Does Expertise, Authority, And Trustworthiness (E-A-T) Really Matter For Google SEO? Thumbnail

As I go through my pre-retirement checklist for life post-pandemic, the one thing I keep wondering is whether expertise, authority, and trustworthiness (E-A-T) really matters for Google SEO.

One of my goals after re-retiring is to stop writing 3X a week on Financial Samurai. Maybe’ll I’ll go down to publishing once a week instead.

I want to get out of the house more as economies open up. I might even be so bold as to fly somewhere with my young children! Nah, probably not.

Does Expertise, Authority, Trustworthiness Really Matter?

To be able to do more fun things and write less, one of the solutions is to hire freelance writers to write for me. If the freelance writers are good, I won’t have to do any editing. The freelance writers could also write SEO-optimized content that is interesting and helpful under the Financial Samurai brand.

I don’t know a single site that has over one million visitors a month who doesn’t have more than one writer. Therefore, it sure seems like hiring freelance writers is the way to sustain and grow a website. Content volume is very important for a site’s growth.

Part of the reason why I’ve been writing my own content since Financial Samurai started in 2009 is because I wanted to write from experience. I wasn’t bold enough to assume I had any authority or expertise when I first started. I just thought writing from experience was more authentic. Obviously, over time, I figured my authority would grow.

For example, I didn’t want to share ways to negotiate a great deal on a house without having negotiated a great deal for one myself. Wouldn’t that be like lying?

However, once I started taking blogging more seriously as a business in 2018, I realized I let honor and pride keep me on hard mode for way too long.

The sites that grew a lot would hire massive teams of freelance writers who would mostly write under the owner’s name. They would write about anything and everything to rank for particular keywords. And as a result, Google handsomely rewarded the site owner with a lot more traffic.

Examples Why Expertise Doesn’t Matter

For example, one blogger wrote about whether buying a laundry mat was a good investment without ever owning one. The week earlier, he wrote how to buy investment property and foreclosure property, despite still renting.

His team of freelance writers wrote under his name to concentrate the authority. What a great strategy to leverage your name for expertise, authority, and trustworthiness and have other people write under it!

Think about it, if Google E-A-T really mattered, why would the following exist:

  • A site about pools and hot tubs when the owner doesn’t own a pool or hot tub
  • A site about how to become financially independent when the owner is in their 20s and still working
  • A site about investing when the site owner is a programmer or doctor

When it comes to ranking in the search engines, blog owners and writers DO NOT need to stay in our lanes. We can write about whatever and rank well.

Google Doesn’t Really Care About E-A-T

Based on the growth of sites who publish content not based on much expertise or experience, I’m pretty sure Google doesn’t really care about E-A-T.

They are like the Federal Reserve, using moral suasion to try and persuade people to write from experience and authority. But in reality, Google has no way of telling whether the author has an expertise or authority.

Google is an algorithm, albeit with human reviewers. There are billions of sites online now. Therefore, there is no way Google can analyze them all for E-A-T.

One of the reasons why there is a massive SEO industry is because Google search rankings can get manipulated. I personally get hundreds of requests a month from random link builders trying to build E-A-T for their site.

Out of a scale of 1-10 regarding Google’s ability to measure Expertise, Authority, and Trustworthiness, I give Google a 4. Yes, Google can check on the site and author’s link profile, HTTPS status, engagement, and content quality. But Google can’t gauge true E-A-T well enough.

If Google could truly measure E-A-T, then hundreds of thousands, perhaps millions of sites wouldn’t exist. Because why bother writing content or hiring people to write content if your site doesn’t get organic search traffic?

Obviously millions of sites without E-A-T continue to get search traffic, which proves how terrible Google is in measuring E-A-T.

At the extreme, for more authority, you can literally say anything you want about your background. How is Google supposed to know you didn’t go to Harvard?

Don’t Worry About Writing With Authority And Experience

Although it’s hard to compete with other sites who have a team of writers pumping out non-stop content without much authority or expertise, don’t get down. Instead, join them!

Since Google can’t property measure E-A-T, consider hiring low-cost freelance writers with basic SEO understanding to help pump out more content. Once your site’s traffic and revenue grows, move up the freelance quality ladder and hire people with more experience and authority. After all, hiring people costs money. Good thing you’ll make more money as a blogger over time.

You can hire people to write product reviews despite having never tested out the product. Google doesn’t know.

Hire people who are expert writers with expert SEO knowledge. You don’t have to really be an expert or enthusiast in what you are writing about. If a writer wants to be an expert, he or she can ironically just search online to find everything out!

To make sure you plan works, you still want to occasionally write articles based on firsthand experience. Mix up articles written with expertise and authority with freelance writers without expertise and authority. This way, Google will really have no idea!

Excited For The Good Life Again

I’m excited to re-retire under a Biden administration. It’s finally time to take things down a notch after working so much during the lockdowns.

With the realization that E-A-T can’t properly be measured by Google, you should celebrate knowing that you or your freelancers can write about so many more topics that will help your website grow. Of course, you should try to write with expertise and experience. But don’t sweat it. Many huge sites don’t.

Good luck! And if you believe Google E-A-T can be properly measured and really matters, I’d love to hear your reasons why.