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SEO and Google EAT. What it is and why it is important?

SEO and Google EAT. What it is and why it is important?

If you have anything to do with the world of SEO, you will have heard the term E-A-T.  It stands for Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness. It’s a set of recommendations that Google makes to help make sure users get a great online experience. It looks at your website and focuses on the quality of the content and the creators of that content. So how does Google E-A-T measure the Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness of your content? In this blog, we’ll cover the three pillars of E-A-T and highlight how you can incorporate these principles into your SEO strategy. 


What is E-A-T?


Basically, Google wants to ensure that when you search for something, you get results that best match the intent of your query. Google also wants to know that it provides search results with content made by people who know what they are talking about on websites that you can trust. This concept is explained in Google’s search quality evaluator guidelines which help raters to evaluate website content.


Clearly, if you understand how this process works, you will be in a great position to improve your Google rankings and ultimately improve your lead generation. Google E-A-T is looking for the following:


  • The quality of your website. 
  • The quality of the main content on any given page. 
  • The quality and trustworthiness of the author of the content.


An update to the Google algorithm in late 2018 - known as the “medic upgrade” - affected a large number of sites that are called YMYL sites. YMYL stands for Your Money or Your Life.  A YMYL site has content that has to be authoritative and accurate such as medical sites. Misinformation on these sites can have serious consequences. For example, if you are doing a Google search asking how many aspirins it is safe to take, it is crucial that the search results you get are accurate. 


E-A-T is designed to ensure that search results are authoritative and that content is written by someone who has proven knowledge and experience. As a result, YMYL sites should now include author profiles or structured data that inform Google about the author including links to authority websites that back up claims about the author’s credibility. Let’s dig a little deeper into the three main characteristics of E-A-T - Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness.


Expertise


The Oxford dictionary defines an expert as someone who is "extremely informed about or skilled in a specific topic." However, this on its own is not going to be enough. You must know how to present data in a way that interests others. It's not only about having the expertise, it's also about offering information in an easy-to-understand and accessible way.


Tips for producing expert content:


  • Determine what your target audience is looking for, then match and surpass their expectations. Start by researching the keywords your target audience uses.
  • Try to comprehend the intent of the people making these searches. The phrases they use should give you a clue to their intent.
  • Your content should find a happy medium between being thorough and keeping things simple. If you want to keep things accessible then visual aids and rich media such as video or music can be a great way to do this. Moz's Whiteboard Friday series is a good illustration of this.
  • Try to anticipate other questions your audience may want to ask and provide that information as well. You want to establish yourself as the go-to expert in your area.


Authoritativeness


Ideally, you don’t just want to be the expert, you want to be the authority. Here are some KPIs to consider when assessing your authoritativeness:


Links


Clearly, it’s important to have links to relevant and authoritative websites in your field.

Links can increase the authority of your website and therefore you. You also want these authoritative sites to link back to you. There is no greater recommendation than a respected and trusted site linking back to your site. 


Publicity


While links are great, getting featured in the press or on reputable websites in your industry will also increase your authority in Google's eyes. As a result, mentions are something to aim towards.


 Domain Authority rating 


This is often used to determine a website's authority. Check your rating with rank checking software to see how you are performing.


Social media


If your material is widely and consistently shared throughout social media platforms, this will boost your rating.


Brand Positioning


The amount of branded searches is a useful indicator of how well your brand identity is performing. If people are searching for your brand name, that’s great. It's even better if they're looking for your brand name together with a related term or question. 


Wikipedia


Getting a Wikipedia page indicates you are a leader in that field.  It’s not easy - getting a Wikipedia page is difficult unless you are a well-known person or brand. It is however something that Google looks for so it's something to aim towards.


Trustworthiness


It's critical to have a track record of trustworthiness. While expertise and authority might help you rank higher on Google, a lack of credibility or trustworthiness can cause your ranking to plummet. Crucial to this is customer relations.  Negative reviews from customers are not good news. Encourage your customers to provide positive feedback on sites such as Tripadvisor, GetApp, Trustpilot, G2, Google My Business, and Facebook.


Here are some simple ways to promote your trustworthiness: 


  • Make sure it’s easy for people to contact the website’s owners.
  • Associate your site with a real physical address - for example, your office.
  • Having your Terms of Business (T&Cs) easily visible (usually in the footer).
  • Having a secure website domain. Google values HTTPS implementation because it ensures that any data entered by your customers is not intercepted by a malicious third-party organization.
  • Having a clear and understandable privacy policy (again, usually in the footer).
  • If you take payments, you must have a clear refund and return procedures in place.
  • If you're selling something, be sure to provide all of the product's specs as well as any pertinent safety recommendations.
  • In general, if you're providing knowledge, it's a good idea to provide an author biography. You should also credit external sources when appropriate.


As a kick-start with trustworthiness, you can fetch customer reviews on your website or feature pages. For example, FreshBooks has mentioned a customer review on its feature page.


How may E-A-T be improved and demonstrated?


Websites that didn’t score well according to E-A-T requirements saw their traffic drop dramatically when the ‘medic upgrade’ was released. Even if you are one of those websites that were unaffected or less affected, it makes sense to improve your E-A-T performance and future-proof your site and your website traffic. Here are some ways to improve your Google E-A-T rating:


1. Increase links to and from your site


Despite the fact that Google's Search Quality Rater Standards make no mention of links, E-A-T is primarily dependent on links and mentions from reputable sites. Google is pretty adept at working out which links are important and which are not, so make sure you prioritise the creation of quality links to sites with recognised authority.


2. Keep updating your content


If you're addressing YMYL issues like financial or medical advice, you'll need to keep your content updated to demonstrate E-A-T credentials. Information on your site must be professionally written, easy to understand, and be revised and reviewed regularly.


3. Verify any facts in your content


Unsurprisingly, news items must be factually correct in order to show a high degree of E-A-T.  It's the same story with scientific information - it needs to be factually correct and in line with the current scientific consensus.


4. Update your author’s bio


Providing details of your content authors will help your ranking. It helps Google check your author’s expertise, authority, and experience. High-quality authors will also improve your trustworthiness score.


5. Ensure your brand is reputable online


Ensure any customer service issues are resolved professionally. You don’t want any bad reviews out there. This is an ongoing process. Your brand is vital to your E-A-T rating. 


Conclusion


If you have understood, thought-through, and worked on your E-A-T ratings, Google will reward you. This is particularly important if you are providing YMYL services such as health or financial information but it’s important for everybody else too. Demonstrating your expertise, authority and trustworthiness take time but it’s time very well spent. If you get this right, the results can provide a real, ongoing boost to your business.  


by Narayani Pandya | 28 Oct 21

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