E-A-T was a hot topic when it came to local content.
But why, how and when should you consider concepts in E-A-T when building a link?
Your website cannot have E-A-T without a link and a brand mention profile.
In the search quality rating guidelines, Google states that "sources of reputation" are "news articles, Wikipedia, articles, blog posts, magazine articles, forum discussions, and ratings" when a page rating is created.
And it is easy to see that E-A-T can be used in certain niches and to different degrees to assess the suitability of a site for securing a link.
However, in an interview with CNBC in 2018, Ben Gomes from Google said:
"You can view the rater guidelines the way the search algorithm should be used."
"They don't tell you how the algorithm evaluates the results, but they basically show what the algorithm should do."
Even if E-A-T has no direct influence on the ranking, this can lead to the generation of signals that lead to a direct improvement in the ranking.
However, it is important that you use your own experience to understand what works and what does not work in your niche.
If you strictly follow Google’s recommendations or guidelines, you’re always playing the long game or even missing results when it comes to link building.
And it is clear that Google cannot even implement an algorithmic interpretation that contains the strictest interpretations of these guidelines.
You can find a good example of this under Recipes.
My eight year old daughter and I searched Google for banana bread recipes.
We found the Allrecipes screenshot below.
I found that this recipe is more than 30 minutes away from baking when baking. But it had over 15,000 reviews.
I can easily dig up a hundred similar examples.
So there is a big limitation when I use my interpretation of E-A-T to control the link acquisition.
Don't use E-A-T guidelines to rigorously rate potential websites in any niche.
When should E-A-T standards be used for interested parties?
There are three important considerations before you even bother to review a website against your guidelines, and that is a fair interpretation of Google's search quality assessment guidelines.
- If the websites are completely unusable, no in-depth analysis is required.
- Not every niche or scenario requires rigorous site analysis to create a link.
- A natural link profile does not only contain E-A-T sites.
Let's start with a "useless website", because a further review of a website makes no sense if it is not intended for added value, but is "made for SEO".
Google’s page quality guidelines state:
“Sites or sites with no purpose, including sites created without attempting to help users, or sites that may cause hatred, harm, or misrepresent or mislead users, should receive the lowest rating. No further evaluation is required. "
I do not believe in a strict interpretation of the term "useful purpose".
In my interpretation, the website is useless if it does not contain relevant content that helps users.
But it's not that clear.
For example, the million dollar homepage had no value other than selling ads so that a man could make a million dollars by selling ads.
This page has over 94,000 backlinks (ahrefs), but only 1,200 keywords.
This is an extreme example of a website that I would simply avoid.
With regard to item 2, there are certain niches that require much more rigorous review than others.
YMYL locations have much stricter standards than other niches.
In the guidelines, Google offers some guidance on what constitutes a completely useless website.
In the guidelines, Google explains that YMYL will have different sources of reputation compared to other sources.
The last point is just a reality check for you who are checking your link profile or even creating disavow lists with a strict interpretation of the quality "high" or "low".
If you've analyzed backlink profiles for competitive niches, you've surely seen a mix of links that you can consider to be truly high quality and with a large metric variation.
Ahrefs' screenshot shows that the bestcolleges.com website, which is considered the "best online university for psychology", has a mix of link quality and domain rating (DR).
There are certainly many lurking and confusing variables that also have an impact, but it's so commonplace that you can't ignore this fact.
What are the evaluation criteria?
My team and I created a review of over 50 of the variables we supplied called PureGrade to understand the likelihood that the website would have a positive, negative or neutral impact based on main (MC) and complementary content.
Still, Google uses an interesting scale that I think gives reviewers too much freedom.
My team used these criteria to rate websites that are not necessarily qualified for YMYL content.
This is based on a manual review of over 60,000 websites and thousands of pages in hundreds of corporate projects.
Moz's spam rating has more than 27 common functions that they claim correlate with a significant number of banned or punished websites.
I do not recommend using Moz's Spam Score, PureGrade, or other individual metrics as a gospel to reject or search for new websites.
However, it helps to illustrate that we have to rate websites based on a number of criteria, not just one or two criteria.
Google instructs its evaluators to use a scale with the lowest, lowest +, high +, high, medium +, medium, low +, lowest +, and lowest values.
It is really important to note that this scale is used to rate the ranking site and not the link site. This does not mean that you cannot use this scale to rate potential customers.
For the purposes of this article, which is intended to link the guidelines for quality assessors with the criteria for checking links, I will only list elements of a website that are based on EAT, ideally according to the algorithm of Google or search engines should do ”and not what I saw to improve the ranking.
The rater guidelines only push the idea of finding an expert in the niche and checking whether they are experts.
The key elements to be checked are:
- About us, contact or customer service information.
- Outbound link profile.
- A "positive reputation" for the main or additional content.
In addition to the search for authorship, it is important to evaluate the MC pages. A key indicator is whether the website mentions Buy Dofollow Links anywhere on the website.
If the website says so, it is likely that most of the articles are not from reputable sources and you should avoid this.
This is not the case if the website mentions "paid guest contributions". This may mean that they offer sponsored posts or affiliate links.
This way, websites make money and can be separated from the main content.
Search for overly commercial links with an outbound link profile.
These are usually links that surprise the user when they click by directing them to the home page or transaction pages.
After all, the “positive reputation” is much more difficult to determine.
Use a mix of Ahrefs, Majestic, and Moz metrics to understand the website's reputation profile.
You can also use tools like BuzzSumo to determine whether the prospect's articles are shared or engaged.
One last note
It is really important to note the following from the Rater guidelines:
“You will often find little or no information about the reputation of a website for a small organization. This is not an indication of a positive or negative reputation. Many small, local businesses or community organizations have a small “web presence” and rely on word of mouth, not online reviews. For these smaller companies and organizations, poor reputation should not be seen as an indication of poor page quality. "
When evaluating micro-influencers or small blogs on potential customers, it must be borne in mind that it is not always important to be strict.
In-Post Image: Created by the author, June 2020
All screenshots from the author, June 2020