What is Google’s EAT acronym?
Even if you don’t know what EAT stands for, there’s a good chance you follow the acronym’s logic on a daily basis.
Whether you’re seeking financial advice, going to your doctor or booking a haircut, it’s fair to say that you’d chose an individual who is an Expert, has the Authority to provide you the service, and is Trustworthy.
When it comes to ranking websites, Google’s algorithms look to provide credible content in its search results and EAT forms a big part of how it makes its decisions.
Where does EAT come from?
Google’s Search Quality Evaluator Guidelines is a 160-page document aimed at the army of individuals who rate page quality and ‘needs met’ – how helpful and satisfying the search result is.
When making their decisions, the evaluators are asked to consider:
· The Expertise of the creator of the main content (MC)
· The Authoritativeness of the creator of the MC, the MC itself, and the website
· The Trustworthiness of the creator of the MC, the MC itself, and the website.
What type of sites can score a high EAT rating?
EAT is not a highbrow rating, it’s a yardstick for measuring the quality of a page and applies to all websites, regardless of content.
Saying that, for websites that fall into the ‘Your Money Your Life’ (YMYL) category – generally speaking those that focus on finances and health and wellbeing – it’s even more important that the content reflects professional expertise.
But if your site is dedicated to family recipes you don’t need to be a Michelin starred chef in order to gain a high EAT rating – you just need to be writing detailed, authoritative content based on your life experience.
How do I add the EAT approach to my content?
As with all SEO writing, it’s important to make sure that you have a strong, relevant topic that’s written well. This article outlines 10 elements of exceptional content writing but for now we’ll take a look at how to add each area of EAT to your writing.
Step one - Expertise
If you’re working on content marketing for a YMYL site it shouldn’t be hard to find someone within, or linked to, the organisation to act as your expert.
For non YMYL sites the Google guidebook states that ‘For some topics, the most expert sources of information are ordinary people sharing their life experiences on personal blogs, forums, reviews, discussions, etc.’
Whatever the topic, it’s essential that your SEO writing approach cites the most relevant expert to the field you’re covering.
Other expert tips
It’s not enough to have the right person behind your article. You also need to make sure that their facts stand up to checking and they quote the most relevant sources.
Of course that should apply to all your SEO content writing. But it’s doubly important if you’re aiming for peak EAT - a couple of incorrect facts at the off, and it could be game over.
The case for expert writers
And that is why it’s worth considering hiring a specialist writer to help with your SEO writing. They’ll be able to make your copy shine and will know how to present your experts in their best light.
Step 2 – Authority
We’re all on LinkedIn, right? And we all go out of our way to have a top quality profile, to show our professional authority, don’t we?
Now I’m not saying that every article you write has a full-on LinkedIn profile attached to it, but there’s nothing wrong with taking elements of that approach and scattering them throughout.
If you have a blog from an expert, make sure there’s a short profile of them at the start of the article.
If you’re quoting someone include their full job title, and try to weave in some facts about their employment history. For example:
“Joe Bloggs, chief executive of Global Oil, said he’d been working in the industry for more than 12 years, and was thrilled to be included in the report”
reads much more authoritatively than:
“Joe Bloggs of Global Oil said he was thrilled to be included in the report.”
Links and back links
Google loves to see high-quality backlinks, so make sure to use anchor text when you cite sources. As well as pleasing Google, this high level of transparency will signal to your reader that you’re a site to be trusted.
Step 3 - Trust
If your SEO content writing approach is to use your keyword in every third sentence, you’ll end up with unreadable content that won’t be trusted by Google or a human being.
And of course your copy needs to have a purpose. Google’s evaluator guide says that this could include: sharing information about a topic; to entertain; to sell products or services; to allow users to post questions for other users to answer.
It all comes back to having a polished SEO writing approach – your articles need to be genuine and add to the greater pool of knowledge, and not be sinkholes stuffed with keywords.
Think about which websites you trust and why. Does your own site match up? If I can’t easily find a ‘contact us’ button for an e-commerce site I’ll take my business somewhere else. If I’m reading a blog site and there’s no ‘About me’ section I probably won’t delve too deeply – I need to understand why I’m giving my eye-time to a particular individual.
And then there’s the techy stuff that you need in place to make your site users safe and secure, such as whether you’re using a HTTPS address.
For such a short acronym, EAT contains a whole heap of things to think about. Getting your copy and website to conform to the EAT principles isn’t hard, but it will take time and planning.
But don’t be put off. Taking the EAT approach will help your content marketing strategy to reach a new high – after all, who doesn’t want to read great content written by an expert with strong authority and a high trust factor?
Ian Manley is a freelance writer with experience in the heath and charity sectors. He likes EAT-ing too.