What Is EAT and How Can It Help Your SEO?
In the modern business world, SEO plays a vital role in business success. Since being able to rank high on search engine results pages (SERPs) brings numerous benefits to businesses, everyone is looking to improve their SEO and achieve this goal.
Lately, there has been a lot of talk regarding Google’s EAT and how it can affect your SEO efforts.
Since there are many things we need to address in order to explain how these two are connected, it’s best to jump right in and explain as we go.
In this article, we will explain what EAT is and how it can help your SEO and answer some of the most commonly asked questions:
- What is EAT?
- What is the importance of EAT for SEO?
- How to evaluate EAT?
- Does EAT affect SERPs ranking?
- What is an EAT score?
- How do you improve your EAT?
- How to create EAT content?
What is EAT?
EAT is an acronym created by Google to denote the three most important ranking factors.
EAT refers to expertise, authoritativeness and trustworthiness of a website. So, it’s important that we first analyze and explain the true meaning of each of these words.
Expertise measures the competence of the content creator and evaluates their credibility.
For example, content created by a true industry expert (a dermatologist) will naturally have more merit than content created by a less-expert blogger (a beauty guru). Therefore, expertise refers to the level of competence and industry or niche-specific experience, which determines if the content creator is really the expert in their field.
Aside from expertise, authoritativeness refers to your site’s ability to demonstrate and establish authority in your industry or niche. Most commonly, the best way to assess if your content is authoritative enough is to take a look at your backlinks.
If other industry experts or experts from industries closely related to yours cite and reference your work in their content and link back to your website, it will mean that you’ve managed to establish yourself as an authoritative figure in your field.
Naturally, this will also benefit your SEO efforts, as search engines will recognize your business as authoritative and trustworthy.
Last but not least is trustworthiness. As the name itself suggests, trustworthiness measures just how much you can be trusted.
This will reflect on and in the content you create, so make sure that everything you choose to include in it can be backed up by other relevant and authoritative sources.
Aside from this, you will also need to ensure that you have a secure domain, which will show your users that their personal details will be safe.
Needless to say, positive reviews will play a huge role here, as they won’t only help your audience gain more trust in your business, but they will also show search engines that your business is legit.
But be careful not to try and hide any negative reviews, but address them in a professional and timely manner.
Why is EAT important for your business?
Showcasing that your business follows the EAT principles will not only affect the overall perception of your business in a positive way but it will also help you rank better on the SERPs.
As one of the main goals of Google is to prevent users from coming across shady websites, it’s of the utmost importance that you prove that your website can be trusted. This is particularly true if your business deals in YLYM topics, but more on that later.
To give just a brief example, imagine you – as a searcher – come across a website that deals in various topics concerning health. This website is positioned high on SERPs pages, which makes you automatically assume that the information they present can be trusted.
You choose to follow or try out some of the things recommended on the said website, but you end up falling ill instead of getting better.
In such an instance, the searcher would be highly disappointed in Google, in the best-case scenario, and potentially experience serious consequences of trusting such “advice” in the worst-case scenario.
That being said, it becomes quite clear why Google is so careful about the businesses it chooses to support and promote. Naturally, it is also clear why you want your business to be one of them.
Is EAT a ranking factor?
In order to answer this question, we need to explain a bit further what ranking factors are. Ranking factors are all of the elements of your website that enable search engines to understand and evaluate it.
Now, it’s important to note that Google crawlers can crawl every part of the internet looking for backlinks that point to your website in order to determine its quality. But, EAT is a more human-oriented approach that bots and algorithms can’t yet understand fully.
Luckily, Google has implemented a solution to this problem that consists of:
- Search engineers constantly work on adjusting algorithms with the goal of improving the quality of search results.
- Hiring Quality Raters whose job is to assess and provide honest feedback on search results.
- Google then decides if the adjustments to algorithms are positive or negative based on the feedback.
So, while some experts argue that EAT is not directly a ranking factor per se, the elements that this principle is based on certainly are. Therefore, in short, EAT can -in fact – be considered a ranking factor.
How to determine the EAT score of a website?
This may come off as a surprise, but the fact of the matter is that websites don’t really have an EAT score. So, even though this means you won’t be winning or losing any points, that doesn’t mean you should neglect your EAT.
As a matter of fact, Best Los Angeles Web Design Agencies emphasize the importance of boosting your EAT, as it is quite clear that it can seriously affect your overall performance.
So, aside from making sure that your website follows all the other SEO guidelines, make sure that it also complies with the EAT principles.
What is YMYL and how is it connected to EAT?
We’ve mentioned earlier that EAT plays a big role in businesses that relate to YMYL topics. To explain the relationship further, we must first explain what YMYL means.
“Your money/your life” websites are the ones that cover various topics related to either your money or your life, as the name itself suggests.
Therefore, YMYL websites are all of those that deal with and cover topics related to health, safety, finances, happiness and overall well-being.
So, to refer to the example we gave earlier, it becomes clear why Google demands a higher degree of EAT when YMYL sites are concerned.
Otherwise, if the requirements were any looser, Google would run the risk of recommending websites that contain false or potentially harmful information.
How to demonstrate EAT?
In order to be able to prove that your website and your business comply with the EAT principles, you must first make sure you have enough high-quality links.
By linking to and from reputable sources and ensuring that your links are of the highest possible quality, you will seriously improve your EAT.
Moreover, you also need to inspect and update your content regularly. Outdated content and the one that’s not being refreshed on a regular basis can seriously hinder your reputation and EAT.
So, make sure that every piece of content that can be found on your website is accurate, relevant and up to date.
Finally, the best way to showcase your EAT is to let others speak for you. You can easily achieve this by:
- Displaying your credentials and contact details
- Showcasing testimonials and reviews
- Being transparent about your business
- Creating a Wikipedia page
- Boosting your online mentions
Since word of mouth still presents a huge factor when online reputation and perception are concerned, you need to ensure that every party that interacts with your business has only nice things to say about it.
How do improve your EAT
In order to improve your EAT, you will need to pay attention to each part of it separately.
Boost expertise by making sure that the content you create aligns with your audience’s needs. Your expertise won’t be worth much if you don’t know how to share it with others. To achieve this, make sure you have extensive knowledge about your audience.
Improve authoritativeness by:
- Creating a link-building strategy that will help you reach out to other websites and spread your influence.
- Improving visibility and recognizability of your brand with the help of social media platforms.
Enhance trustworthiness by communicating with your audience. Address any type of feedback you receive – both positive and negative, and make sure you really do listen to what your audience is saying.
Ready to improve your EAT?
If you take into account everything we covered in this article, it becomes clear that EAT plays a huge role in SEO. Not only will boosting your EAT positively affect your business’ rankings on the SERPs, but it will also resonate well with your audience.
Therefore, you need to make sure that all the content you create follows the EAT principles – particularly if you cover YMYL topics and that you establish yourself as a true industry expert.
Harold Ader is a digital marketing specialist and freelance blogger from Manchester. New trends in digital marketing and digital commerce are his main focus. In his spare time, he writes a lot for DigitalStrategyOne.