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What does Google actually mean by E-A-T?

Here’s what most SEOs believe when it comes to Google’s E-A-T framework:

By focusing on your content’s E-A-T (expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness), you’ll climb to the top of the search results.

But Molly Ploe at Moz asks a great question: If you do everything by the book and your direct competitors do so as well… How do you know you’ll rank above them?

She analyzed the top results of ten different queries in seven verticals (647 results) to find out which “little details” move the needle—and she discovered some interesting things.

The proof is in the pudding, so let’s E-A-T it…

Be relevant, but also recent. Yes, your content has to be original and well researched. But even more importantly, it needs to strengthen your topical authority.

See, Google connects the dots of your content and finds a core topic. The more relevant your content is to a specific vertical, the more chances you have to rank above everyone else.

Molly also says most top articles are updating and refreshing their content. So, keep yours updated, too.

Build off-site presence. Google reviews, third-party reviews, Wikipedia mentions, and listings won’t always send a lot of traffic, but Google definitely counts them.

Websites that had a lot of direct mentions on these places ranked favorably on the first page.

Be transparent and honest. This is where trustworthiness comes into play. Almost every top-ranking result had a detailed About Us page. But that’s not all.

Having an author name next to the article and linking to their credentials, including testimonials and reviews, indicating fact-checking, and more were all present on most websites.

Form meaningful connections. This is why link building and digital PR firms charge so much. Displaying your work with reputable partners is a clear signal that you have expertise.

Molly lists partnership announcements, accolades from recognized organizations, reputable backlinks, high domain authority, and low link spam score as key factors.

Implement the right technology. Climbing to the top demand’s quality tools. For instance, 96% of all top 3 users had HTTPS — a secure technology.

Also, try to minimize disruptions such as on-page ads and intrusive email pop-ups while adding mandatory notifications — e.g. cookie consent notice.

Better E-A-T up… because it’s a long climb to the top, and there’s a lot to plan for!