You shouldn’t believe everything that you read on the internet. These wise words are repeated daily all across the globe and hold a very powerful message.
There is a lot of inaccurate information online, which is why the average user needs to know how to find quality information. The overwhelming majority of people use Google whenever they want to learn more about a specific topic.
With the biggest search engine ever created, Google does everything in its power to ensure users find the information they’re looking for. As you can assume, this is an incredibly difficult task that requires a complex solution.
So, what type of solution did Google come up with? The first published a document known as the Search Quality Rating Guidelines in 2013, which aimed to help webmasters understand what Google looks for in web pages.
Following the release of this document, webmasters were introduced to a term known as EAT. This acronym stands for expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness, three factors that determine the value of your website.
It’s expected that EAT will become even more important in the future, and honestly, it should. If a user wants to change their diet or discover exercises they can do at home, they should find a trustworthy website with quality content among the first page results.
Who does EAT affect?
It goes without saying that the EAT framework only affects some webmasters. If your website is based on comedic content, photography, art, and similar subjects, it won’t have an impact on you.
On the other hand, any pages that could potentially impact users’ future happiness, health, financial stability, or safety are affected by the EAT framework. These types of websites are what Google refers to as YMYL pages.
The acronym YMYL stands for “your money or your life.” Some of the examples of YMYL topics include:
- News and current events
- Financial information and advice
- Civics and law
- Medical information and advice
- Fitness and nutrition
During the last few years, many websites have seen a huge decrease in traffic because they were ranking for certain keywords and phrases even though they weren’t reliable sources.
Although it may sound terrifying to some webmasters, the EAT framework is actually an amazing thing. It helps ensure that only websites with quality content can be among the top results for various search queries.
There is no reason for misinformation to get first-page rankings just because the webmasters that published it had a good search engine optimization strategy. If you want to have loyal readers who’ll regularly visit your website, you should aim to always provide them with accurate and valuable information.
Expertise leads to excellence
You wouldn’t want someone without a medical degree giving you advice on what to do if you’re sick or hurt. Similarly, a person without in-depth knowledge about a certain subject shouldn’t be writing about it.
When you decide to publish articles on your website, it should because you want to educate readers interested in a specific topic. This brings us the first letter in the EAT acronym – expertise.
Expertise is defined as a high level of knowledge or skill in a certain field. Demonstrating your level of expertise is vital in case the content on your website is in highly specialized niches, such as financial, legal, and medical.
Since Google can’t use this metric for all websites, they also value something they refer to as everyday expertise. In other words, people with sufficient life experience that can write about it in detail can still achieve high rankings even if they don’t have any formal education or training in a particular field.
Everyday expertise makes sense for a lot of content you find online. For instance, if someone buys a blender and tries out every setting and option it has along with testing the efficiency of the appliance with different foods, they have the knowledge to write a detailed review about it.
Google will help content like this achieve good rankings because it gives valuable information to consumers who may be thinking about buying the same blender in the future.
If you decide to share your personal experience in dealing with a particular problem, this also falls under the category of everyday expertise. An example of this would be cancer survivors who share their struggles and experience in battling this disease. In this case, even doctors with decades of experience can’t describe the feeling of dealing with cancer better than someone who had it.
While a high level of knowledge and skill is needed for SEO, it alone doesn’t ensure that your website will experience a boost in traffic from search engines. You still need to know how to communicate this knowledge in an engaging way.
You can do this by tailoring the content so that it appeals to the target audience in a certain niche. This is easier said than done and will require a lot of keyword research on your part.
When you decide to start publishing content on a certain topic, you’ll need to get to know your audience better. Find out what people are searching for and understand what’s the intent behind their queries. Use the content you publish to answer the questions often asked by your audience.
With enough practice and emphasis on expertise, you’ll achieve excellence with your content. And that will lead to a significant increase in organic traffic on your site.
Why should people believe the information in your articles? Do you have any credible sources to back your claims? This is exactly why the ‘authoritativeness’ metric was included in the EAT framework.
Although you may have a lot of expertise in a particular subject, you still want to provide readers with authority sources. You can’t expect that all users are just going to take your word for it.
Let’s say that you decide to write an article about the positive effects of beta carotene on cognitive health. It goes without saying that you should do thorough research on this topic before writing anything.
When conducting research, your first instinct is probably to search a few queries on Google and look at the top results. This approach is wrong, and I’ll explain why. When you’re writing about something this specific, your first step should be to use Google Scholar and search for published studies regarding the positive effects of beta carotene on cognitive health.
Remember that you should get your information directly from the original source. Your article shouldn’t contain any conclusions that you reached yourself, but should instead only reiterate what was written in the studies you’ve used to research the topic.
When you make a claim about a specific function of beta carotene, you should mention the study in which that claim was made and link to it. Ever since Google introduced PageRank as a way to rate the authoritativeness of websites, the company made it clear that quality links were a top-ranking factor. And they’re still that today.
If you want to achieve SEO success, you’ll need to link to credible and authority sources. Another way to increase the authority of your website is to have sites linking to you. This practice is referred to as link building, which has been an important ranking factor for many years.
Today, even when someone mentions your website or company, it can positively impact your authoritativeness.
There are many great ways to become an authority in your niche. In case you create engaging content that gets widely shared on social media platforms, your authoritativeness will grow. In the Search Quality Rating Guidelines, it’s mentioned that brands or people that have their own Wikipedia pages can achieve better rankings. Wikipedia pages are considered as a sign of authority by Google.
In simple terms, your website needs to have a solid online reputation to achieve good rankings. And the online reputation that you manage to gain will be almost completely based on the quality of the content you publish.
T stands for trustworthiness
If you manage to earn the trust of consumers online, there is no doubt that your website and brand will grow. Nowadays, most webmasters know that earning users’ trust is no easy task.
Regardless of the niche, you’re in, you probably have a lot of competitors on the internet. So, why should people trust your brand when they have so many different options?
The first step to increasing your trustworthiness is to highlight your credentials. If you have positive customer testimonials, significant endorsements, awards, or any other type of trust factor, make sure that people know about them.
When you highlight your credentials, you’ll give readers a reason to at least check out your content. The second step is to work on building good relationships with your visitors.
You can start by responding to the comments you receive on your website (as well as on your social media pages) to show readers that they can easily reach you if they have any questions or need advice. It’s also imperative to address complaints and negative feedback you receive.
If you show consumers that you politely respond to negative comments and offer to correct issues they have with your brand, there won’t be a lot of negativity attached to your company. On the other hand, Google will notice if negative feedback piles up and will likely penalize you for it.
If you have yet to set up your website, there are some basics you should pay attention to. Here are some of the most important things you should do to display trustworthiness:
- Create an in-depth ‘About’ page.
- Display contact information on your website.
- Associate the site with the physical location of your company.
- Migrate your website to use HTTPS for all pages.
These steps are essential for Google to recognize your site as trustworthy. However, you also have to show your audience that they can trust you.
Web design plays a role in how you communicate trustworthiness to visitors. Your website should be professionally designed and well organized. The color scheme you use will have a big effect on how people perceive your brand.
That’s why you should make aesthetic changes to your website to make a good first impression. After you have the average user interested, you can build trust with them by displaying important information in visible and easily accessible sections of your site.
Transparency is of the utmost importance when you want to encourage new customers to trust your brand. That’s why you should introduce your team to potential customers. Showcase the people behind your company or organization. Introduce them to your audience to build stronger relationships with consumers.
Another effective way to connect with your audience and increase trust is to showcase your personality in both your blog and social media posts.
Summary: How important is EAT in SEO?
Webmasters, marketers, and writers always like to stay up to date with the latest Google trends and implement them to boost their rankings. However, EAT is far from a trend. It is a framework that was designed to help webmasters ensure that the content on their sites is of the highest quality.
Writing quality content takes a lot of time and effort. It also takes time to become an expert in a certain field or to build authoritativeness for a website. But this will be the only way to run a successful site in the future.
Many are still caught up in the times when it was possible to game the system and take shortcuts to rank on the first page of Google in a short time period. As the internet evolves, there will no longer be a place for sites that don’t offer truly useful information.
That’s exactly why you need to focus on the EAT framework now. If you follow the guidelines mentioned in this article and also make your content engaging, you’ll have the opportunity to grow your brand and achieve long-term success.