E-A-T has been buzzing in the SEO world since 2018, when Google released a broad algorithm update. Google’s John Mueller confirmed that the update was around relevance. Websites were wondering why their rankings seemed to either improve or crash overnight, and after investigation several SEO experts concluded that this update was demoting websites with poor E-A-T. Today, E-A-T continues to be an important foundation for any brand in search. This article explores what E-A-T means and how to use schema markup to support your E-A-T.
What is E-A-T?
E-A-T stands for Expertise, Authoritativeness and Trustworthiness. It’s a concept that Google introduced in its 2014 edition of the Search Quality Guidelines. By demonstrating good E-A-T both on and off of your website, you have the opportunity to improve your Google search rankings.
Establish Your E-A-T Using Schema Markup
Schema markup not only supports your E-A-T but also your overall organic search performance. Let’s explore why.
Schema markup establishes relationships between entities that you have defined on your website. Once defined, these entities can be linked to a search engine’s knowledge graph, which streamlines Google’s ability to evaluate the E-A-T of a specific page.
To learn more about entities and how to define them, see our article about entity-based SEO.
It can be challenging for search engines to assess the expertise, authoritativeness and trustworthiness of entities defined on a page. This is why schema markup, or structured data, is so important.
Schema markup gives relevance and context to defined entities. It also helps to remove ambiguity for entities that may have the same name, which would affect your E-A-T.
Improving E-A-T means giving as much information as possible to search engines to establish your brand’s expertise, authoritativeness and trustworthiness. Your brand’s reputation is important for E-A-T, so it’s crucial to mark up any brand-related properties on your website to support your brand authority with the relevant types of schema.
By properly structuring your schema, search engines are able to understand the properties of your defined entities and how they relate to other entities. This helps to establish trustworthiness between search engines and your brand. One way to structure your schema is through nesting. Nesting helps to explain the hierarchy of your schema markup and to establish relationships between different defined entities on that web page. Our Schema Paths tool is a quick and easy way to see which schema.org properties can be leveraged to connect your data items.
Schema App’s schema markup solutions help to effectively structure your schema.
Now let’s take a look at what each part of E-A-T means, and how different schema types and properties can support your expertise, authoritativeness and trustworthiness in search.
Expertise refers to the knowledge or skill in a particular field. Google is looking for content created by recognized subject matter experts. This means your brand’s expertise is largely evaluated at the content level.
Martha van Berkel is the CEO and co-founder of Schema App, and her contribution to the Schema App Blog supports our organization’s expertise in the field of structured data.
We recommend supporting the expertise of your E-A-T with the following schema types and properties:
Person (Schema Type)
It’s important to establish the expertise and credibility of content creators on your website. Using Person schema helps to communicate this to search engines. Content creators include your brand founder, your content writers and any other expert contributors on your website.
Organization (Schema Type)
Organization schema is one of the best schema types for supporting E-A-T. There are a number of schema properties that can be used to provide context about your Organization. Once created, the Organization can be linked back to other content on your site to establish credibility. For example, when linked to articles or blog postings, the Organization could be the author, publisher or source organization for the content.
Author (Schema Property)
For any Article or NewsArticle content on your website, you can markup the author’s byline with the Author schema property. The expected types for the Author schema property are either Person or Organization schema types.
Here are some examples of how to use these schema types and properties to support your E-A-T:
- The Author of an Article or BlogPosting could be an Organization or a Person, which you can mark up with those schema types; the Editor of an Article or BlogPosting can be marked up with the Person schema type.
- For a WebPage, you could mark it up as reviewedBy an Organization or a Person with those schema types.
Authority is all about reputation, especially among other experts and influencers on that subject matter. One way to support your authority is having backlinks to your brand’s reputation and information on independent websites, aka websites other than your own.
For example, Schema App was chosen as the number one best schema resources and management tool by Search Engine Land in 2021. This external reference to Schema App’s solutions on an independent website helps to establish our brand authority in the field of schema markup.
Last but not least, trustworthiness is about transparency and legitimacy. Readers should be able to trust that your website content is credible. One rule of thumb is to ensure that the author for that content is explicitly mentioned.
For example, Henry Ford Health System has a wellness blog written by healthcare experts from the organization.
Another way to support the factuality of your content is through references to other expert sources in your field. You can do this effectively through the Citation schema property.
Citation (Schema Property)
The Citation schema property links your references to external publications or articles, demonstrating to search engines your trustworthiness and authority. You’re also relating your brand to other brands in your field through schema markup.
Why is E-A-T Important for Advanced SEO?
In Google’s most recent version of Search Quality Evaluator Guidelines, E-A-T was mentioned 136 times across the 167 pages. The SEO community has come to understand that E-A-T is a key ranking factor for Google search. Search engines are holding brands accountable and responsible for their website content. The weight that E-A-T holds when ranking websites demonstrates the importance of matching search intent to results.
Ranking first on a search engine results page is ineffective if your content isn’t what the search query is seeking. In the end, you want your content to meet the needs of a user’s search query and E-A-T is fundamentally helping to make that happen.
Moreover, as content creators we need to hold ourselves accountable for what we’re publishing by valuing the expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness of our content in search and beyond.
How E-A-T Supports Healthcare Organizations in Search
For many patients, their healthcare journey begins in search; for healthcare organizations, their success relies on how easily users can find them online, especially during times of change like the COVID-19 pandemic. Credibility and trustworthiness is key, as healthcare is a private, personal business and you want to connect with a trusted brand. Through schema markup we helped Sharp Healthcare to grow website traffic to physician and medical services pages, as well as their health news articles! Over a 9-month period, Sharp Healthcare saw a 843% increase in clicks, and a 566% increase in impressions – thanks to the addition of structured data to their site. This is just one example of the power that E-A-T and schema markup can provide for your brand!
Learn more about how to start marking up your website to support your E-A-T.