If you’re in the digital marketing space, you may have heard people talking about EAT in regards to SEO and ranking factors. Simply put, Google SEO E-A-T tells Google at what level they can trust you and your website. While there’s no black and white rulebook telling businesses exactly how to boost their E-A-T, there are strategies that you can employ to craft a brand, content, and website experience that Google will love. Below, we outline exactly what E-A-T is and what you need to do to make sure you have it – since it is the most important SEO ranking factor.
What is Website SEO E-A-T?
What is the Google E-A-T score, and was there a specific Google EAT update? E-A-T is code for Expertise, Authority, and Trust: three things you want to be known for, and three things Google measures to determine your site’s legitimacy and ranking power – it may be the most important SEO ranking factor yet. Each is individually important, but when a company can excel in all three areas together, Google will rate you higher, and at the same time, your customer base will hold you and your business in high regard.
When people come to your site, they’re looking for a solution to their problem. They want a website that exhibits in-depth knowledge of and competency in their field. If someone needs a doctor, they aren’t going to trust a provider with basic knowledge and a shaky understanding of the human body. Your website is evaluated in much the same way. You need to show your visitors that you are the expert in your field and that you can provide more knowledgeable, experienced, and complete service than your competitors.
Your website’s authority has a lot to do with you and your credentials (or your business’s credentials). Why, on paper, should someone trust you over your competition? Answering this question through both written content and website design will give you the authority that Google and your site visitors want.
As you would imagine, in order for Google to put you in their rankings, they have to trust you, and they have to believe that their users will trust you as well. Customers are very good at sniffing out hype and clickbait. Including exaggerations or other questionable material on your site will cause you to lose the trust of your customers. And once it’s gone, it’s nearly impossible for you to regain it.
What Does It Mean to Have Good E-A-T?
Google has a very clear set of guidelines (could even be seen as E-A-T guidelines) for site owners that describe what it means for a site to have good E-A-T. But to get to the root of E-A-T and why it’s the most important Google ranking factor and score, you need to understand YMYL (Your Money or Your Life) websites.
YMYL sites are those that could potentially impact a person’s happiness, health, financial stability, or safety. Unsurprisingly, many sites fall into this category because the definition of what constitutes a YMYL website is so broad.
When you consider that Google is taking people’s well-being into account, you can understand why they are so serious about their E-A-T standards. In Google’s recent algorithm updates, the call to have good “content” was replaced in many instances with the call to have good “E-A-T.” But E-A-T doesn’t only apply to your website. Having good E-A-T means that your site itself, the content on your site, and the creator of the content have to exhibit the qualities that Google is looking for to provide users with the best possible experience. This newly added emphasis on content creators has thrown a wrench into many sites’ SEO. Google continues to crack down to make sure bad content doesn’t make it into their SERPs. And that means weeding out bad content creators.
How to Increase E-A-T Signals on Your Website
Is there a way to improve eat score? You know what E-A-T is; you know why it’s important, and you know what it means when you’re on the right track with your E-A-T. Now—how do you make it better? By boosting your E-A-T signals, you should rank higher in Google’s search results, and you’ll provide an exceptional experience to users coming to your site for information, products, or services.
Audit Your Brand
What are people saying about your brand? Do you have consistent branding? Honestly, evaluate your branding to determine if it hits Google’s E-A-T points. A great starting place is to survey current customers to get a consumer perspective of your brand. You can go a step further and seek out SEO professionals who know the ins and outs of good branding. They can help you determine if you seem like an expert, if your imagery and design convey that you can be trusted and if your site shows consumers that you are an authority in your industry.
Audit Existing Content
Chances are, some of the older content on your site doesn’t match your current level of expertise. Go through everything you’ve published and ask if it reaches the standards you have set for yourself at this stage in the game. Does your content meet the needs of your users? Do you have authorial information and publishing dates on your content? The more information you can provide to Google to prove your E-A-T levels, the better off you’ll be on the SERPs.
Cut Low-E-A-T Content
If it’s not helping your E-A-T, take it out. It’s wasting time, taking up visual space, and lowering your Google rankings. This type of strategy is referred to as a ROT analysis – Redundant, Outdated, Trivial content.
This goes for everything you can’t do yourself: site design, content creation, basic SEO, even the audits mentioned above. There is a reason some sites perform better than others. Most of the time, it’s not because some businesses offer subpar services or products while others do not. It’s because those business owners try to maintain their online presence without the help of outside experts.
If your site needs good content, hire a writer who can not only write but who is a respected voice in regard to the things you’re offering to your customers. Seek our SEO design and marketing professionals who have an impressive portfolio and measured client success.
Linking sites that Google already knows and respects is a fantastic way to boost your own E-A-T. When you figuratively rub shoulders with high-E-A-T sites and businesses, it looks good on you; if you can get inbound links from those same sites, even better.
Keep this in mind: there is no silver bullet for your E-A-T. Just like in the real world, establishing expertise, authority, and trust takes time, hard work, and a lot of effort to prove yourself. Go into your SEO planning with the same mindset. But when you do establish yourself as a high-E-A-T site and brand, you’ll see your rankings improve and site traffic increase, and your visitors will have a great experience.