E-A-T stands for Expertise, Authority, and Trust. They are three factors Google use to determine how much trust should be placed in a website or web page. And it is an extremely important factor in your SEO, web design, and copywriting.
But what is EAT? How can you use it to rank better and win more customers, and why should you care?
Let’s take a deep, yet simple dive into EAT in SEO. (Don’t you just love acronyms? Said no one ever.)
Why Does Google Care About EAT?
Before we get into what is EAT, we need to look at why Google cares so much.
Do you remember how the internet used to be? Murky waters, full of untold dangers and hidden monsters.
Spam, viruses, bad information, porn (So. Much. Porn) lurked in the depths, waiting to hijack your internet surfing.
You never knew if you would get the answer you wanted in the millions of pages on the internet. Ask Jeeves and Lycos were the main search engines. Websites looked like this.
Well Google changed all that. There is a reason why it has a 91.8% market share worldwide. And the reason it has become a verb.
Google built an algorithm that rewarded good websites-PageRank. It defined what a good website is. It rewarded websites that were popular, rather than websites that had the relevant keywords in.
You might think this counterproductive-surely we want relevant websites, right?
Well yes, we do. But we also want websites that are trustworthy and easy to use. Google figured that people vote with their feet. If a website is good and gives good answers, it will be popular. If it is popular for a particular search term, chances are it is relevant.
In the olden days, you could hide irrelevant keywords in your website to drag people onto your site or stuff the copy with relevant keywords, so the copy was rubbish and didn’t make sense.
This led to those murky internet waters.
Searching for a new car? Top result is…. porn.
Looking for a restaurant near you? Hope you like porn.
Looking for porn? Surprise! Now you have a virus! (A virtual STD, if you will. I make no apology for that joke.)
Hang on, the point is coming.
Ok, so Google decided a website that was popular would get higher rankings. And how do you tell which website is popular? Well, it’s one that has plenty of people visiting, sticking around on, and referencing as a credible source on their own good websites.
What Does That Have To Do With EAT?
Remember, in SEO, E-A-T stands for Expertise, Authority and Trust.
Google wants to rank a website that demonstrates credibility. That isn’t spam or going to give you a virtual STD. And that is trusted by other people in a similar field.
In their own words:
I want to point out here that EAT is one factor that determines your rank, as the 175 page document in the link above demonstrates.
But it is an important one. Let’s break it down further and see what that means for your website.
What Does EAT Mean For My Website?
Some websites need to demonstrate E-A-T more thoroughly than others. These are websites that Google consider to be YMYL (Your Money Or Your Life) sites.
These are websites or pages that could impact a person’s future health, happiness, finances or stability.
They give examples:
- News and current events (but not sports and lifestyle)
- Legal or citizens advice or government information
- Financial advice, such as loans, investments, and pensions
- Shopping and shopping information, especially if people can make an online purchase on that page.
- Health and safety, such as advice, tips, medicines, or how safe an activity is.
- Groups of people
Google takes pains to point out this list is not exhaustive.
So, if your website contains YMYL pages that could, if the information is wrong, negatively impact the reader’s life, EAT needs to be on point!
What Is E-A-T?
Ok, here we go.
E is for Expertise
Who are you? WHO IS SHE?
As the author, do you have expertise on the subject? Have you written about it before and/or a lot? Have you appeared on other websites or written other relevant content that Google considers to have EAT?
Do you have credentials? Are they on your website?
- Put information about you, the author, on your site.
- Make sure your name is attributed to blogs.
- Add author schema mark up to tell Google about you.
- Connect to your socials.
- Create useful content regularly, in blogs, whitepapers, and socially.
The content you create needs to be good. Your visitors need to enjoy it.
How does Google know if your visitors enjoyed the content?
Well, they stuck around to read it and they shared it on social. Perhaps they even came back for a second read. Maybe the ‘liked’ it on your site.
Your expertise allows you to answer questions your visitors are asking AND do it well.
A Is For Authority
Anyone can call themselves an expert.
I’m an expert in eating a Chocolate Orange in one sitting. I’m an expert in why the Dodo became extinct.
But can anyone back it up? No? Then who cares. I can say what I like!
I don’t know what a Dodo is. I am THE Terry who makes the chocolate oranges.
But imagine if someone else could confirm what I’m saying.
‘No, it’s true-I saw her deliver a lecture on the Dodo whilst eating a chocolate orange’.
And what is the person backing me up was ALSO an expert?
‘And her lecture was good, which I know because I am also an expert in Dodo extinction’.
Now we are getting into Authority.
‘In fact, her lecture was so good I have quoted it in my own work’.
Boom-that, my friend, is a backlink!
That helps to determine your authority on a subject. If your content is so good, so correct, so engaging, that someone else has bothered to read it, share it, mention it, and/or link to it to back up what they are saying, then Google assumes your content must also be good.
What does this mean for your website? It means you need to write great content that answers the questions people are asking.
T is for Trust
Your business and website need to be trusted.
Google don’t want to send people to websites that have a rubbish reputation because that harms their reputation.
So, if your brand (and website) is being panned all over the internet, chances are you will struggle to rank.
Trust pilot, social media reviews, Google reviews, Trip Advisor etc are all ways Google can determine how trustworthy your brand and business is.
Notice how I just switched from talking about your website to your brand? That is because Trust is about more than your website. It is about how your business is perceived across the internet.
Moz has a really good list here of how you can demonstrate Trust on your website but essentially it is:
- Have your contact details visible on your website.
- Have an SSL certificate
- If you take payments, have a refund and returns policy in the footer
- Have an author bio
- Write thorough product descriptions and include relevant safety information.
So What Is EAT In SEO?
In a nutshell, E-A-T is writing great content on a topic you are an expert in.
- Spread yourself around the internet as a voice of authority.
- Get your trust signals up to scratch on your website.
- Generate really well written content that answers the questions people are asking.
How To Get Help With EAT
We have so many ways you can get help.
- You can read our many excellent and informative blogs
- Check out our Pinterest page
- Come on one of our brilliant courses:
- Book a consultation with one of us
- Have an Audit and Strategy
- Sign up to a retainer with us and let us do all the hard work for you.
Give us a bell on 0161 706 0012 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Until next time!