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What is EAT and why does it matter to Google?

What is EAT and why does it matter to Google?

EAT means expertise, authority and credibility.

EAT is part of Google’s algorithm and incorporated into Google’s search form evaluation guidelines.

Google itself says that EAT is “very important.”

EAT should not be confused with “eat” and the foods we put in our mouths. Though I have to admit, I suddenly feel like a burrito. 🌯

If you’re an SEO professional, you’ve probably heard a lot about EAT over the last few years.

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But what exactly is EAT? Is it a major update, a little tweak or something in the middle? Need to change everything about your SEO strategy? Or can you calmly ignore it like the half-eaten taco still in the fridge from last weekend?

In this guide, I’ll explain exactly what EAT is, dive into Google’s search results guidelines, why it’s important, and how you can help your site rank better by feeding it EAT style content.

The guide is in collaboration with other SEO marketers, including Dave Davies, Lily Ray, Kevin Rowe and Roger Montti.

Here is an overview of what to expect in this series:

Chapter 2: Google’s Search Quality Assessment Guidelines: A Guide for SEO Beginners Chapter 3: Using Structured Data to Support EA-TC Chapter 4: EAT & Link Building: A Guide to Evaluating Perspectives Chapter 5: Surprising Facts About EA-TC Chapter 6 : Google’s EAT: Busting 10 of the Biggest Misconceptions

What exactly is EAT?

EAT is one of many guidelines Google uses to determine if content is valuable to readers and if it should rank well.

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The first mention of EAT took place in 2014, when Google added the concept to their search quality guidelines.

Google’s search quality evaluators were instructed to pay attention to:

The expertise of the creator of the content. The authority of the creator of the content, the content itself and the site. Trust the creator of the content, the content itself and the site.

In a nutshell, EAT is a feature that indicates that a page is of high quality, making it useful to users.

Here is an example from Google that highlights what they mean by EAT:

High EAT news articles should be produced with journalistic professionalism – they should contain factually accurate content that is presented in a way that helps users gain a better understanding of events. High EAT news sources have typically published established editorial policies and robust review processes. ”

Is EAT a ranking factor?

No, EAT is not technically a ranking factor, but it can affect the rank of your content.

This is (almost) as confusing as Burger King’s Whopperito, I know.

EAT is a guideline that Google uses to determine which content is high quality and should be ranked higher and is part of several different aspects of its algorithm. So even though it is not a direct ranking factor, it can have an impact on your overall search ranking indirectly.

While it does matter, it may not be as important as some SEO professionals thought.

Gary Illyes of Google has stated that all talk of EAT is exaggerated and rarely mentioned internally.

No dining. Externally, it is mentioned infinitely more than internally.

– Gary 경리 理 / 경리 Illyes (@methode) May 13, 2020

So why is EAT important for SEO?

Have you ever heard of the phrase “content is king?” Or “just create high quality content?”

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Do not answer that. Because of course you have. SEO professionals have blasted for more content by repetition.

Though well-meaning, these phrases make my eyes roll because they actually did not tell us anything about what makes high-quality content.

More pictures? Longer content? Alt tags galore? Better metas? The world may never know.

Now Google gives us a little bit of insight into what they consider high quality content and it can have huge implications for content marketing and SEO benefits.

EAT guidelines tell real human reviewers who rate hundreds of sites exactly what type of content Google considers to be high quality.

According to their guidelines, great content should:

Help users. Get created by an expert. Be published on an authoritative site. Be trustworthy. Get updated regularly.

If possible, the content should be created by a high level of expertise, although “daily expertise” from people with real-life experience is acceptable when relevant.

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Pages that spread hatred, cause harm, misinformation or deceive users may receive a lower EAT rating from search engine evaluators.

Here’s your EAT checklist of 7 ways to improve your site’s EAT

Now you know that EAT is not related to your mother’s lasagna, but to Google’s algorithm. You know why it’s important – and why SEO professionals are all at atwitter about it.

But what does that mean for your site? That means you need to increase your content play.

Here is a seven-step checklist to help your site be more authoritative and credible.

1. Tell visitors who you are

All three spikes in the EAT Guidelines state that Google wants to know who is creating content and whether the person (s) / sites are a legitimate source of that knowledge.

If you do not already have an About Us page or a team page that describes who your team is – and who your content creators are – it’s time.

Author pages are a simple way to establish your team’s expertise, authority and credibility.

Work with experts to create content

Google does not just want good content; it wants content from people who know what they are talking about.

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Instead of hiring ghostwriters to produce half-baked content on high-click key terms, work with experts in the field to create content that Google trusts.

This could mean interviewing a scientist, hiring an expert for a guest post, or working with another company to publish top-class research.

Make the purpose of your content clear

What is the meaning of your content?

Do you want to inform, explain, convince or describe?

Use titles and headlines that make the purpose of your content extremely clear and use straightforward language.

For example, I used headlines in these posts that are questions so you know you will get answers to all your questions about EAT.

Do not produce distant, meandering content. Get straight to the point and cover the topic as clearly (and as thoroughly) as possible.

4. Update content regularly

We create an incredible amount of data every day.

In 2025, we will be creating an average of 463 billion GB of data every single day. This means that the content quickly becomes obsolete.

Tools are being updated, websites are being taken offline, people are taking on new roles, and Google is updating the algorithm … again.

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In my experience, the average lifespan of online content is around two years, depending on the topic and industry.

Keep your content accurate and up to date by including content updates in your SEO strategy.

Update statistics, best practices and check for dead links every few years, especially for high-end content.

5. Link to high quality sources

If you want to be seen as an expert, you have to trust real data.

Link to official sources, surveys and research articles to back up your points and show that you know what you are talking about.

Use reliable sources like NCBI and JSTOR to find statements to back up statements.

You can also link to tweets, papers or reports made by industry professionals. For example, in this article on EAT, I referred to comments by Gary IIlyes from Google, who (probably) could be considered an expert on Google.

6. Consider several views

To be reliable, the content should look at issues from multiple angles and examine what each angle contributes to the overall conversation.

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If your content e.g. When it comes to the best types of ice cream to eat, there is a good chance that one type of ice cream is not perfect for every person.

A person likes their ice cream made with locally bred eggs like this “Not Fried Chicken Ice Cream Bucket”. And another person may have a hard time choosing between ice cream and a cocktail, so they choose The Boozy Capsule collection from OddFellows Ice Cream. Or ice cream with barbecue flavor.

The possibilities are endless. But the goal is to explain the different views on a topic to build trust with your audience and make it look like an expert.

7. Pay attention to your online reputation

Your online reputation can affect the credibility of your site and your content.

Protect your brand’s reputation by keeping an eye on negative press and responding immediately to negative reviews.

Claim all your social profiles for your brand name (so no one else is trying to pick them up!), And encourage customers to leave positive reviews about your brand.

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You do not have to go crazy with building a massive brand if it does not make sense for your business, but make sure that your good name is not smeared.

🍩 Donut Tag let EAT

Every time Google makes a change, there are a few SEO marketers who think it’s a sign of Apocalypse as the big Twinkie shortage in 2012.

The good news is that Google has made it clear that EAT is not a massive change that will mindset rankings.

Instead, it’s an internal guideline that helps Google determine if a piece of content is high quality.

But that does not mean that it is useless. SEO professionals can use the EAT guidelines to better inform their content creation process and produce good content, Google is more likely to rank well.

Featured Image Credit: Paulo Bobita

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