The Google-sphere is growing as we speak. With the increase in the content on the internet day by day, search engines such as Google itself has developed some rules and regulations which help the search engine regulate the content available and provide the best suitable content to its users. Thus every website owner tends to enhance the overall performance of his website so that it can rank higher in the search engine results.
With the regular updates in the SEO ranking tactics used by Google, website owners need to stay up to date with the on-going Search Quality Ranking Guidelines if they want their site to survive the change. Recently there have been a number of updates in the guideline, but the one that has caught the attention of everyone is something known as EAT.
What is E-A-T?
EAT as an acronym for Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Effectiveness. It is a popular SEO factor which is part of the Google algorithm that narrows down the most suitable content for the user. In other words, it is a set of guidelines that means creating a fully detailed, authentic, trustworthy, and professional content for the search engine users.
Google is quite strict about the guidelines that it has set for the websites because Google never compromises on the experience of its users. There is one thing that all the Google users appreciate, and that is that it provides the most secure, informative and reputed websites in the top search results which makes it easy for the users to get the information that they require.
Instead of just delivering relevant information, Google focuses on providing accurate and factual information to its users, and that is where EAT comes in. So let us break it down to understand it better.
According to Google, there are two types of experts. One, who are experts in a profession, so they are the best source for factual information, whereas on the other hand, there are others who are everyday experts and have knowledge about the non-professional things that take place in the world. Your content needs to show your expertise to the readers.
The letter ‘A’ here represents authority, which means that your content needs to show that the writers or the content creators have the required experience and knowledge about the topic that they are talking about. It is all about credentials and reputation, and you need both to show authoritativeness to your readers. Adding a bio to your blog or adding backlinks and trusted sources can help you demonstrate authority.
Trustworthiness is the term used to measure the amount of help that your content was able to provide to the readers. The sole purpose of adding content to the web should be to help people and provide them with the accurate and relevant information that they look for. This means that your content needs to be consistent, factual, specific, detailed, to the point and informative so that the reader can benefit the most from it.
Now that we have broken down EAT into single compartments, you might have gotten a clear understanding of it. In short, EAT is a set of guidelines that helps you create the content that Google wants to display to its users.
Why Is EAT The Most Important SEO Ranking Factor?
There are a number of SEO factors, but the question is why is EAT the most important of them all. Originally EAT was first introduced by Google in 2014 but wasn’t really a big hit back then. But later on, Google noticed that the website owners were creating content according to the search engine and not the end-users since all they cared about was the rankings.
The 164-page quality rating guidelines were updated by Google based on the viewpoint that they wanted the raters to focus on the amount of benefit that they received from the web content. So in 2018, Google added EAT to the Search Quality Guidelines, and that is when it took everyone by surprise and became the main focus on the content creators.
EAT is the definition of the type of content that the end-user wants to find on the search engine. According to Google, adding EAT to the Guidelines helped it provide only the relevant, accurate, and trustworthy content to the readers, which is precisely what they were looking for. So based on EAT, Google instructed the Raters to degrade a web page if the following issues were found on it;
- It fails to offer E-A-T
- Thin content that doesn’t add value to the readers
- Unsuitable or distracting ads on the web page
- Money or Life pages don’t contain any information about the content creator
- Low-quality main content
- MC headline is irrelevant, spamming, or reads like clickbait.
- The poor reputation of the website or the main content author
So if your site contains some of the aforementioned attributes, then the Google Quality Raters will definitely rate your website as ‘Low.’ The more the attributes, the lower the rating and since EAT is one of the significant attributes in the list above thus if your content doesn’t fulfill its requirements then there are more chances for lower points.
Getting a low score by the Quality Raters doesn’t necessarily affect your site’s ranking in the Search Engine Results Page. But you need to keep in mind that Quality Raters are actual people who access and evaluate the content that pops in the search results against the Guidelines and the data that they collect is then added by Google into the algorithm in order to improve the search results. So indirectly EAT does affect your rankings in the SERPs, which is why it would be better for you to start focusing on more than the other SEO factors if you want to secure your rankings or improve them.
How To Optimize for EAT?
- Include Author Names & Biographies for All Editorial Content
According to the Google Guidelines for the Raters, the person responsible for the website is quite essential. They need to assess and examine whether the content creator is an expert or not. Thus the author’s name and biography along with the brand’s history are quite crucial for the Quality Raters for the EAT score. Adding them to the site and making them visible enough for everyone to easily find them will help improve your EAT score.
- Invest in Personal Branding
Quality Raters tend to get the content created by the brand or the author reviewed by third parties instead of solely depending on the creators. This means that having the third parties in your corner would be great for you, and that is possible by investing in personal branding. Interact with social media influencers, update your social media profiles regularly, and communicate with your followers so always keep them up to date with your story. This will definitely help you get those third-party endorsements.
- Cut or Edit Low E-A-T Content
Websites with a lot of content often tend to have multiple authors. Even though in such cases the EAT of each author and the EAT of each web page is evaluated individually but when it is all gathered in one place, the web pages with the low EAT rating can affect the reputation of your overall website. So cutting low EAT content will help you secure your spot in the search results, which is worth losing some traffic.
- Invest in Technical Security
Trustworthiness in EAT isn’t about the more the accuracy of the content but about the safety of the user on time. An e-commerce site with a dysfunctional checkout page is going to be rewarded a ‘Low’ rating by the Quality Raters. So investing in technical security can help you optimize your site for EAT.
- Moderate User-Generated Content
The Quality Raters do pay attention to the User-Generated Content as well. In most cases, especially in YMYL pages, they could be the reason for low grading, but pages where the User Generated Content focuses on more general things that require more experience as compared to the expertise, tend to benefit a lot from the UGC and get ‘High’ Quality Rating.