Google’s No. 1 Ranking Factor: The Power of Backlinks


In the video above Matt Diggity discusses how SEO professionals have been going crazy over E-A-T (Experience, Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trust) since Google’s quality rater guidelines were released to the public. They believe that E-A-T is the top ranking factor in 2023, and Google has confirmed that it’s being applied to every single search result. However, the video explains that SEO professionals have got it all wrong and that they’re wasting their time on E-A-T.

According to Matt, the focus should be on content creators, the authors of the content. High E-A-T medical advice, for example, should be written or produced by people or organizations with appropriate medical expertise or accreditation. Science topics should be produced by scientists, and news articles should be produced with journalistic professionalism.

The video suggests that E-A-T means having expert writers. However, many website owners are going to great lengths to create expertise for their websites, even going as far as registering fake personas as online conference presenters. They believe that the quality rater guidelines document is given out to humans to give Google feedback on the quality of the results. Although a human might be able to dig around a website and get a feel for how qualified its writers are, can an algorithm pull this off, and at scale? The video argues that there’s no way Google is going to look at the about pages of the billion websites on the internet, check which universities each author went to, and then access these university databases to make sure the authors got a 3.0 GPA or higher on the subject. The video argues that the resource requirements alone are a deal breaker.

Matt then discusses what E-A-T really is. The real way to establish it is by building backlinks. Google search liaison Gary Illyes himself has said that E-A-T is “largely based on links and mentions on authoritative sites.” The video suggests that people are going nuts about their authors, but it’s all accomplished with a little old-fashioned link building.

He then breaks down how to use link building to create E-A-T. In general, links provide three different ranking factors to the pages they’re built to. The first is power. When you get links from websites with a bunch of links, that pushes you up the rankings. The second is relevance. If an article about spearfishing links to your article about spearfishing, Google sees that as a relevant link. The third is trust. If an authoritative website, such as the New York Times, links to your article about spearfishing, that’s a signal to Google that your content is trustworthy.

In conclusion, Matt argues that SEO professionals are focusing too much on E-A-T and that they’re wasting their time. Instead, they should be focusing on building backlinks. However, he also notes that there are other parts of the quality rater guidelines that should be followed.

As a writer, I have a passion for exploring a variety of topics. When I'm not putting pen to paper, I enjoy traveling and spending time with my family. As a husband and father, I understand the importance of balance and finding time for the things I love. Whether I'm delving into new subjects or spending quality time with my loved ones.


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