Google makes hundreds of changes to its algorithm every year. In most cases, they are minor tweaks that fix issues or streamline processes. However, there are a few significant broad core algorithm changes that affect entire industries and market segments worldwide. Such as the E-A-T algorithm update of August 2018. The update reflected Google’s continuing focus on providing more credible and reliable search results.
With this algorithm change, sites that demonstrate a high level of expertise, authoritativeness and trustworthiness are viewed as credible resources. The more credible your website, the higher chance search engines will rank you high within search results.
On December 15th, 2022, Google updated its Search Quality Evaluator Guidelines to reflect a change from E-A-T to E-E-A-T. In this article, we will discuss the Google E-E-A-T update: what it is and what you need to know. We’ll also go over what you can do to ensure your site aligns with Google’s search algorithm standards. Let’s dive in!
Google E-E-A-T vs E-A-T
Before we discuss the technical details, let’s first understand what these acronyms stand for and why they’re important. E-A-T stands for expertise, authoritativeness, and trust. E-E-A-T stands for the exact same things, but adds the extra E which stands for experience.
Think about the last time you purchased a product, researched a topic, or looked for a service. When performing research online, you wanted that company and website to have experience in their industry, right? The same applies with how Google decides which websites to list at the top of results. They want to see websites that showcase their experience so the user can find quality sources of information.
Google uses the E-E-A-T evaluator guidelines to determine the quality of your website and content. Now that we understand the guideline update, let’s talk about how it can affect your SEO performance.
Google E-E-A-T: Search Quality Evaluator Guidelines
Google provides intelligence on improving quality ratings through search quality rater guidelines. These detail the characteristics of high-quality content and include screenshots to give SEO professionals a better understanding of how to make websites and content stand out. To make sure your website and content follows these standards, let’s define each of the E-E-A-T SEO guidelines:
To ensure the user finds reliable information, Google chooses content based on the experience of the company and creator. In their words: “Consider the extent to which the content creator has the necessary first-hand or life experience for the topic… For example, which would you trust: a product review from someone who has personally used the product or a “review” by someone who has not?”
It’s important to have experience about the topic, product, or service that your website is offering. Personalized, original content can showcase your experience. In addition, make sure to create an “About Us” page, and author biographies for the various content you publish. This added element is a ranking factor, and plays a part in how much Google will trust your website.
Expertise is defined as having a high level of skill and knowledge in a field or on a subject matter. For Google, they use this guideline to determine how knowledgeable the content or site owner is on a certain topic. Google looks for expertise demonstrated on the page level, not per se the entire site. It’s important that the content published on a site demonstrates a high level of expertise to coincide with Google’s quality rater guidelines.
Authoritativeness represents your reputation within the industry or subject matter. Google uses this guideline to rank the credibility of the website where the content is posted. You must demonstrate your expertise in order to develop a reputation as an authority on the topic. If you can develop that authority, more websites across the web will likely reference and trust your site.
Trustworthiness has a direct impact on how well a site will rank on search engines. This guideline ranks the overall site quality, including its security on the web. It also plays an important role in how consumers engage with the site. Managing reviews, optimizing content, while maintaining consistent business information across all online profiles instills trust to both users and search engines.
Along with adding the element “Experience” to the mix, Google placed added emphasis on “Trust”. The other E-E-A guidelines all play a key role in how much Google trusts your website. The venn diagram below shows how the other elements play a role in how well Google will trust your site.
Implementing Google E-E-A-T Guidelines
Although the rater guidelines don’t offer specific information about how the E-E-A-T algorithm ranks sites, they do represent what the engineers hope to accomplish in the search rankings. If you want to avoid being kicked down the rankings, or if you are already affected, there are some steps you can take to boost your E-E-A-T.
Create High-Quality Content
It’s important to create content that showcases your experience, expertise, and authority on a topic. The content quality directly impacts how well it will rank within the search results. In addition to being typo-free, it should also be written well, so Google will find your website reliable. You can also invite guest bloggers with expertise and trustworthiness to provide fresh blog post content.
Does this mean you need to erase all of the content on your website and start over? Definitely not. You can revise or repurpose older content that doesn’t meet today’s guidelines. You can also dive into analytics to see which pages perform poorly in both traffic and conversions.
Remember, Google’s intent is to deliver high-quality, relevant results for users. Examine your site and consider if any of the content can be considered spammy, questionable, or potentially harmful to others. If so, remove it or re-write it accordingly. You may decide to revamp the content on those pages or decide it’s no longer accurate or relevant to your business or audience.
Address Your “About” Page
Implement and optimize your website’s “About” page and make sure it contains markers for E-E-A-T, such as these:
- Testimonials from clients
- Formal qualifications
- Academic titles
- Experience and expertise of you and your team members
- Press releases
- NAP (Name, Address, Phone Number)
This type of information signals to Google that your company is well established within the industry. Keep in mind that the more details you provide in this section, the more Google will trust your website.
Manage Your Online Reputation
Managing your online reputation through monitoring reviews is another quality signal that may have significant weight with Google. Start with creating online profiles across all major directories and keep them consistent with a business listing management service.
Once you set up profiles on Google, Yelp, Facebook, and more, gather as many 5 star reviews as you can. Respond to customers’ reviews, good and bad. Resolve any concerns in a professional, courteous manner while staying personable with the user.
Reviews play a significant role in the E-E-A-T guidelines, while having a direct impact on search engine rankings.
Improve Your Personal Branding
Taking charge of your personal brand can help strengthen your reputation. Set up and consistently post on your major social media profiles, like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, and TikTok. Telling your story and interacting with industry influencers can help positively influence your reputation. When you cultivate a positive reputation, you’ll be viewed as a trusted authority in your niche.
Showcase Your Team’s Expertise
Google recognizes two types of expertise, the formal expertise gained by getting degrees and certifications and everyday expertise gained through life experiences. Showcase the expertise of everyone involved on your site, from management and sales to the content creators. Anyone who creates editorial content should have an author profile that includes information proving know-how, like:
- Awards they have won
- Blogs or businesses they own
- Companies they associate with or worked for previously
Overall, implementing these best practices will help the content on the web more closely align with the Google E-E-A-T guidelines. Reach out to an SEO partner company to refine your strategy today!
E-E-A-T Content and YMYL Pages
The E-E-A-T algorithm seems to have hit YMYL sites the hardest. If you don’t recognize the term “YMYL”, you’re not alone. It is the acronym for the Google term, “your money or your life.” These are pages that can potentially impact the future financial stability, happiness, safety or health of users.
Some YMYL sites lost more than 50 percent of their traffic overnight. If content wasn’t created or verified by certified professionals, Google considered it low quality, misleading or inaccurate. Google wanted to prevent searches which could adversely affect a searcher’s income, happiness or life. Sites like this were usually those in health and wellness, fitness, nutrition and medical categories, like pages those that offer the following:
- Investment or tax information
- Legal advice
- Information regarding specific medical conditions, mental health issues or diseases
- Pages that can be hazardous to the user if they contain low levels of E-A-T, such as car maintenance
On the surface, you may not consider your site part of the YMYL category. However, if you have any information on your site that has the potential to affect consumers, Google may categorize it there. Consider whether your site contains the following:
- Ability to accept credit cards
- Opinions about fashion
- DIY home improvement articles
- Nutritional, diet or fitness information
- Movie, restaurant or automobile reviews
- Parenting advice
Virtually any type of company could have YMYL topics to some degree. For organizations that are clearly YMYL, such as health care, medical and legal practices, E-E-A-T may be weighted more heavily than other businesses. Improve the way the updated algorithm views your articles by having recognized authorities write them for you. Have an author box that allows you to post the writer’s information with a link to a professional profile.
Understanding Google’s E-E-A-T: Partner with the Best
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