The Google Search Quality Evaluator Guidelines are used as a means of PQ (Page Quality) Rating, with the E-E-A-T acronym helping PQ raters to determine and evaluate how well a web page achieves its purpose.
The assessment of a page’s quality is important as it is directly linked with how well a web page ranks on Google, which in turn has an effect on website traffic. Google wishes to promote companies, businesses and individuals that it deems to be the most relevant and accurate source of information, and demote sources of information that could be potentially harmful, such as scams.
The best way to do this is to consider a content creator’s Experience, Expertise, Authoritativeness and Trustworthiness.
The most important and valued member of the E-E-A-T family is Trust. How well can you trust this source of information? How trustworthy is this person? The other elements; experience, expertise, authoritativeness are all ways of assessing a website’s overall trustworthiness and they are used by evaluators to determine a PQ Rating.
What does E-E-A-T stand for?
Experience; This is referring to the content creator, and questions what first-hand or life experiences they have that relates to the topic in which they discuss. Search Quality Evaluators must consider the source of information and decipher whether they have the necessary experience to have a say on their given topic. Who is a more trustworthy review source; someone who has used the product or someone who hasn’t?
Expertise; It is important to consider the content creator’s knowledge and skill in regard to a specific topic. Search quality evaluators will look at the creator to determine whether they have the appropriate accolades to be considered an expert. Who would you trust to provide advice on medical treatments; a trained medical professional or a builder?
Authoritativeness; This looks at how well-known and established a content creator is as a go-to source of information for a given topic. This is slightly harder to distinguish as there are many topics that do not have an official source, but it refers to the most reliable and trustworthy source. For example, the official government page for renewing your driver’s licence would be the most trustworthy source for licence renewal information.
Trust; Trust is the most important component of E-E-A-T because any page that is untrustworthy will have low E-E-A-T and therefore a low rating. It doesn’t matter how experienced or expert or authoritative the source is if they are deemed untrustworthy; for example, if the most experienced and expert scammer created a website offering information on how to scam someone they would be penalised for their untrustworthiness.
What do PQ Ratings mean in terms of SEO?
In simple terms, your PQ Rating determines how well your website ranks on Google. SEO is all about optimising your website so that search engines pull your information to the top of the search page, making it more readily available to your audience.
PQ Ratings put your website into one of 5 categories; Lowest, Low, Medium, High, or Highest. It is up to Google’s contracted evaluators to consider the quality of your website, the purpose of your pages, how well your pages fulfil their purpose and how relevant your pages are to your audience in order to categorise them.
The Highest rated websites will assume priority position, and the Lowest rated websites will be penalised by search engines. This means that E-E-A-T needs to be subject to serious consideration in any SEO strategy.
How can you improve your trustworthiness?
There are many different factors to consider when you look at your website as a whole, from the design, to the content, to the navigation. Your audience wants accurate and relevant information that is easily accessible and understandable.
You need to consider your website in its entirety; from its functionality and URLs behind the scenes, to the written content and imagery that can be seen on your website pages. You can find our blog on High-Quality Content: What is it and why do I need it? which offers a more in depth insight into how to create content that works well for SEO purposes.
Other things that can help to inform search quality evaluators are things such as your About Us page; this allows them to get a feel for the creator/s or company/business and helps them to distinguish your personal experience, expertise, authoritativeness and trustworthiness as a source. They will also take into consideration what other people have to say about you by looking at reviews, comments and any other customer communications.
When it comes to reviews, be aware that evaluators will be looking for conflicts of interest, such as paid influencers, sponsor reviews and even manufacturer reviews as they will be biassed, and therefore an untrustworthy source which could lead to you being penalised.
Evaluators have to pay special attention to any content that could be considered to be YMYL which means “Your Money or Your Life” and makes reference to any content that could potentially influence someone into making a decision that could have harmful repercussions on their physical, mental, emotional or financial well-being.
Make sure that there is nothing attached to you or your company/business that falls into this category as you will immediately be given the lowest PQ rating which will massively affect your Google rankings.