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What is Google EAT in SEO? Here’s Why It Matters + 10 Strategies for Your Content Marketing

What is EAT in SEO and why should you care about it in content marketing?

EAT ensures you get the best answers possible to your most important queries.

When you run a Google search query, you expect the first page of results to include reliable content, right?

You might keep your guard up a bit as you sort through the results – just to be sure.

Overall, however, we expect Google to give us expert, authoritative, and trustworthy answers.

Think of it this way.

Let’s say you want to start planning for retirement so you Google “retirement savings options”.

If Google didn’t prioritize trustworthy content, you could find yourself researching predatory schemes and worthless stocks. One horrible Google search result could cost you thousands of dollars.

Just imagine the damage that exploitative or poor-quality content can do to physical, mental, or financial health.

That’s where EAT comes into SEO. Here’s what it means, how it works, and how to optimize your site.

What is EAT in SEO?

EAT is an acronym standing for Expertise, Authority, and Trustworthiness”.

No one knows for sure exactly how Google’s algorithms and humans decide which pages show up.

Google gives us some general guidelines, but the details are under tighter security than the nuclear codes.

Back in 2015, Google revealed its Search Quality Rater Guidelines. Technically, the guidelines were written to help Google’s human workers fill the quality gap that algorithms lack. Google made them public to help content creators understand how it ranks billions of websites.

It’s updated that same link as needed ever since.

Google says those are the quality guidelines in their entirety – but does anyone believe that? There’s a lot we don’t know too.

Understanding Google Search Quality Rater Guidelines

Google’s Search Quality Rater Guidelines dictate a three-factor process it uses to rate a page’s quality from low to high:

As Google says, every website should intend to help people, always:

Why You Should Care About Google EAT for SEO in Content Marketing

Some marketers say only medical or financial websites should care about EAT in SEO.

Google, on the other hand, explains that all websites demand some degree of EAT quality – even celebrity gossip, fashion, and comedy sites.

Bad fashion advice might not cause you physical harm, but it would make you go somewhere else instead of Google when you need style tips.

Google wants to answer every query as best as it can – no matter the topic – so high EAT content matters in every single industry.

Google wants to answer every query as best as it can – no matter the topic – so high EAT content matters in every single industry.

Plus, you’re not just creating content to please Google. You want to create expert, authoritative, and trustworthy content to earn the trust of your leads and customers.

Google’s EAT and Search Quality Rater Guidelines help marketers understand how they can make the highest quality content for their website visitors.

What Does YMYL Mean?

While EAT matters for all industries and websites, it’s especially critical for YMYL pages.

Your Money or Your Life isn’t just a famous Jack Benny quote – Google has revived it to describe webpages that have a serious impact on your safety, stability, or security.

Google takes its EAT guidelines seriously when it comes to YMYL sites in industries like:

For web pages in these industries, Google demands a few things depending on the context. They must be:

Don’t worry. Google isn’t punishing everyone who doesn’t have a doctorate in their field – or even a bachelor’s degree. Google knows informal expertise can be just as valid as formal recognition.

Like Google says, niche forum discussions, product reviews, and even personal experience can qualify as expertise.

It completely depends on the purpose of your website, how you portray yourself, and how well you prioritize improving people’s lives.

Niche forum discussions, reviews, and personal experience can all qualify as expertise.”

What Isn’t EAT in SEO?

Do you have a better answer to the question, “what is EAT in SEO” now? Slow down for a second because lots of people misunderstand how EAT works in SEO.

It might be easier to understand what EAT in SEO isn’t.

Lily Ray at Path Interactive effectively breaks down a few misconceptions about YMYL SEO and EAT as a ranking factor:

10 Strategies to Optimize Your Content Marketing’s EAT for SEO

The million-dollar question: How can you improve your EAT for SEO and customer trust?

We’ll use Healthline as our main example. They survived the infamous Medic update because they publish high-EAT content.

1. Run an EAT Audit

Get existential for a minute. Why does your website exist?

What purpose does each page serve and how do you help people?

Healthline helps people understand and improve their health with straightforward content and resources:


Healthline

2. Hone Your Bios and Authorship for E-A-T

Google needs to understand why you deserve to show up in the search results for certain topics.

Use your bio and About page to explain why your opinion and information are legitimate. Set up a Gravatar account to keep your bio consistent across all WordPress websites.

Healthline has an entire Medical Affairs team:

Healthline

3. Optimize Your Local SEO

In 2019, 46% of all searches sought local information. With COVID-19 restrictions, that’s no doubt skyrocketed.

Optimizing your local SEO and Google My Business listing shows you’re a legitimate operation and not some fly-by-night scammer.

Healthline has claimed and optimized its auto-generated Google snippet:

Google

4. Improve Your Branding

Anything that improves your overall reputation is good for EAT.

Google might not use social shares and engagement to rank your site, but social selling does boost your traffic and demonstrate your expertise.

Google will notice the increase in traffic, time spent on your site, and backlinks as it judges your authority.

If you’re a new brand, consider publishing some original interviews with subject matter experts to show people why they should trust you.

5. Prioritize Collecting Reviews

91% of people read reviews and 84% trust them as much as a friend’s recommendation. We should assume Google reads reviews too to gauge your trustworthiness.

Plus, reviews can show up in search results for your brand.

6. Get Your Website Security Squared Away

Every website needs an SSL certificate to prove its legitimacy and keep visitor information safe. Google does prioritize HTTPS sites with SSL certs in rankings.


Healthline

7. Focus on Genuine Link Building and High-Quality Outbound Links

Google pays attention to backlinks as it judges your website’s authority and trust. Most people tend to use high-quality content as source material, right?

Don’t farm or spam backlinks – Google considers that a BIG no-no. Instead, focus on creating genuine connections and earning backlinks with quality content.

On the flip side, Healthline takes their outbound sources seriously too:

Healthline

8. Radiate Transparency

What makes you trust a website? Better question: What makes you distrust a website?

Probably several things, but the general theme among untrustworthy sites is a lack of transparency.

For EAT purposes, your site should proudly display these things without any misleading language:

Additionally, you want to show your brand’s human side with real names and photos of your team. People are more likely to trust a website when it displays photos of real people. Don’t use stock photos here – original photos of real team members are best.


Healthline

9. Make Yourself Available

Show customers and Google that you’re available to talk if anyone has a question or problem with things like:


Healthline

10. Always Create the Best Content Ever

This is really the bottom line of EAT. It’s not about gaming the Google system. It’s about creating content that helps people by solving their problems or improving their lives.

It’s not about gaming the Google SEO system. EAT is about creating content that helps people by solving their problems or improving their lives.”

Focus on using your unique personal experience and professional expertise. Every piece of content you create should:


Healthline

What is EAT in SEO: Your Quick E-A-T SEO Checklist Takeaways

To wrap up, Google judges your website’s purpose and quality through EAT guidelines. They’re not set in stone, but you can take steps to improve your EAT in the long term.

Some important strategies include:

You’re not just trying to rank in Google with EAT. You want to earn the trust of readers, leads, and potential customers – no matter your industry.

Need some guidance on how to create SEO-friendly, helpful content? Let’s go over your biggest challenge.

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