E-A-T And What It Means For Your Content
If you’re looking to give your website a boost then you’re going to need to know all about the EAT acronym. It is not a new concept, having been around since 2014, but it is one that can get a little confusing. In recent times, it has shown itself to be one of the most important factors in SEO (search engine optimisation) and one that you need to be aware of when producing content for your site.
Maybe you’re yet to hear about EAT. Perhaps you need to know the answer to the question “What does EAT stand for?”. If that sounds a little like you then we’re here to help. Read on to learn all about the EAT acronym and what it means for your site’s content.
What does EAT stand for?
Before we get into the detail of exactly what EAT is all about and exactly how it impacts you, it’s useful to look at what does EAT stand for. So, here we go:
- E – expertise
- A – authoritativeness
- T – trustworthiness
Given that the search engines aim is to give users the very best experience, it perhaps makes sense that EAT Google is such a major part of search result rankings. While EAT was always important, it became more so in 2018 on the back of the Medic update. You can find how Google rates the importance of EAT in its own guidelines. It lists the most important factors that are used to judge a site’s quality as:
- There is a beneficial purpose to the page
- Expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness
- The quality and quantity of the main content
- Key information about the website or the main content creator
- The reputation of the website or the main content creator
Google EAT ratings
Now we have looked at the question “What does EAT stand for?” it is worth taking some to time explore how Google rates EAT when looking at a website and its content. On a basic level, there are three areas that Google will consider when evaluating this:
- Does the creator of the content demonstrate expertise?
- How authoritative is the website, the main content creator, and the main content?
- How trustworthy is the website, the main content, and the main content creator?
If you Google EAT yourself, you will find that what Google is seeking to achieve is to display websites that are useful and safe for its users. It wants to ensure that if any of us carry out a search, the information that we are going to see is accurate and can be trusted.
The way that the internet has evolved means that anyone can get a website up in record time. This is great in some ways, but in others, it causes Google a bit of a headache. It needs to know, out of all of these millions of websites, which ones can be trusted. Google does this by looking at EAT. Consider medical advice as an example. Google is much more likely to approve of a post on something like COVID from WebMd than it is on a random blog that has just appeared. The website with the authority, expertise, and trustworthiness will be favoured in the search results.
How does Google judge expertise?
A major part of the EAT acronym is the level of expertise. Google needs to be able to look at your content and decide if you are an expert in the field and if readers can trust what you are putting out there. Whether you are posting long-form content, images, or videos, Google wants to know that its users are safe.
The way in which Google will rate expertise will depend upon the type of website that you have. Different levels of expertise are needed for differing topics. If you run a blog that is all about gossip stories then the chances are that you’ll need less expertise than a site that is giving financial or medical advice.
One real positive that can be found in the EAT Google guidelines is that there is an acknowledgement that you can be an expert without formal qualifications in your field.
The importance of YMYL and EAT
Having seen that the expertise part of the EAT acronym allows for a degree of flexibility in terms of what makes someone an expert, there is an exception. This can be found on YMYL websites. Yet another acronym to get used to, this one stands for your money or your life. Google looks at these websites with more scrutiny as following the advice found on them can have a massive impact on someone’s life.
These are the types of websites that fall into the YMYL category:
- Those covering news events
- Anything linked to politics and law
- Those that give financial advice
- Shopping sites where you can make a purchase
- Any content that covers health and medical issues
- Websites that make claims based on race, gender, religion etc
Google is keen to protect users from misinformation. This is the case even more with websites where content can have a profound effect on lives. So, if your site is classed as YMYL, the concept of EAT is even more important to you and your content.
The relationship between EAT and SEO
For those who follow updates to Google and its search algorithm, they will already be aware of Google’s focus. In fact, even if you haven’t followed these, it is clear what Google is looking to achieve. It wants to be the very best search engine and it achieves this by providing results that are relevant, safe, and give useful insights.
The history of how Google has ranked websites all shows that quality is the major factor. It was once a case that you could stuff keywords and rank. There was a time when you could offer a lousy mobile experience and Google didn’t care. These are just two examples of how Google has gone on to make changes to increase the user experience.
What the EAT acronym does is to take all of this one step further. For your site to be treated favourably in organic search results, EAT needs to be part of your SEO strategy.
How can you improve your EAT Google rating?
Hopefully, you have seen just how important EAT is to your website and why it should be at the forefront of your mind with every piece of content that you produce. If you are having a bit of a moment realising that your site isn’t quite there, the good news is that there are steps that you can take to get a boost:
Use backlinks as a strategy
Backlinks still matter when it comes to the content that you are producing and they are a way of showing that your site is trusted. There was once a time when any old backlinks would do. There was also a time when people would benefit from PBNs (private blog networks). Google saw through these as a way of faking authority and so now they are not something worth attempting.
What you need to focus on are backlinks from credible sites that are relevant to your industry. You need to be targeting sites that are already trusted and have high domain authority. While the quantity of backlinks is a factor is best to build slowly and ensure that you are targeting quality. There are companies that sell backlinks but before you go down this route, bear in mind that this is an attempt to fool Google and so is hardly in keeping with the EAT acronym.
Look at the accuracy of your content
With your content, you may have evergreen articles where the information never changes, but there may also be topics that are prone to updates every now and then. It is important to keep an eye on what you have produced previously and to make sure that it hasn’t become outdated, or even completely irrelevant.
There is no need to necessarily do away with content. There is no harm at all in refreshing it and bringing it back up to date. Be sure to set up a process whereby your content is regularly reviewed so that nothing slips through the net.
Are you showing your contact details?
This is really going back to basics, but it is one of the easiest ways to add trust when it comes to your business. If you want people to trust what you are saying or if you want them to send you money for purchases, it certainly helps for them to know who you are, where you are, and how to contact you.
If your website is lacking a means of contact then you can’t expect anyone to have any level of trust. You should ensure that you have an email address, contact form, phone number, and a physical address. These all show that your business is more likely to be legitimate and is not hiding away.
Get some top-notch mentions
When looking at “What does EAT stand for?”, it makes sense that getting your brand mentioned will give you a bit of a boost. While backlinks are important and show a vote of confidence in your site, just mentions of your brand name can bring some real benefits.
It may seem a little far fetched that simply having your brand mentioned can help you with your EAT credentials, but Google has confirmed this itself. A trusted brand that mentions your brand is giving an implied link and this brings the same benefits that a link itself does.
Call in the experts
With the EAT acronym having a big focus on expert content, Google will reward you if this is what you can publish on your site. There are big names out there in all industries who have a range of credentials that prove their level of expertise. If you can team up with these people and get them to provide content for your site you will find that Google likes this.
It may be that you have to pay for expert content or you may come to other business arrangements. No matter what the deal you make, you can be sure that it will be worth it. If your website falls into any of the YMYL categories then this matters even more to you.
Already an expert? Be prepared to prove it
If you are already an expert in your field, or if your content writers are, then don’t be shy about boasting about this. Shout aloud and proud and provide every signal that you can that this is the case. EAT Google loves to see what makes you an expert and what you can offer to prove that you can be trusted.
Be sure to show your credentials. If you have a list of authors, do they have sites that you can link to? Do they have social media handles that can be linked back to? Wherever there is proof of expertise, be sure to help Google out by making it obvious.
Having started trying to answer the question “What does Eat stand for?”, we hope that you now have a clear understanding of the EAT acronym and why it matters to your site. EAT Google isn’t about complicating things or making it difficult for you to rank. What it is about is Google ensuring that its users are served the very best results when they type in a query.
When you are looking at your content strategy, you need to ensure that EAT becomes a factor that you are considering. You may not be able to go out and instantly have experts jump on board providing you with content, but you can be working in the background to develop relationships with those in your industry who matter. This can help you to access expert content as well as generate some useful backlinks.
As always, the content that you produce needs to be written for people, and not for search engines. This doesn’t mean that the likes of keywords don’t matter, but if you focus on the reader first you will find that you are producing content that Google likes and is more likely to favour well when judged by the EAT acronym.