Table of Contents
After Reading This Guide, You’ll Understand 🡭
- How to perform an EAT audit
- What factors to consider to assess the website quality
EAT Audit Checkpoints 🡭
The first thing you should do is identify possible issues and opportunities you need to perform an EAT audit.
Before making any changes to improve the E-A-T of any site, You need to start with auditing the existing information that may affect E-A-T.
Let’s go through each of the steps one by one.
1. Purpose of a Webpage
One of the most basic yet important things is to make the purpose of every web page clear to the users and search engines.
Whether it is the home page, contact us page, or category page, it must convey the purpose of the page.
Here are some different types of pages and its purposes:
- About Us → Background of the business and why it started
- Contact Us → Contact details, physical location, forms, etc
- Product → Product details, images, videos, features, reviews, delivery, price, etc.
This seems like a basic thing but plays an important role in building trust and credibility. In fact, quality raters are asked to rate a web page based on how well it defines the purpose.
“The goal of PageQuality rating is to determine how well a page achieves its purpose. In order to assign a rating, you must understand the purpose of the page and sometimes the website.”
- Start with important pages of the website and see if the page’s purpose is clear enough to the users.
- You can do a five-second test to let your audience define what the page is about. UsabilityHub is a great tool to help you perform this test.
2. Identifying The Main Content
In quality raters guidelines, Google categorizes the webpage content into three different categories such as:
- Main Content (MC) – Main Content is any part of the page that directly helps the page achieve its purpose
- Supplementary Content (SC) – Supplementary Content contributes to a good user experience on the page but does not directly help the page achieve its purpose.
- Advertisement/ Monetization (Ads) – Advertisements/Monetization (Ads) is content and/ or links that are displayed for the purpose of monetizing (making money from) the page
Here is an illustration to help you understand MC, SC, and Ads:
Sometimes, webmasters try to trick the users by making the advertisements look like the main content of the webpage.
You’ll see more advertisements or supplementary content on some pages and less of the main content.
These kinds of issues can lead to a poor page experience.
Questions to Ask While Assessing Content of The Page
- Can you easily differentiate between MC, SC, & Ads?
- Can a user easily find out the main content of the page?
- Does the page have more SC and Ads and less MC?
If the answer is NO for any of the above questions, it is better to think of improving the page structure or content.
3. Whom Your Website Is Referring To?
In the guidelines, quality raters are asked to rate a webpage based on how well-researched the content is and whether appropriate references are used or not.
That means your content (especially blog articles) need to add proper citations to support the claim.
“A satisfying amount of accurate information and trustworthy external references can usually be rated in the High range.”– Raters Guideline
Two common mistakes you may find on websites:
- Adding no references when claiming any data or fact
- Adding references that are not trustworthy or credible enough
In fact, when a webpage is citing external sources that are not trustworthy or authoritative, the webpage may be categorized under medium to low-quality pages.
- Manual (a lengthy process) check
- Ask the client if they follow any guidelines for external links
- Check external links with the help of SEO audit tools
For larger websites, you need help from SEO tools to save your time and effort.
Here’s how you can find external referring domains from your website in Ahrefs:
Step 1. Create your Ahrefs Webmasters Account (Free) and add your website
Step 2. Next, go to the link explorer, where you’ll find all the external links pointing from your website.
Now, export the entire list and ask the following questions:
- Are these external links trustworthy?
- Do they have expertise in their respective fields?
- Are people referring to these sites for trustworthy information?
If you see most of the external links pointing to spammy websites or irrelevant niche sites, this might be a red flag for your website.
[This happens mostly with websites that sell backlinks or allow users to create content without having any review process]
4. Finding Important Pages
Apart from blog posts and product pages, a website also needs to have some important pages such as contact us, about us, return policies, etc.
While assessing the EAT of any website, you need to check whether your website has these important pages or not.
These pages may depend on the type of website.
- Important pages for a SaaS business are – Free trial/ Sign up page, pricing, help centre, etc.
[Think of important pages as the pages that are essential for a user to trust your online brand]
For example, one common issue is the lack of information on the contact us page. Look at the below image where the contact us page has inadequate information about the business.
This contact us page doesn’t have
- Phone numbers
- Physical address
- Web contact forms, etc.
This example is clearly stated as an untrustworthy website in the quality raters guideline.
*For shopping websites… Look for contact information—including the store’s policies on payment, exchanges, and returns.”
Your EAT audit should check all other important pages and check whether the information is trustworthy or not.
5. Check For Headlines of The Articles
Quality raters are instructed to rate a webpage as low quality if the page title is exaggerated or shocking.
In simple words, if you’re using clickbait titles and the content within the page doesn’t support the claim, then this should be considered a low-quality page experience.
Here are two examples of where the content and page title don’t align together:
Suppose you’re dealing with news websites. Chances are you’re most likely to see these issues.
- Make it clear in the content guideline that exaggerated page titles are not allowed.
- Proper citations should be used for every unusual claim.
6. Check EAT Information For Products
For eCommerce sites, it is important to have adequate quality information on the product page and that the website must be authoritative in the niche.
Even if your eCommerce website (selling high-ticket products) doesn’t fall under the YMYL category, the EAT information will play a key role.
While auditing the product pages of the website, you need to ask the following questions:
- Does this business have good experience in selling this product?
- Does your website have quality information about the product? (Users should have enough product information to make the decision)
- Can users trust your website? (focus on important pages, user experience, etc.)
- Are there positive reviews about the products/ brand?
- Is the shopping cart working?
- Is the Price changing from cart to purchase page? (If so, then this could be considered as a low page rating)
The above points are critical for an eCommerce website (especially selling high-priced products) to build EAT in the category.
What To Include In Your Product page
- Price/ price range
- Multiple product images
- Customer reviews
- Information that guides users about the product (features, colours, material, etc.)
- Product availability
- Delivery and return schemes
Amazon’s product page design is a great example to study:
7. Off-Site Reviews & Brand Reputation Research
Two of the most important factors that improve EAT of any website are brand reputation or what others say (third party reviews) about the brand.
In quality raters guidelines, it is advised for all quality raters to perform brand reputation research.
“Use reputation research to find out what real users, as well as experts, think about a website.
Look for reviews, references, recommendations by experts, news articles, and other credible information created/ written by individuals about the website.” – Raters Guideline.
That means reviews outside of your website matter a lot.
If your website has a lot of mixed and negative reviews about the product or brand, then this may seriously impact the organic performance (especially in YMYL categories).
Perform Reputation Research
To understand the brand reputation, you need to look for reviews about the product or brand written by third-party sites or individual experts.
This is how you can find those reviews with a simple Google search:
- Appsumo reviews
- Appsumo.com -site:appsumo.com Appsumo.com -site:appsumo.com -site:facebook.com -site:twitter.com -site:linkedin.com
- Appsumo.com awards/ appsumo.com achievements
- Appsumo.com inurl:forum
This way, you’ll get an overview of the online brand reputation.
While assessing the reviews, make sure you only count the reviews that are written by third-party sources such as YouTube Creators, individual blogs, news channels, online forums, related sites in the niche, etc.
Find the pattern
What are most of the reviews about? Positive? Negative?
Quantity and also the quality of the reviews matter in brand reputation. Brands with little to no reviews don’t mean the site is of low quality.
But a huge number of negative reviews can be a big issue.
8. Content Quality Issues
Content-related issues can also impact the overall authority and credibility of a website. Some common types of content quality issues to audit are:
1/ Thin content Duplicate content: Not every web page needs thousands of words. Here’s how you can find thin content issues:
Step 1: If you’re using the Ahrefs webmasters tool, you can sort the entire content inventory by word count.
Step 2: Now, look for the pages with less than 250-500 words. It is normal to have only 100 words of content on some pages, such as contact us, sign up, etc.
Therefore look for the page intent and adequate amount of information needed for the users. For example, you may need to audit product pages with less than 100 pages.
2/ Too much Auto-generated content: Ask the site owner if they have auto-generated too much content or copied it from other sites. In fact, Google also encourages webmasters to avoid completely relying on AI-writing tools.
3/ Spammy content (too many hacked pages): Find hacked Chinese pages by looking at the indexed pages (site:example.com).
4/ Low-quality forum pages: If the website has a forum, then it is important to look at the pages that don’t have any answers or even answers with inaccurate information.
5/ Others: Frequent misspellings, typos, and grammar errors are also signs of low-quality content, according to raters’ guidelines.
9. Content Creator’s Expertise
The most important factors in assessing the overall page quality are (as per quality raters guidelines):
- The Purpose of the Page
- Main Content Quality and Amount
- Website reputation
- Website Information/ information about who is responsible for the MC (main content)
Therefore it is vital (most important for YMYL topics) to find the expertise of the content creator.
Find Information About The Content Creator
The first step is to ask the following questions:
- Can you easily find the author of the content?
- Does that author have expertise and authority in the topic?
If there’s no mention of who creates the content, then it is better to make this transparent to the readers and search engines.
Now, to understand the expertise and reputation of individual authors, you can perform the following search:
“Author Name” Niche -site: social media-site: personal site
- Is the author mentioned in authoritative sites?
- Can you find reviews about the author?
- Are there google reviews available?
- Find biographical details and academic details.
By looking at the results, you can understand the credibility and expertise of the content creator.
Optional Assignment 🡭
1. Go through the quality raters guideline and write down the key characteristics of what makes a webpage low-quality and high-quality.
2. Assume you’re responsible for the SEO activity of the website Buyphentermineonline247, which is affected significantly by google algorithm updates.
Now, your job is to perform an EAT audit and list down at least seven issues that might affect the EAT information of the site.