Increasing Website Authority: Google EAT & YMYL
The first trend that we, at StudioHawk, believe will be vital in 2021 is increasing your website authority by optimising for Google’s EAT and YMYL guidelines.
Website authority is a metric used to describe the strength of a web site. It's often referred to as domain authority because it relates to your entire domain or web address. Google's own quality documentation gives insights into this concept and introduces two key terms: EAT and YMYL.
What Is Google EAT & YMYL?
Photo: Google EAT acronym
EAT stands for Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness.
These fundamentals shape what Google believes to be a good website. Their quality testers always refer to these terms when conducting tests and a site is seen to have website authority if:
- It provides expert knowledge in an area
- Shows evidence of authority through backlinks, etc.
- Is trustworthy over time
Whereas YMYL refers to “Your Money Your Life” and typically applies to sites that can directly impact a person’s life and shouldn’t offer false information. These two concepts: EAT and YMYL are interrelated, and you can’t have one without the other.
Common categories that Google deems as YMYL sites are health, education, legal, news and current events or government information.
Why Is Website Authority Important in SEO and How Does It Affect Your Website?
If your site offers breaking news, legal advice, financial data, or other essential information be careful. Google is especially prudent about keywords relating to this type of data. Inconsistent advice or bad reviews will impact heavily on results. However, if you provide valuable content that is backed-up and well cited, then Google will reward you.
Things to Consider for Google EAT & YMYL in 2021
The past few years have been a rollercoaster for EAT and YMYL specific websites. Each new Google update saw dips and spikes in traffic as the algorithm determined who offered the best advice. Yet quality lies at the heart of Google search so expect to see things to change again.
Following Google's guidelines is the best way to ensure compliance. It will always result in better user experience and Google will rank great content high over time.
Increasing User Experience: Core Web Vitals
The second trend to look out for in 2021 is optimising for user experience using Core Web Vitals.
Core Web Vitals are Google's latest ranking factor and will become predominant over the next year in SEO. The term describes how a web page works and appears on a user's device. It goes beyond simple content as the algorithm analyses the actual user experience or UX.
Core Web Vitals fall into three signals:
- Largest contentful paint (LCP) - how fast the page takes to load and appear on the screen
- Cumulative layout shift (CLS) - when the page stops moving around and becomes usable
- First input delay (FID) - how long until buttons, links, etc. work correctly
Photo: Example of Core Web Vitals data on Google’s PageSpeed Insights tool
These factors emulate how a human being uses a website and the process is a major shift into real-life searching.
Why Are Core Web Vitals Important?
Google wants to provide the best results for its users, and that includes weeding out those sites that provide a poor UX. If a page takes twenty seconds to load on a mobile device, web vitals ranks it as poor and if the page jumps about or the button doesn't work when clicked, Google marks it down.
How Will It Affect Your Website and Its Rankings in 2021?
Google's goal is to improve web usage across the board and sites that don't will drop down the SERPs. There is still a lot unknown about how Core Web Vitals will directly impact a website’s ranking in the SERPs, however, it is essential to consistently audit your website to see how each page fares regarding user experience. Additionally, it is important to not only optimise your site for desktop users, but for mobile users too.
Core Web Vitals is here to stay so keep on top of your site's UX for the best results.
Increasing Search Visibility: Structured Data & Schema Markup
The third and final trend that we believe will be essential in 2021 is increasing search visibility by incorporate structured data and schema markup onto your website. Google Search tries its best to understand website content and it attempts to determine whether the page is a cake recipe or a relationship advice column. To help, website owners can provide structured data or a standard format for Google to recognise.
Structuring information in a universal way ensures Google can classify that content correctly. Data then appears in search snippets and results to help users find what they want quickly.
What Is Structured Data in SEO and Why Is It Important?
Structured data is essentially a bit of code that tells Google additional information about what your website is about. One common form of structured data is implementing schema.org.
Schema.org is the ‘official’ community that creates and maintains schemas or data structures, and on the site are hundreds of “templates” or data types for you to use, depending on what type of structured data you’d like to implement.
Photo: Example of structured data on a website.
Google's structured data guidelines give examples of how to implement schema.org and other structured data coding formats. If your site contains these special script tags those pages will appear in featured search results, which will help boost your online presence as they work alongside organic listings. Failing to organise content may drop your pages down the SERPs in the long-run.
How Do You Implement Structured Data for Your Website?
One simple way of implementing structured data is to use a schema markup generator tool, like this one by Merkle. Just plug in what type of data you would like to create and it generates a code for you to insert onto your website.
Photo: This schema markup generator tool by Merkle is just one of many you can use.
So...what next for SEO in 2021?
Reading all of these trends and predictions may be confusing and overwhelming. But businesses who are able to catch onto these trends quickly and are proactive in their SEO efforts will perform above and beyond their competitors.
Additionally, over at StudioHawk, we recently launched an SEO education platform called Hawk Academy, which is aimed at teaching you the fundamentals of SEO, as well as more advanced SEO techniques like the ones we’ve mentioned in this blog post.
Follow our founder Harry Sanders, as he takes you through the basics of SEO to more advanced techniques that you can use to improve your SES strategies.
Contact us today to enrol and learn the best SEO practices to help get your website up and soaring in the SEO game.