What Is Google E-E-A-T, and Why It Does It Matter?
Google E-E-A-T is a concept that every SEO content creator and business owner can benefit from knowing about. Following E-E-A-T guidelines can help you increase your website’s search engine optimization (SEO), which is a key aspect of getting organic traffic and increasing your presence and authority online.
Let’s take a look at Google E-E-A-T, what it stands, for and why it matters for your web pages.
What Is Google EEAT?
Google E-E-A-T (originally just Google E-A-T) is a handy acronym that stands for Experience, Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness. These are the four guidelines used by Google to assess page quality, also known as quality rater guidelines.
Google uses these attributes to determine whether a page contains high-quality content that should be pushed by the highly complex Google algorithm.
E-E-A-T and YMYL
E-E-A-T, and its close relative, YMYL (Your Money or Your Life), both come from a Google update back in 2015 that laid out the requirements for a page to rank high on a search engine results page (SERP). This was Google’s Search Quality Rater Guidelines update.
Google E-E-A-T guidelines are relevant to anyone’s content marketing strategy. However, a page’s E-E-A-T score is especially consequential if that page contains information on YMYL topics.
YMYL topics describes subject matter that needs to come from authoritative sources, including financial advice, medical advice, and similarly serious website content. Google looks for authoritative sites with high content quality to ensure that web users get accurate information when it matters most.
E-E-A-T and YMYL go hand in hand with what Google calls “Beneficial Purpose,” an overarching standard of content quality. Beneficial Purpose says that a piece of content that ranks high on Google should benefit users and provide them with accurate information — it’s ultimately how Google judges what great content is.
So, because of E-E-A-T and YMYL, the pages that attain high search rankings on Google’s search results have all the following qualities:
• They are beneficial to searchers.
• They come from a reliable source of information, especially in the case of YMYL sites.
• They appropriately address topics that could affect a user’s life experience.
• Now that you know what E-E-A-T and YMYL are, let’s unpack the criteria for E-E-A-T and look at how they can impact your SEO strategy.
In Google E-E-A-T terms, “Experience” measures the amount of personal knowledge the author of a piece of content has about the content’s subject matter.
In this case, Google is looking for what relevant (and accurate), real-life-acquired information the content author can share about the subject matter, whether that’s a product, a service, or just the answer to a simple question.
Google takes personal experience with certain subject matter into account. For example, a page’s quality rating can increase even if it was written by someone who isn’t a credentialed expert on a topic, as long as they have accompanying experience to represent their knowledge of the topic, especially if it’s in a more niche topic that doesn’t necessarily have credentials to offer (such as experience in DIY home renovator or a classic car upholsterer).
Example of Experience
Here’s a more specific example showing “Experience” in content:
Google recognizes that someone with first-hand experience with a certain subject is well-equipped to produce content about that subject.
As a result, Google would consider content from a small business owner that compares tax software for small businesses to be relevant to users — and backed by experience — even though that small business owner isn’t necessarily a tax expert or CPA.
Google values what they call net-new information, which is any content that presents internet users with any new info or new experiences that aren’t already available elsewhere on the internet.
With this in mind, high-ranking content could come from the point of view of someone who is simply sharing their first-hand, unique experience.
This Google search ranking factor assesses the level of knowledge that the author (or reviewer) of a piece of content has about that content's subject matter.
According to Google Search Quality Evaluator Guidelines, a page with a high Expertise score is written by someone with formal training in the areas relevant to the content, making them a subject matter expert.
For example, an article that gives users medical advice should be written by a medical professional.
Google’s expectations for experience are the highest in the following subjects:
These would all be considered YMYL topics, so content on these subjects written by content authors without expertise would automatically be considered low-quality. This is because Google wants to ensure that any content users see about these topics is written by someone qualified to give advice to the average web user.
Other Topics That Require Expertise
It’s important to note that while the topics listed above have the highest standards of expertise on Google, other subjects that carry consquential risks for wrong information are also seen as needing an author with expert-level knowledge.
These include topics like:
• Home remodeling
• Car purchases
• Buying a home
Ultimately, Google sees any subject matter that requires a user to invest a significant amount of time, effort, or funds as a subject that only an expert should weigh in on.
Google uses these standards to protect users from misinformation and bad advice. The goal of requiring expertise for these subjects is to make Google a safe place to look for helpful information about these topics.
This search algorithmranking factor has to do with a site’s reputation and whether or not they have an established presence online and the authority to speak on a particular subject.
As an example, a doctor or nurse practitioner is qualified to produce content about health and wellness.
However, a doctor or nurse may not have the same level of authority on another subject — like real estate. If these healthcare professionals were to produce content about real estate instead of subject matter that they can speak about authoritatively, Google may recognize that content as outside of the range of authority.
It’s important to remember that a site or content creator’s authority builds up over time. It’s best to build authority with a holistic approach that combines a wide array of strategies — guest posts, backlinks and link building, and more that can all contribute to the authority-building process.
In the Google E-E-A-T acronym, T means “Trustworthiness.”
Trustworthiness primarily relates to a site’s reputation and the intention behind their content creation.
In terms of reputation, we’re talking about what others on the internet have to say about the site or company in question, indicating whether or not they’re a trustworthy source of information.
Below are a few examples of reputation criteria:
• What does the company or site’s Wikipedia page say about them? Moreover, do they have a Wikipedia page?
• Are there customer product reviews, testimonials, and case studies online or on social media for this site or company? Are the reviews positive or negative?
• Do other sites share negative information about this site or company?
All of these pieces of information speak volumes to Google about whether a site is trustworthy or untrustworthy. Other factors that come into play include:
• A secure (HTTPS) site
• Easy-to-find contact information or an author bio on the site
• An “About” page on the site that tells users relevant information
In addition, Trustworthiness is about intention. Google looks for the following criteria here:
• Is the content written to be specifically promotional, or is it providing valuable information to a web user? Google favors informational content over content that is explicitly sales-driven.
• Is the title of the content misleading? Does it bait and switch users into getting information other than what they were looking for?
• Does the content provide information that is both up-to-date and backed by reputable sources?
How Does the Google Algorithm Impact EEAT?
Google frequently releases algorithm updates that change the way that content marketers relate to the search engine. The Helpful Content Update, in a nutshell, is all about “Original, helpful content written by people, for people.”
Based on that statement, we can gather that the Google algorithm’s top priorities right now are human-reviewed content and content with specific intention and effort towards E-E-A-T attributes.
This wasn’t the first Google algorithm update, and it certainly won’t be the last. By looking back through the history of Google updates, we can predict that Google will keep prioritizing high-E-E-A-T content in the future. In addition, it’s reasonable to predict that more and more topics will soon be grouped into the “YMYL” category.
How Can a Site Improve Its E-E-A-T?
The more you do to intentionally improve E-E-A-T on your site, the higher the quality of your content will be to Google.
To start improving your E-E-A-T level, do a quick audit of the content on your site as a whole using the following criteria:
• Does my content offer new and unique information, or a first-hand perspective about the subject matter?
• Was my content authored by a person with expertise on the subject matter?
• Does the type of content I am producing match up with the authority I have to speak on certain subject matter?
• Is my content truthful and transparent?
What Are Some Easy Ways To Improve E-E-A-T?
Once you’ve looked at these factors, consider the following easy ways to improve E-E-A-T levels on your site:
• Include proper sourcing and citations
• Keep content regularly updated
• Use trusted authors and reviewers for your content
• Include pages on your site that show off your experts
Proper Sources and Citations
In general, sources and citations are most important for sites with explicitly YMYL content, but using proper sources and citations can also be beneficial for other subject matter as well.
As a general rule, make sure to always include a sources or references section at the bottom of every piece of content. Include links to any sources you used to create the content. When you can, directly link to the data you used in-text, then cite each source at the end of the article.
Whenever possible, avoid citing sources with promotional intent — any pages that sell products. Instead, opt for sources that are scholarly and purely informational.
This rule doesn’t apply to all content. However, if you make content in a field that is ever-changing — crypto or cannabis, for example — it’s best to update content after publishing when necessary. Include an “originally published” date and a “last updated” date.
In addition, don’t forget to explain what changed from your original content (and why) whenever you update.
Trusted Authors and Reviewers
Whether your content is YMYL or not, trusted authors and reviewers can help you increase your E-E-A-T levels. Look for authors and reviewers with credentials or experience that are directly related to your content. In addition, adding a “Medically Reviewed By” tag to any health-related content can be beneficial (so long as your reviewer hold relevant medical credentials and experience).
The use of trusted reviewers and authors is most impactful when you combine the trustworthiness of your authors and reviewers with pages that explain why those authors and reviewers are qualified to be writing or reviewing on your site. That’s where authorship pages come in.
A credentialed reviewer or author can significantly impact E-E-A-T, but including authorship pages for each of your individual authors and reviewers can help even more.
Any content written or reviewed by a certain individual should link to their authorship page, which should live on the same domain as your site. Keeping the authorship page on your domain instead of linking to an author reviewer’s LinkedIn page or university faculty page is always better for E-E-A-T.
This page should include the person’s name, their qualifications and credentials, and anything else that qualifies them to speak authoritatively on certain topics.
Advisory Board Pages
An advisory board page serves as a way to showcase all of the experts who contributed to the development of your product or service. This page should include each person’s name, credentials, and qualifications.
The Bottom Line
Ultimately, taking steps to increase your site’s E-E-A-T levels can significantly impact your content on an exponentially buildable scale. The more you put into improving E-E-A-T on your site, the more benefits you’ll get out of the work.
In addition, remember that while E-E-A-T is directly related to YMYL topics, more and more topics are being considered YMYL topics as the Google algorithm continues to update. It’s important to take steps to improve E-E-A-T on your site, even if you aren’t in the industries where it matters most.
As Google evolves, your site will be equipped to hold up to increasing standards for Experience, Expertise, Authority, and Trustworthiness.
At GR0, we take content quality and E-E-A-T so seriously that we have a dedicated service package specifically intended to help companies improve their E-E-A-T, the right way.
Get in touch with us here at GR0 to see how we can fuel your digital marketing success by future-proofing your content for Google E-E-A-T.
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