EAT and Branded SEO: SEO Is Shifting to Branding and Authority
EAT and Branded SEO: SEO Is Shifting to Branding and Authority
EAT is a term used by Google to determine how trustworthy and credible a website is. It’s one of the major components that go into affecting how a website will rank in Google’s search engine rankings.
The term ‘EAT’, has been around since 2014. But it was through the updates to their search engine algorithm in 2018 that EAT really became popular. In August 2018, Google released an update to their algorithm that caused many websites to lose their ranking in the search pages. Since this update mostly affected the health and medical industry, journalist Barry Schwartz named it the ‘medic update’.
Through this update, websites that the algorithm viewed as less credible lost their earlier rank. Meanwhile, credible websites with authoritative sources saw their ranks go up.
What is EAT?
EAT stands for ‘Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness. These are the three criteria that Google looks at when determining the credibility of a website. Google wants to ensure that its customers, the search engine users, have access to high-quality information.
For this reason, they look at the EAT of a website to ensure that when users type in a keyword into the Google search engine, they find trustworthy websites. The concept behind EAT was made public through a set of guidelines Google published, called the ‘Search Quality Raters’ guidelines. These guidelines were designed to help their quality assurance team, performing checks on the credibility and authoritativeness of different websites.
Essentially, search quality raters look for high page quality on different websites. Google has also revealed the factors that it uses to determine page quality. These include:
- Purpose of the page
- Content quality and amount
- Authoritativeness and credibility of the author, or content creator
- The reputation of the website, the brand, or the content creator
Since EAT is one of the key factors determining page quality, it’s important to develop it to rank higher on organic search engine rankings. The more EAT a website has, the higher it will rank.
What Does EAT Mean?
Simply knowing what EAT stands for isn’t enough, as Google focuses on certain specific things for establishing EAT.
The information provided on a website should be useful to the user and come from an expert or certified individual. Should a user search for medical content, Google will always prefer high-quality content written by a medical professional.
The content should be created by an individual that has authority in the field or industry. The content itself should reflect that authority and provide users with accurate and up-to-date information.
The credibility of the author of the content, as well as the content itself, is of importance. Users should be able to trust the content they find. This is taken seriously by Google, as many people use the information they find from their search engine to make decisions about their life. To protect users, trustworthiness is essential.
With the help of EAT, Google tries to ensure that it can provide accurate, useful, and truthful content to all its users.
What Does EAT Mean For SEO?
SEO stuffing has already been penalized by the Google search algorithm, and now EAT is gaining prominence as well. Will this affect SEO and digital marketing in any way? The answer is – it will.
When creating SEO for a website, the content creator needs to keep in mind that their SEO keywords need to be integrated into the content organically. Google also measures EAT differently for different kinds of sites. If your website falls in the YLML category, then you’ll need to be especially careful with EAT and SEO.
What Is YLML?
YLML stands for ‘Your Money or Your Life’ and refers to websites that can impact a user’s health, wellness, or finances. These websites are subjected to higher EAT standards since users are meant to find useful, informative content from these sources.
Here are the kinds of websites that fall in the YLML category:
- News websites, as well as websites about current events
- Government websites
- Legal websites
- Financial advice and finance websites
- Health and safety websites
- Shopping websites
- Websites about or representing groups of people
If your website falls in the YLML category, then you’ll need to be especially careful about your EAT and SEO. Since the main aim of Google’s algorithm updates is to improve their user experience, EAT has become a useful way to safeguard the quality of that experience.
How Can You Improve Your EAT, Branding and Authority?
There are several ways you can improve the EAT of your website, and you can also boost your brand’s authority at the same time.
- Build Off-Page Backlinks
Off-page backlinks from high authority domains can help you develop your website’s EAT. The way to do this is by creating high-quality sources that people want to link to. Remember that Google looks for relevant links and backlinking. They have previously also penalized websites that provided a high number of links to irrelevant, low-quality websites.
- Get Mentions From Trusted Sources
The more your brand or your name shows up in relation to the trusted website and authoritative sources, the better your EAT. You can actively boost this by guest commenting on authoritative websites, securing interviews, appearing on podcasts, and more.
- Content Should Be Accurate and Up to Date
This is especially important if your website hosts time-sensitive information, such as news or current events. All the content on your website should be regularly updated to ensure that they provide the latest and most recent information to users.
- Reviews and Testimonials
Online reviews, such as those posted on Google, Yelp, Facebook, and others, can also help you to build your EAT. It’s also a way for you to develop your brand’s trustworthiness in the eyes of other users. Consider responding to all comments, even the negative ones, to show you care about the users.
- Auditing Your Content
Pore through all the content on your website, and ensure that it meets EAT standards. If you find irrelevant content or outdated content, then either delete or update them. You can also combine content with other pages. Ensure that your SEO is well integrated into your content and appears organically.
EAT has emerged as one of the key ways Google determines how high to rank a website on their organic search results page. If you want your website to rank high, then you’ll need to combine EAT with your SEO strategy and provide useful high-quality content.