Google EAT, what you need to know
Starting with the Medical Update of August 2019, there is a lot of discussion among SEOs about the acronym EAT used by Google. What is meant by EAT?
Basically to rank well on Google you need to nurture your brand or name by developing skills, authority and trustworthiness – which is exactly what EAT stands for. This aspect is even more important for all those sites that are classified as YMYL .
In this post, I’ll cover the three pillars of EAT and share tips on how to incorporate them into your content strategy.
EAT represents the union of these three terms:
The importance of these three elements does not have the same weight on all queries, there are more sensitive searches than others, such as health or money management queries. For Google, providing correct information on these issues is very important.
When it comes to YMYL or health, financial and safety websites , Google does not want to provide links to pages that share advice, opinions or potentially fraudulent websites. Google wants to be as certain as possible that it recommends sites that exhibit a high level of expertise, authority, and trustworthiness . It’s Google’s way of protecting users from low-quality content that could be harmful. If your business falls under the label of happiness, health or wealth, then it may be vital for you to understand what Google means by EAT content.
For these issues Google tends to better position the pages in which the author has a certain demonstrable experience on the topic he is writing about. These “quality assessments” (performed by humans) are based on the three concepts of EAT (or EAT or EAT), or the level of “Competence, authority, reliability” of the main content of a page.
In the guidelines for quality raters there are two important mentions of the EAT aspect:
“Expertise, Authoritativeness, Trustworthiness: This is an important quality characteristic. …. Important: Lacking appropriate EAT is sufficient reason to give a page a Low quality rating. “
Google Search Quality Evaluator Guidelines 2017
“The amount of expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness (EAT) that a webpage / website has is very important. MC quality and amount, website information, and website reputation all inform the EAT of a website. Think about the topic of the page. What kind of expertise is required for the page to achieve its purpose well? The standard for expertise depends on the topic of the page. “
Google Search Quality Evaluator Guidelines 2017
The links your site receives define the EAT values. Consider this quote:
“I asked Gary (Illyes from Google) about EAT. He said it’s largely based on links and mentions on authoritative sites. ie if the Washington post mentions you, that’s good. He recommended reading the sections in the QRG on EAT as it outlines things well. “
Marie Haynes, Pubcon 2018
Google is still a partially link-based search engine , but it takes a lot more to rank high in search results in 2020 than in the past.
Expertise – Competence
Being an expert is defined by the Oxford dictionary as “very knowledgeable or skilled in a particular area” . However, having this knowledge alone won’t rank your website high in Google.
You need to understand how to communicate this knowledge in a way that engages people. It is not only about having the information, but also knowing what the public wants and how best to provide them with the information.
What do people want? How can I meet these needs?
Whenever someone asks Google “How can I improve the ranking of my site?” the answer is always the same: “Create great content that your audience loves”. This may seem like an overly simplistic answer (and it is), but it sums up the concept and that’s what I’m trying to describe in this post. What is meant by great content?
How do you create high quality content? Well, here are some tips to answer this question: Find out what your audience is looking for, then meet and exceed their needs. This process begins with keyword research .
Try to understand the intentions behind user searches . There are users who know the subject and are looking for advanced information, there are users who are approaching the subject for the first time, there are users who are very close to conversion and others very far away. These aspects need to be considered when generating new content. If you are targeting, for example, a search term that is clearly for someone who is new to the subject, then try not to use too many technical terms that a beginner is unlikely to understand.
Find the balance between being complete and simple at the same time. This comes down to formatting the text to be digestible, using visual or rich media such as video or audio. The goal is to make the subject better understood by the consumer, without making it too complex.
Analyze the queries a user might be looking for and develop content suitable for answering. The aim is to become the source of reference information in your field. Easy to say, not that easy to do.
Authoritativeness – Authoritativeness
Being an expert and knowledgeable is great, but it’s just the beginning. When other experts or influencers in your vertical niche cite you as a source of information or when your name (or brand) becomes synonymous with relevant topics, then you are not just an expert, you are authoritative.
Here are some of the key performance indicators when it comes to judging your authority:
Backlinks, links from relevant and authoritative websites are obviously an important factor but they are not everything. Even simple mentions have a bearing on Google.
How can we understand the authority of a website? PageRank has not been public for many years now, so if you really need an indicator you can use the various Domain Authority tools that the backlink tools (Majestic with Trust Flow , Ahrefs, SEMrush, …) make available.
If your content is genuinely and consistently shared widely across social media, that’s also a sign of growing authority.
Working to build brand authority is a good idea for many reasons, not just for SEO. The volume of searches related to a brand (online brand awareness) is a good way to evaluate the growth of the brand and its authority. If more and more people are looking for your brand, it means it is growing. If users associate a relevant word with the brand, it’s even better.
Searching for “EVE Milano” is one thing, searching for “EVE Milano SEO consultancy” is another! Google understands that the user associates a service or product with the brand and this will increase the authority of the brand.
Having a Wikipedia page for you or your company is a great sign that you are an authority. Keep in mind that getting a Wikipedia page isn’t easy unless you’re a recognized person or brand. However, this aspect falls under Google’s raters guidelines, so it’s something to think about.
Trustworthiness – Trustworthiness
Proven reliability or reliability is really important. While competence and authority are factors that increase your rankings, a lack of trustworthiness can sink your visibility.
If your business doesn’t have a good online reputation, you will suffer on Google. Basically, you need to avoid negative reviews by pleasing your customers and if you have any complaints. You should deal with them right away and best. Google is very clear about this in the guidelines: too many negative reviews are a sign of low quality and low reliability.
Positive reviews on places like Tripadvisor, Trustpilot, Facebook, Google My Business and so on will really help. If you operate in the United States, Canada, or Mexico, you should especially encourage positive reviews on bbb.org. The Better Business Bureau is the go-to source for customer sentiment for Google, as noted several times in the quality raters guidelines.
Some ways we can promote trustworthiness on our website are:
- Make it easy for users to be able to contact website owners. The contact page must be there and must work, contact details, telephone, email and physical address must be shown.
- Have the Privacy and Terms and Conditions pages easily accessible and possibly linked in the footer.
- Make sure your website domain is secure. Proper implementation of the HTTPS protocol is very important to Google and helps ensure that any data entered by users is not intercepted by a nefarious third party entity.
- If your site accepts transactions, you should make your refund and return policy clearly visible.
- If you sell products, try to include full product specifications and include any safety advice that may be relevant.
- If you share knowledge, in general, it is a good idea to include a bio of the author and cite outside sources where relevant. Linking to authoritative sites is a good thing.
If you share information on a topic, particularly medical, health and financial matters, you must have proven expertise, authority and trustworthiness to allow Google to recommend your content.
When Google recommends a page to a user, it doesn’t want them to read false information, especially when it could impact their health, finances, or happiness. Fake content generally doesn’t pay off, and when it comes to these topics, the quality bar demanded by Google is even higher.
Following EAT as a framework when working on digital marketing for your business means that you are taking a holistic approach to SEO and content marketing. Covering these three pillars is a smart thing to do, particularly if you want to rank on Google for the best search terms in your industry.
As you will have understood, building your own EAT is not a short or even medium term activity, it takes a lot of time, passion, patience and perseverance to achieve good results. If you are looking for quick and easy results, SEO is not the right channel, competence, authority and reliability take time to build and cultivate, and there are no real shortcuts.
Gone are the days of climbing the SERPs overnight. The EAT criteria, by definition, mean growing the brand progressively, one step at a time.
The good news, however, is that if you do it right and hit a high EAT, it will be hard to miss the top spots in Google’s SERPs.