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.

Related – A Guide to the Google E-A-T & YMYL Update



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.

Source

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.”:

Source

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

Reviews

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:

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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.:



Content

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.

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Design

Use Consistent Design

A familiar and consistent design is important to show visitors they’re using a trustworthy website.

If customers move from one page to another and the design is different, that can make less advanced web users think they have left the website.

A common mistake websites make is using a different design and navigation on their blog compared to their main website. This can make the customer journey unnecessarily disruptive.

Prevent Excessive Intrusive Pop-Ups

Even one pop-up can be frustrating for a visitor, causing them to leave a website. Google advises against interstitials that block a large portion of a page, particularly on mobile devices, and can result in a ranking penalty if it occurs soon after landing on the page:

Simplify your Design

No one likes unfriendly websites that require you to jump through hoops and barriers before accessing the products or service you desire.

When designing your website, ask yourself could you grandparents successfully navigate it? If not, you should look at making it a much easier experience for customers.

Nielsen have a bunch of great website design guides. I recommend their Top 10 Mistakes in Web Design article to get you started.

Include a “Trust Bar”

Many competitors include a trust bar towards the top of their website. Obvious free shipping is good for conversions and manufacturer guarantees give peace of mind.



About and Contact Details

Ensure Contact Details Are Easy to Find

A link to contact details should be included in a website’s header and footer.

 Google mention clear contact details as an important trust factor.

Add Physical Address to Footer or Main Contact Page

If you do not easily show your physical address on the website, customers may question your legitimacy.

This can be tricky for companies with hundreds of premises or stores across the world but displaying the head office is often enough of a trust signal to customers.

Optimise About Us Page

The About page can be one of the most important pages on a website, particularly for visitors unfamiliar with a business.

The Silentnight About Us page has a wealth of important trust-related information, including:

Moz has great About Us page advice here.



Guides & Blogs

Create Guide Content

Guides are a great way to show your customers that you are the expert on your website’s topic. It promotes trust and shows that you know what you’re talking about if you have accompanying resources to help them before, during and after their purchase.

Guide content is also a magnet to attract ranking keywords and links from other websites that find your resources useful to their audience.

Add Guides to Main Menu

Providing links to comprehensive guides and informative resources is a great trust signal that you are not simply selling to customers but educating them too.

Carpetright includes links to their advice sections in the main menu:

This promotes their expertise and sends link equity and visitors to these pages.

Promote Expertise on Category Pages

When it helps the buying process, promoting expertise (such as linking to a guide or advice section) can be an important trust factor.

We recommend adding informational resource links on important category and subcategory pages:

This not only gets the useful content in front of as many eyes as possible, but it also increases the topical relevancy between the content and ecommerce pages.



If you want to speak to Salience about your Expertise, Authority and Trust, get in touch with us today!

David Ryan

Dave is Senior Technical SEO Strategist at Salience with 8 years industry experience and several FIFA office championships under his belt during an illustrious playing career. He enjoys strong tea, smooth website migrations and dislikes unexplained algorithm changes.

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