What does Google’s E.E.A.T mean for marketers?

Written by Nikki Kettell

You might have seen Google’s latest update – it’s gone super-size on E.A.T with the introduction of another ‘E’. As well as Expertise, Authority and Trust, Google’s Search Rater Guidelines now include ‘Experience’.

This feels like an evolution of the Helpful Content updates we saw earlier this year, where Google is aiming to put Users first and make content more useful. But what does this extra ‘E’ mean? In short, if you’re producing helpful content that proves you’re an Expert, if you can demonstrate your Authority and you have plenty of Trust – you must surely be able to clearly show you’ve got Experience!

This is Google trying to make website content move away from being produced for search engines and move more towards content written by humans for humans. That means no more content syndication, no more writing bots and no more badly produced content that wouldn’t convert a shopaholic on an eCom site with a 75% off sale!

This move from Google started way back in 2011, with the introduction of Google Panda to tackle content farms, and in 2016 it was introduced into the core algorithm. 2014 saw Google introduce this new update in its earlier form of E.A.T.  2014 saw Google introduce Expertise, Authority and Trust (EAT) framework, and this year has seen a major push with the Helpful Content Update and subsequent refreshers. 

Despite all this, we still have content teams writing content for which they’re not experts. Look at the way core media broadcasters and publishers report – you have experts being brought in to report on their area of specific expertise. You wouldn’t have an economics journalist writing a review on the latest series of Love Island in the Guardian, or a war correspondent reporting on the best family walks to take in the Lake District on the BBC news..! Website content needs to follow the same vein: write about what you know.

This isn’t to say there aren’t fantastic copy writers out there; a proper writer can research their article and produce a really insightful and informative piece of content. But someone tasked with producing X number of articles every day at 1,000 words a piece on several different topics is never going to be able to produce content to the standard Google needs to see. So what should eCommerce marketers do? Well, if you’re working with a copywriter, make sure you are working with one who knows your industry. You don’t want a jack of all trades (and master of none) when it comes to writers. 

And what does that mean in practice when drafting content? Let’s say you have a website selling natural dog food and treats – Google would expect your content to prove you’re an expert in all things dog health and nutrition. That means it’s going to want to see content produced (or at least approved by) animal nutrition experts. 

If you’re writing an article on how to introduce a rescue dog to the family, you’ll need to prove you know what you’re talking about there as well. With the introduction of Experience into E.A.T (or E.E.A.T as we must now refer to it) you will need to stop and consider what experience you have when it comes to placing a rescue dog in a family? You can talk about making sure they’re diet is changed slowly, you can wax lyrical about the benefits of healthy food, but where’s your experience? If you don’t have any, you’ll need to find an authority that does to accompany your content. After all, if I’ve come to your site looking for advice, I want to know that you know what you’re talking about.

None of this should cause any trouble for eCommerce marketers who are producing useful and authoritative content with experienced authorities, but it is definitely something to be aware of. Make sure you’re not overlooking the power of User-Generated Content (UGC) –  while you should know what you have experience in, pulling that into your content isn’t always as straight forward. 

This is where your review data can really be worth its weight in gold. By listening to your customers, you can see where they value you the most, and where your expertise is most helpful. You can also prove to  Google that you know your onions – Why yes Google, I have lots of experience when it comes to making sure dogs have only the healthiest, most nutritional diets, please take a look at all my wonderful reviews!

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