Demonstrating E-A-T in YMYL

Tao

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So, my site that I have been (half-assedly) working on building has been hit badly in the recent Google updates, losing around 50% of traffic.

It is in the health niche and can be considered as a YMYL site, Your Money or Your Life, as per the Google Rater Guidelines:

We have very high Page Quality rating standards for YMYL pages because low quality YMYL pages could potentially negatively impact users’ happiness, health, financial stability, or safety.
I was reading through the post by Marie Haynes yesterday about the YMYL subject and I am able to see why Google wants to rank "proper" sites written by medical experts in these niches - it makes total sense to me now.

My site was started because I was suffering from a particular issue where I could not find much (useful) content, so started writing about ways to treat it. I then turned it into a general (affiliate) site covering other medical issues affecting the same area of the body.

Because I am not medically trained, I will have low E-A-T (Expertise, Authority and Trust) in the eyes of Google, so how could I create this, apart from becoming a qualified doctor overnight :smile:

My idea to try to generate some E-A-T in my YMYL niche is as follows:
  1. Beef up my about page to include more information about who I am and why I created the site, plus stating I am not medically qualified. (Done)
  2. Add an author box to each post with a short blurb stating my lack of qualifications and a nofollow link to my medical disclaimer. (Done)
  3. Add a medical disclaimer page. (Done)
  4. Trim the low-quality articles from the site and combine/delete/301 etc (ongoing).
  5. Revisit each post and ensure it is speaking from a personal view - using "I" instead of "we" so it looks like personal opinion.
  6. Revisit each post, find where I have made a medical statement and link this out to factual evidence. If I can't find it - delete/rewrite that section.
  7. Add a list of sources/references at the bottom of each post using a proper citation method.
Does anyone else have any ideas how this might be achieved?
 

Sutra

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Following EAT guidelines is great for showing authority and for gaining user's trust. Both very good things. However, if you're doing it expecting to get your traffic back - you may be disappointed. The whole EAT thing being the reason for traffic drops after Aug 1 is unproven and no one knows for sure what's going on. People jumped on that theory but since then it's been found that many sites following EAT have also been hit. Last I heard there's a new idea that there have been several split tests rather than pure "updates" so things are still shifting and will continue to do so. But again, no one knows for sure.
 

Tao

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Yes, that is my other concern - is it going to be worth the effort to try to beat this EAT stuff.
I can't demonstrate my medical credentials other than quoting and linking out to trusted sources, or paying someone qualified, which I can't afford.
Am I flogging a dead horse....?
 

RomesFall

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I'm with @Sutra on this one.

The original early September update was something completely different to what we saw at the start of October which got branded as a partial rollback or whatever.

What you want to do @Tao is build your authority in other ways. Think about what you can do off of your own website... What kind of high authority sites are out there? Could you simply be able to increase your trust/authority as an author by getting involved in discussions on sites like Quora, Yahoo Answers etc.

Guest posts on real medical sites, or interviews since you said there isn't much information about this specific condition.

That is a hell of a pitch if you can get in touch with the right people, they know it gives them an edge over their other big competitors to have content that their comp doesn't have.

All of this stuff will help massively.
 

Tao

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Unfortunately, the information about this subject is out there and is covered very widely. When I started researching the condition, all I found was sites full of medical jargon which were hard to understand. Fast forward 5 years and there are plenty of sites and people out there with more authority than me. My site is just coming from a lay-person perspective.

The Google QRG document cites Q&A places like Quora and Yahoo Answers as low EAT too, so I don't want to spend time there. Plus, I am no expert there either.
 
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This is all good Tao, I did something similar, just focus on increasing Big Brand signals, as mentioned in the Crash Course, don't limit yourself to EAT stuff. Just think, what would a legit, high value, high quality site look like, design, content, links, then improve everything.
 

Ryuzaki

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This new post had a lot to say about E-A-T at GSQi:

The September 27, 2018 Google Algorithm Update And October 4 Tremor – Google Experiments, Relevance, Trust Signals, Reversals, and “Staying in your lane”

The section that's relevant places emphasis on Trust & Reputation, saying Google seemed to dial up trust signals. Gary Illyes had said that Google was looking primarily at mentions and links on well-known sites. GSQi says the slightest tweak in how that's measured could have huge impacts, and I agree. That would cascade very far.

They also speculate on how sentiment is playing into it, like negative reviews on Better Business Bureau for instance. Apparently the Quality Ratings Guidelines actually mention BBB as an example. So you could assume that they read scores on a lot of sites like that.

And finally they say "stay relevant and tackle everything" while "staying in your lane" and only posting about things you should be posting about.
 
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Tao

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Thanks @Ryuzaki - that is a seriously good post.
I need to re-read it a few times as it has started alarm bells ringing in several places.
 

RomesFall

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And finally they say "stay relevant and tackle everything" while "staying in your lane" and only posting about things you should be posting about.
I've been doing a lot of audits for friends since this landed.

I'd agree that this is very much the case... The whole thing is tilted toward fewer, but higher quality articles. Even slight cannibalization is causing massive issues for a lot of folks.

In my opinion, it's a good change, at least this aspect of it is.

Trust is massive too;

Of the sites I've audited for this algo recovery, 3/5 have responded amazingly well and more than recovered in the space of 10 days following changes.

2/5 had the same issues which were fixed, but did not respond nearly as positively. In those cases, the two sites had no backlinks from credible or trustworthy sites.

--

I can't personally comment on external reviews as these were all affiliate sites.

--

There is definitely a trend here and it's going to be interesting to see if some guys can recover BECAUSE this requires hard hard work. The internal linking interactions with this algo alone have been huge, and let's face it if you have a page with 50 internal links and you need to modify every single anchor... Well, I can say I stopped some of my friends sleeping for days with my advice :smile: They did it and it was worth it, but are some people going to do that and repeat it for every page on their site? Err no.
 
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My health niche site just got a big whack today, how about yours?

I haven't really tried to fix it it the first time around, since it only made like $150 /month. I did update some sources and stuff, but surprised at this big whack (-30 at main keyword).
 

Tao

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I have tried not to panic and have not done much to my site so far in an attempt to recover from this penalty.
I have pruned and merged some old content and am looking at improving the existing posts, adding as many sources as possible and making sure people know that I am not an "expert".
I think it will be hard to beat this one though, without any proper external links from very good sources.
Or maybe it will be easier to train as a doctor for 8 years? :smile:
The post by Marie Haynes is a good resource.