If you are wondering what EAT stands for in the wonderfully complex world of Google search then you are probably not alone.
EAT stands for Expertise, Authoritativeness and Trustworthiness all of which are used as guidelines to rate an ideal web page. Good EAT means your page will be considered high quality and have a better chance of ranking high in search results – lack of EAT means your web pages could labelled as not up to standard and not feature anywhere visible in Google search results.
Why is EAT important in SEO?
If you want your on-page SEO to be good or better still outstanding, you need to have better EAT than your competition in some niches and this is important to remember.
When we are looking at websites not all are considered equal or ranked in search results according to set criteria. Some may require more EAT others won’t depending on the importance of the information the web page is providing.
Do I need to improve EAT on my website?
When we talk about authority, trustworthiness and expertise, this isn’t going to necessarily apply to every website.
If for example you have a website that publishes stuff about your hobby and your own objective opinions on it, then EAT probably isn’t going to apply unless what you say on your blog has the potential to cause harm to someone or lose them substantial amounts of money.
How YMYL relates to EAT
Google applies its rating guide to sites that publish information that could be potentially harmful to your wealth or health. This is where another abbreviation YMYL comes in. YMYL stands for Your Money or Your Life web pages.
For example, if you build a website asking people to invest millions of pounds without any EAT it is likely your page will receive the lowest quality rating.
The same will apply if you have a web page guiding people on how to do neurosurgery and have no qualifications to do so, this would be considered bad (and not just for the patient!).
By now you may be anxious that your website lacks EAT and even more so if your site doesn’t seem to do well in the search results. The reason could easily be that your competition has better EAT than your site.
So what can be done to improve EAT on my website?
- Qualifications and expertise
Is the person publishing the advice qualified? If someone is advising you on where to invest large sums of money or do something for health reasons then of course they should have qualifications to do so. Again, this should be clearly displayed on your web pages.
- Outstanding content
Content should reference other authority sources but not simply become a rehash of other people’s work. This goes back to the foundations of Google search which is designed to provide users with the best answers to their queries. Originality is often rewarded because it provides added value. Content that is in-depth and follows a well-established consensus will certainly help with EAT.
Reputation takes time to build, however reputation can be built quickly if site owners or publishers are already recognised as experts in their field and quoted and referenced on other websites.
It is more important than ever for sites to have security taken care of. Having an SSL certificate is a must as is a well-maintained website. If Google discovers that a website has been hacked then they can demote all pages from the search results overnight. All websites are vulnerable to hacking no matter how tight security is, but regular maintenance will at least ensure that any potential hacks are picked up early.
Is my website a YMYL website?
As we have established not every site can be considered a YMYL website but if you can answer yes to the following, then it would be wise to pay close attention to EAT.
- Your website sells big ticket items such as holidays
- The information displayed on your website relates to health and wellbeing
- Your website covers legal or financial matters
The above list is provided as a guide only and there may be other topics not covered here which fall into the YMYL bracket.
While you can get away with a site that lacks EAT if it isn’t classed as a YMYL website, it is still a good idea to focus on building authority and expertise in your niche. All of this can help improve your site’s ranking in the search results.
It is also important to ensure your website is well maintained, secure and kept up to date with content that is relevant and helpful to users.
Find more information on website quality guidelines here.