E-A-T was first introduced in 2018 and has since changed to E-E-A-T in December 2022. Google revised the Search Quality Raters Guidelines to include “Experience” making the acronym Google E-E-A-T (Experience, Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trust).
This formula has been an enigma for many businesses since it was first introduced, making it difficult to effectively reflect on their websites. Our ultimate guide will help you better understand the topic and demonstrate how to show E-E-A-T on your website to increase your online rankings. Read more!
Google E-E-A-T stands for Experience, Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness. It’s listed in Google’s Search Quality Rater Guidelines (QRG) as a page quality ranking. The QRG assesses the quality of search results and whether web pages pass inspection to be displayed on search engine results pages (SERPs).
Google updated the QRG in December 2022 to include “Experience” and has placed the highest priority on Trust. This is because untrustworthy pages will have the lowest E-E-A-T score even if the E-E-A-T appears to be high.
E-A-T first impacted search results following the Google Medic algorithm update released in 2018. It initially affected medical and health-related websites, but has since expanded to YMYL industries (“Your Money Your Life”).
YMYL industries encompass just about any business that can have an impact on a person’s well-being. After the update, websites that didn’t demonstrate their Google E-A-T dropped in organic positioning. Whereas, websites that were able to demonstrate it were seen as the more trustworthy result to display in front of searchers. Let’s break down Google E-E-A-T even more below.
E-E-A-T stands for Experience, Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness. See a detailed breakdown of each concept below.
Experience is defined as the extent of first-hand experience on a topic the content creator has. This is especially important following the series of Product Review algorithm updates Google released as an attempt to separate genuine reviews from reiterations of posted reviews.
Many websites would regurgitate product or service reviews from other posts and make a review piece of their own for ranking purposes only. The reviews were generic and didn’t provide much insight to the potential customer on what to truly expect.
Experience applies to all industries, not just product reviews. As an example, the table below is the YMYL assessment for when to prove Expertise or Experience.
Demonstrating Experience through first-hand involvement is another way for search engines to detect AI-generated content. Humans can have real-life experiences on a topic.
This is why Experience and Expertise are crucial for websites that fall within the YMYL industries. You can demonstrate Experience through:
– Detailed author bios and mentions throughout the website.
– Multiple content pieces dedicated to the topic rather than just one content piece.
– Showing your first-hand knowledge or experience through videos, images, and other forms of content.
Expertise is defined as having a high level of expertise, skill, and knowledge in a field or on a subject matter. Google looks for expertise demonstrated on the page level, not a sitewide level.
So if you’re looking to produce a piece of content that you yourself are not an expert in, work with someone that is because this will resonate strongly with Google E-E-A-T. You can demonstrate this through a well-written author bio or employee profile.
If you can’t find an expert to write the piece for you, find an expert who will review it and give their professional stamp of approval that the content is accurate and trustworthy.
Authoritativeness represents your reputation within the industry or subject matter.
– Are you the go-to source or highly regarded by others on the subject?
– Do people often reference (e.g. backlink) what you have to say on the subject?
Experience and expertise are the starting points to building authoritativeness. You must demonstrate those two in order to develop a reputation as an authority on the topic and to be referenced and trusted by others.
You can start to build authoritativeness by contributing to your industry or profession by conducting studies and tests, sharing your findings with other professionals, writing for well-established sites and publications, speaking at conferences and webinars, and much more.
Your Google E-E-A-T will hold more weight when spiders (website crawlers) can associate your name with other authoritative sites that mention your name, or that link back to your website.
Trust is the most important element of the E-E-A-T formula. Untrustworthy websites will have extremely low E-E-A-T, therefore, it’s essential for websites to prioritize building trust with search engines and users.
Trustworthiness is defined as the extent to which the web page is considered accurate, honest, safe, and reliable. Google determines trust based on the intent of the content – featured below is a list of how to demonstrate trust for different businesses and content.
– Online stores need secure online payment systems and reliable customer service.
– Product reviews should be honest and written to help others make informed purchasing decisions (rather than solely to sell the product).
– Informational pages on clear YMYL content topics must be accurate to prevent harm to people and society.
– Social media posts on non-YMYL topics may not need a high level of Trust, such as when the purpose of the post is to entertain its audience and the content of the post does not risk causing harm.
There are various ways to enhance the trustworthiness of websites including:
– Capturing honest online reviews.
– Enhancing website security (websites need to be HTTPS).
– Publishing accurate and updated information.
– Displaying accessible contact information.
– Delivering excellent and communicative customer service.
– Cite and reference credible websites in your content that are also trustworthy.
– Have a clear and easily navigable page dedicated to refunds, returns, or shipping details if you’re a business this would apply to.
A big indicator of this is online reviews. Online reviews have a direct impact on your search rankings and can either boost or hurt your positioning on Google.
While a few negative reviews won’t cause your rankings to tank, a lot of bad reviews can hurt your rankings and make your website less visible on SERPs. The goal should be to generate authentic, positive reviews from customers and clients.
There is no magic number to how many you should strive to get — it should be a continuous effort to get as many genuine and positive 4-5 star reviews as possible. Remember that you cannot entice or coerce people into leaving reviews, it must be organic and simply a request.
Websites that have a clear conflict of interest will not be deemed trustworthy. An example of this would be a product review from an influencer or a promoter that was commissioned by a company for payment is considered a conflict of interest.
Product or service reviews left by the actual business or manufacturer are also considered a conflict of interest.
Note: We cover online reviews in great detail with an expert on Local Listings and Reviews in our Search Sessions webinar. Watch or read our recap on how reviews can directly affect your Local SEO.
When evaluating Trust, the QRG states that websites should consider the following:
1. What the website or content creators say about themselves: Look at the “About Us” page on the website or profile page of the content creator as a starting point. Is the website or content creator a trustworthy source based on this information?
2. What others say about the website or content creators: Look for independent reviews, references, news articles, and other sources of credible information about the website or content creators.
Is there independent, reliable evidence that the website or content creator is experienced, has expertise, is authoritative, or is otherwise considered trustworthy? Is there independent, reliable evidence that the website or creator is untrustworthy?
3. What is visible on the page, including the Main Content and sections such as reviews and comments: For some types of pages, the level of experience and expertise may be clear from the MC itself. What evidence can you gather from examining the MC or testing the page out?
For example, you may be able to tell that someone is an expert in hair styling by watching a video of them in action (styling someone’s hair) and reading others’ comments (commenters often highlight expertise or lack thereof).
Google has made drastic shifts in algorithms to identify and demote websites displaying low-quality content, spam, distrust, and misinformation.
While Google E-E-A-T is not a direct ranking factor for SEO, it does influence other ranking factors and what’s displayed in the search results.
E-E-A-T is mentioned 116 times in the QRG and that’s a sign of its importance in SEO. Prior to this, ranking guidelines prioritized keyword placement and other technical elements over the quality of information that was being delivered to searchers.
And it’s also why false information is so widespread on the internet. In the fight to increase trust and user experience online, Google E-E-A-T guidelines offer an extra measure to thoroughly vet websites and display trustworthy quality information.
Businesses have options for ways to demonstrate their Experience on a topic:
– Create detailed employee or author bios, and post them on the content. Highlight your Expertise here as well.
– Publish multiple forms of content dedicated to the specific topic rather than relying on one content piece. One post is not sufficient to prove your experience on a subject to search engines or people.
– Use images and videos to show your first-hand involvement on the subject, like how-to guides or tutorials.
An action you can take right now is to feature more information about the people in charge of the website and content creation on your website. A common way to achieve this is through author profiles, an “About Us” page, “Team” pages, and even “Reviewed By” information.
“Reviewed By” information is often seen with health and medical websites featuring content written by a content writer, but that has been reviewed by a medical professional for ensured expertise.
Be descriptive and explicit about the achievements, education, work experience, certifications, and knowledge that the content creator has about the subject matter and industry. You’ve dedicated a great deal of time to expanding your skill set and knowledge in your profession, now’s the time to brag about it and make it well-known to searchers and Google.
One of the most straightforward ways to enhance a website’s authoritativeness is to earn high-quality backlinks from authoritative websites. Focus on quality over quantity.
We are firm believers in creating informative content that people will find genuine value in, and that other websites will find valuable enough to link back to. However, there are other link building strategies to apply, like contributing to other authoritative websites and capturing unlinked mentions.
In our experience, most of the publications that have mentioned our company have been willing to add a backlink to our website. Remember to look for positive mentions and websites that are highly relevant (a high DA isn’t always indicative of a highly trusted or credible website).
As we mentioned in the Trustworthiness section above, honest online reviews are so important in proving whether your website is seen as trustworthy or not. Incorporate review generation into your off-site SEO strategy or work with a highly regarded organization that can if you don’t have the time yourself.
Take a look at the 11 ways we have increased our online Google reviews!
Content is the recommended way to boost your E-E-A-T on Google, so start by repurposing what you already have on your website. With the release of new information, updates, and studies, content can quickly become outdated.
Keep an inventory of your existing articles and other forms of content so you can easily update the information in there to reflect current findings and statistics.
Another great way to prove your E-E-A-T to Google is to publish original content. This includes content that speaks to original research, tests, and findings that searchers can only find on your website.
You should support this content with data and still follow the recommendations we’ve already listed. Assign the right author if it’s an article and highlight why you’re credible enough to be speaking on the matter.
In addition to repurposing your existing content, creating new content should be a high priority to build topical authority. Create as many helpful content pieces that cover all areas of a specific topic or the business industry. Posting only one article about a specific topic will not make you appear as the authority on it to search engines or users.
For example, digital marketing is the overarching industry but there are specific fields like SEO, paid advertising, social media, and content marketing. Writing multiple topics in a quality and accurate manner versus just one shows your ability to expand your knowledge and reach.
Topical depth pertains to how long the content is. While Google does not give ranking preferences to long-form content over shorter content, it does not like overly thin content. Long-form content does give you more space and opportunity to adequately speak to a topic and answer all of the questions a searcher may have.
Base the decision to write an in-depth piece or a shorter article on the keyword intent.
Let the search results guide your decision and test out your theories. If Google rewards long-form content for specific queries, that’s generally a sign that shorter pieces won’t rank. However, test out everything when it comes to SEO!
User experience (UX) is a not-so-surprising way to build your website’s authority. SEO is heavily entangled in UX, so it makes sense that it would influence Google E-E-A-T.
Stanford published a Website Credibility Guide with a list of how to make your website more credible through UX. Those recommendations are:
– Make it easy to verify the accuracy of website information.
– Display a well-organized and easy-to-navigate website.
– Demonstrate expertise throughout your website, content, and products or services delivered.
– Prove that honest and trustworthy people are associated with your business and website (e.g. detailed employee bios).
– Make it easy for people to contact your business.
– Design a professional but user-friendly website.
– Ensure that your website functions seamlessly and is easy to use.
– Repurpose and update your website content to reflect accurate information (make improvements to your website often).
– Show restraint with ads, offers, and other promotional content on your website (avoid intrusive interstitial ads).
– Ensure that there are no errors on your website (e.g. grammatical errors, functionality issues, broken links, etc.).
Another way to instill confidence and trust in your business is to showcase the success stories of previous customers and clients. Not only is it effective in demonstrating E-E-A-T, but it can also be a helpful selling tool.
Case studies work similarly to online reviews. People are more likely to purchase a product or work with a business that can solve a problem if others have had a positive experience with it.
In your case study, explain what the issue was and who the client is (if possible), how you helped, and what the results were. Use hard data and visual graphs — they capture attention better.
The difference between E-A-T and E-E-A-T is the introduction of another “E” known as “Expertise” into the concept.
E-A-T originally stood for Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness. Expertise was added in December 2022. Many thought leaders speculate it’s because of the increased reliance on AI (artificial intelligence) for content creation.
In addition to adding Experience into the E-E-A-T formula, Google made significant updates to:
– Trust is the highest priority: The QRG now states that Trustworthiness is the most important of the E-E-A-T formula. Untrustworthy websites inevitably fall short on the E-E-A factors as well.
– Inclusive Language: Google is evolving its understanding of language to be more inclusive. It’s also doing away with previously accepted language, like “black hat” and “white hat,” as a means to be more inclusive.
– Website Responsibility: The QRG was also updated with detailed guidelines to better understand who is responsible for the website (or who operates it). The operator’s reputation matters more.
– Content Creator Reputation: In addition to the website operator’s reputation, the QRG updated guidelines on the content creator’s reputation, hence the addition of Experience along with Expertise.
– Updated Main Content (MC) Guidelines: The QRG revised the MC guidelines to specifically speak on content originality. It also states that creating high-quality content requires at least one of the following: time, effort, expertise, and talent/skill.
– Options for Either Experience or Expertise: For YMYL industries, there is a table showing when it’s acceptable to show more Experience than Expertise on a topic (and vice versa). It offers very clear insight into how different types of content are rated.
As Google continues its fight against spam and false information, E-E-A-T will continue to be a crucial factor for the success of SEO campaigns. Make it a priority to learn how to successfully demonstrate E-E-A-T on your client websites! Some of the strategies are long-term and require time, like online review generation, but there are some things you can start changing today.
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