Why is Google EAT important for website owners?

Understanding Google EAT – Expertise, Authority and Trust

As expected, Google has confirmed that the quality of content is critical for ranking success. With more and more emphasis being heaped on website owners and marketers to improve ranking, we take a look at what EAT means, why it is important, and how it can be used to make your content much more visible.

So, what is Google EAT?

EAT stands for Expertise, Authority and Trust.  It isn’t a new Google update or an algorithm for us to get our heads around. It’s simply a principle.

According to Google, EAT is considered one of the “most important factors” when considering the overall page quality rating of a website. It comes from Google’s Search Quality Rater Guidelines, a document used by human quality raters to assess the quality of Google’s search results. Its primary purpose was to inform Google’s engineers of their results to help ensure that the algorithm is delivering the best experience to its users.  But it’s also highly beneficial to website owners to help them get actionable insights which influence what Google looks for in a web page. 

google eat explained

The Google EAT acronym explained

By grading websites based on their Expertise, Authority, and Trustworthiness, Google can consistently deliver high-value content to users.

Expertise

This indicates whether the author is an expert on the topic at hand and whether they have any relevant credentials to back up their expert opinion. In an effort to fight the spread of misinformation, Google takes the expertise of a website and author very seriously.  This is particularly important for authors creating content on topics such as medical, financial or legal advice.    

Authority

This means that the author of the content must be a trusted influencer in a subject so that when someone does a search on Google, they are given the best person to go to as well as ‘factually accurate content’.  To put it simply, authoritativeness refers to the author, the content itself, and the website in which the content is published on. 

Trust

This means that that the published content needs to show users that they can trust the website.  Proven trustworthiness is imperative – website visitors should be able to trust the site and any given content provided. Making false or misleading claims is not honest and will negatively impact on a website’s trust score. The old saying rings true here, “If a deal is too good to be true, it usually is.” 

Google EAT is essential for Google

Giving priority on search results is essential to Google’s strategy. Google is an authority, and, by association, they must recommend sites that exhibit a high level of expertise, authority, and trustworthiness.  Its own integrity will be compromised when it comes to providing uneducated or unreliable advice in search results. So the EAT principle is designed to protect users from low-quality, irrelevant search results, and ensure Google maintains their status as the leading global search engine.

Why is Google EAT so important?

If you’re searching for the correct dosage of medication, the EAT principle is important. If Google did not apply EAT, it would be possible for content written by a non-trustworthy author on a low-authority website to become highly visible in search results, raising the probability of promoting inaccurate or misleading information. For the person searching for correct dosage of medication, this can be critical, even life threatening information.

Medical, Financial and Legal are among a group of industries or content subjects which Google refers to a YMYL (Your Money or Your Life). If you’re writing and publishing content which will impact on a user’s health, financial stability or safety then demonstrating Googles’ EAT principles are very important. It’s important for you as an authority in your industry, but also important for a users who is placing huge amounts of trust in Google to serve up your content as a trustworthy authority in search results.

How to apply EAT principles to make a website more visible on Google

If you’re a solicitor, or in healthcare or medical industries, or offer any kind of financial services you should re-evaluate your content, who is writing and publishing it, and where the content is published. Google’s EAT principles are highly likely to be beneficial to the priority of content in search results, impacting and therefore improving your chances of visibility to your target audiences.

A high-quality page according to EAT should have “a beneficial purpose and achieve that purpose well”.  To achieve this the content should:

  • Demonstrate a high level of expertise, authority and trust.
  • Contain quality of content that satisfies the beneficial purpose within the main content and includes a descriptive or helpful title that Google can reuse, e.g in a featured snippet.
  • Show satisfying information about who is responsible for the website.  For example, a financial advisor should have satisfying credential information.
  • Be published on a website with a trusted reputation. For example has a strong Domain Authority and TrustFlow score.

A lack of EAT is thought to be why many YMYL websites witnessed a sudden drop in rankings in August 2018 when Google rolled out their now infamous “medic” update. Making an effort to improve and better demonstrate your EAT to Google is important for YMYLs, so here are a few tips to consider:

  • Establish more links and mentions from authoritative websites
  • Content about legal and financial advice should be kept up to date – never display out of date contents
  • Content about medical advice, services or products should be produced in a professional style, and reviewed and updated on a regular basis.
  • Make sure you’re publishing factually accurate content
  • Get more reviews from other influencers or high authorities within your sector
  • Get more mentions on well known industry websites to improve authority
  • Commission experts within your industry to write content and when its published attribute the content to them, or have them write a guest post.
  • Promote your credentials as an expert within the industry

If you’re looking to improve your domain authority or TrustFlow score, speak to one of our SEO experts. If you’re in legal, medical, healthcare or financial sector (or a YMYL organisation as Google likes to refer you), we can help advise on the structure of your website content and establish effective strategies that are focused on EAT – expertise, authority and trust.

By John Anderson, SEO Results

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