What is E-A-T & Why It’s Important For SEO
The SEO community started making a buzz about EAT back in the third quarter of 2018, August to be precise. Since then, countless SEO articles have mentioned it. And you might have heard from your SEO company and other sources that E-A-T is a vital ranking factor.
Meanwhile, others say otherwise.
So what to believe?
To help you with some final and credible answers, this guide explains the most asked questions about EAT, which include:
- What does EAT mean?
- What is Google EAT SEO?
- What is the importance of EAT?
- How to evaluate EAT?
- Does EAT Affect Ranking?
- What is an EAT Score?
- How can I improve my website EAT?
- How do I write EAT content?
It’s evident that the questions surrounding EAT are many, so without any delays, let’s dive right in.
What is Google EAT in SEO?
EAT is simply an acronym representing three words – expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness. This entire concept was derived from Google’s Search Quality Rater Guidelines. This document contains 168 pages that serve as a reference for human quality raters assessing the quality of search results.
The search giant published these rater guidelines online in 2013 to provide web admins valuable insight into Google’s pointers for evaluating web pages.
Before we proceed, it’s worth further exploring each of the words comprising the EAT.
Expertise takes into account the creator of a piece of content and evaluates their credibility. For instance, a blogger who doesn’t have any physical training, sports, or fitness qualification is not likely to outrank an established sports expert with degrees in sport and exercise science. Hence, expertise determines whether the content creator is an expert in their domain or niche.
Authoritativeness is about your site’s ability to demonstrate authority in your field. Usually, the indicative elements are relevant backlinks from other high authority sites. For example, if your website specializes in retailing CBD products and CBD forums or wellness blogs start referencing your brand in their online content and link back to your website; this significantly boosts your authority because search engines begin to regard your site as trustworthy and recommended.
Trustworthiness is just as it sounds – Is your site trustworthy? Most will say yes, but how do you demonstrate it? Firstly, this means having a secure domain that safeguards the personal details of your users. Secondly, you also need to get lots of positive customer reviews. Too many negative reviews and search engines will notice a red flag and view your site of poor quality. This will reflect in your ranking on the SERP.
Why is EAT Essential to my Business?
Showing that your business has EAT can considerably affect your position on the SERP. This is because major search engines recognize the site as a trusted, recommended, and legitimate place to redirect traffic. The idea is to prevent searchers from coming across shady websites through search results.
For instance, if a fraudulent website, whether finance or health-related, ranks first in search results, the consequences could be severe for web users. As the example below shows, the first result for this health-related search is very high authority and expertise in the NHS.
In this case, EAT plays a vital role in the health and safety of users online and YMYL sites. However, EAT is equally essential in other sectors because “expert” websites can be of different topics and industries.
Let’s consider another example.
From the look of the thing, the user is probably interested in buying a book from these sites. So book websites in this scenario can use their position to make a sale or at least get a lead. Also, the top results in this example are well-established sites worldwide.
Is EAT a ranking Factor?
Sort of, especially if you take into account what Danny Sullivan, Google’s Public Liaison of Search, tweeted about this subject:
Not too clear? Here’s the explanation.
Ranking factors are elements that are computers can evaluate and understand. One of the most well-known ranking factors is a page’s backlinks.
So while Google bots can crawl every part of the web for backlinks pointing to your site, EAT at its core is a human concept. Hence, computers that only understand bits and bytes aren’t the best judges of EAT quality.
But Google proposed a 3-tier solution to this setback, and here it is.
- Search engineers adjust algorithms to improve the quality of search results.
- They have Quality Raters who provide their honest feedback on search results.
- Google decides whether the adjustments to algorithms are positive or negative based on feedbacks obtains.
What is the ETA Score of My Website?
At last, a question that has a definitive reply is NO. According to the Search Engine Journal author and performance marketing lead at Homes.com, Grant Simmons, your website doesn’t have an ETA score.
It’s pretty easy to understand why websites don’t have any EAT score, especially when you know how Google assesses EAT and the Quality Raters’ role in the process.
So no, Google doesn’t award any EAT score to your website.
Be that as it may, your inbound marketing agency can help you demonstrate and boost your expertise, authoritativeness, and trust before Quality Raters.
What is YMYL, and how does it relate to EAT?
Google’s descriptions of YMYL sites/pages include any websites that could affect users’ safety, happiness, financial stability, and health. This includes websites that cover topics that influence the reader’s financial, physical, and mental wellbeing.
As you can see, it’s more than just medially focused sites and e-commerce pages or personal finance websites. Even current events and new sites are part. Due to the influence that YMYL sites could have on users, Google demands a higher degree of EAT.
How can I demonstrate EAT?
First things first, it’s crucial to know that demonstrating and improving EAT are not the same things. You can’t show something you don’t have, which is why demonstrating is the first hurdle to surmount, and it starts by getting higher-quality links.
But it doesn’t end there. You also need to refresh your content, keeping it up to date. Proper fact-checking should also be your focus since it aligns with Google’s Quality Rater Guidelines, particularly if you publish news, scientific content, or content of any technical nature.
Lastly, getting more reviews and working with known experts in your industry also help demonstrate your EAT. Other approaches you can use include:
- Getting a Wikipedia page
- Display your credentials
- Show contact details
- Increase your mentions online
How Can I Improve My Website EAT?
Improving EAT primarily means upgrading your expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness. So you’ll need to address each separately.
Improving expertise – The best bet for enhancing your expertise is to align your content to your audience’s needs. This means understanding them better. Usually, you start by working hand in hand with your SEO company to craft a better keyword strategy that demonstrates the knowledge and expertise of your brand by focusing on the people behind it.
Improving authoritativeness – There are several routes you can take to increase your site authority, such as:
- Implement a link-building strategy that helps you spread your influence to other websites.
- Using social media platforms to share your content makes your brand more recognizable to leads and customers.
How do You Write EAT Content?
By now, you get the point; content does impact EAT. To have the right EAT standing, you need to frequently update your content and review your posts. According to the Search Quality Evaluator Guidelines, Google uses certain ranking factors to vet the content you post online,
They include the following:
- The purpose of your website
- Expertise, Authoritativeness, Trustworthiness (EAT)
- Amount and quality of content
- Website information
- Website reputation
Although no specific word count was stated in the guidelines, SEO experts recommend sticking to a minimum of 300 words for landing pages. As you would expect, word count varies across page types.
Also, the readability of your on-page content is another major factor Google evaluates. Always proofread your content for grammatical errors and typos, check for flow, correct broken links, and dissolve large chunks of text into smaller bits to improve the reader experience on your pages.
If you’re an e-commerce site, ensuring that your products have detailed descriptions, high-quality photos, and FAQs will help improve your EAT.
Ready to Improve Your EAT?
Beefing up your EAT can lead to better business visibility online, enabling you to bring in more leads and sales. Just take a second to think it through. Suppose you can figure out precisely what interests your audience and know-how to offer it in a way that asserts your expertise, authoritativeness on a given subject that makes you more trustworthy. In that case, chances are your SEO efforts will see better success. But remember that Google is constantly changing its Rater Guidelines. Hence, EAT criteria aren’t a fixed science; you need to evolve and adapt it accordingly.