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EAT and YMYL in SEO – How Google wants you to create content

by | Jun 17, 2022 | SEO

EAT has been around for a few years now, gaining widespread recognition after Google’s medic update back in August 2018. Back then, it was pretty much the hottest content and SEO-related topic that people were discussing around every corner, revising their entire content strategies, and trying to dissect for improving organic visibility and rankings.

Fast-forward to 2022, EAT might not be what everyone’s talking about any longer, but it still carries much importance in how content and off-page SEO strategies are developed.

It has always been a niche area of interest as Google has stated it is not a ranking factor, yet their Quality Raters’ Guidelines prominently use the concept of EAT to convey how high-quality content can be differentiated from everything that’s out there.

So, what exactly is EAT and how is it relevant in how search is driven? Also, how can webmasters and digital marketers work on their content to better meet Google’s standards?

Let’s dive into how EAT ties it all up together!

What is EAT in SEO?

Search engines are the most commonly used platform today, providing millions of results every day around the world. They need to be able to understand and deliver diverse search results depending on who is searching, what they might be looking for, their demographic background and a ton of other factors.

When done correctly by the search engines, this ability to grasp diversity translates to high-quality search results.

On the content creator’s end, the ability to understand what your searchers might be looking for and developing high-quality content around it can increase organic visibility and the chances to rank better on important keywords.

This is where EAT first comes into the big picture. EAT stands for Expertise – Authoritativeness – Trustworthiness. Google defines it as a sort of guideline for their quality evaluators on how to determine high-quality content.

As a quick shorthand, EAT can be translated as:

Expertise – direct relevance of a particular entity to the concerned topic

Authoritativeness – recognition of this entity as an established thought leader on the concerned topic

Trustworthiness – reputation of this entity amongst relevant audience


Is EAT a ranking factor for Google? Does Google associate an EAT score with your content or website?

EAT is not a direct ranking factor as mentioned earlier; however, it is connected to a number of algorithms which work together to impact the core ranking algorithm. It sums up as an indicator whether the content has been created by and from an authoritative source.

There is also no measurable metric termed as the ‘EAT score’. EAT is a guideline for establishing high-quality content – it is more of a concept than an actual metric. There are a number of algorithms and signals involved here for producing high-quality content, which is then differentiated and rewarded using EAT guidelines.

Danny and Gary at Google confirmed sometime back that content accuracy is definitely considered as a ranking factor, understood through multiple link and entity signals collected across the web and not a specific metric.


So how does Google determine EAT?

A website’s content quality and quantity, its information sources, its reputation – all of these are considered while determining whether it lives up to EAT standards.

Author EAT is also super important as Google wants to show content developed by authors who are considered experts in their fields.

Links and mentions (and these need not be linked back) on authoritative sites is also considered a signal. There can be a ton of other related signals which Google might be using to differentiate high-quality content from the rest, such as PageRank, author credibility and experience, reviews and ratings, content age, hub pages around a particular topic, internal linking to own references, etc.

If you want to dig deeper into the details of how Google determines EAT, its Quality Raters’ Guidelines is the most comprehensive read you should invest time on.


What is YMYL?

YMYL stands for Your Money or Your Life – which is used to classify websites or pages based on their content’s ability to affect your finances (your money), health or safety (your life).

Any piece of content that can be used to make an important decision will be considered YMYL. It covers everything from government, medical, legal and financial sites to news, ecommerce and review aggregators. For everyday topics, this will extend to experience and expertise originating from being involved with that particular topic.

As a general rule, if you are not sure whether your site falls under YMYL, assume it does.

YMYL sites need to meet the highest EAT standards to qualify for high-quality content and better SERP ranking as they can have direct impact on their users’ lives, and cause harm if the information is misrepresented or factually incorrect.


How to improve EAT for SEO?

1.     Start with your existing content, and look to build a content framework

Review your existing content for topical breadth and depth, as well as possible outdatedness. Does it cover enough expanse about the topic you are writing about? Have there been significant updates since it was written?

If there’s scope to update or develop more content around it and create a content hub, you should definitely put in the necessary efforts.

Content pieces should also have enough length so as to include relevant details for the audience. Glossing over a topic, or creating superficial listicles every week is not going to work in your favour – as much a well-written original piece of long-form content will.


2.     Audit your website and brand for relevance and redundancy

Moving forward to the second level, you should also revisit your brand voice and the value it is adding to a chosen field or area of interest. Websites with a defined structural scope will usually drive better user experience, and consequently achieve better EAT.

Remove or update obsolete pages, and restructure internal links for a smoother user journey. This may seem like a tiring task with low immediate rewards, but when done on a regular basis, this will contribute to your overall credibility and trustworthiness majorly.

Also pay attention to whether your brand is getting positioned in SERP pages. Look at the competing sites and see what content of theirs is gaining more eyeballs – this usually is a fair indicator of what users are looking to read more about in a particular niche.

Quick win – have your contact details and about page fully updated. It is a direct indicator of your credibility, and while your EAT is not going to depend on it (it’s not like Google will just take you on your word), it still is important from your users’ perspective and that is something Google will appreciate as well.


3.     Get backlinks and mentions from authoritative sources

Off-page SEO strategies are led by backlink building activities from high-authority domains. Focus on getting links from influential domains that are in a highly relevant field. Build relationships with trusted publishers and credible websites.

Paid and easy-to-get contributor links would not really add much value to your EAT, as Google can understand how the links are originating.

Plain mentions (or implied links as one of Google’s patents addresses them) from well-known and reputed sources can work in your favour as well – you don’t always need to work harder than needed to get backlinks. The underline here is on getting these organically from authoritative sources.

Get a Wikipedia page if you can. Its thorough review and editing processes ensure a high degree of trustworthiness. And linking to relevant references and notes on your website from your Wikipedia page won’t just improve your EAT, it will also help your audience get a better insight in your expertise and speak to your overall authority.


4.     Collaborate with niche experts and show off their credentials

Two important points to note here – first, it is always beneficial from an EAT perspective if you can request industry experts to produce content for your website or business as their word carries a lot of authority and trust.

Second, make sure to flaunt their expertise prominently and link out to their website or social handles. This way, you are not only mentioning them on your website (and thus, contributing to their EAT in some way), but Google will also be able to understand this as a signal that the experts have trusted your website enough to write for it (adding to your EAT).


5.     Genuine reviews are gold for EAT

Google loves user reviews, especially those which are lay out a full sketch with facts and opinions listed on the topic being discussed. Reviews directly contribute toward building trustworthiness (as well as expertise), and so, are highly placed in the consideration set when it comes to EAT.

You should not just ensure trying to get good reviews, but should also have a review monitoring mechanism in place. This will let you regularly respond to feedback, be it positive or negative, building a trustworthy reputation for your business or brand.


6.     Promote content to relevant audience organically; keep ads to minimum

This is a no-brainer but I have come across so many instances of people belting out huge articles and never promoting them, that I felt it deserved a mention.

When you have put in the efforts to string together a content piece that adds value can be really helpful for your user base, please make sure to talk about it through your social channels. In today’s world where we are constantly bombarded with new information, if you don’t actively promote your content, it can easily get lost in the crowd.

And when someone comes to your website, try to not milk their visit by showing as many ads as possible. Their purpose is to peruse the information you have promised; if this is effectively done, you might end up earning a return user who values your content. Do you really want to spoil this chance by overwhelming their experience with multiple ads?



EAT does not need to be the primary thought behind all your content strategies, however, it is important (and logical) enough to be a part of overall process.

Content should first and foremost be created for your users, and if it is genuinely well-written and value-adding, it is bound to get ranked higher. It does not need to be scoped out using what’s trending right now; rather an evergreen piece of content has a higher tendency of bringing in better results over time.

That’s what Google keeps saying – write and develop keeping your specific audience in mind, and you will be rewarded for keeping them happy. Building expertise, authority and trustworthiness might be a slow and difficult process, but once you establish your reputation, there’s no toppling you over!



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