What is EAT (expertise, authority and reliability)? • Yoast
Edwin is a strategic content specialist. Before joining Yoast, he spent years honing his skills in the Netherlands’ leading web design magazine.
Have you ever looked at an article online and thought: Hmm, I’m not sure I can trust this? Who wrote this? Why do I have to believe a word of what they say? This happens more often than you might think, especially if you are looking for content that you use to make decisions that could affect your life: financial or medical information. That’s where EAT comes in: expertise, authority, and trustworthiness – a series of signals Google uses to rate and rate content.
EAT is a fundamental concept in the Google Search Quality Guide
Google is constantly fighting over good and bad content. In 2021, more than ever. Fake news abounds, people playing the system, and a frightening pandemic are creating an ever-growing need for reliable content. Google is working hard to train its systems to recognize and reward high quality, expertly written, factual content – this is where we see EAT appear.
Expertise, authority and reliability are often mentioned in Google Search Quality Score guidelines (pdf) and other Google articles. These are key signals that help Google evaluate and rate an item of online content. The Quality Rater Guide is a representation of how Google wants its algorithms to work. Ben Gomes, vice president of Google search, said in an interview with CNBC:
“You can see the scoring guidelines where we want the search algorithm to go. They don’t tell you how the algorithm organizes the results, but they basically show what the algorithm should do. “
Of course, EAT is not used the same way for every search. EAT is especially important for web content that describes things that can affect the lives of visitors. These are so-called YMYL sites.
What are YMYL sites?
YMYL stands for your money or your life. It refers to pages with content that can literally cost you your life. Pages like these can affect the well-being, health, financial situation or safety of visitors. It is very broad and affects many websites. Keep this in mind, even if you accept credit cards for an online purchase, your website becomes a YMYL website.
Here are a few examples that make Google so heavy on YMYL:
- News and actualities,
- Civil, government and law,
- Health and security,
- Groups of people,
- And a big bucket other, which includes many other things and decisions that can affect a person’s life.
The reason Google identifies these YMYL sites is that they should be researched further. Since the content of these types of sites can affect lives, it must be judged very carefully. In the age of fake news and disinformation, it is becoming increasingly difficult to find, critically assess, and trust content online. Especially now, during the COVID-19 pandemic, Google has fought very hard to get incorrect information about the virus in search results.
To do this, Google uses a variety of signals to determine the reliability of a website. It also has systems for assessing the expertise and authority of so-called experts. These signals help Google get a better idea of which sites to rank for and which sites to sweep under the rug.
What does EAT mean?
As stated earlier, EAT stands for expertise, authority and reliability. They are all interconnected and are used to assess the performance of a website. Websites with a good feed can appear in all industries, in all industries – it’s not just limited to YMYL websites.
How much does an expert who wrote the article you read cost? Can you find something about it? Are they well-known experts, have they won any awards? Are you studying at Harvard? Was the mortgage article written by an experienced home equity finance advisor or content marketer wrote it to get links? For many subjects, this is important.
Expertise is important for YMYL content. People reading it should know that they can trust the expertise of the person who wrote it. Would you like to seek medical advice from a blogger mom? Maybe I would if she was an expert because of their life experience.
For non-YMYL content, Google also uses the term daily expertise to indicate that authors are considered experts in their own field if they have life experience. The author’s expertise is judged on the basis of the content itself.
While seeking to determine authority, Google considers the author, content, and the website itself. How much authority do you and your website really have? It all depends on who you are, who you represent and your reputation. Is your site an authority on the matter? Are renowned experts calling or calling the content? Was it used in research? Do you have opinions from expert colleagues? Did Wikipedia refer or refer to your content? Do you have your own Wikipedia page?
For reliability, Google also considers the author, content, and the website itself. Google uses many signals to determine the reliability of your (website). It can be as simple as technical reliability – does it have an SSL connection? – to more abstract signals such as online discussions about your business or how you respond to online reviews. Why would people risk their lives on your site? Is your business reliable?
Is EAT a ranking?
There has been a lot of talk about whether EAT is a ranking or not, but it really isn’t. It’s not something that you can point directly with your finger, you have to do it to get it.
Either way, it’s good to work on your EAT, as you’re working to improve your expertise, authority, and reliability in the eyes of your clients. And that’s what every business should be doing, right? But that doesn’t have to rob your technical SEO work.
Check out Google’s quality control guidelines to see what they’re looking for in search results. Remember, this is not a description of how the algorithm works, so you don’t have to worry about it. Just build the best website you can. Make sure your content is of the highest quality and, if necessary, backed by experts.
How to improve EAT
As you can imagine, EAT is an abstract topic and there is no guide on what to do to increase the numbers. It’s not like it’s a separate part of the algorithm with different pointers that you can rotate. These are just a series of signals that help Google take control of you, your content, and your business.
Not all websites have to worry about EAT, but if you have a YMYL website, there is a lot you can do to improve it. But the results of the improvements are not set in stone. It is also more than just improving your about us page and writer pages. If you really want to be seen as an expert, you really have to put in the hours. Slowly but gradually you will get there.
Some of the things you can do to improve EAT – depending on what kind of content you naturally have:
- Mentioned on Wikipedia, or get your own list (easy, right?)
- Access the Google Knowledge Graph
- More reports from trusted experts
- Get links from high value sites
- Appears in reputable newspapers or other well-known websites
- Organize high quality reviews
- Let thematic experts check your content
- Improve the quality of your content
- Don’t make your content sales oriented
- Make unique content such as research articles
- Improve your business details / on our pages
- Improve your bio
- Correct your CTAs and UX (no dark patterns!)
- Keep your ads under control
- And so on.
In short, practice holistic SEO and build a better, more trusted, more respected business! We’re starting to improve the quality of your content SEO expert Jono Alderson has written a great guide on how to think about high quality content – including a nice checklist with questions you can ask yourself.
Connect the dots with structured data via Schema.org
Part of improving your EAT is describing your website in detail to search engines, authors, and all the entities on it. Schema.org’s structured data is a big help in this regard and is an important part of SEO whether or not you are working on your EAT. By doing this, you can determine what Google knows about you in a way that makes sense to a search engine.
Yoast SEO has a full structured data implementation that automatically does a lot of the work for you. For example, Yoast SEO describes the writer articles and information about it, which makes it easier for Google to evaluate EAT it of it. Yoast SEO Premium takes it a step further, as it allows you to configure additional features per user. You can add the rewards you’ve earned, titles you own, or your expertise by filling in just a few fields.
On Schema.org, you will find options to declare that a web page was
reviewedBy one person (on a date). At the moment, it’s not something we support in Yoast, but you can use the API schema to write the code for it. Schema.org also has some great options for things like
alumniOf – earlier in this article, we mentioned the presence of Harvard as an authoritative example, and this stuff can be explicitly described in structured data.
In the near future, we’ll see a lot more coming out of Schema.org to help you support your EAT.
EAT will play a role in separating fact and fiction
In this article, you’ve gained insight into a term you’ve heard about SEO before: EAT. Expertise, reliability and authority are the key terms to identify the quality of you, your content, and your business. It’s an interesting concept that gives you insight into what is important for Google to understand quality and expertise.
While it’s easy to forget that you’re not doing it for Google, your customer deserves high quality content and services. Improve it!