EAT SEO stands for Expertise-Authoritativeness-Trustworthiness SEO (Search Engine Optimisation). In short, it includes a set of on-page content standards or guidelines that you, as a website owner or publisher, must stick to in order to be ranked highly in Google’s SERPs (search engine results page). The following breakdown of EAT SEO will give you a clearer idea of it all:
How web users perceive your site is everything as Google closely analyses user behaviour, including the time spent on a page, other pages visited while on your site, etc. This can lead to a subsequent climb or fall in search rankings, thereby affecting your future site traffic as well. It is all a vicious circle, really, so it is best you focus on having subject matter experts (SMEs) author engaging content for you if you want your readers eating out of your hands.
While there are two types of experts – professional or formal and everyday – Google considers content written by either as a valid EAT ranking factor. Professional or formal experts, as the name suggests, have years of formal training and/or on-the-job or industry experience to their credit and are considered the top minds in their field. Everyday experts, on the other hand, draw from personal experience but do not have the professional or educational qualifications of a formal/professional expert.
Now, not all experts are great writers, and so, you can always hire professional content creators to translate their words into useful consumables for your users. Furthermore, if your domain or industry has no distinct experts or thought leaders, Google will consider other EAT SEO ranking signals like user reviews, newspaper articles, etc. about your site before ranking it.
There are different kinds of sites on the internet, but the most important of all of them are perhaps the YMYL (Your Money or Your Life) sites, i.e. legal, medical or financial sites that can have a direct and big impact on your health, money or happiness. If you run a Q&A or feedback forum, then a simple EAT SEO measure like moderating the content on your site such that it is a value-add to anyone who decides to pay a visit can help.
People will come to you in large numbers if they know that you are an authority on the subject or employ an army of experts to dish out valuable content for them. And the best way to do this is to explicitly specify the credentials of the author and sources. A short bio, their educational and work credentials, certifications, a photo of them, a link to their LinkedIn or blog page, etc. are scrumptious fare that your users will not be able to pass up.
It is crucial that a user feels safe while on your site – thin, mediocre content will only indicate a lack of effort on your part and make them question if you care about them. Besides, if you do not ensure that your EAT SEO game is solid, you may look like someone who is there to solely make a quick buck. As the famous adage goes, he who eats the kernel must first crack the nut. Likewise, if you want more users to find you and keep coming back for more, you must be willing to put in some work. Including an SSL certificate, migrating to HTTPS hosting, having a clear, professional-looking ‘About Us’ page with contact information, team pictures, testimonials from clients, etc. will help you here.
Why is EAT SEO Important?
Google’s various site content guidelines are in place for a reason, and no, it is not to make the jobs of site owners, publishers and SEO professionals like yourself difficult. The search engine is constantly trying to wow its users with more accurate, intuitive search results. The Google EAT algorithm update was first rolled out in 2014 and majorly affected the rankings and traffic of medical, health, nutrition, wellbeing and other such websites, prompting SEO experts to name it the Medic Update. However, other websites in the e-commerce, legal and business sectors were impacted too.
While EAT SEO is one among many important Google ranking factors, it is interesting to note that the search engine also employs thousands of human quality raters around the world to analyse the quality of its search results. It then makes changes to its search algorithm according to their inputs.
You are what you eat and so is the case with your site. Put yourself in the shoes of the user and think about what you would like to see or experience online. Asking yourself these important questions is also a step in the right direction: would a user tell those they know about you and your content and do they have reason enough to choose you over your competition.
There is no way around EAT SEO – not only does it help increase the credibility of your brand, in essence, it enables users to have a hassle-free time on your site without regretting being there. Whenever you author new content to put up on your site, use the golden E-A-T rule to make it stand out. After all, there is no better way of saying ‘bon appetit’ to your users than with fresh and wholesome content!