Google E-A-T Gets an Extra E for Experience
December 15th 2022 | By Sarah McInerney
The concept of Expertise, Authority and Trust (E-A-T) has been used by Google for some time now. It’s what the search engine uses in its Search Quality Evaluator Guidelines, the benchmark employed by its human page reviewers whose job it is to determine how well the search results meet users’ needs.
Having a trustworthy and authoritative presence online helps to build confidence in the people who are looking to buy your products or use your services. In terms of SEO, E-A-T is important because Google judges pages based on the credibility of the page, the author, and the website generally.
Whilst feedback from quality raters doesn’t direct impact rankings, it does help Google make algorithm changes over time. So, whilst E-A-T isn’t a direct Google ranking factor, it is still a vital element in any SEO strategy.
So E, A and T. Let’s break it down.
EXPERTISE is determined by whether the content author is an expert in the topic. Are they qualified? Do they have proven expertise and credentials? Everyday expertise is also considered, so it may be that someone isn’t qualified, but they can write on a topic with a deep level of knowledge and understanding. The content will be high quality, accurate and relevant.
AUTHORITY is all about overall industry reputation. Google quality raters look at the authoritativeness of the content creator, the content itself, and the website as a whole. If the creator is a respected professional in their field, this will be favourable. Where content is trusted and provides value, it will attract links from other authorities in your industry because it is accepted as a good source of information.
TRUST is also based on the content creator, the content and the website generally. For this reason, it is important to make the author of the content clear and to include a short bio on their position and expertise. Trustworthy content will be factually accurate, it will cite trustworthy, official sources, and won’t be hidden behind reams of adverts. Trust will also cover the likes of secure checkout processes on ecommerce sites, as well as the inclusion of contact information.
‘E’ for Experience
So that’s E-A-T in a nutshell. But this month, Google added an extra ‘E’ for EXPERIENCE. So now we have E-E-A-T, or ‘Double E-A-T’, which is a fully-fledged part of the updated Search Quality Evaluator Guidelines.
The guidelines say the following on the subject of 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 also says that Experience is valuable for pretty much any topic and any type of content, citing social media posts and forum discussions as potentially high quality when they involve people sharing first-hand experiences.
Trust now central to E-E-A-T
As well as adding Experience as a factor, Google is now placing more emphasis on Trust, positioning it at the heart of E-E-A-T.
Trust considers the extent to which the page is accurate, honest, safe and reliable. And that’s precisely why it is now centre of attention. As Google says, no matter how Experienced, Expert or Authoritative a web page may seem, if it has low E-E-A-T, it could still be untrustworthy.
What is ‘low E-E-A-T’?
Pages that lack a decent level of E-E-A-T could be those where the author lacks relevant experience. For example, a product review by someone who has never personally used the product, but is just listing other people’s comments.
They may also be pages where the writer lacks sufficient expertise, for example an article about how to get fit written by someone with no expertise or qualifications in the subject.
Maybe the website isn’t a trusted source for the subject in hand, for example visa application advice provided on a footwear website.
Online shopping websites that provide little contact or customer service information may also be considered as lacking E-E-A-T.
What is considered high E-E-A-T, and how to nail it?
Google says that the highest quality pages are those where the website or content writer is uniquely authoritative and considered the most trusted source for a particular topic.
Here’s how to achieve good levels of E-E-A-T…
Create high quality content
The best way to achieve good levels of E-A-T is to create high quality content. Google’s Helpful Content Update which rolled out in August 2022 focused on championing content that is original, helpful to users and written by people, for people. In other words, not written solely for search engines, or produced by AI-driven robots.
If you can afford to commission expert writers, do so. Alternatively, use writers who are adept at research and can create useful, informative content. Then have your own experts review the content to ensure there are no mistakes or misleading information.
It’s really important to audit your content regularly to make sure it’s still valid, and still high quality. Things change, and if facts go out of date, your once helpful, high E-E-A-T content could find itself relegated to lower search positions.
Use credible sources
It’s really important when creating content to make sure you use and link to official, credible sources that are compiled by experts.
Cross referencing sources is essential to check facts, but using original resources to obtain information is absolutely vital, because non-official sources could well include misinterpreted or poorly researched facts.
Citing sources is advisable, especially the likes of studies and research, so that readers are reassured that any facts or figures you are quoting are trustworthy.
Provide author info
Google wants to know that the content author is a trusted source of information. An About Us page is important for websites as it allows you to introduce your team and show their expertise.
Author bios with each piece of content will show credentials and experience.
Make use of user-generated content
User-generated content (UGC) is any type of content created by customers or website users, rather than the brands themselves. Making use of UGC is a great way to demonstrate trust and establish brand loyalty.
According to a Stackla report, 79% of online shoppers say that UGC considerably influences their buying decisions. So getting your audience to back your brand is hugely important. This you can do by improving your site’s E-E-A-T, so that happy customers share what you do and tag you.
Successful brands make the most of UGC by prompting customers to share experiences using email and social media campaigns. Some will offer rewards and prizes in return for shares. Engagement is key here, responding to comments and thanking customers for their input will show them you care, and will encourage them to keep on doing the same.
Just be sure to request permission from the content creators whenever you use UGC on your site and credit them in the content. That’s best practice.
Earn authority backlinks
Earning authority backlinks from industry trusted sites is a core part of any SEO strategy. It also presents your business as an authority in your field. It’s like word of mouth, in a click.
If someone sees a link to your site from a trusted authority, they will be more willing to trust you. The other great thing about backlinks is that the more you have, the better you’ll do in Google search.
Looking for help demonstrating Expertise, Experience, Authority and Trust?
At Figment, our award winning SEO agency team has been achieving top class SEO results for local businesses for many years. All our strategies follow Google’s best practice guidelines, including our content marketing campaigns. We also focus on creating quality, helpful content that falls in line with E-E-A-T recommendations to help engage users.
To discover how we could help your business achieve the online visibility it needs to grow through a tailored SEO campaign, you are welcome to get in touch.