The acronym EAT has been on everyone’s lips since August 1, 2018. Funny, because the concept has been around for a while in the Google Quality Rater Guidelines. You can learn how to use EAT here.
Even if EAT is clearly formulated in the Quality Rater Guidelines , the effects in practice cannot always be fully understood. According to Gary Illyes , the main drivers of EAT right now are links and mentions on influential websites. Brian Dean from Backlinko calls the concept Domain Authority 2.0. However, it is not quite that simple, because in some cases even websites with a lot of authority have lost.
What is EAT?
EAT stands for expertise, authority and trustworthiness. It is mentioned in the Quality Rater Guidelines as an evaluation criterion for websites. Since 2018 it has also been used to evaluate individual authors: Who wrote the main content of a page? What references does this person have regarding the content? This is especially true when it comes to a YMYL topic.
Since the Medic update in August 2018, a core update with a similar pattern has been rolled out every three to four months. During this time, the theory emerged among SEO specialists that EAT plays an important role. The updates:
- August 1, 2018
- September 27, 2018
- March 12, 2019
- 4th June 2019
In February 2019, Google published a document with a very interesting passage that reinforced the community’s assumptions: “Our ranking system does not identify the intention or the technical correctness of certain content. However, it is specially designed to identify sites with high indicators of competence, authority and trustworthiness. “
On the anniversary of the update, there was then the official confirmation that EAT is a ranking factor. Why is all this right now? It’s no secret that Google and other tech giants are currently under pressure for misinformation. In addition: in 2015, every twentieth search query was about health information.
What is YMYL?
YMYL stands for “Your Money, Your Life”. According to Google, every page is a YMYL page, the content of which can have a strong impact on personal areas of life: happiness, health, safety or financial stability.
In theory, a blog with health tips falls into this category, for example. For these websites, EAT has a particularly large influence on-page quality. EAT is, therefore, the basis for good rankings.
EAT is “just” a concept
Attention: According to Google, the Quality Rater Guidelines only show what the algorithms should do or what they are supposed to do: “[The Quality Rater Guidelines] don’t say how the algorithm evaluates the results, but they show what the algorithm should do,” says Ben Gomes, Google VP of Search, Assistant & News.
So EAT is just a concept for a complex filter that takes many different signals into account. It consists of many so-called baby algorithms that are contained in the Google core algorithm. Even so, we can learn a lot about what is and will be important to Google.
What is high-quality content?
Some factors, including: determine page quality
- How well the content covers the search intention
- The EAT of the site
- The quality of the main content
- The reputation of the main content
For good rankings, it is therefore essential that the content first matches the search intention. At the same time, they must meet certain quality guidelines.
Expertise is about the knowledge of the author or the website about the topic being dealt with. Search engine optimizers know that as a specialist with less authority it is possible to prevail against strong generalists.
We differentiate between “big” topics like medicine and a hobby topic like sword fighting. When I receive medical advice, it is important to me that my doctor has the appropriate qualifications. In the case of a hobby topic, on the other hand, I won’t search too long for recognized certifications. The consequences of misinformation are (probably) less.
Ask yourself when creating content:
- Is it a YMYL theme?
- Is the author an expert on the subject?
- What qualifications does the author have?
- Is my brand a specialist on this topic?
- Could there be any legal ramifications if someone uses this information?
- Should the content be checked by other experts?
- If it is a YMYL topic, qualified experts should write the content.
- Ideally, there is an editorial process in place to keep the content up to date.
- Provide information about the author and his qualifications on the page.
Right now, authority is the main determining factor in your website’s EAT rating. As a reminder, there is no EAT score according to Google, but it comes out to be the same. The same metric has existed for authority since the beginning of Google: PageRank. The trust potion is also important in this context.
- Collect backlinks. Links are still an important ranking factor. Their quality and quantity are decisive for their visibility in the organic search.
- Create linkable assets. Think about who is linking in your niche and create content for this purpose.
How trustworthy is your website? This is a common problem in the affiliate sector because the content is created for a specific purpose. Usually, it is not the user that is in the foreground, but one’s own interests. So it’s no wonder that affiliate projects, in particular, suffer from the latest updates.
Questions to ask yourself:
- Is my information independent?
- Is the content reliable?
- Can users trust the information presented?
- What do other voices say about this content or the company?
- Work on your reputation on the Internet: The guidelines state that quality raters should check the reputation of a website on review platforms and forums. Accordingly, you should actively pursue reputation management.
- To be trustworthy means to be one of the best. The aim of the content should, therefore be to surpass all others.
This is how your website gets more to EAT!
Even if there is no EAT value according to Google, we can still improve our websites:
- Collect backlinks and mentions from influential portals, ideally from your niche.
- Give sources and support your facts with statements from trusted experts.
- A description of the author is not sufficient. Ideally, the author of the main content should be a “real” expert with clear qualifications.
- YMYL content, in particular, should be fact-based, objective and thoroughly researched.
- If you write about a critical topic or even YMYL content, you should save with promotional language and avoid affiliate links.
- Communicate your editorial guidelines and monetary interests so that users know where they are.
In conclusion, let’s be completely honest. Actually, nothing has changed. Google’s vision is still to earn mountains of money through happy users. Only now does the child have a name, and we can no longer avoid polishing up our content properly – also about other SEO measures such as technical optimization!