If you’re a digital marketer, you can’t have escaped the juggernaut that is Google’s EAT metric in recent years.
Way back in 2018 (which seems like it might as well be 1918, given recent world events) Google published what has come to be known as the Medic update to their core algorithm.
A lot has been written about Medic since so I won’t spend ages going over the nitty gritty (although if you want that, this is a good summary as is this). Suffice to say that it was the latest and most overt move in a long line of Google updates that aim to enforce content quality.
Medic specifically dealt with YMYL (Your Money or Your Life) websites, i.e. those with content that had the potential to directly affect the physical, psychological or financial health of their users.
In a 175 page guidance document released alongside the update, Google themselves first introduced the concept of EAT and gave SEOs, webmasters and digital marketers everywhere a blueprint for optimising their site and content for years to come.
What is EAT?
EAT stands for Expertise, Authority and Trust. It is a series of guidelines used by Google, and the human quality checkers that work there, to assess content and assign rankings to it in search results.
How can I optimise for EAT?
To understand that I’m going to break it down into its constituent parts and give you some actionable tips you can start using to optimise your site today.
Before we get into that however, a good starting place is to assess if your site has any adverts on it – be they display network ads or internal promotions.
Adverts and their placements feature heavily in the guidelines mentioned above, so make sure that if your site uses ads, they’re clearly marked and do not obscure the page’s main content.
Expertise refers mainly to whoever has produced the content in question. Google wants to know that whoever is responsible for the content, is qualified to do so.
What this means for you is that you need to make sure that you have things like authorship profiles configured on your blog content and when you come to reference facts and figures you’ve found elsewhere, you cite them using a hyperlink in the text.
When it comes to authority, you want to think about the site as a whole and if it is a quality source of content.
This ranges from making sure you have any relevant accreditations, awards or experience displayed in prominent positions, to building a strong backlink profile for both the site as a whole and the individual pieces of content you’re trying to get ranking.
Of course building backlinks is a whole process in and of itself but, if you need to know a bit more, then have a look at our SEO services for accountants.
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Proving that your website is a trusted source of information isn’t some dark art. Just think about what your users would want to see and then present that. This can range from things like testimonials and social proof to just making sure your contact information and company policies are clearly signposted and displayed.
One final trick
The final EAT hack I have to share isn’t really a hack at all – it’s the familiar advice of simply creating quality content that meets your users needs.
I repeat this a lot to colleagues and clients but it really can’t be over-emphasised.
No amount of technical wizardry or trying to jump through EAT-sized hoops will help you get low quality content ranking, so make sure that you’re producing quality content that people want to read.
EAT isn’t something that should be thought of as a separate activity to website design or content creation. It should be integrated so that it becomes a part of your existing processes, not an afterthought tagged onto what you have already.