The SEO acronym “E-E-A-T” stands for Experience, Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness, a concept included in Google’s Search Quality Evaluator Guidelines. Google uses E-E-A-T guidelines to provide a standard for human evaluators assessing the quality of search results. As misinformation in the healthcare industry can lead to severe consequences, ensuring your website meets Google’s E-E-A-T guidelines is vital. Adhering to E-E-A-T guidelines for healthcare websites and providing accurate health information for readers strengthens your website’s reputation and visibility.
What is E-E-A-T?
E-E-A-T is a fundamental concept in Google’s guidelines for assessing the quality of a website’s content. While it is an SEO acronym, it is not a direct ranking factor in Google Search. In the context of these guidelines, experience is the level of personal experience and understanding someone has when creating content on a specific idea or service. Expertise refers to the level of knowledge or skill in a particular field, indicating that the information on a website should be created or reviewed by professionals with relevant qualifications and experience. Authoritativeness pertains to the credibility or recognition of a website or an author, established through positive reviews, references from other reputable websites, or the writer’s professional reputation in the field. Trustworthiness, meanwhile, concerns the overall integrity and transparency of a website, ensuring it is secure, respects user privacy, and presents accurate, reliable information.
Following Google’s E-E-A-T guidelines is especially important for websites under the YMYL (Your Money Your Life) category, especially healthcare websites, as they can significantly impact people’s lives or financial stability.
Why E-E-A-T is Crucial for Healthcare Websites
In today’s society, everyone turns to the internet as their primary source of information. For those seeking healthcare information, such as advice, diagnoses, treatment options, and resources can be found at the click of a button. With this ease of access, ensuring the credibility and accuracy of that information is paramount. This is where Google’s E-E-A-T guidelines come into play. E-E-A-T or “Double-E-A-T” is an acronym for Google’s search rater guidelines for assessing the quality and credibility of content on a website. For healthcare websites, E-E-A-T is a critical standard ensuring the information is credible, safe, and accurate. Misconceptions and false information in the healthcare sector can have severe consequences, from misdiagnosis to inaccurate treatments.
Experience: The New E in E-E-A-T
When Google evaluates the credibility and relevance of web pages and websites, the personal experience and knowledge of the writers factor into how well the website performs. Writers with real-life experience can effectively write on a topic versus writers who rely solely on research. For instance, would you trust a customer review from someone who hasn’t personally tried a company’s service or one from someone who has? Experience matters, especially in Google’s E-E-A-T guidelines for healthcare websites.
While experience and expertise might seem similar, they serve different purposes in Google’s search rater guidelines. Experience rules over expertise in some cases; in others, it’s the opposite. Applying these guidelines to your healthcare website can attract new visitors, increasing website visibility and encouraging return visits.
Understanding Expertise in the Context of E-E-A-T
Google deems expertise as a fundamental aspect of E-E-A-T. For healthcare websites, expertise refers to having certified medical professionals or organizations with relevant qualifications authoring the content. The content needs to reflect a deep understanding of the subject, grounded in medical science. Credible authors offer authenticity and reliability to the information provided. Google views content written by healthcare professionals or industry experts more favorably, as they know to discuss intricate medical topics accurately. When it comes to healthcare websites, readers are likelier to trust content written by healthcare professionals since the information is backed by scientific evidence.
Delving into Authoritativeness
Establishing authority in the healthcare sector requires a strong reputation. Gaining recognition as an authoritative source in the medical field can be accomplished through positive reviews, earning accolades, and securing high-inbound links from other reputable healthcare websites. Showcasing credentials, such as certifications, awards, or recognition, establishes your healthcare website as a reliable and reputable source. Authoritativeness for healthcare websites represents the website or author’s reputation. A website with high authority often has high-quality inbound links from other reputable healthcare websites, positive user reviews, and recognized awards or accolades. Regularly engaging in relevant healthcare forums, discussions, and social media will help establish your site and its authors as authorities in the medical field.
A site’s reputation impacts Google’s perception of the site’s authority. Sites with a consistently positive reputation for providing reliable health information are deemed authoritative, enhancing their standing in search results.
Defining Trustworthiness in Healthcare Websites
Google’s E-E-A-T and YMYL Principles
YMYL stands for “Your Money or Your Life (YMYL)” and is another essential concept in Google’s guidelines. Google categorizes web pages and topics with content that can impact a person’s happiness, health, financial stability, or safety. Two examples of YMYL pages would include a page that explains “How to Diagnose and Treat Diabetes” or “How to Maximize Your 401k for Retirement”. Because of their potential impact, Google holds YMYL pages to a higher standard, where a strong level of E-E-A-T is more critical than ever. Healthcare websites should provide accurate and up-to-date information that can positively influence someone’s health decisions.
Applying E-E-A-T Guidelines to Your Healthcare Website
How E-E-A-T Impacts SEO Performance of Healthcare Websites
While Google has not stated that E-E-A-T scores directly impact search rankings, search engine optimization (SEO) experts widely believe that following these guidelines improves a website’s SEO performance. Although E-E-A-T guidelines are not direct ranking factors, they heavily influence how Google assesses a website’s quality, especially those under the YMYL category. A website that follows E-E-A-T principles indicates its content is reliable and informative, leading to higher user engagement and trustworthiness. Adherence to Google’s E-E-A-T guidelines for healthcare websites ensures high-quality content, attracts more visitors, encourages backlinking, and enhances user experience—all critical factors for improving SEO practices.
Quality Content and User Experience (UX)
Healthcare websites that adhere to E-E-A-T guidelines produce high-quality, reliable, user-centric content. User-centric content is a content optimization strategy that focuses on the reader or customer. This type of content satisfies user queries, decreases bounce rates, increases time on site, and encourages return visits. These are all factors that positively influence SEO performance for healthcare websites. Visitors looking for healthcare information want to read informative, quality content that isn’t widespread on various healthcare websites. A healthcare website should have credible content backed by healthcare professionals, ensuring its reliability and accuracy.
Higher User Trust
A website that demonstrates high levels of E-E-A-T gains the trust of its audience, increasing their time spent on the website and return visits. Fostering high user trust with E-E-A-T is done by providing reliable and accurate health information on healthcare websites. Higher user trust leads to higher engagement and social sharing, important SEO factors. Trust within the healthcare community is essential for gaining website credibility.
Increase in Quality Backlinks
Trustworthy and authentic content attracts backlinks from other reputable websites. The impact of Google’s E-E-A-T guidelines for healthcare websites extends to gaining quality backlinks. Acquiring backlinks from high-authority websites boosts a website’s domain authority—an essential factor in SEO. High-quality, trustworthy content following E-E-A-T principles is more valuable to readers, increasing the likelihood of it being shared and linked to other reputable sites. A healthcare website with quality backlinks leads to higher search engine rankings and increased website traffic.
Improved Local SEO
Showcasing E-E-A-T guidelines can improve local SEO for healthcare providers. Building online authority with local SEO can be accomplished by acquiring high-quality backlinks from reputable local organizations or healthcare industry leaders. For a local healthcare provider, building trust and having a solid online reputation is crucial for local SEO. Exhibiting a website’s expertise through quality content and authoritativeness through professional affiliations can improve a healthcare provider’s local SEO efforts. Acquiring user trust through positive patient reviews is another way to boost local search rankings for healthcare websites.
- Search Engine Journal, 2021. E-A-T: Is It A Ranking Factor In Google Search?
- Ahrefs. SEO Glossary: YMYL Pages.