E-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-E-A-T.
E-E-A-T has played an important role in how Google evaluates the helpfulness and relevance of the content that is ranking in search.
In December 2022, a new iteration of E-E-A-T was introduced, where an extra ‘E’ was added to emphasize the importance of demonstrating ‘experience’ in website content.
Today, E-E-A-T continues to be an important foundation for any brand in search. This article explores what E-E-A-T means and how to use schema markup to support your E-E-A-T.
What is E-E-A-T?
E-E-A-T stands for Experience, Expertise, Authoritativeness and Trustworthiness. It’s a concept that Google introduced in its 2014 edition of the Search Quality Guidelines. By demonstrating good E-E-A-T both on and off of your website, you have the opportunity to improve your Google search rankings.
Importance of E-E-A-T for YMYL Topics
Google places significant emphasis on E-E-A-T for Your Money Your Life (YMYL) topics. It is critical that YMYL topics demonstrate strong E-E-A-T as they relate to health, safety, and financial security, and the content under this category can profoundly impact people’s futures.
If you are creating content about topics such as health advice or financial tips, your page must unequivocally demonstrate strong E-E-A-T to establish the trustworthiness of the advice from a well-established expert.
But how to you demonstrate E-E-A-T to search engines?
Establish Your E-E-A-T Using Schema Markup
Schema markup not only supports your E-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-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-E-A-T.
Improving E-E-A-T means giving as much information as possible to search engines to establish your brand’s experience, expertise, authoritativeness and trustworthiness. Your brand’s reputation is important for E-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-E-A-T means, and how different schema types and properties can support your experience, expertise, authoritativeness and trustworthiness in search.
Experience demonstrates the firsthand knowledge that a content creator has about the topic they are sharing. By highlighting firsthand involvement with the subject, you reinforce the trustworthiness and relevance of your content for search engines.
For users, experience becomes invaluable when making crucial decisions, particularly when it comes to content that influences purchases and consumer choices. Reading about others’ experiences with a similar product or resource they are considering adds credibility and validity to what is being said.
When your content clearly exemplifies experience, it’s essential to communicate this experience to search engines effectively. You can achieve this by using specific schema types and properties to demonstrate experience, to demonstrate experience.
For instance, if you are a bank that has financial advice blog content, you want to ensure that the experience of the author is showcased in the YMYL sensitive advice being given. You can use the following properties to showcase the experience of your author:
hasOccupation and worksFor (Schema Property)
Linking the author to an accredited financial occupation or employer using the hasOccupation or worksFor properties showcases that they have working experience in the field, which also highlights their authority to be talking about these topics in a formal setting.
alumniOf and memberOf (Schema Properties)
By implementing the alumni schema property to your Organization or Person type, you can identify financial organizations and accredited institutes you have attended, conveying your first-hand experience with those entities to search engines and users.
Similarly, using the memberOf schema property to share the organizations you belong to, you can showcase your experience in those areas.
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-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-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-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.
knowsAbout (Schema Property)
Expertise can be defined by having knowledge in a particular field or topic. Considering the fact that expertise can be defined by knowledge, one of the best ways to explicitly convey expertise to search engines is by using the knowsAbout schema property.
By linking your organization to the field of expertise related to your content’s topic and connecting it to an authoritative source (such as Wikidata), you can establish your credibility and expertise.
awards (Schema Property)
Informing search engines about awards you or your organization have won in the same topic you create content about can be done through awards schema markup. This highlights that you were recognized for a high caliber of work you have accomplished within that award field, further establishing your expertise and authority.
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-E-A-T Important for Advanced SEO?
In Google’s most recent version of Search Quality Evaluator Guidelines, E-E-A-T was mentioned 136 times across the 167 pages. The SEO community has come to understand that E-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-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-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 experience, expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness of our content in search and beyond.
Learn more about how to start marking up your website to support your E-E-A-T.
Martha van Berkel is the co-founder and CEO of Schema App, an end-to-end Semantic Schema Markup solution provider based in Ontario, Canada. She focuses on helping SEO teams globally understand the value of Schema Markup and how they can leverage Schema Markup to grow search performance and develop a reusable content knowledge graph that drives innovation. Before starting Schema App, Martha was a Senior Manager responsible for online support tools at Cisco. She is a Mom of two energetic kids, loves to row, and drinks bulletproof coffee.