What Is E-E-A-T?

What Is E-E-A-T?

What Is E-E-A-T? 1920 1280 George Cotter

Demonstrating first hand experience and authority in the website content you publish is more important than ever if you want your content the rank highly.

Previously just E-A-T, Google has now upgraded this to include an additional “E” and in short E-E-A-T standards for Experience, Expertise, Authoritativeness and Trustworthiness.

E-E-A-T signals are becoming more and more prevalent thanks in no small part to the Helpful Content updates, which reinforces the need for high quality and original content that’s been written by an expert.

The basics of E-E-A-T

Google explains the concept of E-E-A-T in its Search Quality Evaluator Guidelines, with the stipulation that content that meets with the guidelines is of high quality, has taken effort, is original and taken some talent to create.

So what does the concept of E-E-A-T mean?

Experience

As reference earlier, the additional E is for Experience. This guideline is to ensure that the content creator has first hand experience of the subject. Pages that are created by individuals who have personal experience will tend to be more reliable sources of information. For example, you’re more likely to trust a product review from someone who has actually used the product over one written by someone who hasn’t.

Expertise

Who has written the article you’re reading? What information can you find out about them? Is the article you’re reading on employment law been written by a qualified solicitor? Or has the article been written by an external content writer who’s done it to get keywords on the website and attract clicks?

For many subjects this part really matters. People reading a piece of content that could seriously impact their life need to know it has been written by an expert. Taking legal, financial or medical advice from a generic content writer is a terrible idea, and Google doesn’t want their users to do this.

If you’re not an expert you can negate this by carefully researching the subject and referencing other experts and their content to build yours.

Authoritativeness

An author or business can establish authority when your work is mentioned by other parties in your field. The absolute sweet spot is to get related websites with good authority levels referencing and promoting your content. If other experts are linking or mentioning your content it clearly demonstrates how trusted you are.

It’s unlikely any content is going to be a success without a level of authority, and it’s also a key way to boost the authority of your whole website domain.

Trustworthiness

This is a wider signal than just the words on the page, Google wants to rank websites it can trust is giving users the best experience. In its most basic form a trustworthy website is user-friendly and loads quickly, but that’s just the start. The business or organisation that’s hosting the content also needs to demonstrate its trustworthiness.

In Google’s view a trustworthy business is one that is transparent about it’s physical location and who works there. Trustworthy content should link to other authority sources, especially when mentioning someone else’s statistics or insights.

Is E-E-A-T a ranking factor?

There’s lots of chatter about E-E-A-T but the fact is that it’s not a ranking factor. There isn’t anything specific within the guidelines that you can point to that has to be in place.

When ranking websites Google uses a host of signals to form its own opinion.

Thinking about E-E-A-T when creating content is recommended as it’ll boost engagement with users but you still shouldn’t be ignoring technical and offsite SEO strategies. Google never really tells us how its algorithms work so it’s not a good idea to obsess over each part, simply work towards creating the best website and content possible.

E-E-A-T vs YMYL

YMYL stands for “Your Money or Your Life”. This is related to website content that can literally cost readers their money or their life.

Pages that fall into YMYL are those about health, well-being, finance or safety. It can impact a wide range of websites, not just doctors, lawyers or financial advisors. If you’re trying to influence someone’s decisions you are at least touching on YMYL. Even just accepting online payments pushes your website towards YMYL.

Google wants to give these websites extra scrutiny due to the fact the content can have a significant impact on someone’s life. In the time of AI and lots of misinformation, it’s becoming increasingly hard to know what online content you can trust. What Google is looking for is YMYL content written by experts, who have a transparent and visible online reputation and a history of proven experience.

E-E-A-T and YMYL are not separate ranking signals and there is lots of crossover, but E-E-A-T is particularly relevant for websites that land in YMYL.

To conclude

There’s no shortcuts to developing strong E-E-A-T signals. Google also looks at the bigger picture, so even if you think your content meets all guidelines but your website is dated, slow and hard to navigate, you can’t expect it to rank highly.

The good thing is that if you nail E-E-A-T your competitors will find it very hard to out rank you. This won’t happen overnight and all your work should be aimed at your users, not pleasing Google. One will follow the other.

About The Author

George Cotter

I launched Tall Marketing to bring fresh ideas and digital marketing strategies that are both current and change the way local businesses think about marketing themselves online.

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