In December 2022, Google made significant updates to its Quality Rater Guidelines, shedding light on an updated acronym that has gained prominence in the digital marketing realm: EEAT (Experience, Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness). This update, which among other items added an ‘E’ for “Experience” to the original 2014 acronym, EAT, can have huge implications for law firms and their search engine optimization efforts.
If you’ve never come across EEAT or YMYL (Your Money Your Life) before, fret not. In this article, we will introduce these concepts, explore their importance for law firms in establishing credibility, and discuss how your law firm can improve its EEAT rating.
What is YMYL and EEAT?
YMYL stands for Your Money or Your Life. It is a category of web content that Google considers to have a significant impact on a person’s well-being, finances, or safety. Examples of YMYL topics include medical and health information, financial advice, news articles, and, yes, legal information. Legal matters inherently fall under the YMYL category.
Given the potential consequences of inaccurate or misleading information in YMYL topics, Google applies stricter standards when evaluating the quality and reliability of websites or authors that provide such content.
And the standard Google uses to evaluate YMYL topics? That’s EEAT. EEAT, which stands for Experience, Expertise, Authority, and Trust, is a framework used to evaluate the quality and credibility of online content. EEAT is primarily utilized by human evaluators who are contracted by search engines like Google.
Why is EEAT important for your law firm?
Ensuring that your website content follows EEAT principles is important to getting your content seen by the right people.
Google provides their evaluators with guidelines, such as the Search Quality Rater Guidelines, which outline the criteria for evaluating websites based on EEAT principles. While EEAT evaluations are conducted by human evaluators, their feedback and assessments help inform and refine Google’s search algorithms. Basically, an evaluator’s determination of how closely you follow EEAT principles has a direct impact on your firm’s search engine rankings.
Behind the EEAT acronym:
- Experience: This is the newest element to Google EEAT acronym per the December 2022 update. The inclusion of “experience” in the EEAT framework signifies that content quality can be assessed by considering the content creator’s firsthand knowledge and involvement in the topic. For law firms, this might mean whether the content creator has firsthand experience in the legal practice area discussed.
- Expertise: Expertise encompasses the content creator’s knowledge, skills, qualifications, and proficiency in their field. It highlights their ability to provide accurate and valuable information, drawing upon their specialized training, education, and industry-specific expertise. For attorneys, simply including in your bio that you went to law school and passed the bar gives you relevant expertise.
- Authoritativeness: Authoritativeness focuses on the credibility and reliability of a website and its content. For law firms, building authoritativeness involves publishing high-quality legal content, obtaining positive reviews and testimonials, and establishing a reputable presence within the legal industry.
- Trustworthiness: Trustworthiness emphasizes the reliability of the content. It involves factors such as accurate citations and references, transparent sourcing, and a commitment to providing accurate and unbiased information.
According to Google’s recent December update, trustworthiness is the most important element for businesses aiming to score high on the EEAT scale:
How do you make sure your law firm EEATs?
Given that law firms automatically fall under the YMYL category, it is especially important that law firms take appropriate steps to meet the stricter EEAT standards applied to their websites. Here are some ways you can help your firm
Include Author Information
Ensure that every blog article and opinion piece on your website is accompanied by a short bio on the author. Simply listing the attorney’s name and having a separate page elsewhere on the website with the attorney’s bio is not enough. Instead, you must include a succinct summary that lists the author’s name, credentials, and experience on each piece of content.
Earn High-Quality Backlinks
Seek opportunities to acquire backlinks from reputable and relevant sources. Backlinks, also known as inbound links or incoming links, are links from one website to another. Backlinks signal to Google that your firm is an authoritative source because it means other reputable sources trust your content.
Produce Worthwhile Content
This ties in with our previous point: producing worthwhile content can help establish you as a reputable source of information, which, in turn, can earn you high-quality backlinks. Great content speaks for itself!
Use Credible Citations
The same citation rules you learned about in law school apply here – and no, I’m not talking about your Bluebook rules (though abiding by these could earn you some high-quality backlinks from your attorney readers, too). I mean that citing and linking to reputable primary and secondary sources, ideally sourced from a legal search engine helps build your Trustworthiness score.
Collect Client Testimonials
We bring up the importance of client testimonials often in our blog articles. Here’s yet another reason to include them on your website; they contribute to your firm’s EEAT score, specifically with respect to the Authority and Trustworthiness factors. Given this, your website always includes a section for client testimonials, be that in written or video form.
Here’s an example of an effective client testimonial video:
Understanding and implementing EEAT principles can
If you’re looking to optimize your law firm’s online presence and improve your EEAT ranking, Consultwebs’ team of marketing professionals is here to help. Our experienced experts understand the nuances of legal marketing and can assist you in developing a comprehensive strategy that aligns with EEAT principles – contact us today.