Google EAT: definition and why it is crucial in the SEO field

Have you ever heard of Google EAT? The first discovery made when entering the world of Digital skills, especially in the field of SEO, is that Google’s search engine has a fundamental primary goal: to show its users what they are looking for!

The concept is very simple in itself, yet it is an extremely challenging task. Just think about the amount of information available online on various topics (especially on different search intents) that users may find overwhelming. But what does Google EAT have to do with all this? Let’s find out together!

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What is Google EAT

To deliver the right content to the right person, in 2014, Google introduced the concept of Google EAT in its guidelines, defining the EAT paradigm as one of the systems, probably the main one, with which algorithms and quality raters assess and determine the quality of a website!

But what does EAT mean?

It is nothing more than an acronym to define the 3 key concepts used to evaluate the quality of a web page:

  • experience
  • authoritativeness
  • trustworthiness

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Experience

With the term “experience,” Google refers to the competence and knowledge of the person who created specific content on a web page, which is judged as such and not about the entire website.

According to the definition, it might seem straightforward to associate the idea that if content deals with specific medical topics, it’s good to have it written by a professional in the field.

However, if the same medical topic refers to how a particular condition or disease is experienced, the professional’s experience is no longer suitable for the content in question. In this specific case, the correct experience is that of a person who has faced the same situation.

It can be inferred that the Search Intent of the user on the same topic always plays a fundamental role in the evaluation criteria of this first concept.

Authoritativeness

Google evaluates authoritativeness based on the content and the domain of the website itself.

In general, this second concept could be based on the quantity and quality of backlinks and citations that the brand has, not only for the content but also for the domain in general, and thus everything related to a good link-building strategy.

Yet that’s not all, because in 2015, Google started to classify SERPs based on the metrics of “entities”, specifying some of them:

  • correlation: how related the entities are;
  • notability: how notable the entity is in the domain;
  • contribution: how the entity is seen by the online world (are there reviews, critiques, rankings, etc.)
  • awards: has the entity received relevant awards?

 

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Trustworthiness

For trustworthiness, Google means how reliable the content and the website as a whole are. How does it evaluate this factor? For example, based on the purpose of the website or its level of transparency.

google guidelines seo

Think of an e-commerce site with a dedicated blog section: the articles published, in the field of expertise, will aim to encourage the reader to purchase shortly, so the articles must offer real and useful information. This is why we must keep in mind that a negative review or comment could influence the “trustworthiness” factor.

Google’s guidelines

Search Quality Evaluator Guidelines, that’s the official name of Google’s guidelines.

They were made known in 2015 and contain instructions for quality raters who, based on the criteria of the guide, must verify and check that the top results in SERP are quality content and websites. Google’s algorithm is doing its job well when the most prominent content in SERPs is of excellent quality!

In addition to the EAT factors, the guidelines introduce another important concept: that of YMYL (Your Money or Your Life) sites.

Google EAT and YMYL websites

Your Money, Your Life (YMYL) is an acronym designed to identify all content and websites sensitive to these two topics: money and life.

Google has given much importance to this type of content and websites. Imagine the damage a website could do that provides inaccurate medical information but, being on the first page of a SERP, reaches millions of people. Especially in the medical field, Google’s algorithm update in 2018 led to the implementation of more stringent criteria, causing a drop in SERP for some websites.

YMYL, however, does not only consider websites with medical content. We have a distinction for:

  • financial advice
  • legal and tax advice
  • news
  • scientific information
  • hobbies
  • civic education and law
  • shopping
  • safety

And many more…

What is certain is that anyone with a website must deal with this type of classification, as, does not an e-commerce site of any kind provide information related to the money of those who buy?

Google EAT and SEO

At this point, it is important to make clarifications. Firstly, working on the EAT paradigm does not improve technical SEO performance! Everything that a digital marketing expert (or better yet, an SEO Manager) does from a technical point of view, such as on-page optimization or acquiring high-quality external links, remains part of essential processes. That said, it is still true that good EAT can certainly influence a website’s ranking.

One must think that Google EAT and SEO work together in a parallel and concerted way.

Is paradigm a ranking factor?

The proof of what has been stated above is that Google EAT IS NOT a ranking factor. Google has about 200 classification factors in its algorithm (including website speed, HTTPS, keyword usage in the title, etc.) that can directly influence the ranking and therefore the SERP results of a particular page. We can say that the EAT paradigm, instead, influences the ranking and SERP indirectly, as Google will always give priority to quality content.

John Muller’s clarification

To further clarify this concept, Jhon Muller (Google’s Webmaster Trends Analyst) intervened in one of his Google Webmaster Hangouts, stating that the EAT paradigm is not something that needs to be optimized within your website. Instead, one must focus on User Experience by trying to understand how the website’s visitor users perceive the published content and how it is possible to convey to them the authority and capabilities of the authors.

Why is Google EAT so important?

Based on what we have said so far, we can give a more complete definition: it is in Google’s interest that users find what they are looking for, providing them with the highest quality content to improve their experience.

 

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How to integrate Google EAT into the SEO strategy: practical tips

And here we are, arriving at some practical advice on how to integrate Google EAT strategy, trying to improve the content of our site.

Get backlinks from authoritative sites

In a successful SEO strategy, a fundamental part is to obtain quality Backlinks related to the focus of our page or website. The authority and trust of websites linking to us will significantly increase the authority and trust given to our site. However, it is still necessary to create unique and high-quality content that people want to link to. Building relationships with the right publishers and (why not, also with some influencers!) will help your strategy;

Care for and update your content

Creating an article or content is not a one-week or one-month job; we must consider that we may need to revisit it periodically. Especially in the digital field, we are accustomed to constant changes, so it is essential to update content over time.

google eat seo authors

Make authors visible

Just like in this article where you will see who wrote it and/or who updated it at the bottom, make the author’s credentials visible, inserting, when possible, a description that qualifies them. This will help Google understand how reliable your content can be.

Get reviews from customers and/or visitors

Receiving reviews will increase the level of trust from your customers and potential ones. It’s always better to have positive reviews, but you also need to learn how to respond to negative reviews, creating new opportunities for engagement and sharing with your readers.

Work on brand awareness

I won’t tell you how important it is to do brand awareness for a company. It will be a good opportunity to read an upcoming article, but in this case, it is enough to know that highlighting your brand as authoritative, synonymous with competence and reliability, is certainly important.

Conclusion

The paths that Google may take in the future in terms of ranking can depend on a multitude of factors related to the online user experience. For example, when they realized that mobile had surpassed desktop as a navigation choice, they introduced mobile responsiveness as a ranking factor. More recently, we have seen how important voice searches are becoming.

On these, Google has introduced an update called “Speaker Identification.” What we know for sure is that Google’s ultimate goal will always be to improve the user experience. Google EAT, in this sense, will remain a fundamental concept destined to evolve.

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