Google EAT, while not a direct ranking factor for SEO, can be the difference between a website that ranks and one that gets lost in the vast wasteland of internet noise.
If you’re not yet familiar with Google EAT, you can get a great overview in this article we’ve written, or listen to one of Google EAT’s top experts, Lily Ray, in a recent interview on our Wellspring Digital Cats.
Google EAT means skill, authorityand reliability. Let’s talk about authority or authority. I’ll use authority because the other one is just too long.
A recent Search Engine Journal eBook states that “authority” (oops) refers to the authority of the “content creator, the content itself, and the website.”
Let’s look at each of these…
Content Creator SEO Authority
A content creator, someone who produces written, audio, or video content, should be considered an authority on the subject matter. In other words, it’s an expert with credentials and/or an online resume to back up their expertise.
This can be set out as a resume with an “author page or detailed biography as part of an About page on a website”, but anyone can write a great biography. Their Google EAT authority comes from the opinions and signals of others.
The proof is in the pudding, actually in the link juice and social validation. Anyone can write great content, but someone with “authority” writes content that gets shared and linked.
Content Creator Authority Checklist
Here’s a quick checklist to make sure the content written by your experts gets the authority it deserves…
- Make sure their social profiles are updated and optimized. Use keywords and credentials in their bio. Link to organizations they are affiliated with and websites where they may have been featured as a guest author or speaker.
- Get their content on popular websites using syndication or a guest posting strategy.
- Tag them in posts with their content.
- Encourage others to link to their content.
- Create a separate web page for the author with their biography, credential, and links to their affiliations.
- Include authors’ signatures in all posts they write.
- Include the author URL in the article schema. More on that in this Search Engine Journal article.
Social signals and backlinks show Google that the content is from an expert content creator who has online authority. It takes time to get those shares and links, so don’t be discouraged if you’re struggling to gain traction at first.
“Becoming indispensable; a source of information and expertise on topics people are interested in, so that you become the go-to person on topics (Not convinced there is an instant way to do this – it involves rolling up your sleeves and work.)” Bill Slawski in a recent SEMRush post.
Consistency and hard work will pay off over time.
Content SEO Authority
The authority of your content also comes from links and social signals. First, write great content that serves a purpose for your target audience. You want them need this content.
Assuming you create great content, there are ways to improve its authority.
Content Authority Checklist
Here is a quick checklist of ways to build your content authority…
- Cite and link to other authorities in your content, then tag them when you share it.
- Cite and link to sources that support any argument you make in your content.
- Request quotes from experts, link to them, then tag them when you share them on your social networks.
- Optimize every post for maximum SEO value. Remember that Yoast alone is not an SEO strategy, you need to ensure that your website and its content are optimized for search engine visibility.
- Link to your content in other posts you create.
- Ask the organizations you belong to if they would share your content. This could be a link in an email allowing them to repost your content on their website with permission (a manual form of syndication).
I’m simplifying the process a bit here, but remember that the more your content is shared and linked, the more authority it will have. Your authority will improve exponentially if you ask influencers to share and link to it.
It’s not enough to write great content, you also want to be the fashion man of your content, like the guy from Shamwow without the mugshot.
Sorry, that was probably just funny to me. The point is, you need to get your content out there. Share it, link to it, and ask others to share it.
SEO authority for your website
This section really should have come first, because without website authority, you’ll be hard pressed to gain authority for the content in it.
Remember that the genesis of Google EAT comes from the guidelines of its evaluator. They want to make sure that content listed in search engine results pages or SERPs is from authoritative experts you can trust.
Google employs teams of real people to review search results and evaluate them based on various factors, EAT being the first of them.
Here are some tips for building a website’s authority…
Website optimization builds trust and authority
Google will not consider a poorly optimized website to have much authority. If you walked into an accountant’s office and he was in a bad part of town, with broken windows and trash everywhere, would you trust him as your accounting authority? Uh, the answer is no, okay?
Optimizing your website sends signals to Google about its trustworthiness and authority. Make sure your website is optimized to perform well against Google’s Core Web Vitals, which are…
- Loading – the website is optimized for speed and runs on a fast hosting platform.
- Interactivity – the user can quickly get to work finding what they need.
- Visual stability – your site loads completely and does not constantly change layouts due to ads or pop-ups that force the layout and content to change.
Additionally, you will want to optimize for other web vitals…
- Mobile friendly – you use a responsive design to ensure a quality experience on mobile devices, offering the same content as the desktop version.
- Secure Browser – your site is free of viruses and malware.
- HTTPS – communication to and from your website is encrypted.
- No intrusive interstitials – you know them, those annoying ads and pop-ups that go beyond the page you’re on, forcing you to click an X to return to the page. Google hates them.
Use schema markup and proper title tags and headings so Google knows exactly what your website is about.
Ranking signals for website authority
Great content written by authors with authority is wasted on a website that struggles to show any authority. And, just like with content and its creators, a website’s authority depends a lot on validation.
Google looks at certain signals when deciding on your website’s ranking. Link building and a strong social media effort are two of the most common ways to build pathways to your website.
These show Google that your site has value and authority. Also spend time optimizing your Google My Business (GMB) listing. You will want to share useful content there by linking back to your website.
More importantly, you’ll want to encourage happy customers to leave you reviews on Google. It is a major signal of authority; other people, outside of your organization, publicly vote that your website is valuable.
SEO authority is a long game
Just like many organic marketing efforts, building authority for your website, its content, and the authors of that content takes time and hard work. But it is really worth it.
As you engage in a meaningful, targeted, and effective content and SEO campaign, you’ll gain short-term momentum and even high-five moments.
But keep your eyes on the prize and consider your time and money an investment. The real payoff is months or even years down the road. The good news, however, is that this gain is exponential and the results are cumulative.
Monitor your SEO and social stats, pay attention to your competition, and do more of what works and less of what doesn’t. As Bill Slawski says, strive to “become indispensable, the go-to resource.” Authority will come.