Definition of E-E-A-T

According to Google Search Quality Evaluator Guidelines (also known as Quality Rater Guidelines, QRG) Experience, Expertise, Authoritativeness and Trust (E-E-A-T) are all important considerations in Page Quality (PQ) rating. The most important member at the center of the E-E-A-T family is Trust.

Trust is the most important member of the E-E-A-T family because untrustworthy pages have low E-E-A-T no matter how Experienced, Expert, or Authoritative they may seem. For example, a financial scam is untrustworthy, even if the content creator is a highly experienced and expert scammer who is considered the go-to on running scams!

Google instructs their Human Evaluators who train their learning models to consider the extent to which the page is accurate, honest, safe, and reliable in order to tell the Trust level.

Apparently, the type and amount of Trust needed depends on the page, for example:

  • Online stores need secure online payment systems and reliable customer service

  • Product reviews should be honest and written to help others make informed purchasing decisions (including to avoid the conflict of interest)

  • Informational pages on clear YMYL (Your Money or Your Life) topics (see below) must be accurate to prevent harm to people and society

The rest of the factors to the E-E-A-T content quality assessment, namely, E-E-A or Experience, Expertise and Authoritativeness are important concepts that can support the assessment of Trust.

Experience: trustworthiness can be achieved when pages are created by people with a wealth of personal experience.

Expertise: different topics require different levels and types of expertise to be trustworthy, but advice pages are more trustworthy when created by skilled professionals.

Authoritativeness: while most topics do not have one official, Authoritative website or content creator, when they do, that website or content creator is often among the most reliable and trustworthy sources.

A citation from Google Search Quality Evaluator Guideline:

Experience, Expertise, and Authoritativeness may overlap for some page types and topics (for example, someone may develop Expertise in a topic due to first-hand Experience accumulated over time), and different combinations of E-E-A may be relevant to different topics.

According to Google, an assessment of E-E-A-T should be informed by one or more of the following in order to determine the Page Quality (PQ):

What the website creators say about themselves?

It is necessary to look at the "About us" page on the website or a profile page of the content creator as a starting point.

Is the website or content creator a trustworthy source

based on this information?

What others say about the website?

Evaluators must look for independent reviews, references, news

articles, and other sources of credible information about the website or content creators. Is there independent, reliable evidence that the website or content creator is experienced, has expertise, is authoritative (or otherwise)?

What is visible on the page, including the MC?

For some types of pages, the level of experience and expertise may be clear from the Main Content (MC) itself. Google asks evaluators to determine "What evidence can you gather from examining the MC ? For example, you may be able to tell that someone is an expert in hair styling by watching a video of them in action (styling someone's hair) and reading others' comments (commenters often highlight expertise or lack thereof)".

Purpose of the Page

Google gives 3 reasons why it is important to clearly understand the purpose of the page:

  1. The goal of PQ rating is to determine how well a page achieves its purpose. In order for an evaluator (or a machine algorythm) to assign a rating, she must understand the purpose of the page (and sometimes the website).

  2. By understanding the purpose of the page, you'll better understand what criteria are important to consider when evaluating that particular page. Google specifically says that "Experience, Expertise, and Authoritativeness may overlap for some page types and topics (for example, someone may develop Expertise in a topic due to first-hand Experience accumulated over time), and different combinations of E-E-A may be relevant to different topics".

  3. Websites and pages should be created to help people. If that is not the case, a rating of Lowest may be warranted.

Types of purposes

Common helpful or beneficial page purposes include:

  • To share information about a topic

  • To inform users of

  • To share a personal experience, perspective, or feelings on a topic.

  • To share pictures, videos, or other forms of media.

  • To demonstrate a personal talent or skill.

  • To express an opinion or point of view.

  • To entertain.

  • To offer products or services, etc

Your Money or Your Life (YMYL) Topics

These topics could significantly impact the health, financial stability, or safety of people, or the welfare or well-being of society, because of the following reasons:

  1. The topics itself is harmful or dangerous.

  2. The topic could cause harm if the content is not accurate and trustworthy.

To determine whether a topic is YMYL, assess the following types of harm that might occur:

  • YMYL Health or Safety: Topics that could harm mental, physical, and emotional health, or any form of safety such as physical safety or safety online.

  • YMYL Financial Security: Topics that could damage a person's ability to support themselves and their families.

  • YMYL Society: Topics that could negatively impact groups of people, issues of public interest, trust in public institutions, etc.

  • YMYL Other: Topics that could hurt people or negatively impact welfare or well-being of society.

Who is Responsible for the Website and Who Created the Content on the Page?

Finding Who is responsible for the Website overall and who created the content on the page is beginning of a journey to arrive at Page Quality. Google says that it should be clear:

  • Who (what individuals, company, business, organization, government agency, etc.) is responsible for the website.

  • Who (what individuals, company, business, organization, government agency, etc.) created the content on the page.

Google states that websites are usually very clear about who is responsible for the website and who created the content on the page, including due to the following reasons:

  • People may want to showcase their own personal talent, experiences, and perspectives.

  • Artists other original content creators may want to be known and appreciated.

  • Commercial websites may have copyrighted material they want to protect.

  • Businesses and organizations may want people to know who they are and what they do.

  • Stores want customers to feel comfortable buying their products online.

Apparently, many websites are interested in communicating with their users. There are many reasons that users might have for contacting a website, including asking questions or getting help.

Citation from Google Search Quality Evaluator Guideline

The types and amount of contact information needed depend on the type of website. Contact information and customer service information are extremely important for websites that handle money, such as stores, banks, credit card companies, etc. Users need a way to ask questions or get help when a problem occurs.

Page Quality Rating Scale

For determining Page Quality rating, Google gives their Evaluators a Page Quality sliding scale (slider) to assign the overall PQ rating. The slider looks like this:

In machine algorithmic assessmnent, there's obviously no grades like Low or Medium quality page. But the idea stays the same.

Factors that warrant Lowest Quality Page rating

Google notes that there are many different shapes and forms that Lowest rated pages can take. Likewise, Google organizes Lowest pages into three broad categories:

  1. Harmful,

  2. Untrustworthy, and

  3. Spammy.

These categories can overlap (e.g., pages that contain Harmfully Misleading Information are also Untrustworthy).

3 reasons to consider a page Harmful

Pages should be considered to contain Harmfully Misleading Information when they contain at least one of the following:

  1. Harmful and clearly inaccurate information.

  2. Harmful claims that contradict well-established expert consensus.

  3. Harmful unsubstantiated theories/claims.

Untrustworthy Webpages or Websites

1. Inadequate Information about the Website or Content Creator for the Purpose of the Page

Google holds that "for pages that require a high level of trust, information about who created the content and who is responsible for the content is critical". YMYL pages or websites that handle sensitive data with absolutely no information about the website or content creator should be rated Lowest.

2. Extremely negative reputation (Lowest E-E-A-T and Lowest Reputation of the Website or Content Creator)

This includes:

A very negative reputation, including a reputation for malicious or harmful behavior. For example, there are many reviews on websites describing how users sent money and did not receive anything in return.

Evidence of fraudulent or criminal behavior. For example, a website engaged in criminal behavior such as physically threatening users OR there are many detailed negative articles on news sites and charity watchdog sites describing fraud and financial mishandling about this organization.

Other factors that Google says shall render a page Untrustworthy are as follows:

  • Deceptive Page Purpose and Deceptive MC Design

  • Deliberately Obstructed or Obscured MC

  • Suspected Malicious Behavior

Spammy pages or websites

Google notes that some pages are created to benefit the website owner with little to no attention paid to the experience of the people who visit. These are essentially spammy pages that use Google ranking algorythm to appear near the top of search results and thus disincentivize others from creating a good content, etc.

So, these pages can be one of the following types:

  1. Cannot Determine a Purpose, No MC, Little MC, or Lowest Quality MC

  2. Hacked, Defaced, or Spammed Pages (including "spammed" comments on Forums)

  3. Auto-generated MC

  4. Copied MC with No Added Value

Merchant sites: example of a little contact info and untrustworthy characteristics

Google argues that page is selling Nike Air Jordan shoes, however, there is inadequate contact information on the contact us page for a merchant site. Also, it contains inaccurate information about shipping and returns, deceptive use of logos and no information about who is responsible make this shopping site appear potentially fraudulent and untrustworthy.

eCommerce sites: Checking and refining product cards

The QRG mentions in several places that useful and quality product cards are a sign of a high quality website.

The highlighted paragraph reads verbatim: "Extensive product information and a significant number of user reviews are available for each backpack, in addition to filter options that are easy to use on a phone. This result will be very useful for many or most users." Next quote:

In this example, taken from Google's quality guidelines, a user is looking for a particular ring sold under the Pandora brand and probably wants to examine it, see what it looks like, etc.

The highlighted paragraph provides the following: "The search result has a variety of images of the ring available, showing it from different angles and made of different materials. Having an idea of what the ring looks like is very helpful for users who are researching the product and available purchase options."

In general, the more useful information there is on a product card, the better, the higher the quality score given to the page or site as a whole.

Most eCommerce sites that work with the same manufacturers have a problem with uniqueness of descriptions. Typically, all products have a single description provided by the manufacturers. Apparently, Google has no reason to give preferential treatment to any site among hundreds of similar online shops selling the same products.

To deal with is, it's good to try reworking product descriptions. Also, it's useful to add additional useful features to product cards, such as links to manuals, video tutorials, answers to frequently asked questions about the product, etc.

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