Google EAT is one of the most fundamental updates to the Google search algorithm. It was introduced in August 2018 in the medic update and it has been an SEO buzzword ever since. Google EAT has made sweeping changes to the way that content is ranked on Google’s search results. Not only has this contributed to more optimized SEO, but also to better website building and greater content value.
It’s all in the service of directing users to better and more valuable content. Google is building the world’s greatest repository of information, after all. It is attempting to give concise, direct answers to any query that appears within the search bar. EAT is just the next update to that.
What is EAT?
EAT, meaning Expertise, Authority and Trustworthiness, was released as part of the “medic update”. It was called that since it seemed to focus on websites that offered health services and medical advice. It made sense that EAT would apply to that since Expertise, Authority and Trustworthiness is exactly medicine demands. You’d want the best authoritative advice for any illnesses or medical issues.
However, subsequent analyses of changes in search rankings revealed further machinations. It seemed that websites having to do with authoritative subjects like finance and economics were also affected. This part of the update was named the YMYL content update.
Your Money or Your Life (YMYL)
YMYL sites are classified as content having to do with finance, money, or economics. These websites need to be authoritative in order for people to get good advice. You wouldn’t want a neighborhood quack giving you advice on how to grow your investments now would you?
Google realizes that people are hankering for more good advice on the economy than before. They’re not getting it from their brokers, their bankers or accountants as much as before. Hence, they need authoritative online sources to light the way.
Extrapolating from that, you can surmise that the update focuses on getting information from authoritative sources. This information can fall into any category that influences the health, wealth or happiness of individuals. In this update, Google has prioritized accuracy and correctness over relevance. Hence, now any material that seeks to climb the search results won’t be able to do so by pandering. Content now needs to be trending, relevant, as well as accurate to make the cut.
EAT Isn’t an Algorithm/Score/Ranking Factor
You need to understand that Google doesn’t operate through a single algorithm. There are millions of algorithms crawling around to direct traffic to search results for every topic. One of Google’s own executives even named them baby algorithms.
Hence, Google EAT shouldn’t be termed an algorithm. Hence, it also shouldn’t be taken as Gospel for every single article or landing page. Think of EAT as a guideline that each algorithm obeys in order to rank search results for various topics.
EAT is not a score either and neither is YMYL. Page ranking scores are determined by Google’s rules and regulations and depend on several factors. While EAT may contribute to those scores, it is not a score itself and won’t directly affect rankings by itself.
Finally, EAT is not a direct ranking factor either. Just as Expertise, Authority and Trustworthiness aren’t individual factors of their own. According to comprehensive research and analyses, there are at least 200 ranking factors on Google. These include page loading times, HTTPS, keywords, etc. EAT has been described more as an indirect influence on search results. If content seems to match the Expertise, Authority and Trustworthiness perceptions of audiences, it may contribute by proxy to the search results.
Keep in mind, EAT is a modification within Google’s search algorithm not a new algorithm in and of itself.
EAT Hasn’t Replaced Technical SEO
As mentioned above, technical SEO hasn’t been replaced. Page speed, readability, content structure, bounce rates, longtail keywords, local SEO optimization, and mobile device viewing optimizations, they’re all still relevant.
EAT is just another influence on how search results are indexed. Content creators will now have to optimize for accuracy and correctness as well.
Author Names and Biographies are Important to EAT
One of the key elements of human nature is trusting a source that they know. Humans tend to look to their favorite scientists, talk show hosts, actors and even politicians for guidance. Our favorite authors, journalists and columnists pique our interest more than the random expert. Similarly, for online content consumption, a familiar source is better than none at all.
Google’s understanding of this has fueled EAT’s preference for author biographies and details. Google has repeatedly recommended that individual author bylines and biographies should be part of content creation. While these may not be a technical requirement to rank content, they certainly help in indexing information.
Google may analyze your preferences and serve up a familiar author or a trustworthy author for your query. That, in the long run, is a much better alternative than randomly serving up the highest result for a topic.
It might be a good idea to hire competent content writing services to flesh out some biographies. They can make them interesting as well as compelling. A well-written biography will allow Google to index that information. It will help to build a personal brand around that identity. This will, in turn, help to push articles and other content forward that is attached to that identity.
Google EAT Is About Building a Brand
Remember that SEO isn’t just about generating new, valuable and relevant content. It’s also about getting rid of the dead weight on your site. Pages with 404 error messages and broken links don’t contribute to your site. In fact, they can easily damage your site’s reputation with Google since those pages increase your bounce rate.
With EAT, Google is doubling down on such pages. No longer is it enough simply to cleanse your website or page of dead links. You must actively search for non-EAT optimized pages and fix them. For instance, if a page contains misinformation or outdated data, you must delete or correct it. If a page doesn’t have a connection to an author biography or lacks citations, correct it.
Personal branding is also part of the deal. Cultivating a reputation disseminating great information on certain topics or entertaining your viewers puts you in Google’s good graces. You should also check online rating websites, forums, and comment sections for your reputation. If you’re being trashed, it’s time to address the elephant in the room. If you’re being praised or given 4 or 5-star reviews, it’s time to invest in what makes you the best.
All of this helps you to rank higher on Google. When the internet sings praises of you and third parties embrace you, it all links back to the search results.
EAT Searches for Authority and Expertise
Google EAT will measure authority and expertise in a lot of different ways. Your content may be considered authoritative if it’s widely shared or is sourced by other outlets. It may also be considered accurate if it’s featured in journals or talked about in major blogs.
In the end, EAT is striving to establish credible sources of information and separate the truth from the noise. Whether it manages to do that effectively remains to be seen. However, concentrating on authoritative sources and more trustworthy information is a welcome start.
Expertise Matters More for Certain Subjects
If you’re posting on how to decorate your home or the greatest musical acts, authority doesn’t really matter. Those topics can be interpreted entirely differently by others. However, when it comes to medical advice, financial predictions, political analysis, and legal advice, expertise matters a lot more.
As mentioned above, Google has realized that authority and expertise affect people in significant ways. With EAT, Google is striving to deliver people the most accurate information possible from the most trusted sources. For certain subjects that will matter much more than for others.