Google devised the EAT acronym to codify what’s important in web content.
Any business wanting SEO improvements had better take notice.
- Google defines EAT as expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness
- It is of core importance to authenticate customer communications
- Google gives better rankings to content that incorporates EAT
- SEO experts can help businesses work within Google’s expectations
Businesses serve up a variety of content for existing and potential customers to consume. Blogs, podcasts, videos, social media – in whatever form, the creator aims to achieve three key things in every case.
The business wants everyone to know:
- that they can deliver the goods,
- that they know what they’re talking about,
- and that they’re not trying to mislead the audience.
Nailing that trinity of effect is essential to achieving successful SEO and forms the basis of the EAT approach. This guide will go in-depth on what EAT SEO is so you can create better content and understand how search engines use it to rank content.
EAT stands for expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness. Google coined the term some years ago to spell out what constitutes quality page content. EAT was part of a deeper study called the “Search Quality Evaluator Guidelines,” which today’s businesses can catch up with via the 2020 update.
EAT may be on page 19, but Google places it at the root of their first step in deciding page quality. A beneficial purpose is ultimately what web content must deliver if a business wants Google’s search rankings to treat it favorably. Your content must therefore contain the three facets of EAT, no matter the sector or subject matter.
How EAT is evaluated
The notion of EAT is a bit more vague than other easily quantifiable web search metrics. It is based just as much in concepts as it is in clicks and data, with the conceptual side being the most important to grasp first:
Google is flexible on what defines expertise and what makes it acceptable in different cases. Any news or content that could influence someone’s medical or financial status, for example, is best written by someone with sufficient education and practical experience. Google conversely recognizes life expertise, such as non-formalized qualifications legitimized by lived experience.
Whether your website is considered an authority depends largely on the perceptions of your peers and the public. Gaining authority comes with being positively reviewed or recommended by those two groups; the more you’re mentioned favorably as a credible source of information, the higher you’ll rank as a believable voice. This holds especially true for the author of your publications.
Many people turn to web content to find information on which they can base important life decisions. Now is a time when consumer trust is more important than ever, as fewer and fewer people have any faith in what they see and hear and exhibit deep distrust of once-reliable sources.
Creating quality information that’s presented in a user-focused manner puts you well on the way to ticking all the boxes for an effective EAT SEO approach. Next is helping your clients genuinely appreciate why it matters.
The importance of EAT as a ranking factor
The points above might leave you wondering how much to focus on EAT. Here is something for all businesses to consider: “Would you want an inexperienced writer/speaker whom nobody recognizes giving you information you couldn’t rely on?” Google’s prioritizing of this approach aims to make that question moot by devaluing such content.
EAT is a ranking factor, but in a human sense more than a coldly technological one. EAT isn’t an algorithm; there are no bots that can crawl a page to look for EAT points in the way they can for backlinks or your NAP, which are two other SEO essentials.
As mentioned above, Google will take positive recommendations and reviews from around the web into account as one way of evaluating EAT. They may also tweak other algorithms to see if this positively or negatively impacts site search results, using the feedback as a proxy of sorts to ascertain how well content creators meet EAT SEO ideals.
Why you should explain EAT to your clients
It can be helpful for companies to explain EAT to their clients, especially for businesses providing content that does more than merely entertain. Make clear that they’re getting authoritative content that they can trust. People want value, whether that’s from a one-minute read or a commitment to a service or product.
Web content must deliver that beneficial purpose; otherwise, having a slick-looking, fast-performing site won’t be enough to provide supercharged SEO. So tell your content creators to emblazon the words “beneficial purpose” into their minds. Tell them not to think first of what they’ll get out of a post in terms of likes, clicks, or profits, but rather about what it can provide to make the recipient smarter, safer, or happier.
How to Become a Local Authority
Google’s algorithm is continually improving, especially when it comes to local SEO. Even though writing on topics surrounding your industry is always a great thing to do, as a local business, it’s also a good idea to focus on how you can benefit your local customers with your products or services. In other words, ensure your content can somehow be tied in to your local area.
You can become the local authority for your industry by promoting things like industry events, news as it relates to your products and/or services, employee recognition, and any other educational content you can think of. And not just written content, but also include images, videos, quizzes, and anything else that may help engage your local audience.
For example, if you’re a local real estate company and trying to attract businesses new to the area, create a helpful resource that gets people acquainted with your city. This type of content will not only attract new customers, but it will also help you establish yourself as an authority figure in your area and industry.
When writing your local SEO content, be sure to use keywords that indicate your location, but don’t keyword stuff or make it sound unnatural. By including these keywords in your content, your website, and your Google Business Profile (GBP) is more likely to rank higher in local search results.
How you can improve your website’s EAT
It is understandable if Google’s algorithm rules have left your business confused. The best way to achieve optimized EAT SEO is to split your approach into two steps that are far simpler and much more transparent, and then to take those two steps as quickly as your budget allows.
The first is taking care of all the purely technical stuff like developing quality backlinks, doing keyword research, optimizing page speeds and image quality, boosting site security and so on. There are more technical aspects than these, but it pays to put this side of the strategy first.
Next, get to know your staff and determine who can provide the expertise – be that formal or lived – to create content that rings true and does good. You could also consider hiring a qualified, sector-specific secondary party to write for you or outsource your content to a creation team. That outside crew can provide research and material to legitimize you as a reliable business that offers solid information. Either way, you’ll be providing the kind of content that consumers and Google will love.