EAT is an important guideline that site owners and marketers need to know and add to their SEO strategy. Read on to find out precisely what EAT is and why it matters.
EAT is an acronym that stands for Expertise, Authoritativeness and Trustworthiness. It's also part of what Google uses to judge the quality of content and is detailed in Google's Search Quality Evaluator Guidelines.
If you've been heavily involved in your company's SEO practices, you've undoubtedly been aware of EAT for some time.
But how does EAT affect what we post and how we go about our SEO work? Does it have a significant influence on the results we get online?
This is a beginner's guide to EAT, and we're going to look at how we can use it to get better search results. There is more to EAT than we cover here, but this should give you a clear idea of what's involved and whether you should consider implementing it in your SEO strategy.
What is EAT and how does it work?
EAT is a way for Google to understand whether any content is of value to readers and where to place it in the search results.
It's been around since 2014 when Google added it to their Search Quality Guidelines. It is used by search quality evaluators who have been advised to refer to guidelines to determine the quality of content. EAT breaks down into the following:
- The expertise of the writer or creator of the piece of content.
- The authoritativeness of the content, the person who created and the site.
- The trustworthiness of the content, the creator of it and the site.
EAT measures whether a page provides value and help to users and whether it's high-quality and trustworthy.
For example, Google desires news articles to meet the EAT guidelines. They need to be written with professionalism found in the journalist industry. Everything needs to be accurate in terms of facts and written to educate readers so they can understand events. News sources aligning with EAT will usually have policies for editorials and solid review processes.
Can EAT be categorised as a Ranking Factor?
Although EAT is not an official factor in ranking, it still influences the rank of your content.
Of course, what's written above sounds a little ambiguous, but consider it a guideline for measuring the quality of any content as it is what influences how well your content ranks.
Some SEO professionals have gone a little ga-ga over it in previous years. Although essential, it is probably not quite as important as an SEO professional may have had it down.
Google's employee Gary Illyes has stated that there is hardly any mention of EAT internally and that it's an overblown topic outside of Google.
So Why Is EAT Important for SEO?
Let's look at what you need to consider.
Anybody who creates content for websites with a mind for better SEO results knows it's vital to add high-quality content.
However, what makes content high-quality also needs to be defined before it can be written and posted. We need to go one step further and know what Google says is high-quality content.
Google has reviewers – who are human beings – who evaluate and review hundreds of websites looking for content that Google agrees is high quality.
Google's guidelines state that content that is high quality should meet these objectives:
- Help users.
- Be created by an expert.
- Be posted on an authoritative site.
- Be trustworthy.
- Be updated regularly.
Although ideally, the person creating the content should have a high level of expertise. However, if people who 'share everyday expertise' and have life experience in the topic write the content, this is also deemed acceptable.
But please note that any pages that give misinformation, deceive readers, cause harm or spread hate are likely to be rated lower by the search evaluators.
Here's How to Apply EAT to your Website to Improve It
Now that you know what EAT is and how it's related to the Google Algorithm, it's essential to understand what you can do to improve your own.
Here are a few steps for you to follow to improve the authority and trustworthiness of your site:
1. Tell Visitors Who You Are
Every one of the three sections of EAT states that Google needs a clear understanding of who has created the content. The information provided needs to note whether they are someone authorised to be acting as a source for that information.
Having an About Us or Team page that provides information on who your team is and who writes your content is vital.
By adding author pages, you can add information about your team's expertise and whether it's trustworthy and authoritative.
2. Work With Experts to Create Content
Google isn't just looking for great content. It wants content written by people with the experience and expertise that genuinely helps people.
Google wants people who know to write the content rather than just hire ghostwriters who may have some experience of a topic but not at an expert level.
A ghostwriter could work with the expert, or the site owner could hire experts to write guest posts or partner with another business so that high-level content, research or interviews are included.
3. Make the Purpose of Your Content Clear
Content needs to be very clear about why it's been written. For example, it is to educate, influence, convince or define.
Titles and headings are used to clarify what the content is for in obvious and easy-to-understand language. A good approach is to add questions with answers to make it clear that users can get all the answers they need about a topic.
The answers should be to the point and give as much information as possible.
4. Update Content Regularly
Every day there is a tremendous amount of content created—an incredible average of 463 billion GB of data of content will be posted daily by 2025. Of course, times change, meaning content is regularly outdated and needs freshening up.
Companies close, sites are removed, new people fill roles, guidelines change, and tools are revised daily.
Online content typically only lasts two years, depending on whether the industry is fast changing – such as SEO.
Keeping content fresh, accurate and updated gives you a better chance of performing well in search. Keep dates, stats, best practices and dead links updated every few years and pay close attention to the content that ranks well.
5. Link to High-Quality Sources
You need to link to accurate data to be seen as an expert. This may include studies, research papers, and official sources and prove that your content is credible and current and that you stay on top of your subject matter.
You can also link to industry experts and professionals' reports, papers, and tweets.
6. Consider Multiple Viewpoints
To stay trustworthy, you need to view issues from several angles so that each one contributes to the overall viewpoint.
For example, if you're writing about the best types of bikes, you will need to cover a wide variety as not everybody feels every cycle is the best for them. One person will be interested in mountain biking, and another will want to ride along the promenade with their child.
However, each piece about the bikes you write about should help verify that you are an expert in your field, and you can consider the different needs of your readers and bike riders.
7. Pay Attention to Your Online Reputation
You must protect your online reputation as that will be what others judge when they consider your content and site's value.
Ensure that you have claimed all the social profiles for your brand name and encourage others to leave positive reviews about your brand.
You don't need to build a massive brand if that isn't suited to the size of your business, but pay attention to any bad reviews or negative talk about you or your business to ensure that it doesn't get smeared.
Be sure to use EAT and prosper
Whenever Google changes their guidelines or algorithm, some SEO marketers panic and get alarmed about what it may mean for their sites.
However, let's look on the bright side - the search engine has made it clear that EAT won't drop your search rankings to the depths of despair!
It's more of a guideline that is used internally to identify what is high-quality content and what isn't
Despite this, it needs to be considered when creating content so that Google likes it and gives it a better ranking than it will the content it doesn't approve of.
I'm Paul Gordon an SEO freelancer who has spent the last 16 years helping businesses expand and grow through effective SEO strategies.