E-A-T stands for Expertise-Authoritativeness-Trustworthiness. It is a system introduced by Google to determine the overall quality of a website. You must have frequently come across this term while working on your eCommerce site’s SEO.
Google first introduced the concept in 2014. And the stress on it has increased over the years. Today, Google takes E-A-T very seriously while ranking your site. As an eCommerce business, Google rankings are essential for you. Hence, E-A-T is something that you must work on.
In this comprehensive guide, let’s look at the importance of E-A-T for your eCommerce site. You’ll also find about how E-A-T influences your site’s Google rankings. And, effective strategies that will help you optimize your eCommerce site for E-A-T.
As mentioned above, E-A-T stands for Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness. The term comes from Google’s Quality Rater Guidelines.
Google uses actual humans to assess the quality of Google search results manually. And, it provides the testers with certain guidelines for this purpose.
The human testers use these guidelines to determine the quality of the top-ranking Google results. It indicates that Google uses the concept of E-A-T while ranking websites. It is a prominent ranking factor in the eyes of Google.
E-A-T is not an algorithm in itself. But it employs a set of baby algorithms to determine the E-A-T factor of any web page.
Here is an elaborate explanation of each of the terms in this algorithm:
1. Expertise: According to Google, the person responsible for the Main Content (MC) of a website must be an expert in the field. An industry expert should create or review all the content on your website.
2. Authoritativeness: This factor indicates how authoritative the website is. It also indicates the authoritativeness of the person responsible for the MC of the website.
3. Trustworthiness: Your website’s content is responsible for building trust. The person behind the website’s content is also responsible for this. It is even more important in the case of an eCommerce website. It includes factors such as SSL certificate, social proof, and reviews.
E-A-T is crucial for climbing SEO rankings and gaining more customers. E-A-T holds even more importance in the case of eCommerce sites. Because eCommerce websites involve the exchange of sensitive information, it includes credit card information and other customer data.
Here are a few reasons why E-A-T is very important for eCommerce websites:
Google considers E-A-T as a very important ranking factor. It is as mentioned in the quality rater guidelines.
It is especially important for eCommerce websites. eCommerce sites require users to have trust in them. Since it involves money and the exchange of sensitive information, users will leave your site if your website is not credible and trustworthy.
Thus, if you do not focus on E-A-T for your site, it will affect your rankings. As Google is a monopoly, it is one of the major sources of traffic for eCommerce websites. Without ranking on Google, it is difficult for you to reach your fullest potential.
Most E-A-T optimization techniques overlap with user experience. E-A-T includes building backlinks, creating expert content, adding terms and conditions. All these provide a better experience to your eCommerce website visitors.
When you work on your site’s authority, expertise, and trust, users will automatically get a better experience.
E-A-T focuses on improving the Google search experience for its users. Google wants to display only reliable, authentic, and expert information to users. Hence, by optimizing for E-A-T, your website also works towards the same goals.
Through E-A-T, you can provide positive experiences to your users. It includes creating reliable content, providing high-quality customer support, and hassle-free financial transactions.
You must work towards the betterment of these factors.
Optimizing for E-A-T will get you better online reviews and brand recognition. Google will start ranking your website on its top positions. It will lead to an increase in the number of website visitors. And an increase in your product sales.
E-A-T also stresses the importance of good customer support of your website. It takes into account the security of your site. It focuses on adding comprehensive product details. It also involves disclosing all your pricing policies upfront.
All these factors will help increase your website conversion rates. More website visitors will convert into loyal customers.
For the past few years, numerous businesses have made their way into the online world. Although this was a win for all of us, users face a lot of misinformation. Hence, Google decided to curb the spread of misinformation through E-A-T.
Google didn’t simply rely on keyword optimization. It felt the need to evaluate the E-A-T of the websites it was ranking. It was especially true for the websites falling under the YMYL category. YMYL stands for Your-Money-Your-Life. These are websites that involve life (health) and money (finances).
Google uses E-A-T for evaluating the credibility of all sites on the internet. The stress is more on YMYL since these have a direct impact on the users’ lives.
Ecommerce sites fall under this category. It is because of the large number of financial transactions that happens in the eCommerce site. Hence, E-A-T is an essential part of ranking eCommerce sites on Google.
As mentioned in its quality rater guidelines, Google takes E-A-T very seriously. It uses page quality rating to determine the expertise and quality of your site’s pages. If you do not optimize your site for E-A-T, Google is not going to rank you well.
If your eCommerce site’s pages are not authoritative and reliable, Google will prefer your competitors above you.
Suppose the content you put out is not created or reviewed by experts. Then Google will consider your content to be of low quality. Similarly, if you do not build trust with your users, Google will not rank you well.
Hence, without optimizing for E-A-T, you cannot reach the fullest potential of your eCommerce SEO & online sales. And, you cannot build strong, loyal relationships with your customers. Ultimately, your eCommerce business will lead to failure.
Google states that the quality of a page depends on how beneficial it is to the users. Google has mentioned this in their quality rater guidelines. One of the best ways of providing benefit to your eCommerce website visitors is through a blog.
A blog can help you with E-A-T optimization in the following ways:
Hence, creating regular, expert blog content can be extremely beneficial for your site’s E-A-T signals. Most eCommerce sites make the mistake of only focusing on adding product pages. Adding value through content will have a major impact on your website rankings.
Remember to create blog posts that are relevant to your target audience. For example, assume that your eCommerce site is selling hiking gear. Then, you should create useful blog content around hiking. You can also create other types of content, such as infographics and videos.
Backlinks are the most important indicators of E-A-T as per Google. It is because E-A-T heavily relies on Google’s PageRank algorithm.
PageRank is an algorithm that analyses the links and assigns a weight to each of your site’s pages. Suppose you have high-quality, relevant backlinks to your eCommerce site. Then the weight will be more. It improves your overall website’s E-A-T.
But, why are backlinks considered for the E-A-T algorithm? When other websites add a link to your site, it shows that your content is credible and trustworthy. And that is why other relevant websites want their audience to read your content.
PageRank is a complex algorithm where a lot of factors come into play. These include placement of the link, anchor text, and the font. It also includes the authority of the linking domain and the authority of the page. Most importantly, the backlinks to your eCommerce products or content should be relevant.
You can build links to your products and content. You need to:
One of the main trust-building factors for an eCommerce site is the product descriptions. Every user goes through product descriptions before making a purchase. It is especially true for lesser-known brands.
Hence, if you don’t add enough details to your product descriptions or add incorrect details, this will affect your customers’ satisfaction.
Customers are giving their trust to your eCommerce brand while purchasing from you. Hence, the least you can do is add comprehensive, accurate product descriptions.
We all have come across websites that show some other product images. But the actual product you receive is entirely different. It will affect the trustworthiness of your website.
Moreover, inaccurate product descriptions and images will lead to more negative reviews. Negative reviews will also affect your site’s E-A-T signals. And ultimately, your Google rankings will drop.
Reviews are a major indicator of the reputation and trustworthiness of any website. It is even more important for eCommerce stores. Hence, reviews play a very crucial role in your Google rankings.
Google uses product reviews on your website content for E-A-T and local SEO. Apart from this, your product reviews on other public forums also matter.
Google’s quality rater guidelines specifically stress the authenticity of the reviews. It says that negative reviews are okay. But the authenticity of the reviews is what matters most.
Google also considers the content of the reviews.
These details matter. Suppose your reviews indicate that there was some financial fraud from your site. Then it will affect your site’s E-A-T signals. If Google notices more such genuine reviews, then your rankings will drop. It is because Google won’t consider your store trustworthy for financial transactions.
You cannot optimize for E-A-T without telling about the people behind your website even if the site is an eCommerce store. It is very important to let your site visitors know about you.
The best way to do this is to add a transparent and trustworthy “About” page to your website. On this page, you can add details about the owner of the site and other team members.
You can also let people know about your story.
This way, people get to know about you up close and personal. It helps in building a strong connection with them. It also helps with building trust.
You can also showcase your team’s expertise using the About page. You can talk about your relevant experience in the industry and all the wins you have achieved.
What happens when you visit a website, and you do not find their contact details? You instantly feel agitated and leave the site.
You’ll also feel that there is something shady about the site. The same goes for your site as well. Do you want to build trust with your users? Then, the contact information is very important.
Hence, it is very important to add contact details to your site. You must include details such as email addresses, telephone numbers, and other information. If you are a local business, then you should also include the address and a map. You must also add your contact details to your Google My Business account.
Try to keep your contact details easily accessible. People do not have the patience to dig through several pages to look for it. Hence, add contact information to your homepage, and footer.
Social proof is one of the best ways to increase the trustworthiness of your eCommerce site. You must add elements of social proof to your homepage. It will show the visitors that they can trust and purchase your products.
You can add social proof to your homepage in various forms.
88% of users say that they trust reviews as much as personal recommendations. Hence, adding these to your homepage will be a major contributor to improving your online store’s E-A-T.
You can determine the expertise part of E-A-T by the kind of content you put out. Gone are the days when creating any content and optimizing it for keywords would help you rank on Google. Today, the quality and expertise of the content are of utmost importance.
Hence, it is very crucial to rope in niche industry experts to work with your content. You can either create content with the help of experts. And showcase their relevant expertise and experience. You can do this in the author bio and “About” page.
Or, you can at least review all your content with the help of these industry experts so, that you can assure your users and Google that all your content is accurate and not misleading.
In the author bio or “About” page, you must talk about these experts. You should also mention that experts have reviewed your content.
Doing this will add immense credibility to your content. And your site will start ranking higher on the Google results page.
The creation of good, high-quality content begins with keyword research. Keyword research goes way beyond just adding keywords to your content. It begins with understanding your ideal customer persona.
So, start by analyzing your ideal buyer persona. Understand what exactly they are looking for. Based on this, you should come with the best set of keywords for your products. The same goes for your blog content, as well.
While doing keyword research, it is also important to match the search intent of the user
Matching your products and content to search intent is extremely important. It is because, by optimizing for search intent, users get what they want. Hence this leads to better customer experience and satisfaction.
If you don’t optimize for search intent, your visitors may feel deceived. It will lead to a negative impact on them. And thus, this will affect your site’s E-A-T and Google rankings.
Relevant and updated information is an important indicator of reliability and trust. That is why Google considers updated product information and content for E-A-T.
So, always keep your product information updated. You should also update your content regularly. You can do this by consistently publishing blog posts, infographics, and videos.
Up-to-date site information shows Google that users can trust your content. Hence, doing this will increase your search engine rankings.
Having an SSL certificate enables you to go from HTTP to HTTPS. HTTPS ensures that your eCommerce site is secure. It enables encryption of information between your site and the user’s browser. Using this way, you can secure all the sensitive information. And you can also reduce the number of cyberattacks.
Importance of SSL/HTTPS for an Ecommerce Website & Its effects on SEO
Apart from being a ranking signal, SSL is also important for E-A-T.
When users visit a website without SSL, they receive a warning from the browser. Also, it will show a red-coloured sign instead of green. All these factors will indicate to users that the website is not secure. Hence, you’ll lose the trust of almost all your site’s visitors.
Therefore, if you want your eCommerce store to rank on Google, you must get an SSL certificate.
Ecommerce sites involve financial transactions. Hence, users of Google must trust your site. Only then they will be ready to provide their payment details and make a financial transaction with you. That is why stating clear refund policies and return policies can be extremely useful.
You must state your policies upfront so that there is no confusion involved. You must do this before the user makes the purchase, as it will help to build trust. Also, it will keep you out of trouble.
You should also consider disclosing all the costs upfront. Do not reveal any hidden costs at the time of checkout. Try to let the users know about all the costs involved right from the start.
Without this, you’ll receive a lot of negative reviews from customers. It will have a huge negative impact on E-A-T of your site & eCommerce SEO.
Transparency is an essential part of building trust with your eCommerce customers. You must disclose all your policies and terms upfront. Only then users will perceive you as an honest and trustworthy brand. Moreover, doing this will also help you stay away from trouble.
Hence, add a “Terms and Conditions” page to your site—state all the policies related to your pricing, shipping, and delivery. Do not forget to add a link to this page from your website footer. It will be a very important E-A-T signal for Google.
Also, consider adding an FAQ page to your website. You users will have lots of questions about purchasing products from your site.
Based on the customer support and social media inquiries you receive, curate an FAQ page. It will, again, signal to Google about the trustworthiness of your website.
When we shop for products online, we have many apprehensions in our minds. It especially stands true when it involves your safety in some way.
For instance, suppose an eCommerce store is for beauty products. Your users may have objections about any allergic reactions they may face after using your products.
To remove these objections, you must include all relevant safety precautions upfront. It is, of course, if your eCommerce products involve safety.
Adding safety information will not harm your users. Instead, they will feel more comfortable purchasing from you. Since they know everything about the product, they want to purchase.
The expertise behind your content is very important. Google clearly states this in its quality rater guidelines. If you are putting up blog posts, do not forget to add a brief author bio for every blog post.
When users read the author’s bio, you can assure them that the content is trustworthy. They will believe that your content is authoritative. Try to add the relevant experience of the author in the bio. According to John Muller’s response, when you showcase the experience of the author, it adds to the credibility of your content.
Throughout Google’s quality rater guidelines, there are numerous mentions about Wikipedia. Wikipedia is one of the most reliable sources of information on the internet. The links from Wikipedia are no-follow. Even then, Google does value Wikipedia mentions a lot.
Ideally, you should aim at getting your own Wikipedia page. For this, you will have to fulfil Wikipedia’s notability standards. It can be quite difficult. To start with, you can work towards gaining Wikipedia mentions.
Remember that simply adding your link to Wikipedia doesn’t work. If your links sound promotional, they will remove your link.
Instead, work towards increasing your brand reputation and emerge as a thought leader. This way, you can get Wikipedia mentions that will instantly boost your eCommerce site’s E-A-T.
Good customer service is one of the major contributors to the reliability and credibility of your eCommerce website. Having 24/7 proactive customer service can make your site look transparent. It leads to better E-A-T for your website.
You should make your customer service information easily accessible. It can be information such as support email addresses and phone numbers. You can also consider integrating chatbots or live chat options with your website.
For eCommerce transactions, users have many objections and queries. Hence, offering proactive customer service will lead to a positive customer experience. And thus, add to your site’s E-A-T.
The reviews and backlinks do not just determine your brand’s online reputation. Apart from these, every mention of your brand name on the internet counts.
If anyone mentions your brand name or your products, it adds to the authoritativeness of your brand. It shows users and Google that many people trust your brand. It leads to an increase in your Google rankings.
Hence, it is important to work towards gaining more and more brand mentions. One of the easiest ways to do this is through guest blogging. Guest blogging helps you to become a well-known brand. And it shows your expertise in the industry. You can also go on video interviews and podcasts for gaining mentions.
These factors portray you and your brand as a thought leader in your niche. For example, suppose that your eCommerce store is about sustainable fashion. Then, you can go on interviews or guest blog on sites about sustainable fashion.
Then people will know that you are an expert in this area. You and your brand will emerge as a thought leader in this niche. It will add to the E-A-T of your site, and you will get increased sales.
One of the most important ways in which Google judges the E-A-T of your site is through UX signals. These include signals such as bounce rate, dwell time and pogo-sticking. These signals tell Google about how your visitors are experiencing your website.
For example, suppose you are experiencing a higher bounce rate. It indicates that users are leaving your site without taking any action. It shows Google that people are not having a good experience with your site.
It may be because of the lack of authoritativeness of the content. Or, because of inadequate product descriptions. Or, even because of any factor which is making your users leave your site immediately.
So, you should try to improve the user experience signals of your product pages and content. You can do this by adding more engaging content such as videos. You should structure your pages well and make your pages more readable.
For product pages, try to add accurate descriptions and high-quality images. This way, your UX signals will improve. And, Google will rank your site better.
Having an intuitive structure is very important for the user-friendliness of your eCommerce site. It also showcases the trustworthiness of your site. It includes factors such as adding easy product filters and good searchability.
You should also consider adding product demo videos and using professional photography. Small things like these, when combined, have a huge impact.
You must ensure that users do not have to struggle to navigate through your site. They should be able to find what they are looking for easily. By taking care of these things, your UX signals will improve. Ultimately, your site will emerge as the industry authority.
Online Reputation Management (ORM) is very important for the E-A-T of your site. E-A-T is not just about your website. It also includes the overall reputation of your brand in the online world.
For instance, suppose that you have optimized your entire website for the E-A-T algorithm. But there are lots of negative reviews about your brand on online forums. Then, this will also affect your Google rankings.
Users today tend to do a lot of research before making a purchase. A single Google search of your brand will show the kind of online reputation you have built for your brand.
Therefore, managing your online reputation is very important for E-A-T and Google rankings. You can do this by setting up Google alerts for your brand name and product name. Google will alert you when someone on the internet talks about you.
If you receive any negative reviews or comments, attend to it immediately. Respond with an apology and assurance about the resolution of the issue. Get in touch with the customer and get things resolved. Ultimately this will lead to a good online reputation for your brand. And Google will start ranking you higher than your competitors.
Structured data is a way of presenting the information on your site. Structured data will help Google to understand the information easily.
Schema markup or structured data can help improve the E-A-T signals of your site. By using schema, you are presenting all the expertise and authority of your site’s pages.
This way, Google can easily assess all the trust signals added to your eCommerce site. It can easily assess the authority and credibility of your site. Hence, you will be optimizing your site for E-A-T.
Product schema, FAQ schema, rating schema, and price schema can help you gain visibility on Google. It will ultimately help you gain increased rankings for your eCommerce products.
Apart from the FAQ page on your eCommerce website, you should also have a FAQ for all your products. You would have seen such product FAQs on marketplaces like Amazon.
In the product FAQs, you can either answer the frequently asked questions yourself. Or, you can also provide options for users to ask questions related to the product. It can be extremely beneficial in improving the trustworthiness of your site and products.
Users will get to ask questions and get their objections clarified. This way, your brand will come across as more transparent and genuine. It will provide positive signals to Google. It will indicate that your site is more reliable and credible.
To summarize, we can say that E-A-T is a very important ranking factor for Google. Top marketers predict the same trend in the upcoming years too. E-A-T is an accurate indicator of the overall quality of your eCommerce website. Hence, you should start optimizing your site for E-A-T if you haven’t started already.
The tips provided in this guide are a great way to start with E-A-T for your eCommerce site. So, start today, and you’ll notice your rankings improve in a few months. Get in touch with us to know more about E-A-T & its importance in eCommerce SEO.
Naomi Wilson has been in the digital marketing industry for more than seven years. She has helped companies such as Kellogg, Best buy, Honeywell to improve their online presence. She is an expert in writing high-converting content, especially for ecommerce sites.
He has spent more than 12 Years in strategising and executing SEO campaigns. He is interested to writing Digital-marketing, PPC and Social Media Marketing related topics.
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