In the recent How Google Fights Disinformation whitepaper, Google outlined how they work to prevent the spread of disinformation, and how assessing expertise, authority, and trustworthiness (E-A-T) is a component of it.

Google’s ranking system does not identify the intent or factual accuracy of any given piece of content. However, it is specifically designed to identify sites with high indicia of expertise, authority, and trustworthiness.

How does Google identify E-A-T signals?

  • Google’s algorithms identify signals about pages that correlate with trustworthiness and authoritativeness. The best known of these signals is PageRank, which uses links on the web to understand authoritativeness.
  • Google is constantly evolving these algorithms to improve results – not least because the web itself keeps changing. For instance, in 2017 alone, Google ran over 200,000 experiments with trained external Search Evaluators and live user tests, resulting in more than 2,400 updates to Google Search algorithms.
  • To perform these evaluations, Google works with Search Quality Evaluators who help us measure the quality of Search results on an ongoing basis. Evaluators assess whether a website provides users who click on it with the content they were looking for, and they evaluate the quality of results based on the expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness of the content.
  • The resulting ratings do not affect the ranking of any individual website, but they do help Google benchmark the quality of their results, which in turn allows them to build algorithms that globally recognize results that meet high-quality criteria. To ensure a consistent approach, Google’s evaluators use the Search Quality Rater Guidelines (publicly available online) which provide guidance and examples for appropriate ratings. To ensure the consistency of the rating program, Search Quality evaluators must pass a comprehensive exam and are audited on a regular basis.
  • These evaluators also perform evaluations of each improvement to Search Google rolls out: in side-by-side experiments, Google shows evaluators two different sets of Search results, one with the proposed change already implemented and one without. Google asks them which results they prefer and why. This feedback is central to Google’s launch decisions.

For more information about how Google’s rankings work, please visit: www.google.com/search/howsearchworks

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