unless you’ve actively built a spammy backlink profile.
A tweet from Google’s John Mueller about ignoring link disavows unless you’ve actively built a spammy backlink profile.

26. Do your research

You need to understand your potential customers. What are they searching for? What kind of language do they use? What are their pain points? Once you have a good understanding of your audience, you can start creating content that appeals to them and helps them.

The best way to do research is to actually talk to your potential customers. This could include conducting surveys, interviews, or focus groups.

You can also do some secondary research by reading articles, blog posts, and forums related to your industry. Other secondary sources include Google reviews for your company and competitors, and in-depth reviews on B2B rating sites like Clutch. This will help give you an idea of the language people in your target audience are using, what delights or frustrates them, and the topics they're interested in.

If you have the resources, you can even conduct and publish your own study, which boosts authoritativeness.

Search Reddit and Twitter for the topics that you are discussing on your website. You’ll get the opportunity to understand what discourse is happening around each of the topics. You’ll also likely discover some opportunities for press outreach and/or expert writers to contract work out to.

27. Protect your reputation

Google your company name and top-level employees and look for reputation clues on the SERP. Respond professionally to any negative reviews (potential clients will see your response), and ask the review platform to remove spammy reviews. Make it easy for customers to leave you a review on a trusted platform by including a link on your website and/or your email signature.

Review your free listings, including auto-generated listings that scrape and republish your information. Claim all the free listings that you can, and make sure your company's information is consistent and accurate across the web. If you've never done this, start with your Google Business Profile and Bing Places listing.

28. Create a Wikipedia page—if you can

This is difficult to do, but the payoff can be huge. If your company, CEO, or other high-level employee is deserving of their own Wikipedia page, this can be a big win for improving E-A-T. Google names Wikipedia as a trusted source for reputation information, and Wikipedia is referenced more than 45 times in the quality rater guidelines. 

This Wikipedia page <span class="material-symbols-outlined">open_in_new</span> lays out who and what qualify as “notable” enough to deserve a page, and this comprehensive Hubspot article <span class="material-symbols-outlined">open_in_new</span> outlines steps you can take.

Some SEOs hate E-A-T. Why?

Because it's hard to game. You can't spin your website full of "expert" content and rank higher. You can't use GPT-3 content AIs to create 100s of expert-level articles in minutes. There are no shortcuts to improving E-A-T—that's the point.

E-A-T is about quality. It's about creating truly exceptional content that helps people in some way. And that's not easy to do. But, if you can create content that meets Google's E-A-T guidelines, you're more likely to rank higher in search results. Plus, you'll be helping people along the way, which is a good thing.

This is so much work. How do I get buy-in from stakeholders?

Set goals, KPIs, and map EVERYTHING back to the business's goals.

SEO is a long-term game. This can be frustrating for business owners and teams who are pressed for immediate ROI.

The best way to get buy-in from your boss is to set realistic goals and show her how each achievement will affect the business's bottom line.

SEO goals could look like:

  • Increasing traffic from organic search by X%
  • Increasing conversion rate from organic search by X%
  • Increasing ecommerce transactions from organic search by X%

Once you have your goals set, you need to track your progress and provide regular reporting. This will help them see how your SEO efforts are actually paying off.

SEO is constantly changing

The full picture of E-A-T and its battle against inauthenticity is young. The framework is being written at this moment with new actions, case studies, and perspectives.

The SEO landscape is constantly changing. New algorithm updates are released, new technologies are developed, and new competitive strategies are created as you read this.

What does this mean for you?

This means that, as an individual or business, you have an opportunity to improve your E-A-T. You can make sure that your content is well-researched, accurate, and trustworthy. You can get links from other websites, list your credentials, and have other people vouch for your expertise. You can be honest, transparent, and reliable.

You can create the type of content that Google wants to rank higher on its SERPs. And when you do, you'll not only see your traffic increase, you'll also be helping your potential customers find the information they need to make a purchase decision.

How Momentic creates E-A-T improvement plans

What it takes to improve E-A-T might seem overwhelming, but we do it every day for our clients. The process starts with a website audit and discovery, where we learn more about your customers, competitors, and business goals. 

Questions Momentic considers during an E-A-T audit include:

  • What are potential customers searching for, and is this content likely to help them?
  • What level of expertise does this subject matter call for?
  • Does this website provide a good experience on any device?
  • Would I trust this website with my own YMYL search?
  • Would I share this content with friends or family?
  • Would I bookmark or seek out this website again?

Improving E-A-T is baked into every SEO strategy we create, and this Momentic YMYL case study<span class="material-symbols-outlined">open_in_new</span> is a great example. When it comes to executing the work, we're flexible. We can take it off your hands entirely, provide guidelines and quality checks for your internal team, or work with third-party vendors on specific tasks. Learn more about SEO the Momentic way<span class="material-symbols-outlined">open_in_new</span>, or drop us a line<span class="material-symbols-outlined">open_in_new</span>.

Summary of your E-A-T action plan

Improve Page Templates

  • HTTPS
  • Semantic HTML
  • Structured data
  • Proper headings
  • Accessibility
  • Author bylines and bios
  • About & contact pages
  • Reviews & credentials
  • Policies & other disclosures

Improve Strategy

  • Topics are entities
  • Content updates
  • Internal linking
  • Same-page navigation
  • Don’t write without expertise
  • Credentialed writers & sources
  • Cite trusted references
  • Unique content
  • Original imagery
  • Facts & figures

Improve Reputation

  • Press mentions
  • Skip disavowal
  • Research & studies
  • Online reputation
  • Wikipedia

Final thoughts about E-A-T and further reading

Specific tasks and checklists are useful, but it's also helpful to think about how expertise, authoritativeness and trustworthiness are communicated in real life:

  • When you're speaking to an expert, they often anticipate your questions and know how to answer them in a way you'll understand. 
  • When you need to hire a contractor, you're more likely to trust someone recommended by a friend. 
  • When you're shopping, you'll probably browse longer and buy more if the store is well-organized and offers a positive experience.

Looking at E-A-T as something people inherently value rather than an SEO mandate can make the process easier and more effective.

<div class="post-note-cute" role="aside">Hungry for more? Check out this video<span class="material-symbols-outlined">open_in_new</span> about optimizing for E-A-T from Aleyda Solís's Crawling Mondays series.</div>

About the author(s)