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Google Answers if Links or Content Determine E-A-T Scores via @sejournal, @martinibuster

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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.

Related: Your Guide to Google E-A-T & SEO

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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.

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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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Mueller continues:

“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.”

Related: Google’s Search Quality Raters Guidelines: A Guide for SEO Beginners

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.

John Mueller:

“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.

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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.

Related: Google Ranking Factors

Citations

Google Explains What the QRG is For:

How our Quality Raters Make Search Results Better

EAT and Google’s Ranking Algorithms

Watch John Mueller answer the question at the 33:45 minute mark:

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Searchenginejournal.com

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Google December Product Reviews Update Affects More Than English Language Sites? via @sejournal, @martinibuster

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Google’s Product Reviews update was announced to be rolling out to the English language. No mention was made as to if or when it would roll out to other languages. Mueller answered a question as to whether it is rolling out to other languages.

Google December 2021 Product Reviews Update

On December 1, 2021, Google announced on Twitter that a Product Review update would be rolling out that would focus on English language web pages.

The focus of the update was for improving the quality of reviews shown in Google search, specifically targeting review sites.

A Googler tweeted a description of the kinds of sites that would be targeted for demotion in the search rankings:

“Mainly relevant to sites that post articles reviewing products.

Think of sites like “best TVs under $200″.com.

Goal is to improve the quality and usefulness of reviews we show users.”

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Google also published a blog post with more guidance on the product review update that introduced two new best practices that Google’s algorithm would be looking for.

The first best practice was a requirement of evidence that a product was actually handled and reviewed.

The second best practice was to provide links to more than one place that a user could purchase the product.

The Twitter announcement stated that it was rolling out to English language websites. The blog post did not mention what languages it was rolling out to nor did the blog post specify that the product review update was limited to the English language.

Google’s Mueller Thinking About Product Reviews Update

Screenshot of Google's John Mueller trying to recall if December Product Review Update affects more than the English language

Screenshot of Google's John Mueller trying to recall if December Product Review Update affects more than the English language

Product Review Update Targets More Languages?

The person asking the question was rightly under the impression that the product review update only affected English language search results.

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But he asserted that he was seeing search volatility in the German language that appears to be related to Google’s December 2021 Product Review Update.

This is his question:

“I was seeing some movements in German search as well.

So I was wondering if there could also be an effect on websites in other languages by this product reviews update… because we had lots of movement and volatility in the last weeks.

…My question is, is it possible that the product reviews update affects other sites as well?”

John Mueller answered:

“I don’t know… like other languages?

My assumption was this was global and and across all languages.

But I don’t know what we announced in the blog post specifically.

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But usually we try to push the engineering team to make a decision on that so that we can document it properly in the blog post.

I don’t know if that happened with the product reviews update. I don’t recall the complete blog post.

But it’s… from my point of view it seems like something that we could be doing in multiple languages and wouldn’t be tied to English.

And even if it were English initially, it feels like something that is relevant across the board, and we should try to find ways to roll that out to other languages over time as well.

So I’m not particularly surprised that you see changes in Germany.

But I also don’t know what we actually announced with regards to the locations and languages that are involved.”

Does Product Reviews Update Affect More Languages?

While the tweeted announcement specified that the product reviews update was limited to the English language the official blog post did not mention any such limitations.

Google’s John Mueller offered his opinion that the product reviews update is something that Google could do in multiple languages.

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One must wonder if the tweet was meant to communicate that the update was rolling out first in English and subsequently to other languages.

It’s unclear if the product reviews update was rolled out globally to more languages. Hopefully Google will clarify this soon.

Citations

Google Blog Post About Product Reviews Update

Product reviews update and your site

Google’s New Product Reviews Guidelines

Write high quality product reviews

John Mueller Discusses If Product Reviews Update Is Global

Watch Mueller answer the question at the 14:00 Minute Mark

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Searchenginejournal.com

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