E-A-T & Link Building: A Guide to Evaluating Prospects via @_kevinrowe

E-A-T has been a hot topic when it comes to on-site content.

But why, how, and when should you consider concepts in E-A-T with link building efforts?

Your site cannot have E-A-T without a link and brand mention profile.

In the Search Quality Rater Guidelines, Google states that “sources of reputation” are “news articles, Wikipedia, articles, blog posts, magazine articles, forum discussions, and ratings” when establishing Page Rating.

And it’s easy to determine that E-A-T can, in certain niches and to varying degrees, be leveraged in evaluating a site’s fit to secure a link.

But, Google’s Ben Gomes said in a 2018 interview with CNBC that:

“You can view the rater guidelines as where we want the search algorithm to go.”

“They don’t tell you how the algorithm is ranking results, but they fundamentally show what the algorithm should do.”

Even though E-A-T doesn’t directly have an impact on ranking, it can result in creating signals that drive direct ranking improvement.

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Still, it’s important to use your own experience when understanding what works and doesn’t work in your niche.

If you follow Google’s recommendations or guidelines strictly, you’ll always be playing the long-game or even lack any results, when it comes to link building.

And it’s clear that Google cannot even implement an algorithmic interpretation that has the strictest interpretations of these guidelines.

A great example of this is under recipes.

My eight-year-old daughter and I were looking for banana bread recipes in Google.

We found the one in the screenshot below from Allrecipes.

I found that this recipe is actually way off on the bake when we baked it, by more than 30 minutes. But it had more than 15K reviews.

google search for recipesI can dig up a hundred similar examples fairly easily.

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So there is a major caveat when applying my interpretation of E-A-T to guide link acquisition.

Don’t use E-A-T guidelines to strictly evaluate prospective sites in every niche.

When to Use E-A-T Standards for Link Prospects?

There are three major considerations before even bothering to review a site against your guidelines, under a fair interpretation of Google’s search quality raters guidelines.

  • If the sites are completely useless, then no need to do an in-depth analysis.
  • Not every niche or scenario requires a strict analysis of a site to build a link.
  • A natural link profile doesn’t just have E-A-T sites.

Let’s start with a “useless site,” as there is no point in further review of a site if it is not designed to create value but is “made for SEO.”

Google’s page quality guidelines state that:

“Websites or pages without any beneficial purpose, including pages that are created with no attempt to help users, or pages that potentially spread hate, cause harm, or misinform or deceive users, should receive the Lowest rating. No further assessment is necessary.”

I do not believe in having a strict interpretation of the phrase “beneficial purpose.”

My interpretation is that if the site has no relevant content that helps users then it’s useless.

But it isn’t so clear.

For example, The Million Dollar Homepage had no value but to sell ads so a guy could make a million dollars by selling ads.

million dollar homepage seo page rankThis site has over 94,000 backlinks (Ahrefs) but only ranks for 1,200 keywords.

This is an extreme example of a site I’d just avoid.

ahrefs link profile screenshotAs for point 2, there are certain niches that require much stricter review than others.

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YMYL sites have much stricter standards than other niches.

In the guidelines, Google provides some guidance on what constitutes a completely useless site.

In the guidelines, Google explains that YMYL vs other sources will have different sources of reputation.

E-A-T & Link Building: A Guide to Evaluating ProspectsThe last point is just a reality check for you people that review your link profile, or even build disavow lists with a strict interpretation of what is “high” or “low” quality.

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