If you’ve been an SEO for a couple of years, you’ve probably heard of E-A-T. It is one of the hottest topics in the SEO community and yet one of the most confusing topics, even for SEO experts.
In this guide, you’ll get all the answers that you need related to EAT.
What Is EAT?
E-A-T stands for Expertise, Authority, and Trust. Google described this concept in the “Search Quality Raters Guidelines” document that uses human search quality raters to evaluate the general quality of Google search results.
It is the concept used by Google to evaluate the quality of a web page and deliver authentic and useful search results.
EAT became well-known after the Google Medic update (Google August 2018 broad core update). Also, EAT seems the fundamental factor in many other recent Google Core updates.
Google wants to keep its users safe from spam and fraud activities by providing only useful and genuine search results from reputable and authoritative sources (websites).
And the EAT concept does that.
Importance of E-A-T
Over the past few years, Google has rolled out several broad core updates. With these updates, Google is trying to provide the best useful information and user experience.
Websites with low-quality content or strategies are receiving Google penalties. In addition, Google added mobile responsiveness, page speed, HTTPS, Core Web Vitals to the ranking factors to rank websites in Google.
All these efforts have a single goal: to provide a better user experience and valuable user information.
And EAT is not a separate thing either. It is also a step towards providing a better user experience to users.
EAT helps Google to evaluate the credibility of a website or a web page before ranking it better in Google SERPs. Google wants to show the most relevant and valuable content for that particular query.
All these efforts have only one goal; to provide a better user experience and valuable information to the user.
And EAT is also not a separate thing. It is also another step to provide a better user experience to users.
EAT helps Google evaluate a website’s credibility or web page before ranking that higher on Google SERP. Google wants to show the most relevant and valuable content for that particular query.
Users will prefer to use Google over other search engines if Google provides a better experience than others. Only then will users trust Google.
Similarly, Google will prefer to rank your website higher if your website is providing real value to the user. If your website or web page is useful to the user, then Google will prefer it to rank higher.
But if Google does not consider you as a reliable or genuine source of information, it will not prefer you to rank higher in Google SERP. In that case, it will cost you to rank higher in Google, especially in the long run.
Therefore, focusing on EAT is very important and cannot be ignored. It should be one of the top priorities of your SEO strategy. All other SEO techniques will only work when Google trusts you.
How Does Google Determine EAT?
The EAT concept is the combination of three factors: Expertise, Authority, and Trust. Therefore, Google evaluates each factor individually using a series of algorithms.
Expertise refers to high-level knowledge or skills in a field.
Google wants to rank content that is written by experts in that industry. Google evaluates a web page to assess the expertise of the website, the author, and the content of the web page by taking into account several factors such as;
- Does the content have sources, references to the research papers, studies, etc.?
- Author experience; does the person know the topic well?
- Background of the website (relevance of the content, information Page, founder’s data, author’s page, etc.)
- Is the website well-known in the industry?
- Content must be free from any writing/spelling errors.
- Can you trust this website for issues related to your money or your life?
Google looks differently for the expertise for different industries and websites. For example, a gossip site doesn’t need to be highly expert because it is just for entertainment purposes. They are not providing any important advice to the users.
But for a medical or finance site, expertise becomes the most crucial factor because a piece of wrong advice given by that website can put someone’s (the user’s) life or money at risk.
That’s why Google takes it more seriously for YMYL (Your Money Your Life) niches.
Authority means the reputation you have. What do users and experts think of you?
When others (users and experts) see a website or a person as a source of information on a topic, that is authority.
You must remember that authority is a relative concept. A person or a website can be an expert and have authority in one field but not in others. For example, Warren Buffett is an expert in the stock industry. But he does not have authority in the website design industry because it is not his profession or skill.
Trustworthiness means genuine, transparent, and accurate.
Google takes into account many factors to evaluate the trustworthiness of a website. For example: Who writes the content, the reputation of the website (awards, media coverage, founder/author data, etc.)? Contact details of the website. And many others.
It is also a relative concept. A person or a website cannot be trustworthy for all topics.
Is EAT a Ranking Factor?
EAT is not a direct Google ranking factor. There is no such thing or score that Google measures directly. It is not a single metric to measure.
Indirectly, it is a ranking factor. Several algorithms work together to evaluate the EAT of a website or web page. In simple words, several sets of Google algorithms evaluate a web page based on several factors, and the combination of all these algorithms is used to evaluate the EAT.
How to Improve EAT?
EAT is the combination of three factors: expertise, authority, and trust. Anything you can do to establish yourself as an expert in your industry, become an authority, and gain users’ trust and Google can help you improve your website’s EAT.
EAT is not a direct ranking factor, so there are not enough resources from Google on how to improve your website’s EAT. However, below are some of the main factors that play an important role in improving your website’s EAT;
An audit is the first step to find the gaps, the problems with your strategic planning.
Before planning your SEO strategy, you should perform these audits to find problems and areas for improvement. Next, take a look at all of these from EAT’s point of view. Find the signals or areas you need to work on.
- Brand Audit – Brand audit – It is a good practice to audit your overall brand. It will help you understand where your brand stands in the industry, and you can find the gaps and areas you can work on to improve your brand position (authority). In addition, you can understand the level of trust you are getting from your users and what they think of you. So what can you do to get more trust?Also, audit the website’s online presence, such as search results and SERP features, press and media coverage, mentions and reviews, social media, and more.Then take a look at those from the Viewpoint of EAT. Find the signals or areas where you need to work.
- Content Audit – Having high-quality and valuable content is the most important part of achieving success with SEO. That’s why auditing your website content is an important part of the strategy, especially if you are doing SEO for an enterprise website with thousands of web pages. You should perform a detailed content audit to find problems, gaps, and opportunities related to your content. Make sure your content is up-to-date and provides real user value by satisfying the user intent. But if you think the content has problems or is not relevant/useful to you or your users, then you can; replace that existing content with a new one or delete it, or merge it with another related page/post.You have to make sure that there is no weak content (that does not provide value to the user) on your website.
- Technical Audit – Technical problems can also affect the user experience of your website and as a result, the EAT of your website can also be affected. That’s why you should find all technical issues, resolve them and optimize your website to improve performance and load time. To do this, you can switch to a better web hosting and theme to optimize website performance and load time and fix other technical issues such as fixing broken links, eliminating mixed content issues, redirects, and others.
Content is an essential part of getting SEO success. If your website has valuable and high-quality content, then definitely google will prefer you to rank higher. For this reason, during broad core updates, Google only advises webmasters who publish excellent, user-friendly content.
But many businesses get it wrong when deciphering what Google means by publishing original, high-quality content. Original content means that you should have something original in value to share with your audience, such as a case study, experiment, report, etc., rather than rewriting what other sites have already published. When Google talks about original content, it means the actual value of the content and not duplicated or copied content from other sites.
Also, Google doesn’t care about factors like word count. Having 100 words on a web page does not mean that it is sparse content. If this is the case, then there should probably belong content on Google.com itself. But there is nothing like that. Your web page and content should be following the user’s search intent.
For example, On Google.com, users come to search queries to find relevant search results. So that’s why you see only the search box on Google.com because there is no meaning of publishing 5000 words on there.
That’s why you should ensure that;
- Your content is satisfying the user-intent
- Providing the original value
- Providing a detailed, comprehensive, and updated description of the topics
- Relevance of your website
- That the content is written by an expert
- That the content is fully structured and error-free.
If your content has passed these points, then you’re on the right track. But if your content doesn’t meet these factors, then you should improve that.
Get Right Backlinks & Mentions
Backlinks are still one of the most important ranking factors and can help improve your website EAT.
Backlinks from high authority and relevant sites can boost your SEO results and are one of the best ways to show yourself as a trusted authority in your niche.
That is, you should aim to get links and mentions from top-tier media publications, local media publications, and industry-leading publications. These links and mentions will show you as a trusted name in the industry and boost your SEO results.
But getting these types of links is not easy. You need to work strategically and publish valuable content on your website. You can try methods like HARO, digital PR, Guest Blogging on Authority publications, and manual outreach to get those kinds of links & mentions for your business.
Get More Reviews
It is always a good strategy to earn & use customer reviews in your marketing campaigns. But these reviews also help you to build trust (EAT) around your business. Having a lot of positive reviews on digital review platforms like TrustPilot, G2, Yelp, etc., shows you as a trustworthy and reputable name in your customers’ eyes as well as Google’s.
You should try to get more reviews from your customers, but if a customer gives a negative review about your business, then you should politely respond to that review and offer the best possible solution to that user. It will also help you to build a good image.
Provide Details Related To Your Business
Providing details about your business, team, authors, etc., also helps you to get more trust and credibility.
All these details will help you to gain more trust and show your brand as an authority in your industry.
EAT is very important to win in SEO. And I firmly believe it will be more effective in the future. So, to make your website SEO future-proof and to crush the competition in the present, you must work to improve your website’s EAT.
If you are a reputable and trusted source in the eyes of Google, then you will definitely dominate Google search, now and in the future as well.
About Author: Harpreet Munjal is an SEO expert and founder of LoudGrowth.