EAT: How Google Identifies Website Authors Using Patents
SEO experts do not know all of the effects that EAT (Expertise, Authoritativeness, Trustworthiness) has on search engine rankings; however, Google patents can give them a clearer insight on how it actually works. Many providers of expert SEO services know the importance of EAT, but it has become a source of many common SEO myths.
Other SEOs admit that it is a difficult topic to handle. This is because Google has yet to confirm which ranking factors are involved in the EAT evaluations – aside from PageRank and URLs.
Google announced before that search quality raters do not affect the search engine results pages (SERPs). They also haven’t answered any questions regarding EAT, as well as the mechanics behind it. Most SEOs ask about how Google distinguishes authors, if a website is classified as YMYL (Your Money Your Life), and so on.
Despite Google being tight-lipped about how their algorithm works, SEOs can find answers by reading Google patents, especially those that were filed in the most recent years.
Google patents contain a lot of information on how they may categorise websites, classify levels of expertise, and identify authors, and this helps explain how EAT algorithmically works.
However, it is important to note that their patents do not really provide SEOs with an accurate answer of how their algorithm functions; they are just hints. There’s no real way to determine which patents Google is actively using, and for which products.
Google patent expert Bill Slawski explained how Google’s patents could help SEO experts find a deeper level of understanding when it comes to EAT, and one of these is knowing how Google identifies a website’s author.
A lot of Google patents have already answered this question when the Agent Rank patent was filed in 2007. Slawski said that the patent has the potential to boost rankings of web pages depending on the author or editor’s identity – even the reviewers and the commentators on the page!
The patent included the ability to recognise the experts and authors (also called “agents”) by taking a look at digital signatures and rank their content based on their combined reputation scores.
But after the core update on 1 August 2018, Google’s John Mueller told everyone that Google does not have individual author reputation as one of their ranking factors.
That being said, Slawski distinguished the differences between Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness.
Trustworthiness is how others perceive an author, while Expertise and Authority are qualities that Google evaluates and assigns to a specific author. The concept of authorship has long evolved since, but with Google’s recent patents, SEOs get the hint that they are still working on how to identify “agents” on the Internet.
In March 2020, Google filed a patent known as Generating Author Vectors, which allows them to know authors based on how they write; even if the author’s name was not mentioned on the web page!
According to Slawski, this patent uses a neural network system trained on a phrase or a sentence, allowing them to identify the author. Aside from characterising authors and identifying their writing style, Google can also know if there are other authors out there who write in the same style and tone.
If a patent is used in Google SEO, they can identify if a website has falsely used another author’s name. Not only that, but Google can also analyse the writing and quality style of an expert author to set standards on what quality content should look like.
This prevents other SEOs from claiming content that is not theirs. Faking good EAT is not going to be easy considering Google’s strict algorithms.
When it comes to perfecting your website’s SEO, your top priority should be making sure that you have compelling content that can engage with your readers. This means informative and relevant content that suits the needs of your target audience.
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