What Does the Google EAT Algorithm Mean for Your Website?
Algorithms, algorithms and more algorithms. It seems as if Google is forever attempting to befuddle website owners who wish to create interactive and engaging content. While there is no doubt that the sheer number of guidelines may appear daunting at first glance, we need to keep in mind that they will all have an impact upon your digital “bottom line”. In other words, they are intended to provide your material with expertise, authority and trust.
However, what does this approach entail? Why is it important? What influence will it have in regards to how your website is perceived? How can content marketing specialists leverage these advantages in an appropriate manner? These are a handful of topics which this article will take a look at in closer detail.
A Quick Breakdown of the EAT Method
Before delving into the finer points, it is wise to highlight exactly what each of the letters within this acronym signify. It will then be much easier to understand the impact that they can have upon how your content is perceived by Google as well as the average reader.
Expertise signifies a level of comprehensive knowledge in regards to a specific topic. In terms of search engine optimisation (SEO), it is important that the material is written by someone who possesses a bespoke familiarity with the material itself.
Authority can also be termed relevance in regards how the content is being presented. For example, does the material resonate with the overall theme of the website and is it related to the products or services being offered? Irrelevant articles will always rank lower within a search engine results page (SERP).
Trustworthiness is another way of deciding how transparent a website appears to the end-user. The ability to develop trust with a visitor is obviously a key step during the engagement process. Furthermore, Google looks favourably upon such a quality.
While the EAT approach has existed since for time, it is also a bit ironic to note that the developers at Google have adopted a rather tight-lipped mentality when asked about its significance. This is why content creation specialists were forced to extrapolate their own conclusions over time. To put it simply, EAT is a means to determine whether or not users can trust what it is that you are offering.
What Types of Websites Are Affected by EAT Ratings?
You might be surprised to learn that Google considers certain online categories to have a greater influence on their users. In other words, some portals will be scrutinised more than others. These are typically grouped into a category referred to as “YMYL” (yes, another acronym). YMYL is an abbreviation for “your money or your life” and thankfully, it is not as severe as it initially sounds.
YMYL pages are those typically associated with the potential to dramatically influence the lifestyles of users in discrete areas. These are defined as:
- Financial stability
To put this into modern terms, you never want the content within your site to be labelled as “fake news”. Some examples which are applicable to the YMYL category include pages that claim to offer a specific medical cure, sites associated with self-help methods, portals involved in online trading or investment advice, and articles related to the publication of the latest HSE on-site safety recommendations.
The Notion of “Beneficial Purpose”
What if your current website does not fall into one of the categories mentioned above? Does this signify that you have somehow escaped the all-seeing eye of Google? Unfortunately, this is hardly the case. Another notion referred to as “beneficial purpose” needs to be examined before moving on.
Beneficial purpose essentially involves the principle that websites should be engineered to help users. To put it another way, the creator of the page and its associated content needs to base his or her approach around the needs of the visitor. This is why a health-oriented website which provides useful at-home treatment options for the flu will rank much higher than a site only intended to make money via click-through rates.
So, we can therefore see that there is a bit more than initially meets the eye when examining Google’s EAT guidelines. We should also remember that Google employs human beings alongside algorithms in order to determine the quality of your site and its associated content. Let us now take a look at what other metrics this analysis will address.
What Website Elements Will Determine an EAT Score?
To put it rather bluntly, any website intended market and sell a product (such as an online shop) will be inextricably linked to an EAT score. These portals will, therefore, need to properly align themselves with the variables outlined earlier. Some steps are straightforward and should already be apparent. These include:
- Secure gateways (such as the presence of the “https://” string at the beginning of a web address).
- The presence of SSL encryption.
- Relevant seals of approval from governmental bodies (if appropriate).
- Positive ratings and feedback from previous customers.
As you might have imagined, convenience is also king if you wish to achieve a “healthy” EAT score. Other elements such as ease of use, website design, interactivity, and mobile access will all have an effect.
We now come to the main point of this article. While technical aspects are obviously critical from an end-user point of view, what about content creation? Let us examine how content can ultimately make or break your EAT score.
Expertise, Authoritativeness and Trustworthiness: EAT Broken Down from a Content Perspective
A real-world example will help to illustrate why an EAT score is entirely relevant to your visitors. Let us imagine for a moment that your site specialises in providing high-end beauty products. While their quality could very well be unquestionable, this will serve little purpose if their descriptions do not match this same reputation. We can now appreciate how the notion of expertise comes into play. The professionals at Searchmetrics emphasise this point with some useful examples:
- Health-related articles should be curated by an author with an extensive knowledge of the subject in question.
- News pieces must follow all relevant journalistic guidelines and (when possible) be linked to other authoritative sources.
- Financial advice must be vetted and updated when appropriate.
- Consumer-related articles (such as how-to guides) will need to be created by those who possess a background in relation to the subject at hand.
However, we should also point out that Google has provided a bit of leeway when discussing certain topics. Articles devoted to learning the guitar or to cooking a meal do not necessarily have to be written by a world-class musician or a Michelin-rated chef. Those who have “everyday expertise” or little formal training can still produce an informative article which meets the standards set out by the EAT framework. The main point is that certain subjects will (such as Forex trading advice or how to diagnose an illness) always require a greater deal of niche expertise.
How Can You Improve Your EAT Score?
Now that we have been able to wrap our collective heads around the Google EAT algorithm and what it entails, it is important to examine a handful of ways in which you can improve this score in order to enjoy higher rankings. Unsurprisingly, there are many options at your disposal and some may be more relevant than others. Let’s take a closer look at ten recommendations.
1. Avoid the Jack-of-All-Trades Mentality
It is first important to decide which topics your site will address and to discretely categorise this niche. The main intention behind this strategy is to ensure that your pages do not contain spurious and/or unrelated information. Not only will such an approach allow you to develop quality material, but it is much less likely that the content in question becomes “watered down” due to a lack of focus. This helps to satisfy the trust section of the EAT algorithm.
2. Remain Fresh
We have all heard of the benefits associated with evergreen content; material that can remain valid for months or even years without being updated. How-to guides will often fall into this category. However, we also need to highlight that freshness can enable your articles to display a more trustworthy flavour. Be sure to review the relevance of your material on a regular basis. Some might need to be modified while the chances are high that other pieces are better to remove entirely. Finally, always place the date of publication alongside the article. This will help Google to determine how new it is.
3. Get to the Point
The importance of catering to the needs of the user has existed for more than a decade and its relevance has only increased in recent times. Not only are we referring to the curation of quality content, but efficiency is just as important. In other words, do not waste time with fluff and bulk filler simply to provide an article with more visual traction.
Waffling around in such a manner will only serve to detract from the material being presented. More is not necessarily better. Of course, the exact length of an article will vary between topics. One which delves into the intricacies of cryptocurrency trading is likely to be much more detailed when compared to an article focused around the steps required to paint a door.
4. Author Visibility
A growing number of articles will now offer detailed information about the author. This may include his or her experience, a place of employment, interests, or even a CV. Such an approach will help to satisfy the authoritativeness of the piece. Additionally, this strategy provides the content with a greater deal of transparency. It should likewise be mentioned that websites which employ a well-known writer within an industry are much more likely to list higher within the search engine results page.
5. Enhance Your Personal Branding
This is a lesser-known suggestion which still warrants attention. We are all aware that the branding of a website will help to increase its recognition; enabling users to remember what it is that was being offered if they are looking for a similar product or service the future. However, brand recognition also plays a role when improving your EAT score.
This is most often seen in a well-developed and informative “About Us” page. After all, the ultimate intention is to prove to readers that you possess the knowledge and expertise required to confidently promote a product. Thus, try to include other useful information within this page such as links to featured publications, social media posts and citations within other articles. It is also wise to embed an HTML schema markup so that Google better understands what your website is offering. This helps to provide your portal with a greater sense of digital authority.
6. Always Address User Ratings
All of us enjoy praise for a job well done. This is why the majority of websites will copiously thank those who have left positive reviews or comments. Unfortunately, relatively few pages will address negative feedback. Simply sweeping such reviews beneath the proverbial rug does not reflect a sense of transparency. Assertively and constructively responding to any such criticism will provide two major benefits:
- Google will see that you are proactively managing your website and its content.
- Customers will appreciate the fact that you care about their overall satisfaction.
Finally, it should be mentioned that negative feedback is a great way to actively identify what needs a bit of improvement.
Backlink authority is another crucial element of a high EAT score. In the past, many website owners focused solely upon the number of backlinks embedded throughout their pages. While this concept of “strength in numbers” may have appeared logical at the time, it is no longer enough. We need to remember that each backlink is associated with its own Google ranking score. Your intention should now be to include backlinks from websites with high domain rankings.
The main purposes of this approach are to increase the authoritativeness of your website as well as to enhance your overall topic relevancy. Although this might sound like a somewhat complicated step, let’s remember that SEO-related tools such as Ahrefs will provide a number of user-friendly options.
8. Social Linking
Although the EAT algorithm might appear relatively new to some users, the fact of the matter is that it can still be influenced by more traditional SEO approaches. Developing and maintaining an active social media presence is a perfect example.
Websites such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram are accessed by literally billions of individuals on a daily basis. It therefore stands to reason that your site will be able to obtain a greater degree of digital clout if you create a solid community presence via regular posts and frequent interactions. It is also important to link any social signals back to your portal. This will help to increase the trustworthiness and transparency of your site; two qualities which are viewed favourably by Google.
9. The Strange Notion of “Link Equity”
Do not feel bad if the term “link equity” is unfamiliar. This is another somewhat obscure concept which can have a very real impact upon your EAT score. Link equity is simply another way of gauging the efficacy of your internal links. Here are some tips intended to ensure that such links are leveraged in the appropriate manner:
- Check for broken links or outdated web pages.
- Use the appropriate words in the anchor text.
- Link between blogs and social media pages.
This type of link equity helps to provide Google with a balanced and informed view of what your site has to offer. The good news is that expertise, trust and authoritativeness are all covered by such an approach.
10. Cutting Away the Fat
Content with a low EAT score (or that does not satisfy the criteria mentioned above) will not directly impact the scores of other pages. However, there is no doubt that it can have a negative effect on your website as a whole. This includes many of the examples mentioned above such as outdated material, articles not immediately related to your services or information that has not been vetted by reliable sources. In any of these cases, such content should be culled sooner as opposed to later.
One of the best ways to determine if this is the case is to view the inbound traffic associated with a specific page or link. Little or no traffic generally indicates that it is time to perform a bit of spring cleaning. However, what about pages with a low EAT score and a high level of inbound traffic? This is another conundrum to briefly address.
A massive amount of inbound traffic will obviously provide your site with a greater degree of online exposure. As a result, you could be hesitant to make any changes. The main concern is whether or not your EAT score will be further sacrificed simply in order to gain more visibility. As Search Engine Journal points out, there are several steps which you should consider including:
- Rewriting the material with the help of an expert author.
- Embedding a more high-quality backlinks.
- Employing more relevant and updated keywords in order to address SEO shortcomings.
Ultimately, these suggestions will also depend upon the type of content that needs to be reworked.
Expertise, Authority and Trust: A Match Made in Heaven
In some ways, the Google EAT guidelines essentially echo many of the same concerns that content creation specialists address on a daily basis. The main difference is that this algorithm seeks to quantify the steps that need to be taken in order to focus your efforts in the right direction.
It can nonetheless be difficult to address such topics within a real-time scenario. This is why Textbroker authors are here to help. Whether you have noticed a slip in SERP rankings or you suspect that a more nebulous problem may exist, the chances are high that it involves at least one of the metrics highlighted throughout this article. Developing a targeted approach will enable you to fully leverage your online presence and ultimately, this can often be the most influential factor between success and failure.
About our authorRon first arrived in Barcelona, Spain in 2007. Although initially pursuing a career in wealth management and finance, he learned that the content writing community provided the highest level of personal satisfaction while still being able to personally help clients. He has been a full-time professional writer since 2011. Some of his other interests include martial arts and bodybuilding.