A Comprehensive Guide to Google E-A-T and Its Importance
In December 2022, Google released revised criteria for its quality raters. The Quality Rater Guidelines are the instructions that are given to the search raters at Google. These guidelines are intended to assist the search and google quality raters in evaluating the effectiveness of Google’s search ranking systems.
Despite the fact that quality rater rules do not have a direct impact on rankings, many bloggers believe that they are helpful tips for content creators who are attempting to improve their material (both in the eyes of Google and for their readers). Previously, these search quality rater guidelines were governed by an acronym, EAT or E-A-T, which stood for Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness.
Google’s acronym has now been expanded to include a second “E” standing for Experience
So now Google’s acronym is officially E-E-A-T, which stands for Experience, Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness.
You can see this change reflected in the latest search quality evaluator guidelines.
What is Experience?
Per the Google search quality evaluator guidelines:
Experience: Consider the extent to which the content creator has the necessary first-hand or life experience for the topic. Many types of pages are trustworthy and achieve their purpose well when created by people with a wealth of personal experience. 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?
Google goes on to offer several examples demonstrating the importance of real world, personal experience.
In the guidelines, Google provides several examples of how experience, or a lack thereof, impacts the evaluation of content quality:
|Low Experience||A product review written by someone who never had this product in its hand is an example of content that lacks adequate experience. In this case, the content creator's lack of first-hand experience may lower the quality rating of the content.|
|Low Expertise||Inadequate expertise is demonstrated, for example, by an essay on how to go diving written by someone who knows nothing about the subject. In this case, the information might not be as high-quality as it could be because the developer has no background or experience in diving.|
|Lack of Authoritativeness||Offering copywriting form downloads on a travel blog site is an instance of content that may not come across as authoritative for the subject matter. The travel blog website might not be the most reliable source for copywriting-related info, so its content might not be top-notch.|
|Lack of Trustworthiness||If a cosmetic shopping page is missing customer service information, it's not exactly the most reliable source for its intended purpose. If there isn't enough customer support info, it could lower the trust rating for the page.|
Pages with High E-A-T are seen as trustworthy or very trustworthy. Having experience is key to getting top-notch ratings, and when folks share their firsthand experiences on social media or forums, those posts tend to get high ratings. So, like on social media, if folks who know what they’re talking about share their experiences writing symphonies or reviewing home appliances, those posts could be seen as top-notch.
Moreover, content creators with high quality content and a wealth of experience may be considered to have very high E-E-A-T for topics where experience is the primary factor in trust. These websites and content creators are considered the most trusted sources on the internet for a particular topic. For example, a content creator who is an authoritative, go-to source for a specific topic, such as a renowned chef sharing cooking tips, could have a very high E-E-A-T assessment.
New E-E-A-T Model
|Experience||The degree to which the content producer has the required first-hand experience or life experience for the topic at hand.|
|Expertise||The level to which the content author possesses the information or skills necessary to indicate that they are knowledgeable about the subject matter being discussed.|
|Authoritativeness||The level to which the website or the content provider is recognized as a reliable source for the subject matter or material that is being written about.|
|Trust||The point to which the content that is created for the page is accurate, trustworthy, risk-free, and dependable.|
Overall Page Quality Rating changes
Adding “experience” to the original E-A-T concept shows that the quality of content should be judged by how much the content creator knows about the topic from personal experience. Google has also put “trust” at the center of the E-E-A-T framework.
The new QRG has a three-step process for judging the quality of a page:
- Check to see what the page is really about and how harmful or misleading it is.
- Check to see if the page might be harmful, not trustworthy, or full of spam. (If the rater thinks the pages are harmful, not reliable, or full of spam, they should give them the lowest rating.)
- If the page doesn’t do anything bad, the quality rating is based on how well it does what it’s supposed to do.
Google also added ways to figure out what kind of website it is, such as whether it is a hobby site or a business site, if it deals with money or needs payments, and whether it is run by professionals or volunteers. Based on these things, different types of websites have different standards for the quality of their pages. Google also said that a page’s quality is affected by how ads affect how people use it. Quality of Page 2: Favicon The reputation of the website and its content creators is still taken into account by E-E-A-T and important updates to Google’s quality rater guidelines.
Google made big changes to how they judge the quality of a page’s main content. In the new version of the QRG, the word “time” was taken out and replaced with “originality” when judging the quality of the main content (MC). In the updated rules, it says that the content’s quality can be judged by how much effort, creativity, and talent or skill went into making it. Google wants raters to focus on the actual effort that went into making the content, not on methods that use automation without supervision or manual curation. The originality of the content and the presence of unique insights are getting more attention. As in previous versions, it’s very important for YMYL (Your Money, Your Life) topics (for example medical information) to be accurate and in line with what experts agree on.
Ensuring accurate, truthful, useful information
It aims to provide accurate, truthful and reliable information that searches can utilize. All people are free to create their own website and make their own content available for public use. The best place for a website to get started in a health care field for beginners is in completing your finance education. It’s obviously very good. This poses a problem for Google. The decision to use search results is the key to determining a decision. Google is aiming to make certain these decisions can be made on a basis of the highest level of trust.
Google’s search algorithm and quality rater rules are always evolving. Even while Google says things like E-E-A-T don’t directly affect your content’s ranking in organic search, the fact that they’re adding them to the official rules of the individuals responsible for assessing websites for Google is a pretty good indication that you should pay attention to them.
The addition of “Experience” to the E-E-A-T acronym doesn’t mean that all previously released works need to be drastically changed overnight. If you’re serious about SEO and giving your readers something of value, you’ve probably already used a few stories from your own life on your website and blog.
What are Google Search Quality Raters? (Video)
Google E-E-A-T Frequently Asked Questions
The metric E-E-A-T does not directly affect the Google search rankings. Nonetheless, the search engines use another signal for the ranking factor — expert, authority, and trust. In February 2019 Google issued a whitepaper titled “How Google fought against false information”. Further, Google referenced the phrase 137 times in the current search Quality rating Guidelines. This is clearly a very important topic for your search ranking. The Google E-A-T scores are not measured in one way or another.
Google Updated Quality Rating Guidelines also included an appendix page to show changes throughout the document. Several modifications have been noticed.
Adding “Experience” to the E-A-T:
The most important change to the QRG is that the popular acronym E-A-T now starts with the letter “E” for “Experience.” This makes the new acronym E-E-A-T. (Experience, Expertise, Authoritativeness, Trustworthiness). Google now says that the quality of content can also be judged by how much the person who wrote it knows about the subject.
Google has changed its language to make it more inclusive and has added references to social media platforms, influencers, and different types of content (e.g., video, user-generated content, social media posts). Also, the updated guidelines answer frequently asked questions about how E-E-A-T works and what content should be considered harmful.
Finding Out Who Runs a Website and Who Made the Content on a Page: Google updated its rules on how to find out who runs a website and who made the content on a page. Raters are encouraged to find out who is in charge of the website and its content and to look for relevant information on the website itself. This shows how important it is to know who owns and runs a website.
Website Owners and Content Contributors Can Be Separated:
Google added a new table to help quality raters figure out who made the main content on a webpage. The table helps raters tell the difference between the website owner and content contributors, especially on sites with user-generated content or contributions from authors.
Google has a new 3-step process for judging the quality of a page:
(a) evaluate the page’s true purpose and whether it could be harmful or misleading, (b) evaluate whether the page could cause harm or be untrustworthy or spammy, and (c) if the page is not harmful, rate the quality based on how well it does what it’s supposed to do.
Focus on Originality and Effort:
Google took the word “time” out of the list of things they use to judge the quality of a page’s main content and added the word “originality.” Google says that it’s important to work hard, be original, and have talent or skill when making content. Raters are asked to focus on the actual work that went into making the content, not on automated methods that don’t have any oversight or manual curation.
Understanding the Reputation of a Website and Its Content Creators:
Google updated its advice on how to figure out the reputation of both a website and the people who make its content. Raters are asked to think about the content creators’ reputations “in the context of what the page is about.” Also, for content creators who make content for more than one website, raters should think about the company or content creator and look at different websites for reputation information.
Demonstrating experience in SEO content is important for several reasons:
Enhanced Search Engine Rankings: Content that reflects personal experience and expertise is more likely to be recognized by search engines as valuable and authoritative. This can lead to improved rankings on search engine results pages (SERPs), driving more organic traffic to the website.
E-E-A-T Criteria: Google’s Quality Rater Guidelines (QG) emphasize Experience, Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness (E-E-A-T) as key criteria for evaluating content quality. The guidelines specifically assess experience based on the author’s first-hand knowledge of the subject, as referenced in section 34 of the Quality Rater Guideslines. Content that aligns with E-E-A-T principles can receive higher quality ratings and perform better in search results.
User Trust and Credibility: Infusing content with personal experience enhances its credibility and helps build trust with website visitors. Users are more likely to trust and engage with content created by authors who have proven experience or qualifications in the subject matter.
Relevance and Uniqueness: Content that incorporates personal experience often provides unique insights and perspectives that may not be readily available elsewhere. This can make the content more relevant and valuable to the target audience, helping it stand out in a competitive online landscape.
This update has several implications for search engine optimization (SEO) strategies:
Experience and Expertise: The addition of “Experience” to E-A-T highlights the significance of both first-hand experience and subject matter expertise in content creation. Visitors to a website should have confidence that the content is created by individuals who have the relevant experience and expertise in the field.
Search Relevance: Google evaluates content based on the search query’s wording and purpose to determine which documents are relevant to return in the search results. By aligning content with the principles of E-E-A-T, websites can improve their relevance to search queries and potentially rank higher in search results.
Building Trust: Trustworthiness is a central aspect of E-E-A-T. Visitors to a website should trust the author’s ability to produce high-quality work supported by relevant experience and reputable sources. Ensuring transparency, accuracy, and credibility in content can enhance user trust and contribute to a positive online reputation.
SEO Team Responsibilities: SEO teams play a crucial role in upholding the principles of E-E-A-T. They are responsible for ensuring that the website’s content meets high standards of quality and authenticity. This includes working closely with site owners, clients, and content creators to develop content that aligns with the expertise and experience of the authors.
Content Production Collaboration: The success of a content production project is highly dependent on collaboration between the SEO team, site owners, and clients. This involves discussing the objectives of the content, the credentials of the authors, and the intended audience. For businesses, both large and small, it is important to align the content with the values and expertise of the organization.
Overall, the E-E-A-T update underscores the importance of creating content that is backed by genuine experience, expertise, and trustworthiness. By adhering to these principles, websites can enhance their search performance, provide valuable and authoritative content to users, and establish themselves as credible sources within their industry.
Google assesses an author’s expertise by considering several factors. It looks at the author’s credentials and educational background to understand their qualifications in a specific field. The author’s reputation, including mentions and citations from reputable sources, is also considered. Google evaluates the quality, usefulness, and user engagement of the content created by the author. Additionally, Google employs human quality raters who assess search results based on guidelines that include Experience, Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness (E-E-A-T). The overall evaluation of expertise is based on a combination of these factors, with the aim of determining the author’s credibility and authority in their field.
Expertise, authority, and trustworthiness are the three parts of the E-A-T strategy for SEO. In its Search Quality Evaluator Guidelines, Google puts a lot of emphasis on this idea. The E-A-T strategy is especially important for “YMYL” (Your Money or Your Life) pages, which deal with topics that can affect users’ health, safety, or well-being. Here’s a quick look at each part of E-A-T:
Expertise: This refers to how much the content creator or author knows or how good they are at what they are writing about. Someone who knows a lot about the subject should write high-quality content. Expertise can be shown by credentials, experience, or a deep understanding of the subject.
Authoritativeness: This refers to how trustworthy and well-known the content creator is, as well as how trustworthy and well-known the website is as a whole. Expertise can be shown through praise from other experts in the field, external links or citations, awards in the field, and good reviews.
Trustworthiness refers to how accurate, clear, and reliable the website and its content are. Trustworthiness is shown by giving accurate and up-to-date information, citing reliable sources, having clear policies (like privacy and terms of service), and being clear about who owns and writes the website.
Your website can display knowledge, authority, and trustworthiness to boost your Google E-A-T score. Take these steps:
- Write high-quality, in-depth content that shows your experience.
- Add author profiles that showcase credentials, experience, and qualifications.
- Get appropriate credentials or professional memberships to demonstrate expertise.
- With industry experts, events, and media coverage, build a positive brand image.
- Get backlinks from authoritative websites that acknowledge your content’s quality.
- Promote consumer reviews and feedback.
- Fact-check and update your text to ensure accuracy.
- Cite reliable sources to back up statements and statistics.
- Secure user data and browsing with SSL certificates.
- Create an intuitive website.
- Improve page loading rates for pleasant browsing.
- Make your website responsive and mobile-friendly.
Engage with Your Audience:
- Answer to user queries and comments promptly and professionally.
- Utilize social media and other platforms to build audience relationships and credibility.
E-A-T-friendly website best practices:
High-Quality Content: Create valuable, well-researched, and accurate information. Make sure the material is clear, organized, and error-free.
Expertise: Display authors’ and content providers’ credentials. Add essential author profiles. List professional memberships, certificates, and honors.
Authoritativeness: Get backlinks from authoritative websites and industry experts. Participate in industry events and seek positive reviews and feedback.
Use Reliable Sources: Back up your claims with facts. Check and update all information. Include your website’s ownership, contact information, privacy policies, and terms of service.
Safe Website: Use SSL certificates to protect user data and ensure safe browsing.
User Experience: Optimize page load speeds, make the website mobile-friendly, and provide easy navigation.
Interact with Your Audience: Reply to comments and queries promptly and professionally. Connect with your audience via social media and other methods.
Markus Schad | Senior SEO Strategist
Markus Schad is Senior SEO Consultant with over 8 years experience in getting more traffic and visitors for his customers. He is the founder of Commander-SEO.com.