Expertise. Authority. Trustworthiness.

That’s what the new Google EAT initiative is all about, and if it’s not something that’s currently on your radar, then it really needs to be, particularly if your website is involved in ecommerce in any shape or form.

We first became aware of EAT when Google’s new search guidelines were leaked back in 2014, but it wasn’t until the following year that the full extent of Google EAT was revealed, and it’s only now that the guidelines are coming into effect.  In the interim, Google has assiduously been employing and training up around 10,000 individuals, whose role is to explore websites and rate them according to the EAT guidelines.

We’re accustomed to the frequent changes to Google algorithms, which aim to provide web users with high-quality and relevant information, but deploying humans to check out websites brings a new layer to web development, as the focus now is on pleasing flesh and blood visitors, rather than appealing to web crawlers and bots.

And in fact, that’s the main purpose of the EAT initiative in the first place.  With more and more people using their smartphones on the go to access the internet, Google is determined to provide website visitors with the richest and most rewarding experience possible.  That means no more slow-to-load pages, and wave goodbye to websites that aren’t fully responsive across all platforms and devices.

But it also goes much deeper than that.  Google’s army of rating experts are charged with thoroughly investigating each website’s EAT, or Expertise, Authority and Trustworthiness.  That places the onus on ecommerce website owners to provide information and content of the highest possible quality across every single page of their site.

It sounds simple enough, but how on earth do you apply the EAT guidelines to every product page across your ecommerce store?

Expertise

Proving expertise in your field means showing your website visitors that your products or services are highly valued within your industry.  If you’re not manufacturing your products yourself, then you need to reach out to influencers within your industry, perhaps by offering them free goods to review, or by posting high-value guest blogs on industry-related websites.  The key point to remember is that your brand name needs to become synonymous with quality throughout both your products range and your website content too.

Authority

Becoming an authority in your field requires you to prove to the Google experts that you’re a serious player within your industry.  Perhaps you don’t make the products that you sell, but gaining an endorsement from the manufacturer is a great starting point.  Perhaps you could publish blog posts by relevant authors who are respected within your industry?  A great way of showing visitors that your brand has real value is by encouraging everyone who makes a purchase to leave a review – the Google researchers have been instructed to judge a website by the number of reviews rather than focus on negative ones, so there’s no need to worry if one or two of your previous customers has been less than complimentary about their purchase, as this won’t have any impact on your overall rating.

Trustworthiness

Trustworthiness is becoming increasingly important as the internet makes it easier than ever before to mislead people.  The Google researchers are looking for anything that proves that your site can be trusted, so make sure your contact details are easily accessible from every page across your site, and make it easy for customers to find details about your shipping and returns policy.  A simple and effective way of encouraging visitors to trust your brand is to include an About Us page on your site, complete with photos and short biographies of your team, as this adds emphasis to the idea that there are real people behind your website’s façade.

The Google EAT guidelines are designed to provide web visitors with the best possible online experience, so failing to take them into consideration could have a detrimental effect on your website in the long term.  But don’t panic!  We’ve had plenty of time to absorb the necessary information and we know how to tweak websites to conform to the latest standards, so if you’re not sure where to start, just give us a  call.  We’re always delighted to help website owners discover just what their greatest asset is capable of!