EAT is an acronym used in SEO, which stands for “Expertise, Authoritativeness (Authority), Trustworthiness”. This is a set of best practices that aim to determine whether the author of content is a reliable and trustworthy source to produce that particular content.
Quality Raters and their guidelines
In order to improve the results of its search engine, Google uses ” Quality Raters “: these are natural persons, who are responsible for monitoring the engine results pages in order to detect poor quality results. There were more than 10,000 Quality Raters worldwide in November 2020 (Source: Google – see video below). When Google considers a change in its algorithms, it offers the old and new versions of the SERP to its Quality Raters, who must open each proposed link and rate each page according to two criteria: “Needs met” and “Page quality”.
Each year, Google trains these Quality Raters by publishing a document which summarizes all the recommendations which allow them to judge whether a page deserves to appear in its place, or whether it should be downgraded in order to improve the list of results. proposed. Their feedback is then provided to the international seo agency which learn to replicate them (via machine learning) to refine the proposed results. Years ago, when I started SEO, we had to wait for the document to leak, and we passed it under the rug. Today, Google officially publishes it, and you can freely consult: “Search Quality Evaluator Guidelines”.
A brief history of the EAT
In this document, the term “EAT” appeared in 2014. Today, it is found 140 times in 172 pages. We then heard a lot about it in August 2018 during the “Medic Update” (this is an informal name given by Barry Schwartz to an update which seemed to target medical sites in particular, but not only) even if, after Lily Ray in particular, sites impacted by the Fred update (2017) have more than a 50% chance of also being affected by the following Core Updates. As a reminder, Fred targeted sites with poor UX, overly aggressive advertising, and content that was too short (this is the period when the term “thin content” appeared). We have a fairly strong set of presumptions which would indicate that the Core Updates, in one way or another, are linked to the EAT.
In any case, we know that EAT is neither a filter nor an algorithm, and therefore not a direct ranking criterion like your Title tag or the presence of the targeted keyword in your content could be. It is a score, supposed to reflect the idea that your users would have of your credibility, of your expertise, when arriving on your page. It could be (be careful, this is speculation) that the monthly Core Updates are used in particular to recalculate the positions of sites that have been reviewed during the month by a Quality Rater (a bit as was the case at the time with Google Dance).
Gary Ill yes (aka “@method” – Webmaster Trends Analyst at Google since 2011, and colleague of the indescribable John Mueller) declares that EAT is not used much internally, that it is a somewhat “fringe” concept. Every time the question of the EAT is asked to a “google”, he drowns the fish by explaining that he does not know the details and that it is not important… Paranoid point: that is exactly what They’d say if SEOs had nailed a key concept, and Google wanted to prevent it from being spammed before it was even fully operational.
Why EAT is important to Google
In 2018, according to the BBC, the engine spent $300 million to help news outlets improve their reliability. The engine also supports Media Wise, a project led by Stanford University, which aims to train young people in fact-checking.
From fake news to clickbait, it is in Google’s obvious interest to fight against misinformation on the internet: the engine does not want to become a strong vector through which bad information would spread. Whether it is politics, pseudoscience, or scams of all kinds, the engine has already recognized its responsibility towards the general public.
With this in mind and in the interest of transparency, the Mountain View giant has published “How Google fights Disinformation”, a 32-page PDF report, in which it explains what measures it is taking against this scourge. Unsurprisingly, many comments revolve around the estimation of the reliability of the author of the content.
Google also initiated the “Nightingale” project for which it collected TONS of health information, then bought Fitbit (the brand of connected bracelets with biometric tracking). We feel that the engine is interested in health issues,
Which sites are affected by the EAT?
Logically, not all content requires advanced expertise to be relevant. This is the case, for example, of texts which relate a personal experience. On the other hand, while digging to write this article, I was surprised to discover that the “YMYL” sites (for “Your money, your life”) cover a much broader spectrum than I imagined.
In this category, we find the sites:
- who issue a medical opinion, for which it is obvious that the opinion of an expert in the field is required.
- which give financial advice with an impact on the comfort of life of Internet users: investments, credits, administrative and legal sites, linked to law and the Law (divorce, will, etc.)
- e-commerce, and more generally all those whose activity includes financial transactions (payments by bank card in particular). It seems logical to be concerned about the identity and reliability of the payment recipient.
- hobbies that require training and expertise, which require a significant investment of time, such as photography advice or sites for learning to play the guitar (I’m not making this up: these are examples taken from the guidelines for the Quality Raters).
Basically, if you think about it, a majority of sites that work on their SEO are affected, and not only if they deal with medical or financial subjects. In short, one way or another, there is a good chance that it concerns you too.
Yet, strangely enough, interest in anything related to EAT seems to be confined to certain countries: Japan, United States, United Kingdom, and Ukraine (source: Google Trends).
How do I improve my site’s EAT score?
First thing to understand: regarding Expertise, Authoritativeness, Trustworthiness, we cannot concoct a “magic potion” that will increase your rankings on the web in two weeks, that’s not how it works. book marketing agency strategy will only have an impact if it is used in the long term, as a “common thread”.
However, if you think about it a little, there are a whole bunch of “weak signals” that can be exploited to reassure, either the Quality Raters who will pass by your page, or a robot which would try to evaluate its “quality”. In all cases, we will start from the principle that the work of the Robot (Spider/Crawler) is to automate what the Human (Quality Rater) was already doing before him; if we can convince a human, we will move in the right direction to also convince the robot.
1. Link the article from authority sites
I know, coming from me, you think I’m preaching for my parish, and that’s partly true. However, getting authority links is the ONLY criteria that Google has officially confirmed to consider for EAT. It’s logical, and it’s not new: each link received is a “vote of confidence” from the webmaster who posted it, it’s one of Google’s basic postulates, one of its “first principles”. The more authority the site linking to you has, the better.
2. Make it clear who is the author of the content
Short biography, links to his social networks, his professional profiles (for devas, why not a GitHub account?). A Wikipedia page would be perfect. If they have any awards or certifications related to the area of expertise of the content in question, highlight them. Include an Author tag.
3. Explain the context of the article
Is the author acting on behalf of a company? Don’t hide your intentions. Show a link to your company’s Google My Business page?
4. Have your statements corroborated by experts
Show that you have built a network of experts in your topic, ask them for comments, and cite the parts that support your point. Don’t forget to indicate the elements which prove that they have deserved their reputation: diplomas, successes, … Yes, it’s called name dropping.
5. Approach your subject from all angles
Also present the main anti-theses, even if it means “debunking” them. It’s easier to trust someone who honestly addresses your concerns than someone who sweeps the dust under the rug.
6. Show the publication date of the article
And, if applicable, its last update date. In theory, you should also dust off your content regularly, to make sure the information you provide is still current.
7. Cite your sources
Don’t be afraid to make external links to support your statements. This is what any self-respecting scientific publication does, for example, to allow the reader to explore the subject in more depth and/or to validate that your statements do not go against the consensus.
8. Use HTTPS
This is especially important if you have financial transactions or collect personal data. In short, it allows you to encrypt (we don’t say “encrypt”) the information that passes between the Internet user’s browser and your server. It’s taken on a bit of disproportionate importance lately (especially in the SEO sphere), since the only type of attack it prevents is “MITM” (for “Man-In-The-Middle” or “MITM”). Homme-Du-Milieu” in French), where someone can read the information sent in clear text by monitoring the packets passing through the network. However, it is a very good practice and the generalization of its application is a good thing. Google is particularly fond of it: Chrome displays an “unsecure site” alert if you use even one form without having gone through the SSL certificate step. If you are interested in the technical side of SSL, Cloud fare has devoted a series of very educational articles to it in French.
9. Monitor comments
It can be tempting to let your readers comment, it’s UGC (User-Generated Content) and it’s always a few extra words gained. But if they give bad advice, they might just land you in oblivion. At a minimum, respond to them by explaining why you do not defend their point of view.
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