Google’s John Mueller answered a question about what determines website E-A-T scores. They asked whether links played a role or if it was content based score.
John Mueller answered in a way that debunked the idea of E-A-T scores or that it is a technical or SEO factor.
What’s Up With E-A-T
E-A-T is an abbreviation for Expertise, Authoritativeness and Trustworthiness. They are qualities that Google’s third party Quality Raters are tasked to look for when evaluating websites ranked with new algorithms that are being tested.
E-A-T is an ideal that Google has for sites that are ranked, particularly in search results for sensitive topics like health and finance.
Because Google’s Quality Raters Guide tasks the quality raters to check for E-A-T and Google also recommends that publishers use the guide to evaluate their own websites, many in the search and publishing community understandably want to know more about E-A-T in order to improve their rankings.
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Some in the search community believe there is some kind of scoring involved for E-A-T.
What’s Up With E-A-T?
The person asking the question was trying to find out what SEO or technical factors might be involved with obtaining a high E-A-T score.
The person wants to know what determines E-A-T for a website:
“What’s up with E-A-T?
Is that determined by quality backlinks or more on the subject and thoroughness of the pages?”
John Mueller Explains E-A-T
John Mueller begins his answer with background information about what E-A-T is and how Google uses it.
“So E-A-T is an abbreviation for Expertise, Authority and Trustworthiness. It’s something that comes from our quality rater guidelines.”
Quality Raters Guidelines Do Not Offer Algorithm Insights
Mueller next debunks the idea that the Quality Raters Guidelines (QRG) contain insights into Google’s algorithms and explicitly says that the QRG is not a handbook to Google’s algorithm.
He makes it very clear that it’s not filled with insights to the algorithm and that in the context of rating websites, the Quality Raters Guidelines asks the quality raters to pay attention to expertise, authoritativeness and authority for search queries in specific topics.
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“The quality rater guidelines are not kind of like a handbook to Google’s algorithms, but rather it’s something that we give folks who are reviewing changes that we make in our algorithm.
And especially, E-A-T is specific to certain kinds of sites and certain kinds of content.”
There is No Such Thing as an E-A-T Score
Mueller next makes it clear and without ambiguity that Google does not have E-A-T scores.
He underlines the point that E-A-T is something the quality raters look at but that there’s no SEO related factor involved.
“So… from that point of view it’s not something where I would say Google has an E-A-T score and it’s based on five links plus this plus that.
It’s more something that, our algorithms over time …we try to improve them, our quality raters try to review our algorithms and they do look at these things.
So there might be some overlap here but it’s not that there’s a technical factor that’s involved which would kind of take specific elements and use them as an SEO factor.
But it is definitely something I would look into, especially if you’re running sites that map into the broad area where Google has mentioned E-A-T in the quality rater guidelines.”
E-A-T is a Guide and Not a Ranking Factor
Google encourages publishers to use the Quality Raters Guidelines as an inspiration for how to critique their own sites.
John Mueller’s comments about E-A-T align with that encouragement, especially for those whose content is on sensitive topics.
The QRG was developed to provide an objective way to rank search results of new algorithms that are under evaluation.
Google explains what the QRG is for:
“We work with external Search Quality Raters to measure the quality of search results on an ongoing basis. Raters assess how well a website gives people who click on it what they are looking for, and evaluate the quality of results based on the expertise, authoritativeness and trustworthiness of the content. These ratings do not directly impact ranking, but they do help us benchmark the quality of our results.
To ensure a consistent approach, we publish Search Quality Rater Guidelines to give these Raters guidance and examples for appropriate ratings.”
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Somewhere along the line, some SEOs came to believe in a non-existent E-A-T score based on a document whose sole purpose was to ensure that third party quality raters used “a consistent approach” for evaluating web pages.
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Good morning, Marketers, Google’s Search On event was yesterday and we’ve covered all the announcements below.
The leading announcement was MUM’s integration with Lens to produce the first instance of multimodal search available to the public (launching in English in the coming months). Although it’s not a complete departure from what we’re used to, being able to snap a photo and add some text is definitely a new way to search.
At the event, Google provided an e-commerce use case for it (more on that below). I’m interested in learning more ways you think these capabilities might benefit businesses. Send me an email at [email protected] (subject line: A picture and a thousand words), and don’t hold back, these capabilities were unheard of a decade ago, yet here we are.
That’s just one of the many announcements from Search On, keep on scrolling to get caught up on newly announced SERP features, enhancements and more.
George Nguyen, Editor
MUM brings multimodal search to Lens, deeper understanding of videos and new SERP features
Google announced new applications of its MUM technology, including multimodal search with Google Lens, Related topics in videos and other new search result features, at its Search On event on Wednesday. While these announcements are not an overhaul of how Google Search works, they do provide users with new ways to search and give SEOs new visibility opportunities as well as SERP and search changes to adapt to.
MUM enhancements to Google Lens (shown above): Google demoed a new way to search that combines MUM technology with Google Lens, enabling users to take a photo and add a query. E-commerce is another potential use case — users can take a picture of a pattern on a shirt and ask Google to find the same pattern on socks, the company provided as an example.
Related topics in videos: Google is also applying MUM to show related topics that aren’t explicitly mentioned in a video. This will be launching in English in the coming weeks, and the company will add more visual enhancements over the coming months. It will first be available for YouTube videos, but Google is also exploring ways to make this feature available for other videos.
“Things to know”: This SERP feature lists various aspects of the topic the user searched for — for example, if the query were “acrylic painting,” the searcher might see a step-by-step guide or tips in this section. This feature can enable users to see the different dimensions other people typically search for, which may help them get to the information they’re looking for faster.
Refine and broaden searches: This set of features act like search suggestions in the SERP, enable users to get more specific with a topic or zoom out to more general topics.
Google search gets larger images, enhances ‘About this result,’ gets more ‘shoppable’ and more
While MUM was the highlight of Google’s Search On event, the company also announced a number of changes to the search results that are important for search marketers to understand. These changes include:
More visually browsable search results. For queries in which users may want to explore information visually, like “painting ideas,” Google may show a more image-heavy results page. This type of results page may also display for apparel-related queries.
“About this result” enhancements. Initially launched in February and expanded to include ranking information in July, this transparency feature now includes what the site in question says about themselves (which can be pulled from places like the “About Us” page) and can also show web results about the site, such as what others are saying about it, or related results about the topic.
Shoppable search. Now, when users browse for apparel on mobile, Google may show a visual feed of related items in various colors and styles, along with other information like style guides, videos or local shops. This feature is powered by the Google Shopping Graph and is currently limited to the U.S.
Local in-stock filters. Beginning today in English in the U.S., UK, Australia, Austria, Brazil, Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, Japan, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Sweden and Switzerland, users may see an “in stock” filter that allows them to see if nearby stores have a specific item available on their shelves.
Shopping with Google Lens. Soon, Google app users on iOS will see a new button that makes all the images on a page searchable via Google Lens. Similar functionality will also be arriving on Chrome for desktop: Users will be able to select images, video or text on a site to see search results in the same tab. Unlike the iOS version of this feature, which is only available in the U.S., Lens in Chrome will be available globally in the coming months.
Why we care. Review these new changes Google has rolled out and will be rolling out. See how you and your clients can leverage some of these changes to generate more business and traffic. The one area of concern is the About this result section having third-party information outside of Wikipedia that may be hard to change if it doesn’t have the most positive or accurate information about your company.
Another record-breaking holiday shopping season? Perhaps not…
Why container shipping delays are a big deal for e-commerce PPC in 2021. “The holidays this year are going to be even more different than last year,” said Fred Vallaeys, CEO at Optmyzr, “The effects of much higher shipping costs are going to be significant and ripple throughout the retail ecosystem.” In his post, Vallaeys breaks down how increased shipping costs will impact what retailers stock, the structure of their PPC campaigns and how customers may adapt.
You wrote an amazing article — here’s why influential people aren’t sharing it. This Twitter thread from SparkToro contains some pointers on why you’re not getting amplified and how you can go about changing that.
“When your data request is communicated transparently, 0P data helps build more trusted customer relationships that lead to higher lifetime value and 0P data, unlike some other methods, is free,” wrote John Cosley, senior director, brand marketing at Microsoft Advertising, “Plus, it’s more likely to be compliant and accurate, so incorporating it into your overall data strategy can better protect you as industry regulation evolves.”
With the looming demise of third-party cookies, there’s been an increased emphasis on first-party data, but, as Cosley reminds us, data that customers willingly provide you (zero-party data, or 0P data), is “the digital version of walking into a business and being immediately greeted by staff who ask how they can help you. It’s the main difference of how 0P data delivers a better value exchange over other consented ******. The consumer now has skin in the game that forms a connection and directs the conversation.”
Brands can and should use zero-party as part of their larger strategy, which could also include first- and second-party data. One of the points Cosley emphasized was that brands should be mindful of how they’re asking for it: “You’ll find some opportunities immediately and others that will take more time to nurture. It could be off-putting for a person’s first experience with your brand to come with too many potentially personal questions, so gauge your approach accordingly,” he said.
He also shared the following tactics on obtaining your own zero-party data and using it in your advertising:
Set up Universal Event Tracking (UET) to collect data to measure and tune your ad campaigns.
Leverage tools like Custom Audiences to deliver personalized messages and offers with UET data.
Use remarketing to reengage customers and prospects.
Create look-alike, or Similar Audiences, lists and segments based on signals obtained through the above to provide more personalized ad experiences at greater scale.
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About The Author
George Nguyen is an editor for Search Engine Land, covering organic search, podcasting and e-commerce. His background is in journalism and content marketing. Prior to entering the industry, he worked as a radio personality, writer, podcast host and public school teacher.
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Google had a slew of Google Search related announcements at the Google Search On 2021 event. The announcements ranged from improvements and more uses for MUM, to the about this result expanding, to Shoppable search experiences, in-store inventory, Google Lens updates and a bunch of features and redesigns to the Google Search experience.
It seems like Google expanding the use of MUM from just figuring out COVID vaccine names to many more applications since MUM launched last May was the big news.
Here is a summary, the day after, of what was announced at the event, as promised.
Google said it has redesigned Google Search and introduced new features that enable natural, more intuitive ways to search through the use of “advanced AI systems like MUM.” These include additions like things to know, new search refinements, visually browsable result pages and more – many of which we covered as tests in our Google user interface section.
New for About This Result: Google is adding more details to the About This Result feature. Specifically there will be more information about the source, searches will be able to read what a site says about itself in its own words, when that information is available. Searchers can see what others have said, what others on the web have written about a site — news, reviews, and other helpful background context — can help you better evaluate sources. Finally, more about the topic will show you information such as top news coverage or results about the same topic from other sources.
Google told me there is no way for a site owner to say that this information is not accurate or should be removed. Google said it aims to provide a broader view of information, it knows it won’t be perfect but it has a quality bar the sites need to meet to show in this about this result.
Also, Google said this feature has been used about 400 million times, which is obviously a small percentage of searches overall. So some publishers might be upset by some of the information shown at time, but keep in mind, I doubt it will be seen by a large percentage of your users.
This also is launching in the coming weeks for English search results.
Here is how Paul Haahr from Google put it on Twitter:
Today is one of the days that makes the hard parts of work worth it. Very proud of the team that built More About This Result and looking forward to it rolling out over the next few weeks. https://t.co/M5juvTM8Mn
Things To Know: Google said “when you search for a topic, like acrylic painting, you can see all the different dimensions people typically search for, and find the path that’s right for you.” This will extrapolate more details and serve up categories for the topic, then as you click on them, it shows you a featured snippet for that option and also the ability to click on and show more results. Google is launching this feature in the coming months.
Refine this search / Broaden this search: Additional search refinements named refine this search and broaden this search will roll out in the coming months in English search results. It is basically a supped-up related search features.
Visually browsable: Google also is launching a feature called visually browsable results pages that makes it easier to visually browse to find what you are looking for. We’ve seen Google testing this like I said, where Google had huge images in the search results. It also reminds me of the customized headers for idea queries but only a portion of this is live it seems. I believe Google calls these large images “image universal blocks” and they can appear for idea queries and apparel queries. This will be available soon for in English in the U.S. when you search for visual ideas.
MUM with videos in Google Search: Google said it now can more deeply understand videos using MUM. Google said it has a new MUM-based experience that identifies related topics in a video, even if the topic isn’t explicitly mentioned. This is launching in the coming weeks in English Google search results.
This is about Google understanding not just the title and description of the video but also the audio and video inside of the video. This is launching I think on YouTube first and then in search as illustrated below.
Shoppable Google Search experience: Google launched in the US a new “shoppable search experience.” This should make it easier to browse for apparel on mobile right from your Search results. Google’s example is when you search for “cropped jackets,” Google Search will show you a visual feed of jackets in various colors and styles alongside other helpful information like local shops, style guides and videos. Google said this is powered by the Google Shopping Graph.
In-store inventory: Google said people want to experience in-person shopping from home so now you can filter the results using an “in stock” filter to see if nearby stores have specific items on their shelves. This is launching in English in the U.S. and select markets, including the UK, Australia, Austria, Brazil, Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, Japan, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Sweden, and Switzerland on September 29th.
Google Lens gets MUM: Google added a bunch of MUM improvements to Google Lens. With Google Lens you can add text to your visual searches and ask questions about what you see. Google said if you see a shirt you like, but you’d prefer the pattern on socks, you can point your camera and ask the question. This is launching on Google Lens in the coming months, starting in English soon.
It is nice to see Google launch more enhancements in search with MUM. Here is what it looks like:
Google Lens is also coming to Chrome and more places in Google Search, like the iOS app.
Those are the bulk of the big announcements from Google’s Search On event.
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About The Author
Lauren Donovan has worked in online marketing since 2006, specializing in event marketing, content management, organic and paid social media, community and reputation management, and real-time journalism. She currently serves as Director of Marketing at Third Door Media — producer of the Search Marketing Expo and MarTech conference series and publishers of Search Engine Land and MarTech.