If you are monitoring the latest trends in SEO, you can’t have missed the new buzzword: Google EAT. Some say it is a new ranking factor. Others say that it is not. What is the truth? This article will cover all the aspects you need to know about Google EAT, including ways of optimising your website.
What Is Google EAT?
Google EAT is actually an acronym, standing for:
These are some of the factors Google takes into account when deciding to include a website in a search result list or not. Google EAT concept has appeared in response to the Alphabet company’s commitment to fight against fake news and disinformation.
Unfortunately, as the last year has shown us, the internet is a tool for spreading false information in relation to every aspect of our lives, starting with health and ending with politics and elections.
Is Google EAT a Ranking Factor?
Many SEOs and business owners have already started worrying: “will Google EAT impact my page rank? Will I see a drop in traffic?” Considering the fact that the Google algorithm uses EAT for some time now, if you haven’t experienced any significant changes, then you have nothing to worry.
The idea that Google EAT is a new ranking factor is a myth stemming from 2019. It grew so much in popularity that Danny Sullivan, Public Liaison of Search at Google, made a clarification on his Twitter profile:
“Is E-A-T a ranking factor? Not if you mean there’s some technical thing like with speed that we can measure directly.”
However, he added that the search algorithm takes into account various signals which determine whether content has characteristics matching a person’s assessment of expertise, authoritativeness and trustworthiness.
Some Websites Are Under Closer Scrutiny than Others
These being said, Google EAT does impact some websites more than others. Google monitors closely the so-called YMYL websites – your money or your life. These websites belong to critical categories, such as:
- Medical advice
- Legal advice
- Online shopping.
These websites usually have content that influences a person’s decisions in critical aspects related to their life, safety and finances. Thus, the content must meet the strictest Google EAT standards.
Why Google EAT Matters for Your Site and How to Meet Its Standards
Maybe your website is not under the said scrutiny for EAT signals. But this does not mean that you should not strive to create content that meets these standards.
Expert, authoritative and trustworthy content is:
- Helpful for the user
- Beneficial for you, as it positions you as a knowledgeable source of information
- Likely to generate many high quality backlinks from other website citing you as a reliable source.
It is a win-win situation no matter how you examine it. And it does not have to mean extra work for you. If you are focused on creating original and high quality content, you are already doing a few of the basic checks before you post a new article:
- Checking your data
- Attributing quotes properly
- Cross-checking external sources of information
- Adding proof to any statement you make.
Here are some of our guidelines that will help you meet all the Google EAT criteria:
1. Tell Users Who You Are
The About Us page used to be the home page in older websites. Now, digital marketing and SEO trends say that you should start with a page that welcomes visitors and gives them pointers to various parts of your site.
This made many businesses believe that the About Us page has become irrelevant. They jot down a paragraph or two about the company in the Products or Services page, and that’s all. Unfortunately, that is not good enough for Google EAT and your potential clients.
You need to state clearly who you are and what credentials give you the authority to post the type of content included on your site (such as advice, tutorials, checklists, etc.).
2. Give Your Content a Clear Purpose
Is this site about interior decorations or real estate? Does this business sell to consumers or to wholesalers? If a reader cannot understand what your website and business are about, then you do not meet the Google EAT standards.
Many businesses feel tempted to jump on the bandwagon – write about topics that are very popular at a moment, but loosely connected with their business. A real estate company may write about the influence of interior decorations on the rental price of a property. However, creating a series of articles on trends in interior design for the purpose of growing followers on Instagram, will confuse readers – and Google, as well.
3. Partner with Experts to Create Content
Many businesses create tons of SEO optimised content by outsourcing it to content writers. While they have writing skills, they are not experts in your field. Every once in a while consider doing one of the following:
- Interviewing a thought leader
- Asking an expert to test and review your products
- Taking part in a business event where experts are present
- Hiring a specialised writer to write cornerstone content.
In some cases, you will not have to spend anything on the creation of this type of authoritative content. Some specialists volunteer to guest post, because they earn backlinks for their own websites or social media profiles.
4. Link to Authoritative Sources
When we shared the quote about Google EAT not being a ranking factor, we linked to a verified Twitter profile belonging to a high ranking Google representative. While social media is not the best example of authoritative source, it has its merits.
A better example would be linking to official sources (such as government and local authorities’ websites), research institutes, universities, institutes of statistics, etc. These are the ultimate sources of reliable information, which will give your own content a higher level of trustworthiness.
5. Protect Your Online Reputation
Google EAT takes into consideration the reputation of the source that posts content. For example, an article by disgraced doctor Andrew Wakefield on the COVID vaccine would probably not meet the standards of Google EAT. The author has already been proven to be unreliable and even lost his medical license.
On the other hand, an article written by Anthony Fauci, the Chief Medical Advisor to the US President, on the same topic, would meet all the criteria in terms of expertise, authoritativeness and trustworthiness.
For a business, any online attack on its reputation, any negative review or claim made by a person may reduce its level of trustworthiness. This is why you must constantly monitor your online brand reputation and respond to each of these issues in a timely manner.
6. Edit and Update Your Content
The COVID health crisis has taught us one thing: science learns constantly and comes to new truths and conclusions. What was true yesterday is no longer true today.
Maybe your field of activity is not as influenced by change as in the example given, but you should constantly audit your content. In terms of SEO, for example, many articles written years ago are no longer relevant. They mention Google products and tools that no longer exist, such as Google+, Google Cardboard and Google Page Creator.
You should delete, update or correct these articles, taking into account whether they continue to be useful to your readers and for the purposes of Google EAT.
7. Add Your Credentials on Your Website
Do you know why so many businesses how have “Our Team” page, containing highlights of their top employees’ CV? The reasons are these: many of these people hold specific certifications, diplomas, licenses and awards which prove that they are experts in their field of work.
If you or any member of your team has such credentials, make them visible on your website. Also, do not forget about any certifications and awards your business has, including BBB rating, Google rating and other relevant ratings.
Google EAT may not directly impact your page rank, but it definitely has a role in determining which websites are shown in search results. At the same time, meeting the standards of Google EAT will make your website more reliable for your readers and win you valuable backlinks.
These being said, we strongly recommend you making sure that the content of your website meets the Google EAT requirements. It does not mean more work, beside the usual due diligence you do in checking that what you post is true, useful and reliable.