Google has expanded its E-A-T framework to E-E-A-T by adding an extra ‘E’ for experience. This addition places a higher emphasis on personal knowledge and real-life experience when evaluating the quality of a website.
Specifically, pages created by individuals with a level of experience in a particular subject are deemed more authoritative and trustworthy than those lacking such experience.
This new component takes precedence over expertise, authority, and trustworthiness and has become a crucial aspect of Google’s Quality Rater Guidelines.
For context, E-A-T, introduced in 2014, consists of guidelines used by Google to assess the quality and credibility of a website’s content.
While E-E-A-T, often referred to as Double E-A-T, doesn’t have a direct impact on rankings, it serves as a valuable metric for evaluating content quality, thus contributing to success in Google searches.
In this article, we’ll delve into the importance of EEAT for search engine optimization (SEO) and offer insights into refining your SEO content optimization strategies.
Before we explore the various components of the Google EEAT framework, let’s take a brief historical look:
E-E-A-T stands for Experience, Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness. It’s a set of guidelines employed by Search Quality Raters, Google’s official quality assessment team, to evaluate website content.
The original E-A-T framework was introduced in Google’s Quality Rater Guidelines back in 2014, but it gained prominence in the SEO community after the ‘Medic’ update in August 2018.
The Medic update, a Google algorithm release, aimed to improve the quality and relevance of search results, particularly for health-related queries. This update placed greater importance on E-A-T factors, page quality, and user experience.
As a result, some websites witnessed a decline in their search rankings if they didn’t meet the new criteria.
Search Quality Raters
Google employs Search Quality Raters, a team of individuals, to assess the quality of search results. These raters adhere to guidelines set by Google, including the EEAT guidelines, to evaluate the relevance, accuracy, and usefulness of presented content.
Feedback from these raters assists Google in enhancing its algorithms and providing better search results for users.
It’s crucial to note that quality raters don’t directly influence site rankings. Instead, their evaluations offer insights that help inform Google’s ranking algorithms.
Google Quality Rater Guidelines
The Search Quality Evaluator Guidelines, a comprehensive 176-page document, serve as the foundation for human quality raters to evaluate website and search engine results page (SERP) quality.
Although Search Quality Raters don’t directly impact rankings, their judgments guide improvements to Google’s search algorithm.
SEO experts refer to the Google EEAT guidelines to comprehend the signals Google aims to measure.
EEAT guidelines encompass various aspects of website evaluation, including:
- Identifying content authors or website domain owners.
- Assessing the E-E-A-T of content creators.
- Evaluating the quality of pages and content.
- Distinguishing high-quality from low-quality content.
- Establishing high E-E-A-T standards for specific domains/pages, such as YMYL (Your Money Your Life) sites.
- Comparing mobile and desktop experiences.
- Identifying potential user harm stemming from page design or usability issues.
- Assigning scores to domains and pages on a rating slider ranging from “Fully Meets User Needs” to “Fails to Meet User Needs”.
You might wonder why Google places such significance on websites that demonstrate experience, expertise, authority, and trustworthiness. The answer is straightforward: user safety.
By prioritizing websites displaying EEAT, Google ensures users are directed to reliable sources of information, safeguarding them from scams, misinformation, and potentially harmful content.
In the following section, we’ll break down each letter and provide tips on effectively showcasing Google EEAT in your content to align with Google’s helpful content update.
Understanding the Elements of E-E-A-T
One thing is clear from Google’s helpful content update: it gives greater weight to high-quality web pages meeting standards of experience, expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness.
Now, let’s explore how Google employs E-E-A-T to gauge content quality and discover methods to communicate it effectively through your content.
Google prioritizes firsthand or real-life experience when evaluating content quality. Opinions and reviews from individuals with direct experience of a product or service carry more weight than those lacking such experience.
For instance, consider this scenario from Google Search Central Blog:
“If you’re seeking information on correctly completing tax returns, it’s best to consult content from an accounting expert. However, if you’re looking for reviews of tax preparation software, a forum discussion involving individuals experienced with different services might be more suitable.”
Adding “experience” to Google Quality Rater Guidelines brings authenticity in an age largely influenced by artificial intelligence. AI can make assumptions about human experience but can’t replicate the intricacies of genuine experiences.
Showcasing Experience in Your Content
Highlight the people behind your company to convey experience. Showcase their qualifications and credentials through a well-crafted About Us or Meet the Team page.
This page can also incorporate personal anecdotes and stories that humanize your brand and establish a connection with your audience.
According to Stanford’s web credibility guidelines, highlighting experience in your organization and the content and services you provide enhances consumer trust, potentially leading to increased user engagement and conversions.
As per the Google helpful content update guidelines, content produced by subject matter experts holds greater value. Although expertise and experience are related, they are distinct concepts.
Expertise vs. Experience
Expertise refers to the level of knowledge or skill an individual possesses in a specific subject matter. It can be demonstrated through academic credentials, professional certifications, or work experience in the relevant field.
On the other hand, experience pertains to a person’s hands-on involvement in a particular activity or job. It’s acquired through trial and error, observation, and learning from others.
Demonstrating Expertise in Your Content
Google seeks evidence of expertise within the content itself, not at the website level. Utilize these self-assessment questions from Google to gauge whether your content showcases expertise:
- Does the information instill trust by providing clear sources, demonstrating expertise, or offering background information about the author or site?
- Would someone researching the author’s site deem it a credible and authoritative source on the given topic?
- Was the content created by an individual with notable expertise or a passion for the subject matter?
- Are there any factual errors in the content that can be easily verified?
From a technical standpoint, here are elements to incorporate in your content:
- Include the author’s name.
- Provide a descriptive bio featuring relevant qualifications.
- Include links to the author’s social media profiles.
- Implement a Persona schema containing pertinent properties for certifications or professions.
Establishing expertise fosters trust with your audience and signals to the algorithm that your site deserves higher ranking consideration.
An authoritative website commands recognition, particularly among other industry experts or influencers. It’s perceived as an industry leader, and users trust it as a reliable source of information.
Demonstrating authority, as per the helpful content update guidelines, can be achieved through these avenues:
- Creating comprehensive content structures
- Securing backlinks from other authoritative sites
- Developing a personal brand or digital profile centered around a specific topic
Note that authority is context-specific. For instance, a site like WebMD might be authoritative in the medical realm due to its reputation and expertise. However, this authority wouldn’t extend to
topics unrelated to medicine.
Showcasing Authority in Your Content
To establish authority, ensure your content strategy addresses all the information your target audience seeks. Provide answers that convey E-E-A-T in every article.
Consider these strategies:
- Concentrate on producing high-quality content that delivers value to your audience and showcases your expertise in the subject matter.
- Integrate pertinent keywords and phrases in your content, prioritizing natural language over keyword stuffing.
- Incorporate quotes and insights from recognized thought leaders and experts in your industry to lend credibility to your content.
- Leverage social media for content promotion, audience engagement, and potential collaborations with industry influencers.
- Pursue opportunities to contribute guest posts or opinion pieces to authoritative websites within your industry.
- Encourage customers and clients to leave testimonials on your website and other relevant platforms, such as Google Business profile or Yelp.
- Employ tools like Google Analytics and SEO content optimization platforms to monitor site performance.
- Consider enlisting the services of an SEO content writer with direct expertise in the subject matter.
Remember, building authority requires consistent effort over time. Continuously seek ways to improve and provide value to your audience.
Don’t hesitate to enlist professional content writing services or SEO content writing services to enhance your strategy.
Trustworthiness is the most significant signal within E-E-A-T. It evaluates your site’s security and your content’s accuracy, transparency, and legitimacy.
Even if your content excels in experience, expertise, and authority, it will lack a strong E-E-A-T without trustworthiness.
Demonstrating Trust in Your Content
To establish trust in your content, focus on developing a secure website and presenting transparent, accurate, and expert-supported information. Here’s how:
- Ensure your domain is secure by transitioning from HTTP to HTTPS.
- Provide detailed business information, including your business name and contact details.
- Create a Google Business Profile (GBP).
- Feature privacy policies, refund/return policies, and terms and conditions pages.
- Implement secure payment methods for online stores.
Content Legitimacy, Accuracy, and Transparency:
- Disclose the content creator and include the author’s contact details.
- Support information with expert consensus.
- Ensure data is current and accurate.
- Cite sources and references to substantiate claims.
How Google Quality Raters Evaluate E-E-A-T
Google raters assess a page’s primary content, encompassing page titles, text, images, videos, and page features. This evaluation extends to user-generated content such as comments, articles, or videos submitted by users.
Here are the varying levels of E-E-A-T within Google’s Search Quality Rater Guidelines:
Pages with the lowest E-E-A-T rating tend to appear spammy and fail to meet optimal page experience guidelines. Elements like obstructed or obscured main content can contribute to a negative page experience.
Chapter 4.5.2 of the Google quality rater guidelines states:
“If the E-E-A-T of a page is low enough, people cannot or should not use the MC of the page. If a page on YMYL topics is highly inexpert, it should be considered Untrustworthy and rated Lowest. Use the Lowest rating if the website and content creator have an extremely negative reputation, to the extent that many people would consider the webpage or website untrustworthy.”
In general, pages exhibiting these characteristics should be regarded as untrustworthy and potentially harmful:
- Insufficient information about the website’s purpose or content creator.
- Low E-E-A-T rating or unfavorable reputation.
- Concealed or obscured main content.
- Deceptive purpose, page design, or intent.
- Risk of scams, malicious downloads, or other harmful activities.
- Webpages designed to manipulate users for the benefit of the website or organization, while causing harm to users or specific groups.
Pages lacking E-E-A-T often fail to fulfill their intended purpose or provide useful information on a given subject. Here are examples of how this deficiency might manifest, according to Google:
- Content creators lacking the necessary experience, such as a skincare treatment review by someone who hasn’t used the product.
- Content creators lacking expertise, like a financial advice blog written by an individual with no background in finance.
- Unauthoritative or untrustworthy sources, such as political news originating from a satirical website.
- Pages or websites deemed unsuitable for their intended purpose, such as a donation page without information about fund allocation.
The rater content guidelines underline the importance of topical relevance, explaining that a website could possess a positive reputation but still lack E-E-A-T on a specific subject.
For instance, a medical website offering legal advice wouldn’t make sense, even if the website is trustworthy in other respects.
High Level of E-E-A-T
Websites effectively showcasing experience, expertise, authority, and trustworthiness display high levels of E-E-A-T.
Here’s how Google explains it further:
“Pages with High E-E-A-T are trustworthy or very trustworthy. Experience is valuable for almost any topic. Social media posts and forum discussions are often High quality when they involve people sharing their experience. From writing symphonies to reviewing home appliances, first-hand experience can make a social media post or discussion page High quality.”
High E-E-A-T websites encompass news or government sites, relevant videos, small business websites, and blog posts.
Highest Level of E-E-A-T
Websites exhibiting the highest levels of E-E-A-T are perceived as trustworthy by users. They deliver high-quality, relevant content that aligns with search intent.
A website or content creator with distinctive authority in a field, significant expertise, or experience is said to possess very high E-E-A-T. They are considered the most reliable sources on the internet for specific topics.
According to Google’s documentation, standards for the highest quality content vary based on purpose, topic, and website type.
For News Topics:
- Original reporting revealing previously unknown information.
- Accurate, in-depth, and investigative reporting demanding high skill and effort.
- Inclusion of primary sources and other original reporting.
- Content must be accurate and adhere to professional journalistic standards.
For Artistic Content (images, videos, writing, etc.):
- Original content crafted by highly skilled artists or content creators.
- Demonstrates a high level of talent, skill, and effort.
- Follows YMYL criteria if the content relates to a YMYL topic.
For Informational Content:
- Original, accurate, comprehensive, and clear communication.
- Reflects expert consensus when appropriate.
- Standards may vary by topic or field.
- All very high-quality informative content shares attributes of accuracy and clarity.
Additionally, Google specifies that expectations for high-quality content differ depending on the information presented. While scientific papers have different standards from social media posts about hobbies, all high-quality content should be accurate, well-communicated, and appropriate for the subject matter.
Pages featuring original, satisfying content displaying a high level of effort, talent, or skill warrant the highest rating.
Why E-E-A-T Matters for Your SEO Strategy
Google employs automated systems to deliver users the most pertinent, dependable, and valuable information. Achieving this requires a comprehensive process involving testing and quality raters, leading to the introduction of the E-E-A-T content guidelines.
Here’s why you should prioritize E-E-A-T while implementing SEO content writing services:
Google’s Helpful Content Update
In August 2022, Google rolled out the “helpful content update” to enhance search result quality. The update rewards original, valuable content, while poor-quality content sees diminished performance.
The helpful content update from Google incentivizes website owners and creators to produce valuable content meeting user needs.
The E-E-A-T framework aligns with this goal by underscoring the significance of experience, expertise, authority, and trust in creating quality content.
In essence, the helpful content update in conjunction with the E-E-A-T framework supports Google’s mission of delivering content that fulfills user needs and interests.
Impact on YMYL Content
Google defines Your Money Your Life Content (YMYL) as topics with the potential to significantly impact a reader’s finances, health, safety, or well-being.
E-A-T is crucial for YMYL SEO, as misinformation on such topics can lead to serious consequences, affecting individuals who access the content and others influenced by their actions.
Examples of YMYL content include:
- Financial information: Content related to banking, investing, taxes, and insurance.
- Medical information: Content related to healthcare, treatment options, medications, and disease information.
- Legal information: Content concerning laws, regulations, and legal matters.
- News and current events: Content related to significant events, political news, and social issues.
- Safety information: Content covering product safety, food safety, public health, and emergency preparedness.
The Big Question: Does E-E-A-T Impact SEO Rankings?
The crucial question remains: does E-E-A-T enhance your Google ranking? The answer is no; it’s not a direct Google ranking factor.
A ranking factor is an objective, measurable signal Google’s algorithm uses to assess a web page’s relevance, authority, and utility.
Some ranking factors include the quantity and quality of backlinks, appropriate keyword usage, site loading speed, mobile responsiveness, user engagement, and click-through rates.
However, experience, expertise, authority, and trustworthiness are subjective human concepts not easily quantifiable or measurable. Google relies on Quality Raters to provide feedback on whether their algorithm updates accurately capture the objective signals aligned with E-E-A-T.
Nonetheless, this doesn’t mean you should ignore E-E-A-T in your SEO efforts. The framework serves as a foundation for delivering high-quality, informative, and trustworthy content – one of the main aims of SEO content writing services.
While E-E-A-T doesn’t directly influence SEO rankings, striving for high E-E-A-T levels enhances your website’s reputation, attracts more visitors, and drives conversions and revenue.
In essence, focusing on E-E-A-T can cultivate a sustainable and enduring SEO strategy benefiting both your audience and your business.
The Connection Between E-E-A-T and SEO Ranking Factors
Google can correlate E-A-T signals with external factors such as backlinks and mentions from third-party sources. Here’s how:
1. Backlinks and Mentions
Strategic placement of backlinks from authoritative domains relevant to your niche is crucial for a successful SEO strategy. Backlinks act as endorsements of your site’s trustworthiness and expertise, signaling to Google that your content is valuable.
2. High-Quality Backlinks
Backlinks are indicators to search engines that other websites trust and value your content. However, not all backlinks hold the same weight.
Google employs intricate algorithms to distinguish high-quality backlinks from lower-quality ones. Proximity to “seed sites,” the pages search engine crawlers initiate from, contributes to the assessment. Diverse seed sites help ensure more comprehensive and varied search results.
Within the context of SEO, links closer to these seed pages are more valuable and impact a site’s ranking.
3. Other Factors
Additional signals connected to E-E-A-T content guidelines include:
- Favorable reviews: Positive feedback from satisfied customers and high ratings on review platforms serve as trust and credibility indicators.
- Reputation: A website’s reputation is evaluated based on factors like the author’s expertise, the site’s history, and its track record of delivering accurate information.
- Forum mentions: References and discussions about a website or brand in reputable forums can demonstrate the site’s authority and expertise in a particular area.
Six SEO Tips for Demonstrating Your Website’s E-E-A-T to Google
A robust E-E-A-T score is critical for your website’s success in the competitive digital arena. By following the tips provided, you can take strides toward enhancing your website’s ranking.
In summary, here’s how you can achieve that:
- Generate high-quality content that embodies experience, expertise, authority, and trustworthiness, aligning with Google’s helpful content update.
- Optimize your website’s structure and functionality to offer an exceptional user experience.
- Manage your online reputation and nurture a positive brand image.
- Encourage user-generated content and leverage it as a signal of trust.
- Develop authoritative backlinks to establish credibility and earn search engine trust.
Should you find the prospect of improving your site’s E-E-A-T overwhelming, consider engaging Leadshouse’s comprehensive digital marketing strategies, including quality content writing services, local SEO, technical SEO, and franchise SEO, can help you solidify and uphold a strong E-E-A-T presence.
Visit our website today to explore how Leadshouse’s SEO experts employ quality content writing services to keep businesses current with Google’s evolving algorithm updates.