E-A-T: Make Your Affiliate Site More Credible and Trusting

E-A-T: Make Your Affiliate Site More Credible and Trusting

How can you make your affiliate site trustworthy? That’s what this post covers, and why you want to earn the trust of your visitors and Google.

You learn about the:

  • The so-called Medic Update
  • Google Rater Guidelines and E-A-T
  • 3 Ways to Demonstrate and Borrow Expertise and Authority
  • 6 Ways to Build Trust

The Medic Update

This algorithm update rolled out on August 1, 2018, and wasn’t specifically targeting medical and health sites. But when people started analyzing the impacts, those industries seem to have been hit the hardest.

Other sites were impacted as well, mostly as it relates to niches and industries that are “Your Money Your Life” (YMYL). These include (per SEMRush):

  • Shopping or financial transaction pages
  • Pages that offer financial information, eg: investment or tax information
  • Pages that offer medical information about specific diseases or mental health
  • Pages that offer legal information about topics
  • Any page that has the potential to be dangerous or detrimental if it possessed low levels of Expertise, Authority, and Trust, or “E-A-T”

Basically, any site that has information that may lead to a negative outcome if nonexperts are dispensing advice.

One of the interesting parts of this algorithm update was that it doesn’t have a quick answer to explain it across the board. For example, previous updates could be quickly summarized…

Medic is related to a nebulous set of criteria that isn’t easy to explain since the concepts of E-A-T that may be considered aren’t immediately obvious. Other algorithm updates could be investigated by looking at backlinks or duplicate content — Simple.

Google Rater Guidelines

In 2015, Google released the Rater Guidelines (take a peek, it’s long…) and it was last updated in July 2018.

Google hires evaluators that look at the results to see how the algorithm is working. The evaluators don’t impact the algorithm directly, but they give Google an idea about the quality of how the algorithm is performing.

The Guidelines explain that credibility is essential and that high-quality content, one of the top three ranking factors, should demonstrate:

  1. Expertise
  2. Authority
  3. Trust

Let’s look a bit deeper.

Building Expertise, Authority, Trust

Who are the experts in the niche? Who has authority? Who do people trust?

Experts that people trust (for a given topic) should be creating, editing, or at the very least cite them in your content.

For Example

Check out all the links and references at the bottom of this post. I’m knowledgeable about SEO, but I know it’s great to create a resource that gives you a starting point to learn more.

Other Ideas

  1. You can also “borrow” expertise by interviewing experts, authors, or influencers in the niche. So the experts are out there and if you can leverage their knowledge that helps. If you’re thinking it’ll be hard to get an expert, it’s not as hard as you think… Authors always want to talk about their books even if they aren’t actively promoting anything. Influencers (podcasters, YouTubers, bloggers, etc…) also want to talk about their area of expertise and continue to demonstrate their influence.
  2. You can link to the best resources on the topic. Imagine how a professional journal cites sources. Generally, you can provide your references and give people the information to learn more if they want.
  3. You should note if you or someone that is on your content team has credentials related to the area of expertise. That could be listing their job title or professional certification (i.e., PMP) in the byline.

Can’t You Fake E-A-T?

The E-A-T factors seem like they can be faked pretty easily by following the three suggestions above.

However, the Google’s Search Quality Evaluator Guidelines also advise the evaluators to check on the online reputation of the site, expert, or trustworthy person.

So this is a manual evaluation and, again, doesn’t directly impact the algorithm. The evaluator goes out and looks up information on the writer or the reputation of the site or company.

That means impacted sites couldn’t make some changes and recover.

That points to a variety of factors contributing to the ranking factors and E-A-T of a site.

In short, everything matters.

  • Content.
  • Links. Good Links, not crappy, low-quality links.
  • The credibility of the content.

I assume that if your site great in some areas but bad in others, then it may balance out. If your site is poor at all the factors compared to the competition, you’ll have an issue.

Other Ways To Build Trust For Your Site

About Page

I’ve been talking about the importance of the About Page of a site for over a year (in my affiliate site teardowns). You can show off your expertise, authority, and trust if you have a solid about page.

Here are a few other tips relating to your biography and about page:

  • Link to the About Page from all the other content.
  • Make sure you have an Author Box or byline with some details on every post.
  • Show of your credentials in both cases.
  • Post an image of yourself or use a stock image to support the persona of the site.

Contact Page and Privacy Page

Your site should have both of these to add trust. They are crucial to e-commerce sites or sites that have some transaction taking place.

Update Old Content To Ensure Accuracy

I’m guilty of having old content that needs to be updated. After some time passes, it’s pretty easy to get behind on the spring cleaning that needs to happen on a website.

It’s worthwhile to audit your site once a quarter or every six months to see if content needs to be:

  • Updated and improved
  • Deleted

Sometimes deleting old content and improving out of date content will improve rankings and traffic. You’re serving the visitor better if you take care of your content.

Disavow Unnatural Links and Otherwise Bad Links

If you have some unnatural links, you should probably disavow them. If they aren’t causing any issues currently, you can probably get away with not disavowing the links.

But over time, your site can accumulate more bad, spammy links and there’s a cumulative effect.

It’s not a big deal if you have a handful of bad links, but if you have dozens of bad links and they’re starting to make up more of your overall backlink profile, that’s a bad thing. At some point, the links may reach the tipping point that earns a manual penalty.

Fix Grammar, Punctuation, Misspelled Words

Mistakes happen, and even if you have an editor, your site may still have some grammar or spelling issues.

I have seen improvements in rankings just by fixing mistakes. I instructed my VA to go through all the posts on one site and fix the mistakes.

I’ve also heard the same results from a few people, including Duke.

I recently started using Grammarly and LOVE IT. I’m an affiliate, and if you buy through this link, I’ll earn a commission. Grammarly works with WordPress, so it was super easy for my VA to fix all the mistakes.

The free version of Grammarly will work, but I upgraded to the premium version for some added functionality. If you aren’t a native English speaker, then Grammarly should get you 95% of the way, even with the free version. The paid version is definitely worth the cost.

Page Speed and Mobile-First Indexing

Page Speed is all about great user experience. From Google’s perspective, they want people to use their search engine. So Google wants to show results that help the searcher and load fast to ensure a great user experience.

No one likes a slow site, and nowadays people are impatient. I know — because I’m one of those impatient people. If a site doesn’t load fast, or if a YouTube video takes a few seconds to load, I bounce! There are so many other distractions to grab my attention. You can check your site’s speed on Google Tool, and I like to use Pingdom as well.


Take some of the suggestions in the post to improve the authority and trust for your site.

Even if you weren’t impacted, you should work to demonstrate the authority for your site because I expect this trend will continue in future algorithm updates.

What do you think??

Leave a comment:

  1. Do you have observations about the algorithm updates since August 1, 2018?
  2. Let me know if you were impacted.
  3. Please share any ways you found to build trust for your sites.

References and Further Reading



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