What is E-A-T
E-A-T 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.
What is YMYL?
To understand YMYL, one must learn about EAT SEO or Expertise Authoritativeness Trustworthiness Search Engine Optimization. It stands on the previously mentioned principles and forms the core pillars of website evaluation. It is a set of guidelines that help a publisher’s content to rank high on Google’s Search Engine Result Page. EAT SEO Google is a part of its search quality rater guidelines.
YMYL, which stands for Your Money, Your Life, is the kind of content or web pages that, if presented deceptively, could adversely impact the viewer’s safety, lifestyle, happiness, or financial condition.
EAT SEO filters content to provide more intuitive and accurate results for searches as quality raters apply rather harshly on YMYL pages. It, thus, increases brand credibility and makes searching more hassle-free for customers.
Examples of YMYL sites
EAT SEO harshly affects YMYL pages. There are various types of YLML pages that the Google quality grader differentiates. A few examples of YMYL pages are:
News and current events
News should be verified and professional, not fake and unprofessional. Updates on current events like sports, science, business, politics, international events, etc., should be accurate. It is recommended that publishers publish the verification process and editorial guidelines.
Government and law
Civic news must be on topics of key focus and feature updated information about laws, government policies, elections, public sector, legalities, etc. It should not cause unnecessary chaos and should be as free from graphic content as possible. Disturbing images should be blurred and copyrighted.
Reports on financial issues and frameworks should be updated often, following the lines of official and relevant developments. Opinions and complete information on issues like banking, insurance, loans, etc., should be provided from reliable sources.
There should be complete and verified information about websites that sell products or services of any kind online. With a constant scare of frauds, it is crucial that sites that are directly capable of engaging financially with customers be thoroughly looked into. Thorough research of the website and seller should be available.
Health and Safety
Pages on health or websites that provide information or advice on medical issues should be edited, written, and run by authorised personnel and be free from misleading content. The information on medical issues, illnesses, or drugs should be regularly reviewed and updated.
Group of People
These pages must have professional, unbiased, and non-problematic content about people of various ethnicities, religions, races, colours, nationalities, etc. Offensive content or poorly researched work can be harmful.
Why is E-A-T 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.
Ways to improve EAT
EAT SEO is very important as it protects users from harmful or misleading sites or pages. There isn’t a shortcut method to increase EAT. Improving the EAT of one’s website should be encouraged. Some ways to achieve improved EAT are:
Get more reviews
Positive reviews from clients or consumers help establish a site’s trustworthiness. Google’s algorithm makes consideration of reviews compulsion for assignment of EAT scores. Also, first-hand proof of more client interaction proves the importance and credibility of a website. Reasonable third-party indulgence improves EAT scores rapidly.
Build quality links
Quality Backlinks or inbound links are direct hyperlinks in a website that lead to other relevant websites. They are very crucial to EAT SEO as a vote of confidence between websites. More back-links help increase EAT as they link similar content and thus, increase user traffic. It also increases the visibility of sites.
Updating old content is as important as uploading new content. This gives the content a fresh appeal and increases EAT scores. Updating keeps content accurate, and hence, Google will keep suggesting them on search results. Also, removing broken links and updating figures is important.
Show contact details
Guidelines from Google make it mandatory to provide contact details of the author or the owner of particular content. Contact details of service producers is a must, and links to the CVs of authors are also helpful. There should be ample information or detailed website imprints about the brands or organisations to allow transparency.
Include author credentials
YMYL sites contain very sensitive content on issues like healthcare, politics, groups of people, etc. Quality guidelines demand that this information be provided with known and authorised personnel. Visible authors and their description links to their other content and expert status not only draws more attention but also improves EAT.
Build a positive brand reputation
Google promoted sites that build their brand image by focusing on users. Chasing the algorithm that promotes content and links will decrease EAT. Displaying major achievements on the “about us” page, providing Google with auxiliary content, and separately investing in collecting customer reviews can build brand reputation.
Eliminate low EAT content
Removing low EAT content increases EAT scores and credibility of a website, although it may reduce traffic in the beginning. Executing caution before uploading content regarding its relevance is crucial. Only trustworthy content written and authorised by experts is encouraged.
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!
These insights into EAT SEO serve as an introduction to the concept. There is a lot more to explore and learn about the same. So, keep reading and learning.
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