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Google’s algorithm undergoes enormous shifts to prioritise content focused on expertise, authoritativeness and trustworthiness
While Google updates its algorithm hundreds of times per year, the 1st August, 2018 update, and subsequent related updates, were significant both in their scale as well as which websites they affected. These algorithm updates particularly affected websites providing content in the category Google calls ‘Your Money Your Life’ (YMYL) — medical, legal, financial, e-commerce and other websites that can significantly impact the happiness and health of its users. The algorithm updates rolled out shortly after Google updated its Search Quality Guidelines, a document Google uses to train human quality reviewers who help benchmark the quality of Google’s results and whose feedback informs updates to Google’s algorithms. In this updated document, Google emphasised the importance of expertise, authoritativeness and trustworthiness (E-A-T) of the content creators and brands behind YMYL websites. Google’s new criteria established the need for these websites to emphasise who their authors are and why they should be trusted to write about those topics. This paper looks at historical SEO performance to analyse the role E-A-T may have played in organic traffic patterns after the late 2018 and early 2019 Google algorithm updates.
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Lily Ray is the Director of Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) at Path Interactive, a full-service digital marketing agency. Lily began to focus on Google’s Expertise, Authoritativeness and Trustworthiness (E-A-T) initiative in 2018, when major updates to the Google algorithm significantly impacted the performance of many of the agency’s clients. She provides thought leadership and speaks at industry events on the topic of E-A-T and other insights related to setting up websites for SEO success.