Did someone say E-A-T? Yes, I wanna eat. Always.
I’ll take the tacos with extra guac. Thanks.
Jk. When google says EAT, they are not talking about food.
E – A – T stands for Expertise, Authority and Trust and is a huge ranking factor for Google.
In other words, Google will rank your site higher in the search results if you have a high EAT factor.
In this post I am going to explain exactly what Google means by EAT and how it relates to your site and your rankings. I will also give you simple and easy ideas to improve your EAT and overall SEO.
Why Expertise + Trust are Important.
In February 2019, Google published this whitepaper. It is a bit wordy, but the paper clearly states that one of the biggest challenges Google is battling is misinformation on the internet. There are a lot of self proclaimed experts online, but they aren’t all experts and Google needs to figure out how to sort the good from the not so good.
In this paper, Google admits how difficult it is for technology to determine whether or not something written online is true. Some facts are easy to figure out, while others are not. For example, if someone is claiming to be writing from Venice, Italy but it is clear that they are actually in Naples, Florida, then that is easy for Google to sniff out, but in other cases, especially in the health, food, wellness industries it is challenging for technology to separate the facts from fiction.
In the white paper it states, “our ranking system doesn’t identify the intent or accuracy of any given piece of content. However, it is specifically designed to identify sites with high indicia of expertise, authority and trust.” To do this Google uses actual people known as Search Quality Evaluators to measure the quality of search results.
Did you get that? Google uses real people to review the SERPs to ensure that the results are high quality. This proves once again that your site needs to appeal to both the Google bot and to people.
So, establishing expertise is important, but how do you do that?
Google has actually published a list of Characteristics of High EAT sites.
In the document, Google states that sites need to be very clear and explain what the purpose of the site is immediately.
It is very important for Google and for users to clearly understand what the site is all about ASAP.
Remember, Google is trying to figure out how to categorize sites in their memory so that they can quickly recall them.
It gets jucier.
Google even says that low EAT sites — sites without a beneficial purpose or sites created with no attempt to help users or sites that could potentially spread hate, cause harm or deceive users — will receive the lowest rating.
Waaaaah. If a website doesn’t have a clear purpose, isn’t providing value and seeks to deceive others it will be penalized.
Okay, Okay, but how do you establish a high EAT.
If the site has a beneficial purpose and is easy to ascertain the purpose of the site, then Google looks at a few key things:
- The expertise of the author
- The quality of the site
- The trustworthiness of the content
- Positive website reputation
If you write the content on your site, you need to establish yourself as an expert. To figure out what your perceived authoritativeness is, simply Google yourself.
Here is what my google authority search looks like, note what I put in the search box — my name in quotes a target keyword and site:clappingdogmedia.
Notice that I am listed by several different websites and this is a signal to Google that I have authority (other people will link to me) and that I can be trusted (lots of people are linking to me).
Google has always cared about quality content, but Google’s focus on quality has reached a whole new level with the recent algo updates.
E-A-T and Algorithm Changes
In the two recent core algorithm updates that affected zillions of sites — Aug 2018 and in Feb 2019 — Google’s Danny Sullivan tweeted, “Want to do better with the broad algo change? Have great content. Yeah, the same boring answer”
So create great content that benefits your readers. And do it consistently. That is the secret to good SEO.
What else can you do to increase your EAT. Here are 5 simple tips that you can do today.
- Increase dwell time. The longer that users spend on your site will signal to Google that your content is good and provides value to readers. You can increase time on your site by writing helpful content that is 1000+ words, using dynamic and helpful graphics and even inserting a video into your posts.
- Increase pages per session. The logic is similar to dwell time. If users click around and visit 3+ pages on your site Google will assume that you are an expert in what you write about.
- Include Author Names and Bios in your editorial content, for blogs this means adding a quick photo and bio after each post. If you have a site that has multiple authors the Guidelines specifically states that “The reputation and EAT of the creators of the content is extremely important when a website has different authors or content creators on different pages. If the author info is hard to find, this will hurt your EAT.
- Edit or delete content that has low EAT. If you have pages on your site that are thin (having less than 300 words) or posts that are not accurate any longer, edit them or 301 redirect them to better pages.
- Be very clear about the purpose of your site so that users and the Googlebot understand what your site is all about immediately.
E A T, expertise authority and trust are high ranking factors and Google consistently leans on EAT when explaining core updates.
So dive in. Increase the quality of your posts, prune old content, write with your users in mind and get users to stay on your site by providing easy to find internal links.
And if you want a little help with this, schedule a VIP Sesh with me!