Unless you are completely new to the search engine optimization business, you have most likely heard of Google E-A-T (now E-E-A-T).
Despite the fact that the concept has been present since 2014, it has slowly yet surely become one of the most significant aspects of SEO.
If you are used to Google’s E-A-T standards, you are in for a surprise. Google has thrown us in the SEO community a surprise by adding a new “E” — for Experience — since the original introduction of E A T.
But what does the new “E” in E-E-A-T signify for SEO in the future, and is this something we should have expected for a while?
Let’s take a look at the latest modification to Google’s Quality Rater Guidelines and how you can make sure you are doing everything you can to demonstrate “Experience” in your website content.
Below, you will find an introduction to the concept of E E A T and a guide to how Google uses these criteria to identify the highest-quality authoritative websites.
We will also talk you through how to ensure that your website fits these criteria, helping you to rise up the Google search rankings.
Table of Contents
What does E E A T stand for?
E E A T stands for Experience, Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness. This is a component in Google’s Search Quality Rater Guidelines, which make up the manual used by actual people to assess the quality of search results.
These people who assess search results are known as Search Quality Raters.
They are a crucial part of Google’s search management, and their feedback helps Google in determining the success of algorithm improvements.
E E A T is not a direct ranking factor in Google. However, Google prefers to serve results with a high E E A T.
As a result, it is a significant concept in SEO that every digital content marketer needs to be familiar with. Let’s break that down a bit.
As you might expect, page quality has a huge impact on where a page ranks in Google organic search results.
According to Google’s standards, the five most essential criteria utilized by their staff to assess the overall quality of a web page are:
- Experience, expertise, authority, and trust (E E A T)
- The Page’s Purpose (Is there a helpful purpose to this page?)
- Main Content Quality and Quantity
- Information about the website or the Main Content Creator
- Reputation of the website or the Main Content Author
So, in theory, the more a webpage exhibits experience, expertise, authority, and trustworthiness, the higher it should be able to rank in Google’s SERPs.
However, keep in mind that these indications are very subjective. You might be an expert in one field but lacking adequate expertise or relevant qualifications in another.
You may be an authoritative financial advisor, but you have no expertise or authority in writing recipes for a cooking website, and any tax form downloads provided on your cooking website will be out of place and of no use to anyone.
Nobody will trust a restaurant review written by someone who does not know anything about food, even if they have plenty of life experience in another area!
Similarly, just because you have done your taxes, a lot does not mean you are an expert on an appropriate level when it comes to giving financial advice.
You might be able to write a product review of tax management software, but you can’t give authoritative advice.
Having a low E E A T indicates that you do not have a positive reputation in your field, while a high E E A T indicates credible sources and authoritative sites, which are something that Google values.
Finally, each sort of information needs a different balance of E E A T. But the most crucial indicator is trust, and that applies to any material, whether it is online stores, a Wikipedia page, a product review, YouTube videos, or a food blog post.
Let’s take a deeper look at each of these indirect ranking factors from the quality rater guidelines and see how each one works.
Is the content writer a first-hand or real-world expert on the subject? Do they have relevant life experience? Have they tried the goods or services, for example, if they submit a review? Have they cooked the dish before they published the recipe? Experience can even include certain YMYL subjects (more on those later).
Consider a disaster survivor with personal experience offering advice on how to stay safe in a crisis. Experience, on average, is an easier bar to clear than expertise or authority.
You should have substantial real-world experience or formal education to be considered an expert. If you are a self-taught professional chef who has been cooking in high-end kitchens for years, you may be considered an expert.
Alternatively, expertise could mean holding a high-level academic qualification in your field, like a PhD. However, being seen as an authoritative or trustworthy source requires more than just knowledge.
Authoritativeness is the next level up from Expertise. You may have real-world experience and formal training, but are others referring to you as the go-to expert on a subject?
To pass this hurdle, you must first establish a reputation for excellence. Do you train, certify, or inform industry experts? Do other professionals look to you for advice?
Authoritative sources are the ones that have the best reputation in their field, written by a respected content creator who can be relied upon to provide high-quality content. That means a track record of Experience and Expertise, not just some casual social media posts
Trust is the main metric Google is seeking to quantify by analyzing a piece of content’s experience, competence, and authority.
It is the sum of the first three categories in E E A T and the thing you should always be aiming for when you create content.
Google values websites that can be trusted, providing credible sources and high-quality pages, not just a social media post or some web pages full of poorly sourced information.
Credible websites that can be trusted are important to the overall health of the internet!
What’s the Difference Between Google E A T and Google E E A T?
While E A T stands for Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness, Google E E A T adds an extra E for Experience.
This makes it stand for Experience, Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness. Google added this extra E to make Google E E A T more recently.
As one might expect, the focus is on the quality of content. Google appears to be focused on ensuring that content posted online is as high quality as possible recently, which is not unexpected given the current worry about low-quality, AI-generated material possibly flooding the web with the introduction of unreliable, poor-quality tools like ChatGPT.
It is vital to remember that these standards have no direct impact on search rankings because they are meant for human reviewers rather than machines.
They do, however, provide a clearer understanding of what Google emphasizes when evaluating website content.
E E A T is essential to human readers and reviewers, which is what you should always be aiming for in your web content, not the whims of algorithms that are not even your final end users.
Why Does E E A T Matter to Google?
Google uses E E A T to guarantee that it offers accurate, true, safe, and valuable information to searchers. Anyone can make a website and put anything they want on it.
You do not have to be a doctor or have a finance degree to create a medical information website or write about investment.
This is a positive thing in certain ways. It does, however, pose an issue for Google. People make key decisions that rely on what they find in search query results.
As a result, Google strives to guarantee that such judgments are based on the most reliable information available. And that is where E E A T comes in.
Google uses E E A T as a metric to try to ensure that website pages full of useful information written by people who genuinely know what they are talking about rank higher than perfectly SEO-optimized but inaccurate garbage churned out by generative AI in an unethical attempt to get clicks.
E E A T might not be a perfect system, but it helps to make a difference and keep the web closer to safety and usability than it would be otherwise.
What are the Google Search Quality Rater Guidelines?
The Search Quality Rater Guidelines are an important document that explains a large number of important search ranking systems used by Google’s quality raters to determine how web pages should be manually scored.
These search quality guidelines form a handbook for the team of quality raters to use, but SEO professionals can also take advantage of them to help guide their SEO efforts.
Anyone may view Google’s quality rater guidelines, often known as search quality evaluator guidelines. Google adjusts the language in this document many times a year.
The search quality rater guidelines are, as the name implies, the guidelines that Google’s professional quality raters must follow when doing their duties and identifying high-quality content with a high level of expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness.
The rules found in the search quality rater guidelines document explain the situations and components that must be evaluated, as well as how that individual ought to rate the site being evaluated.
This text contains several sections discussing Expertise, Authority, and Trustworthiness.
It is a good idea for any SEO professional to pay attention to this information on E E A T since Google has said that these criteria are critical in helping website owners understand what Google looks for in terms of quality on a website.
What Is Y M Y L?
You may also have heard of YMYL content. YMYL stands for Your Money [or] Your Life and refers to topics that are of genuine life or death importance.
That covers things like current events and natural disasters, medical information, or other things where clear and accurate information could save someone’s life.
Reliable information on purchasing prescription drugs, for example, is almost certainly a YMYL topic. Advice for financial stability is important, but maybe not enough to be full YMYL content.
Google expects YMYL content to also have a high E E A T score. This ensures that the potentially life-saving information can be easily found, rising to the top of search result pages for that particular topic.
For trustworthy information, Google is likely to award a relatively high E E A T score.
Google knows that a person’s life may be changed by what they read online. As a result, a poor source of information in search results might have serious effects.
If your website pages or material fall within any of these YMYL categories, you must proceed with caution. Make it very evident that it was written by someone of authority.
The more you can follow and apply the E E A T guidelines to your content, the better your chances of organic search engine exposure and ranking success, particularly if you are working in a field with YMYL relevance.
Is E E A T a Google Ranking Factor?
E E A T is not an official and direct Google ranking factor in terms of observable data. However, Google analyzes additional signals to evaluate competence, authority, and trust, which are ranking considerations.
Google published a white paper titled “How Google Fights Disinformation” in February 2019 that emphasizes the relevance of E E A T in its rankings. Clearly, this is an essential topic.
However, there is no one metric that can be used to calculate a Google E E A T score. It instead assesses additional, quantifiable indicators that reflect the quality of writers, web content pages, websites, and businesses.
Essentially, while E E A T may not be used directly as a ranking metric, a website with a high level of E E A T will probably be hitting most of the important ranking factors in the process.
Just because E E A T is not measured directly it does not mean the things that contribute to E E A T do not also contribute to other things that are measured more directly!
How to Show Google Your E E A T
So, we know what E E A T is now, but how do you prove that E E A T to Google?
Any content creator needs to know this in order to ensure that their content meets Google aims with regard to search intent, user-generated content, and reputation.
Google E E A T is not an optional bonus: you need a high level of experience, expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness, and you need to show that high E E A T to Google as clearly as you possibly can.
Let’s take a look at how to demonstrate this properly as part of your SEO strategy.
Consider lived experience, especially first-hand knowledge of the issue you are writing about. Experience is especially valuable in a digital world that is overwhelmed by low-quality pages full of generative AI content.
True experiences of anything can never be demonstrated by AI. It can, at best, make assumptions about human experience, but the content it outputs will be generic, at best, plagiarized from human material.
It is certainly no accident that Google announced the inclusion of “experience” in its search quality raters criteria for E E A T shortly after the debut of ChatGPT.
Experience is a key differentiation between human-written content and AI-generated content.
You can demonstrate your human experience as part of your SEO strategy by clearly displaying the faces behind your website. This does not have to be difficult to do.
Consider creating a really good About Us Page to showcase your team’s credentials and capabilities. That means bios for your whole team, not just minimal customer service information and a physical address.
The level of knowledge displayed in your piece or by the writer is referred to as expertise. According to the rater guidelines, an author’s competence or authority on a subject should count heavily toward proving expertise.
However, there is some evidence that an author’s authority as an individual does not matter to Google E E A T.
It seems that the perceived expertise of the website as a whole is more important to earning a high E E A T: an anonymous article on a reputable website seems to be worth quite a lot, even though the content creator has no identity or track record.
Building trust with your audience will lead to further positive engagements, which will suggest to Google’s search algorithm that your site is one to trust and rank well in Google search results.
The degree to which a content producer is acknowledged as a go-to authority on the issue is used to measure authoritativeness.
There are three primary techniques to display authority. These are creating a solid content architecture that covers all facets of a certain topic, obtaining backlinks from authoritative websites, and creating a digital profile as an authority on a specific issue.
Authority, expertise, and experience are all intertwined. Without experience and expertise, you cannot really be an authority on a subject!
Building topical authority is a sensible and effective way to improve your site’s position in the Google E E A T rankings, and it works in most situations.
Your content strategy should take into account everything a potential buyer/site visitor could want to know in order to develop a position as an authority in your niche.
Create and define a plan for delivering material that clearly shows E E A T in every article.
Backlinks are still a sign of an authoritative site, even if they carry less weight than they used to. If someone links to your site citing content you wrote, this indicates that you are trustworthy and authoritative within the field.
Earning high-quality backlinks from other sites that are reputable and regarded as authoritative will help reflect the trustworthiness of your site.
It is important to clarify that authority refers to subject authority linked to competence and experience rather than domain authority.
You can establish your authority and expertise on a certain issue if you can demonstrate to Google who you are and what you do.
Your personal brand has the potential to become key to your E E A T authority. Remember, with E E A T, you are not trying to sell yourself to the Google algorithm as a content creator.
You are trying to convince real human reviewers that you are a valuable source of information.
The only real way a content creator or website owner can demonstrate their trustworthiness is by also demonstrating the three other qualities: experience, expertise, authoritativeness.
Trust is the final part of E E A T and is the sum of the first three qualities. By combining your experience, expertise, and authority, you show Google that you can be trusted.
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Our goal from the start has been to provide premium links and content services, at fair and affordable prices.