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Why Google E-A-T is the update that will take SEO to the next level

Expertise, Authoritativeness and Trustworthiness: here are the 3 words that hide behind the last Google update E-A-T. 

Yes, I know, Google E-A-T is far from being new and I’m not the first to talk about it. SEO folks have been talking about it since 2014, but the whole concept recently surged back with new user experience requirements.

The update is key to understand the future evolutions of SEO and how to do good SEO in the years to come. So let us explain everything you need to know about it!

What is Google E-A-T ? 

Google E-A-T is an acronym for the three key components of online content indexing and referencing by search engines: Expertise, Authority, and Trustworthiness. The Core Update of January 2020 incorporated these 3 aspects into Google’s algorithm, and they remain a major focus in each update.

Expertise: Google wants to value content where the user experience has a real added value. Websites will now have to start a process of transparency with regard to their content and give credit to the author of the content.

Authority: the authority of a website will be increasingly taken into account for its referencing. External links, reputation, seniority … The more a website has authority in its field, the more its content will be shared by Google.  

Trustworthiness:  The Internet must be a safe place for users and Google wants to emphasize this. Websites should be able to share reliable content, where the information is verified and updated. Websites that do not inspire confidence will gradually lose ranking unless they are updated.  

So what does Google E-A-T mean for web owners and users? 

The impact of Google EAT on website owners

If you know a little about SEO, you’re aware that people are adept at “tricks” not always legit to improve their rankings in results pages. 

Well, from now on, it will be more and more difficult to follow these tricks without getting caught and seeing penalties for your website.

Basically, the rise of Google EAT will force website owners (bloggers, entrepreneurs, brands, etc.) to focus on quality content and to create reliable websites where the user can navigate safely. It sounds idyllic, but it does require a lot of constraints and investments to ensure this constant quality and expertise. For example, we can talk about hiring specialized writers instead of “SEO” writers from a cheaper place who claim to be experts on any subject. It certainly costs less but it does not allow to ensure expert or credible content. 

This gradual change in Google’s algorithm will impact webmasters in the following ways : 

  • Push websites to offer more safety to users
  • Force companies to invest in more skilled SEO agencies and experts
  • Achieve greater transparency in content writing
  • Push webmasters to offer more efficient and effective sites
  • Penalize sites that do netlinking with unreliable partners
  • Penalize sites that do keyword-stuffing (i.e. write a certain number of words just to be sure to fit all your keywords)

In other words: you’ll have to work twice as hard to rank better and maybe put in more money to see your content take off.

Google EAT impact on users

On the other hand, Google EAT is good news for users.

It means the results displayed on Google search engine pages will be:

  • Of more quality
  • With reliable information
  • More diversified (text but also video, image, etc.)
  • More relevant 

Well, just one point: we mustn’t forget that Google remains an army of robots. There will always be unreliable content recommended among the first results on certain queries, or great content that on the contrary does not rank. You’ll just have to work a little smarter to rank. 

Stop “bullsh*t” SEO

For me, the main impact of the EAT update is that SEO “bullsh*”t will take a hit. And believe me, shameless people that want to skip the rules just to make a buck, there are plenty of them.

I still see too many entrepreneurs or business owners thinking they are the kings of SEO when they don’t understand anything about it. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, just take a look at Upwork.

Upwork is a platform that connects freelancers and companies. Clients (companies) post ads and freelancers apply with a cover letter and portfolio. There are a lot of ads for SEO and also a lot of SEO ‘experts’ ready to work. I’ve been going there since I started as a freelancer, and I’ve found several long-term contracts, especially in SEO. 

The problem is that SEO on Upwork is often imagined in a very strict way and totally contrary to the principles of E-A-T : 

  • Clients are just looking for little slaves that respect the SEO guidelines they settled themselves (they do not acknowledge the expertise of SEO consultants or copywriters)
  • They still believe in the myth of “you need a lot of words to rank”. Clients want to pay per word which doesn’t make any sense and doesn’t take into account all the research that goes into SEO writing
  • We are still too much on a logic of “keyword stuffing” and therefore place the most keywords in pages to rank better, without thinking about the added value of the content

Above all, clients are ready to do anything to hire at the lowest cost. Even to pay someone to write articles on home insulation while the freelancer knows absolutely nothing about this.

One thing I hope with Google E-A-T is that it will force websites to reward quality over quantity, and think twice before posting a new page or content. It’s finally time to put back the user at the center of concerns, rather than wanting to please an algorithm. Never forget that SEO is a long-term strategy that requires patience, flexibility, and creativity!

Don’t be fooled: yes, in SEO, you want to please Google’s robots to be better referenced. But believe me: if a human does not like your content, then even less a robot!

How to apply the principles of expertise, authority, and trust to your business? 

My advice for improving the E-A-T of a web page as an entrepreneur and SEO expert, would be the following:

  • Hire SEO experts to help you with strategy and implementation, don’t try to pull tricks without knowing anything about it
  • Stop stinginess: pay for quality external links and qualified writers
  • Be transparent: add an author’s presentation below your blog posts, create an about page, and post your contact information!
  • Create a reliable website: ensure quality navigation and payment to your visitors, offer them reliable and relevant content
  • Build your online reputation with links to authority sites in your field and reviews on your Google My Business page or website

And now, get to work!