How to Optimize E-E-A-T Update for Medical/Health Niche Sites
Google has recently updated its Quality Rater Guidelines (QRG) for search, introducing the concept of E-E-A-T (Experience, Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness).
The addition of “experience” to the E-A-T acronym indicates that the extent of the content creator’s first-hand experience on the topic is now an important factor in evaluating the quality of the content.
Trustworthiness, meanwhile, remains the “most important member of the E-E-A-T family.”
The latest version of the QRG also includes numerous new sections and tables and a total of 10 new pages of content.
When evaluating the trustworthiness of a medical or health-related webpage, consider the following:
Is the information presented on the page accurate and reliable? In the medical field, it’s important to ensure that the information provided is up-to-date and based on sound scientific evidence, as inaccurate or misleading information can have serious consequences for people’s health.
Are the intentions behind the page honest, or is it designed to deceive or manipulate the reader? For example, a webpage that promotes a questionable medical treatment or product without disclosing any potential risks or conflicts of interest might not be considered trustworthy.
Is the page safe to use? For example, if the page provides a tool for self-diagnosis or treatment, it’s important to ensure that it has been tested and validated to ensure its accuracy and reliability.
Can the reader trust that the page will function as intended and provide reliable information and services? For example, a medical website that frequently experiences technical issues or is difficult to navigate might not be considered a reliable source of information.
The level of trust needed for a webpage depends on its purpose and the potential consequences of any inaccuracies or dishonest intentions.
For example, a website that provides information on a serious medical condition should have a high level of trust to ensure that the information provided is accurate and reliable, while a social media post on a non-medical topic may not need to meet such stringent standards as long as the content does not risk causing harm.
A medical expert with many years of experience working in a hospital or clinic setting might be considered a trustworthy source for information on a specific medical condition or treatment. On the other hand, a person who has no personal experience in the medical field might not be considered as reliable when discussing the same topic.
A medical specialist with advanced training and certification in a particular area of medicine (e.g. cardiology, neurology) would likely be considered a more trustworthy source for information on that specific topic than a general practitioner with less specialized knowledge.
A website or content creator that is widely recognized as a reliable source of medical information, such as the Mayo Clinic or the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, would be considered more authoritative on medical topics than a less well-known or established source.
It’s important to note that these factors are not the only ones to consider when evaluating the trustworthiness of a medical or health-related webpage. Other considerations might include the credibility of the sources cited, the transparency of the content creator or website, and the potential biases or conflicts of interest that might affect the content.
Trust is the most important element of the E-E-A-T (Experience, Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trust) group, as untrustworthy pages will have low E-E-A-T regardless of how experienced, expert, or authoritative they may seem.
For example, a medical scam on fake medication based website would be untrustworthy even if the content creator is a highly experienced and expert scammer who is considered the go-to source on running scams.
When assessing the quality of a medical or health-related webpage, it’s important to consider the E-E-A-T factors and be guided by one or more of the following:
What the website or content creators say about themselves:
Look at the “About us” page or the content creator’s profile page as a starting point. Does the information provided suggest that the website or content creator is a trustworthy source?
For example, a medical website that lists the qualifications and credentials of its contributors might be considered more trustworthy than one that does not provide any information about the content creators.
What others say about the website or content creators:
Look for independent reviews, references, news articles, and other sources of credible information about the website or content creators.
Is there reliable evidence that the website or content creator is experienced, has expertise, is authoritative, or is otherwise considered trustworthy?
On the other hand, if there are negative reviews or reports of untrustworthy behavior, this could be a red flag.
What is visible on the page, including the main content and sections such as reviews and comments:
For some types of pages, the level of experience and expertise may be clear from the main content itself. What evidence can you gather from examining the main content or testing the page out?
For example, you might be able to tell that a content creator is an expert in a particular medical field by reading their articles or watching videos of them discussing the topic.
The comments and reviews of other users can also provide insight into the content creator’s level of expertise or trustworthiness.
It’s important to consider potential conflicts of interest when evaluating the trustworthiness of a medical or health-related webpage.
For example, product reviews by people who own and have used the product can be valuable and trustworthy sources of information.
However, “reviews” by the product manufacturer (e.g. “Our product is great!”) or “reviews” from an influencer who is paid to promote the product might not be as trustworthy due to the conflict of interest.
In addition to Experience, Expertise, and Authoritativeness, there are other aspects of Trust that should be considered when assessing the quality of a webpage.
These might include customer service information for online stores, peer-reviewed publications for academic authors, and other factors that may impact the trustworthiness of the source. If a webpage is untrustworthy for any reason, it will have low E-E-A-T.
For example, if a medical website provides inaccurate or biased information, or if it lacks transparency about its sources or funding, it may be considered untrustworthy and have low E-E-A-T.
On the other hand, a website that is transparent about its sources, provides credible and reliable information, and is transparent about any potential conflicts of interest might be considered a trustworthy source of medical information.