What does E.A.T mean in SEO?

If you follow the SEO community, or you’ve found yourself at the end of an SEO sales pitch, chances are you will have heard the acronym, E.A.T.

E.A.T is the new SEO buzzword that has gained momentum ever since the August 2018 algorithm update (known as the Medic update), but what does it actually mean?

E.A.T stands for Expertise, Authority and Trustworthiness, the key factors that establish your brand on Google. As we head into a time where Google is focused on creating the best possible experience for its users, E.A.T has become an integral part of any SEO content strategy. For many, this involves changing direction and stepping away from their usual list of pages to optimise and search queries to capture, for others it’s simply amplifying the need for common sense content writing that’s slowly been infiltrating the results pages. 

 

It’s fun to focus on YMYL!

The August update mainly hit websites offering health and medical advice, hence the term ‘medic update’. Although these sites took the brunt of the changes, it also impacted websites that are categorised as YMYL sites – Your Money or Your Life. 

As threatening as that sounds, YMYL simply relates to any site that contains information that could affect an individual’s wellbeing. If a site offering health, medical or wealth advice is serving poor quality or inaccurate content, it could potentially impact the lives of those that read it. In Google’s constant quest to only offer the very best content for the user, sites that failed to offer expertise, authority and trustworthiness to the reader were negatively impacted by the update. 

Why is E.A.T so important in SEO?

E.A.T is by no means a new SEO term, in fact, it was included in the 2015 Search Quality Evaluator Guidelines, a valuable insight into what Google actually looks for when deciding if a website is of high quality. Google itself employs over 10,000 human evaluators who spot-check websites and ensure their ranking algorithms are effective in recognising the quality of a site, increasing  the pressure on website owners, content writers and SEO professionals to up their game. 

Let’s breakdown each element of E.A.T and what it means for your web content…

Expertise

Having knowledge in a subject is only the first step to appearing as an ‘expert’ in Google’s eyes. If you’re writing content about a subject, you need to know exactly HOW to communicate it to your audience and in what format. Understanding your audience is key to nailing the expertise portion of E.A.T; no longer is it acceptable to just perform the perfunctury keyword research, you need to know what they’re searching for and work out how to further meet their needs through your content. 

Understanding searcher intent has always been a key task for any SEO worth their salt, by ensuring you are doing this at an expert level you need to also consider the following. 

  1. Are you presenting your information in the right way? It’s all well and good researching information on how to put up a shelf or how to correctly treat a wound, but users want to see visual aids and videos that emphasize the content on the page. 
  2. What else can you offer? One of the key things that we focus on in our content strategies is ‘where does the user go next?’. Blog posts and guides should naturally lead to other pieces of content that will further help the user. If Google can see that you offer much more than just a generic blog post that matches a search query, you’re more likely to be classed as an expert in the field. 

For example, if you want to know more about how we approach the practical aspects of content writing, why not take a look at our ‘Why I’m no longer talking about content’ article

Authority

In order to become an authority in your industry, you need to ensure that it’s your name that comes up when people are speaking about relevant subjects. One of the key ways to do this is through link building.

In the past, link building was all about quantity, not quality. SEO teams collected links for low-quality domains like they were Pokémon cards, however, once Google started looking into the relevance and quality of site links, SEOs needed to change tactics. Today, links need to be authoritative and relevant to your website – not exactly groundbreaking news for anyone who has heard of SEO, but easy to forget if you’re struggling to increase your Domain Authority. 

Links have always been seen as a virtual thumbs-up, showing that your content or your website is THAT good, others want to share or be connected to it. Today, it’s not just the actual links that are seen as a sign of your authority in the industry, it’s about who is talking about you.

“Link building has become much more of an exercise in Digital PR than ever before. Although we love getting links back to our clients and to the content we produce, we’re also seeking mentions from authoritative sites in the industry. Although these mentions might not come with a link, it’s still a signal to Google that the right people are bringing our brands into the conversation.”

Jen Jordan – Digital PR Specialist @ Acquiro

Brand building is a major part of SEO in 2019 and if you have a high volume of people searching for your brand name, it’s going to show Google that users know who you are and that they are looking specifically for your products and services. 

Trustworthiness

Trust is key and if Google gets a sniff that your brand might not be as trustworthy as it seems, you can suffer the consequences in the search engine rankings.  Reviews from customers are an obvious way to build trust in your brand whether this is through platforms like Trustpilot, Facebook or Google My Business. 

“It’s not enough these days to simply have a web presence. Web users are savvier than ever and with a few clicks into your social media pages, Google reviews or online forums, they will start to build a picture of you as a company. Sometimes negative reviews are unavoidable, but if you are faced with an unhappy customer, it’s vital that you take the time to respond and show others that you are taking action to resolve the problem. A negative review can spread like wildfire, it’s best to stop it in its tracks!”

Chris Foster – Head of SEO @ Acquiro

Site owners should also follow simple steps to make sure that sites are displaying key trust signals to their users, this includes;

  • Ensuring there is a physical address or location associated with the website
  • Having a clear path for contacting the site owners
  • Displaying relevant terms & conditions, security information, privacy policy and delivery information on the website
  • Ensuring the domain is secure by correctly implementing HTTPS on the site
  • Having clear product information and specifications if you have an eCommerce site

 

SEO Content Writing at Acquiro

Our approach to content writing has always been the same, write for the user first and the search engines second. Establishing our brands through authoritative content and natural, engaging writing has been the foundation of our SEO service and as we move further into the E.A.T era, our content writers are working to ensure that we create the best possible journey for site users. 

 

Want to know more? Give us a call today on 01642 130340  to talk to one of our SEO experts about how we can improve your web content. Or pop into our Teesside office for a chat!