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The Importance Of EEAT In Health Websites

 

Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is the practice of optimising a website and its content to improve its visibility in search engine results pages (SERPs). For health-related websites, strong SEO is crucial. It allows users seeking health information to find your website easily, leading to increased website traffic, potential patients or customers, and ultimately, improved brand awareness and credibility.

In recent years, SEO has undergone a significant shift. Previously, focusing primarily on keyword density and backlinks could lead to high rankings. Now, Google’s algorithms are more sophisticated and prioritise websites demonstrating Expertise, Experience, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness (EEAT).

Therefore, EEAT has become a crucial factor for ranking high in search results, especially for Your Money or Your Life (YMYL) websites. Google uses the term YMYL for webpages that could significantly affect a user’s well-being in areas like finances, health, safety, or happiness. These websites impact users’ health and well-being, so Google prioritises websites that have strong EEAT even more than usual.

EEAT: A Game Changer in SEO

As mentioned, EEAT stands for Expertise, Experience, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness. These four pillars are crucial for websites dealing with YMYL topics, especially health information. Here’s a breakdown of each component:

  • Expertise: This includes the qualifications and knowledge of the content creators. Google prioritises content written by medical professionals, certified health educators, or individuals with demonstrably deep knowledge of the subject matter. Look for credentials, affiliations with reputable organisations, and a clear display of expertise on the website.
  • Authoritativeness: This reflects the reputation and recognition of the website and its authors. Backlinks from high-authority health websites, awards, and recognition within the medical community all contribute to a website’s authority. The website you look for a backlink from should be cited by other trustworthy sources and has established itself as a reliable source of health information.
  • Trustworthiness: Trust refers to the reliability and legitimacy of the information presented. Google prioritises websites that offer accurate, up-to-date information based on scientific evidence. Transparency about editorial policies, fact-checking procedures, and the ability to identify the author all contribute to a website’s trustworthiness. Look for websites that cite credible sources, are transparent about their content creation process, and avoid making misleading claims.
  • Experience: Experience hinges on the author or creator of the content having first-hand or life experience in whatever they are discussing. A long history of experience in the medical field, demonstrated by research publications or clinical practice, adds weight to the author’s name. You should include original pictures, videos or thoughts in your content if you wish to check this off the list.

 
YMYL topics significantly impact users’ financial stability, well-being, and overall quality of life. Google prioritises EEAT for YMYL topics to protect users from potentially harmful or misleading information. 


 

‘EEAT changed the way we do SEO in many ways. It made us think more about the value of our content for people rather than for algorithms and search engines.’ – Rodrigo Lasanta, Lead SEO Specialist


Here’s an example of how misinformation on health websites can be to someone’s detriment. Sarah (28) searches for her fatigue, weight gain, and sleep issues online. A website blames a rare disorder and pushes unproven treatments, discouraging her from seeing a doctor. This could lead to delayed diagnosis, needless worry, wasted money, and even worse health.

People must be assured that the medical advice they read online is correct. The Medic Update (August 1st, 2018) was a turning point for health-related SEO. This update significantly emphasised EEAT for health websites, causing many websites with low-quality content to drop in rankings. This update highlighted the importance of creating high-quality, trustworthy content by medical professionals for health information websites.

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The Road To Recovery: 8 Best EEAT Practices For Health Websites

Building a strong EEAT foundation is crucial for health information websites. Here are some actionable tips to get you started:

Content is king (and queen):

  • Content creation by medical professionals or under their supervision: Ensure your content is authored by medical professionals (doctors, nurses, registered dietitians) or created under their direct supervision. Include author bios highlighting their credentials and experience.
  • Citations and references from credible sources: Back up all claims with citations from reputable medical journals, government health organisations (.gov websites), and established medical institutions.
  • Create content clusters that focus on specific related topics: Focus on building in-depth content around specific health conditions or topics. This demonstrates expertise and allows you to establish yourself as a trusted resource for those areas.

Transparency is key:

  • Transparency about ownership and editorial policies: Clearly display website ownership information and outline your editorial policies. This includes details about content creation, fact-checking procedures, and how you handle potential conflicts of interest.
  • Ensure organisation contact details are easy to find: Make your contact information readily available, including a physical address, phone number, and email address. This builds trust and establishes your legitimacy.

User experience matters:

  • User-friendly website design: Your website should be easy to navigate and mobile-friendly. Use clear language, logical organisation, and high-quality visuals to enhance user experience.
  • Focus on the customer: Prioritise user needs by providing clear and concise information. Structure your content for easy readability, answer common questions, and avoid medical jargon when possible.

SEO is a marathon, not a sprint:

  • Ongoing monitoring and improvement: Regularly monitor your website analytics and user engagement to identify areas for improvement. Stay updated on the latest medical research and best practices to ensure your content remains accurate and relevant.

By following these best practices, you can easily commit to EEAT and build trust with your audience. Remember, building a strong online reputation takes time and consistent effort.

Case Study: How We Recovered the Performance of a Health Website After the Medic Update

Our client is a health-related website dedicated to providing users with cosmetic procedures. They also have a blog filled with information on various health topics related to their services. 

For years, our client had a relatively strong presence in search results, ranking for a fair amount of keywords and driving a decent amount of organic traffic from it. 

As you know, the landscape of health-related SEO shifted dramatically with the arrival of the Medic Update in August 2018. Unfortunately, our client experienced a significant decline in both website rankings and traffic following the update. 

This serves as a cautionary tale for health information websites and highlights the crucial role of EEAT in today’s SEO landscape. However, our SEO team implemented a targeted strategy that boosted the website back up to beyond where it was before the update. Let’s find out how.

Our EEAT Strategy

Here we explain the specific strategies we employed to elevate our client’s health-related website and position them as a trusted leader in their field.

1. Website Content Creation (Expertise, Experience & Authority)

  • Introducing the ‘our doctors’ section: On service pages, we added a dedicated ‘Our Doctors’ section featuring bios of the medical professionals involved. These bios highlighted the doctors’ qualifications, including their degrees, affiliations with professional organisations, and relevant experience. This approach aimed to showcase the expertise and authority of the team behind the business.
  • Content strategy for expertise: We developed a content strategy that focused on creating informative blog posts and YouTube videos related to the health industry. This content addressed topics relevant to their services, demonstrating the team’s knowledge and expertise in the field.
  • Building trust through citations: Links were strategically placed throughout the website, connecting visitors to reputable and authoritative, external sources in the health field. This practice aimed to demonstrate the accuracy and trustworthiness of the information presented by our client.
  • Social proof and testimonials: Client reviews and testimonials were incorporated on the website. We prioritised testimonials from prominent figures in society (when possible) to further strengthen social proof. Additionally, reviews from satisfied regular clients were included to showcase broader customer satisfaction.

2. Backlink Building From High-Authority Websites (Authority)

We implemented a backlink-building strategy focused on acquiring links from high-authority websites in the health sector. These links act as a vote of confidence from reputable sources, enhancing the overall authority of the client’s website.

3. Content Quality & User Experience (Trustworthiness)

  • Revamping the website: The existing website appeared spammy and lacked credibility. We undertook a complete website redesign, prioritising a clean experience with clear and concise information.
  • Content quality: The website’s content underwent a thorough review and revision process. We focused on ensuring information accuracy, clarity, and comprehensiveness. Additionally, we optimised the content for relevant keywords to improve user experience and search visibility.
  • User-friendly design: The website redesign prioritised user experience. We implemented a clean and intuitive design with easy navigation, making it easier for visitors to find the information they need and fostering trust with the brand.

4. Increasing Google Reviews (Trustworthiness)

We encouraged satisfied clients to leave reviews for the client’s business on Google. Positive reviews on Google My Business significantly build trust with potential customers searching for our client’s services.

The Results

Let’s take a closer look at the results of implementing the above strategy. Remember that the actions from SEO can take a while to reflect in Google and often your hard work is not rewarded immediately. Plus, rankings and organic traffic are volatile due to various factors.

Before the update, our client ranked for over 600 keywords. However, after the Medic Update their rankings plummeted – dropping well below 100.

A graph showing the decrease in total keyword rankings after the August 2018 Google algorithm update

Through consistent focus on EEAT principles (accompanied by our usual SEO work), our client witnessed a remarkable turnaround. Their keyword rankings steadily climbed, surpassing their pre-Medic Update levels and are now at around 6,000 keywords.

A graph showing the increase in total keyword rankings after our EEAT strategy was implemented

 

A graph showing current total keyword rankings

Wrapping Up

In today’s SEO landscape, EEAT has become an undeniable force, especially for YMYL websites like those dealing with health information. By prioritising Expertise, Experience, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness, you can establish your website as a credible source and improve your ranking potential.

The positive impact of strong EEAT is multifaceted:

  • User trust: When users encounter a website that has a high level of EEAT, they are more likely to trust the information presented. This fosters user loyalty and increases the website’s credibility.
  • Website authority: Building a strong EEAT profile signals to Google’s algorithms that your website is a valuable resource. This can lead to improved search rankings and increased organic traffic.

Looking towards the future, EEAT will remain a cornerstone of SEO for YMYL websites. As Google’s algorithms continue to evolve, their ability to assess a website’s EEAT will become even more sophisticated.

Here are some final thoughts:

  • Stay updated on the latest SEO guidelines and best practices.
  • Continuously strive to improve your website’s content quality, user experience, and overall trustworthiness.
  • Consider consulting SEO professionals (like us) specialising in YMYL websites for a comprehensive strategy.

By prioritising EEAT and user well-being, you can ensure your health information website thrives in the ever-changing world of SEO. Remember, the most important factor is providing users with accurate, reliable information that empowers them to make informed health decisions.

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