EAT in SEO stands for Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness.
EAT was first introduced by Google in 2014 and was highlighted in the “Google Search Quality Guideline“. in late 2018.
What do these guidelines (GSQG) say about EAT?
First, let’s talk about what these guidelines are. They are contained in a document that is charged with shedding light on Expertise, Authority, and Trustworthiness. This document can be seen as essential to the understanding of the search engine as Google has said that these guidelines are a key element. So these directives can help us understand what Google wants to see on a website in terms of quality.
In an interview with CNBC, Google’s vice president of search, Ben Gomes, was asked about the connection between Google’s quality reviewer guidelines and Google’s algorithms. He replied:
“You can think of the reviewer guidelines as the direction we want the search algorithm to go. They don’t tell you how the algorithm ranks results, but they show what the algorithm should do.”
If you’ve ever wondered what Google considers “high quality”, GSQGs are actually a manual that explains this in great detail!
While Google’s algorithms are not an exact representation of what is in the GSQG, as mentioned above, the GSQG reflects what Google wants the algorithms to do. And there’s a lot of information about EAT in these guidelines.
Let’s take a quick look at EAT
- Expertise: Represents someone with in-depth knowledge of a topic. Your content should demonstrate professional experience and knowledge on the topic. Example: A verified professional writing a blog post.
- Authority: Clearly demonstrate that you are an expert and show the authority of the primary content creator. Example: Present the author’s credentials, title, biography, and relevant experience.
- Trustworthiness: Demonstrate trust signals to the user. Show users that they can trust the content creator. Example: SSL, HTTPS, easily visible contact information, professionalism.
EAT is extremely important for Your Money or Your Life (YMYL) sites
If your site is a medical, legal, or financial site, your site will be considered YMYL. It is crucial to have a good EAT. Your site can also be considered YMYL if it gives advice that helps people make an important decision. It is likely to be considered in this category as well if you sell products on your website.
The GSQG tells us that a YMYL site that lacks EAT should be considered a poor-quality site.
Develop your SEO with the EAT
Sites or web pages that have no purpose, naturally have poor search performance. These pages are often created strictly for profit, to harm or deceive searchers, or are deemed to be of little use to users. Outside of these low-quality pages, valuable content is subject to strict evaluation and the degree of E-A-T obtained becomes increasingly important.
“Keep in mind that there are high E-A-T pages and websites of all types, even gossip websites, fashion websites, humor websites, forum, and Q&A pages, etc.” (Google Search Quality Guideline).
Exhibit specialized knowledge in your field. These are the content creators who are considered the most credible in their industry.
According to Google’s search guidelines, there are two main types of experts:
- Formal Expertise:
Refers to people who are considered professionals and have verified expertise or accreditation. This is especially important for medical, financial, and legal web pages, as the information provided could seriously harm the user if it is inaccurate, as discussed above
- Everyday Expertise:
Describes people who demonstrate expertise based on their life experiences. Everyday expertise as defined in Google’s search guidelines: “If the person creating the content has the type and amount of life experience to make him to her an ‘expert’ on the topic, we will value this ‘everyday expertise’ and not penalize the person/webpage/website for not having “formal” education or training in the field” (Google Search Quality Guideline).
Establishing expertise starts with your content team.
As a business owner, you can build a team in-house, outsource to freelancers or employ an experienced content marketing agency. The best option for your organization depends on the resources you have available and your long-term goals. The right resources are used to ensure factually accurate content and professionalism that will help users achieve the desired outcome.
This involves displaying the credentials of the content creators as an established authority on the topic. Authority refers to the person who created the content, but also the web page and the website as a whole. Present the authority by displaying the authors:
- Professional title
- Short biography
- Link to the official website
- Link to a full biography
When it comes to “everyday expertise,” the author’s professional credentials are not as important. The guidelines refer to a forum participant who shares his or her experience of a loved one with liver cancer. The guidelines state, “This is an example of sharing personal experiences (in which they are experts), not medical advice.”
Low-quality websites do not have the appropriate level of authority to be considered an adequate resource. For example, medical advice is provided on a sports information website. Even if the website is an authority in the sports world, it does not have the authority to be considered a reliable source of medical information.
When it comes to authority, reputation applies to both your website and your business. The foundation of your reputation is the actual experience of your customers. Google looks to external sources for authentic representations of your business. These sources include review-based websites like Google My Business or Yelp.
It’s important to note that the number of reviews is crucial, as is the context in which they are written. Credible, detailed reviews are more effective than a customer who has only had one unpleasant experience with a sales representative.
Beyond reviews, Google looks for other credentials about your business, including recommendations from trusted experts, news articles, awards, and any other credible information about your website. For some industries, where experts are not clearly defined, user engagement and popularity are considered evidence of reputation.
Trust is a critical factor for your content, but also your website and your business.
You can build trust on your website by having:
- A secure website
- Easy to access
- Contact information
- Team photos
- Links to credible websites
- Links to authority websites
- A privacy notice and terms and conditions
Some of these suggestions may seem obvious, but ultimately, creating trust is about making your users feel safe. Prominently displayed contact information helps users gain confidence. That way, they know they can talk to a real person, if necessary. Your “About” page lets visitors know who you are and what you do. It helps users feel safe by putting a face to your business. These little things add up and help your website become a trusted resource.
EAT is first and foremost a process. An ongoing process built over time, not something you can quickly fix, create or establish. Put your users first. That way, you create credible, accurate, and reliable information displayed in a secure environment.
Follow through on this commitment and you’ll get the results you want from your content marketing and SEO efforts.
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