What is EAT for SEO? Why Does It Matter for Your Health and Wellness Website?

Being found (or not found) on Google matters A LOT for your business. Yes, you can bring traffic to your site in many other ways such as social media, email lists, or word of mouth, but a Google search is still one of the best ways to get fresh eyes on your product or business. 

If you are a health website, the market is full of competition. Optimizing your website and content for SEO is a great way to move to the top of the list for your niche. But health-related websites have to worry about something other sites do not, E-A-T. 

An important concept in SEO, E-A-T stands for expertise, authority, and trustworthiness. E-A-T is a major factor in search rankings for health and wellness businesses. Here’s what it can do for you…

What is EAT in SEO?

EAT is a term that first appeared in Google’s Search Quality Guidelines in 2014. These guidelines were designed to help quality sites rank better, not just websites who had money to throw at SEO experts to help them win the SEO game. Google is dedicated to ranking sites that actually answer search queries and provide quality information to its users, therefore it uses these guidelines to help users have the best experience.

EAT mostly applies to the content on sites that Google refers to as the “Your Money, Your Life” (YMYL) content. Health, nutrition, and wellness content fall into this category. Actually any site that accepts credit card information is a YMYL site, so really if you want to sell anything online, it likely applies to you.

Google actually has about 10,000 people employed who are spot checking the “EAT” of various websites and ranking them. 

In the summer of 2019 Google did a major update that really impacted many popular health and wellness websites, specifically. Some of the sites with high ranks in the health space suddenly were pushed to the bottom. 

This is because Google started caring not just about the EAT of the site, but also about the EAT of the content creators.  This was a major blow for many of my clients, who were doing great with SEO before this. But not all was lost…

How to Improve EAT

Although this algorithm update was a huge blow to many sites, there were a few simple ways to fix the issue and help increase rankings again.

The first way to improve your EAT is to regularly create high quality content. This is a no-brainer in my opinion. You should only put out the best content you can. 

A few other tips for boosting your SEO EAT: 

Add bylines and author’s bios to your site.

Many blog posts have no author listed. The people evaluating the site want to know the author’s credentials on that particular subject. All articles should have author bylines and include a bio that spells out their expertise on the subject.

Google wants to know the author is an expert around the internet as well. This means you should also add links to the author’s social media or profiles on other authoritative sites.

Always research keywords 

Google is very focused on user intent during search. They want to provide the exact answer their users are looking for the FIRST TIME they search for something. This means your content needs to incorporate the exact keywords your customers are searching for. 

This means understanding your customer and where they are in their health journey. Are they trying to figure out a health condition on their own? Do they have more advanced knowledge already? The bottom line is using too much jargon or complex terminology might prevent your ideal customers from finding you.

Simplify blog topics and link relevant blog posts together so the users can get more information if they want. Blog posts should be simple to understand and digest and should always provide access complimentary or more advanced content.

Have easy to find contact information available on your site.

Google does not want to show fraudulent or misleading sites in their search results. Being as clear about WHO you are and how to contact you on your site is the best way to be as transparent as possible. Also, having a privacy policy, terms of service, and other legal documents on your site will help you seem more legit.

Expertise matters in content marketing

Use expert writers or reviewers.

Google wants to rank health and medical content created by experts only. Therefore, if you want to run a site in this space, you will have to bring an expert on board to create your content. Unfortunately, gone are the days when you can throw up tons of cheaply-created content and rank well in Google.

There are two ways to go about partnering with experts for content creation. The articles can be written by a non-expert and then reviewed by an expert. This will likely be the most cost-effective option because you can use a cheaper, non-expert writer to create the content, then just pay an “expert” to review it. This may not be as effective, but it is a work around many sites are using if they don’t have large budgets for content marketing.

Or the articles can be written by the experts themselves, which will save you time and energy. This is probably the most effective option if you really want to move quickly up the SEO rankings.

Look for experts with legitimate degrees like MD, RN, or RD (like our team of RD experts) who are licensed to provide medical advice. Alternative medicine doctors, chiropractors, holistic healers, and nutritionists are not experts in the eyes of Google. Hire writers who have been published multiple times in your particular niche or are considered experts in the field. 

Be Trustworthy

Building trust with your audience takes time. But it is a critical part of EAT. Make sure to ask happy customers for reviews. 

Work to keep customers happy. Issue refunds to unhappy customers. Have someone dedicated to customer service to keep them happy.

Another part of trust is the use of quality references (one of our specialities). I had a client who lost a HUGE amount of SEO juice because their articles were not properly referenced. I tried to tell them they needed references to back up their claims, but they didn’t care until it started to impact their SEO after the EAT update.

Guess who they came running back to? Me! I had to go back and add references to all of their articles. 

Build Backlinks and Mentions

Backlinks from authoritative sites are difficult to come by. But there are a few ways you can help improve your odds.

First, become familiar with HARO. This is a service that journalists and reporters use to get quotes from “experts” for their stories, usually in exchange for a backlink to your site. Of course you will need an actual “expert” to answer these queries (but this is  a service we offer!).

Second, consider publishing original research or summarizing research studies. This will help you get mentions from authoritative sites on the same topic.

Finally, create connections. Consider asking a close friend or colleague with a great site to give you a link. Or develop relationships with influencers in your field, who might eventually give you a link. 

DO NOT cold email people asking for links or offer to pay them in exchange for links. This is not a great strategy and can actually get you blacklisted with Google.

EAT and Your Business

Ranking on Google is the whole point of content marketing. If you are going to invest in content marketing, you have to be concerned about EAT. If you are in the health and wellness space, building EAT should be a priority in your marketing efforts. 

Our team of expert Registered Dietitian writers specializes in helping you create credible and authoritative content to boost EAT. We can lend our in health and SEO to create the best possible content to help improve your rankings and sales. Get in touch today for a custom quote!