If you’re interested in search engine optimisation, you’ve probably heard about EAT – expertise, authority and trust. These are the guidelines Google uses to rank the content that appears in its search results.
At the end of last year, Google added a new factor: experience. If you want your content to rank well from 2023 onwards, you need to be able to demonstrate your experience of the subject matter.
Here’s what that means for your accountancy practice’s website, and what you need to do.
What is EEAT?
Since 2014, the factors of expertise, authority and trust have been part of Google’s search quality guidelines: a document used by quality raters to provide feedback on Google search results.
As part of a December 2022 update, Google changed EAT to EEAT. The guidelines explain this in detail, but to paraphrase them, this stands for:
- Experience: the extent to which the content creator has necessary first-hand or life experience of the topic.
- Expertise: the extent to which the content creator has the necessary knowledge or skill for the topic.
- Authoritativeness: the extent to which the content creator or the website is known as a go-to source for the topic.
- Trust: the extent to which the page is accurate, honest, safe, and reliable.
The extra E was added to emphasise the importance of real-world experience of a topic. Conveniently, Google uses the example of tax return software in its blog post discussing the update:
“There are some situations where really what you value most is content produced by someone who has first-hand, life experience on the topic at hand.
“For example, if you’re looking for information on how to correctly fill out your tax returns, that’s probably a situation where you want to see content produced by an expert in the field of accounting.
“But if you’re looking for reviews of a tax preparation software, you might be looking for a different kind of information — maybe it’s a forum discussion from people who have experience with different services.”
How does EEAT affect your website?
Google uses EEAT to help determine how valuable content is and rank it accordingly. It affects the feedback given by quality raters, which in turn affects the algorithmic changes that Google makes.
This applies to all content but is especially relevant for what Google calls ‘your money or your life’ (YMYL) topics.
These are topics that, if acted on, could have a positive or negative impact on a reader’s health, financial stability, or safety. Many pages on accountants’ websites would be considered YMYL, because they contain information that could affect a reader’s financial well-being.
That’s why it’s so important for accountants to consider EEAT across their website. Google wants to make sure that the information their users access is reliable and trustworthy, especially when it comes to managing their money.
How is EEAT determined?
To determine EEAT, raters assess the following:
- What you say about yourself: this includes content across your website that explains who you are, and your ‘About’ page if you have one.
- What others say about you: client reviews, press coverage and other external information about your practice will help to show raters that you are a known and trustworthy source of information.
- The content on the page: raters will look at what’s visible on the page they’re rating, so the main content should clearly demonstrate experience, expertise and authority.
7 tips to improve your practice’s EEAT
As an accountancy practice, you already have experience, expertise and authority in your field. But Google and its quality raters won’t know that unless you can show it on your website.
So, bearing in mind the methods we’ve outlined above, here are some practical tips on how to boost your EEAT.
Don’t just sell: make your content useful
It’s old advice but it still rings true – the key to success with content is to make it high-quality and genuinely useful to your reader.
This is great for building your brand as an expert, but it also shows Google that you’re trustworthy and you know what you’re talking about.
Encourage client reviews
You can’t control what other people say about you, but you can encourage more of your clients to give feedback.
Try putting the word out, and hopefully, you’ll end up with some glowing reviews of your practice. These should show your firm in a good light as part of your Google business profile, and you might be able to turn some into testimonials or case studies for your website, too.
Show off your awards
If you’ve won an award or had some positive press coverage, these things are another great way to show that other people endorse your firm.
Make sure to display your accolades proudly on your website, and consider writing about them in your blog. (Accounting Excellence is just around the corner: this could be a good time to talk about it if you’re one of the finalists!)
Put a name to your content
It’s much easier to trust a piece of content when you know who wrote it, so making this information clear on your website should help to improve your EEAT.
Google ‘strongly encourages’ adding authorship information to your website, such as bylines on blog articles.
This doesn’t necessarily mean the named author has to write every piece of content themselves – ghostwritten articles that an expert has provided input for and signed off to be published under their name can work just as well.
Make your contact details prominent
Having an easily-accessible contact page with a business address, email and phone number will help to show Google that you are, in fact, a real accounting practice that can be contacted.
This helps to convey a sense of trust. It also means prospective clients won’t have to look hard to get in touch and book a meeting with you – a win-win.
Update your About page
As mentioned in Google’s guidelines, quality raters are encouraged to look at ‘About us’ pages for more information on the content creator they’re looking at.
So if your page is looking a little thin, now could be a good time to add to it. Your content should demonstrate that you’re a real business with skilled, qualified people on your team.
A good team page can help with this too, with profiles to show the experience and background of your staff.
Use AI with caution
Lately, more people have been using generative AI tools to help create their content. This can be useful, but a human expert should always review the content to make sure it’s accurate. (We talked about some of the challenges of AI in content creation in our previous blog post.)
Google offers the following advice to content creators using AI:
“However content is produced, those seeking success in Google Search should be looking to produce original, high-quality, people-first content demonstrating EEAT qualities.
“Evaluating your content in this way, whether you’re using AI-generated content or not, will help you stay on course with what our systems seek to reward.”
Demonstrate your knowledge with high-quality content
It’s important to consider EEAT not just as a one-off but as part of your approach to your online presence.
But if you’re looking to build up more evidence of your experience, expertise, authority, and trustworthiness, user-focused and well-researched content can go a long way.
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