Welcome to the Salience Expertise, Authority & Trust Cheat Sheet! Or the ChEAT Sheet if you will. I’ll see myself out.
In this guide we will answer some of the most frequently asked questions about E-A-T and share a bunch of handy tips, tricks, and recommendations to improve the trust signals coming from your website.
Expertise, Authority & Trust FAQ’s
What is E-A-T?
Google introduced E-A-T into their algorithm back in August 2018, to promote trusted content from respected websites, while also tackling misinformation and misleading Your Money Your Life (YMYL) content.
What does E-A-T stand for?
E-A-T stands for Expertise, Authority & Trust.
What does YMYL mean?
YMYL stands for Your Money Your Life and refers to misleading or incorrect content that could directly impact the reader’s life. This could be bad financial advice, inaccurate medical suggestions and more.
Is E-A-T a ranking factor?
Not directly, no. There are over 200 ranking signals, several of which are E-A-T related, so if you improve those your rankings should increase.
Is there an E-A-T score?
At a Pubcon in October 2019, Gary Illyes from Google confirmed there is “no internal E-A-T score or YMYL score.”:
How is E-A-T assessed?
Algorithmically, mostly. However, Google also relies on individuals who manually review websites following Google’s quality rating guidelines.
Should I Care About E-A-T?
Absolutely! As mentioned above, E-A-T really relates to several other important ranking factors such as pagespeed, intuitive design, quality of content and more. Care about these and your E-A-T will take care of itself.
Related – Why Is Pagespeed Important?
E-A-T Best Practices
Encourage Online Reviews
Reviews are one of the most trusted signals you can promote on your website. They can be the deciding factor if a new customer sees previous customers happy with the product or service.
When searching for a brand online, Google is likely the most visible platform for potential customers. Google reviews are also used in the My Business ranking algorithm.
Fresh Chalk completed a Google My Business study that showed higher Google review scores generally lead to improved visibility and rankings.
We recommend including three main review platforms (including Google) in a purchase follow-up e-mail, requesting customers review on their favoured platform.
To generate a link to provide to customers, click the “Share profile” button in the “Get more reviews” box on the Google My Business homepage:
There are some guidelines here for encouraging customer reviews. Reviews that appear in bulk, for example, can look suspicious, as can hundreds of reviews that are only 5*.
Trustpilot has become one of the most popular third-party review platforms, and Yell appears in many Google searches (particularly location-based). We recommend spending time populating and promoting these platforms too.
Add Review Data to Webpages
Research shows 91% of people regularly or occasionally read online reviews, and 84% trust online reviews as much as a personal recommendation. 68% form an opinion after reading between one and six online reviews.
Therefore, positive review data should be plastered across your website:
Encourage/Add Reviews on Product Pages
Reviews can provide a boost to organic search traffic by adding relevant content to a page. Positive objective reviews with names of people act as social proof and encourage people to buy:
Reviews on product pages should focus on the product itself, rather than the company’s service, which can be encouraged when requested reviews.
Reviews on individual product pages can be marked up using AggregateRating schema. This calculates an average rating from customer reviews, and can increase visibility in search engines by showing a star rating e.g.:
Show/Prioritise Named Reviews
Reviews with names are considered more trustworthy than anonymous reviews. Full names aren’t necessary e.g. a forename and location seems more genuine than an anonymous review:
Show Balanced Reviews
No website, product or service is perfect. Users and search engines expect to see a balanced review of services and products.
Showing a mix of reviews, with the option to filter reviews by rating, can help promote trust.
Some websites show a percentage split e.g.:
Add/Optimise Author Bios
Author bios should show experience relevant to the author’s post or article. Alternatively, articles (particularly YMYL) can be reviewed by an expert in the field, with their credentials stated.
This biography from a dreams.co.uk article shows the author is qualified to write on that topic:
Google promote this and say: “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.”
Author names are a trust factor, particularly when paired with biographies mentioning experience related to the article. Author names generally appear at the beginning or end of an article.
Add Publish Date and Date Updated
Particularly with time-sensitive content, publish and updated dates are important. A last updated date should be visible when articles are updated.
As well as showing dates on the article page for readers, structured markup can make this information more accessible for search engines.
Consider Professional Review & Fact Checking
For YMYL (your money or your life) topics such as health and finance advice, a professional review and/or fact checking can be an important trust factor.
Healthline show who each article was reviewed by:
Healthline also include a “Fact Checked” tick box which links to supporting information:
Reduce Strong Sale/Discount Message
While sales and discounts are important, websites can be too over optimised for this. Customers can attribute sales or discounts to low quality and even low value, which could lead to a detrimental trust effect:
Scale back your sale and discount messaging to designated parts of the website, instead of bombarding customers with it.