Google’s E-E-A-T update redefines what a credible website should be. Act now to optimize your SEO and stay ahead of evolving search engine algorithms.
E-E-A-T, which stands for Experience, Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness, is a game-changer when it comes to content and website best practices. Navigating this new landscape is both a challenge and an opportunity for businesses like yours.
To seize this opportunity, you must understand and integrate E-E-A-T into your SEO strategy.
In this deep-dive, we’ll explore the ins and outs of the E-E-A-T update, how it affects Google’s SEO guidelines, and its specific implications for Your Money or Your Life (YMYL) sites.
We’ll also provide a comprehensive guide on how to align your website with E-E-A-T benchmarks by showcasing your industry knowledge, creating user-focused content, acquiring high-quality backlinks, and embracing transparency.
Don’t fall behind the curve while competitors move forward. Learn how to keep your website relevant by embracing Google’s E-E-A-T update.
- E-A-T versus E-E-A-T: What Is Google’s E-E-A-T Update and How Does It Affect My Website?
- The 4 Levels of E-E-A-T
- Impact of the E-E-A-T Google Update on YMYL Websites
- 10 Key Steps to Optimize Your Website for Google’s E-E-A-T Update
- Frequently Asked Questions
E-A-T versus E-E-A-T: What Is Google’s E-E-A-T Update and How Does It Affect My Website?
In the ever-changing world of the web, the spotlight on your online content often comes down to the whims of Google’s search algorithm. This tech giant, which rules the global search engine realm, uses complex factors to decide who gets the gold—those coveted top spots in search results.
In December 2022, Google significantly changed its E-A-T concept, now known as Expertise, Experience, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness or E-E-A-T, in its Search Quality Rater Guidelines update.
Here’s what happened. The old E-A-T, which stood for Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness, gained an extra ‘E’ in 2022, standing for Experience. This addition highlights the importance of content creators sharing their personal experiences, especially when it comes to ‘Your Money or Your Life’ (YMYL) topics.
So, What Exactly is E-E-A-T?
E-E-A-T stands for Experience, Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness. These pillars shape Google’s algorithm to favour websites that excel in these areas, ensuring the most relevant and helpful search results.
Here, ‘Experience’ means practical knowledge of a subject. This could be anything from personal stories to hands-on involvement with a product or service or unique insights into a particular topic.
Why Does the E-E-A-T Update Matter?
It’s all about ensuring that Google users receive accurate, impactful content. By aligning your website with E-E-A-T benchmarks, you increase your chances of appearing in Google’s search results, attracting more organic traffic and potential customers.
E-E-A-T also plays a big part in establishing trust. You’ll inspire confidence and stand out from the competition by showcasing expertise, delivering authoritative content, and building trust through things like reviews, testimonials, and secure payment options.
As Google continues to fight misinformation and subpar content online, E-E-A-T is a powerful tool for ensuring users get accurate, reliable, and up-to-date information.
Businesses that prioritize E-E-A-T in their SEO and content strategies are more likely to be seen as credible information sources and thus get more free traffic from Google.
Now that we’ve covered the basics of Google’s massive E-E-A-T update, let’s dive deeper into each component—Experience, Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness—and explore how they shape Google’s SEO guidelines and impact your website’s performance.
The addition of ‘Experience’ in Google’s E-E-A-T update shows a clear commitment to boosting the quality and relevance of content in search results.
Experience is all about firsthand encounters or practical knowledge related to the topic at hand, bringing a unique, personally-informed perspective.
When incorporating experience into your content, personal anecdotes or case studies involving your product or service usage highlight your unique viewpoint and enhance credibility. Sharing your experiences makes everything more relatable and engaging to readers.
The E-E-A-T update becomes particularly significant when dealing with YMYL (Your Money or Your Life) topics. In these cases, firsthand experience provides an assurance of authenticity, such as financial advice from someone with proven experience in the sector.
However, it’s important to note that while sharing your experiences, the information must still be factual, current, and supported by credible data.
Experience should complement, not replace, thorough research and fact-checking.
The next pillar of the E-E-A-T framework is ‘Expertise.’
Expertise refers to your depth of knowledge in a specific field. It means your content is not just accurate and reliable but full of detailed insights, going beyond the basics to cover the complexities of the topic.
There are various ways to demonstrate your expertise. You can showcase your formal education, professional credentials, or awards.
But expertise isn’t only about official qualifications. It can come from years of experience in a specific field, involvement in professional bodies, or authorship of thought leadership pieces or books.
When it comes to YMYL topics, expertise is a must. Google expects such content to come from individuals with relevant qualifications or credentials, such as health advice from healthcare professionals. However, it’s important to remember that content should be fact-checked, current, backed by reputable sources, and presented in an understandable and accessible manner.
Expertise, along with the right experience, can dramatically improve the quality and trustworthiness of your content.
The third pillar of Google’s E-E-A-T framework is ‘Authoritativeness.’
Authoritativeness focuses on how well-recognized you or your brand are as experts or thought leaders in your field. Building authoritativeness is a long-term commitment that requires consistently delivering high-quality, reliable content over time.
One of the key indicators of authoritativeness is the presence of high-quality backlinks from other reputable websites. These backlinks signal to Google that others trust and cite your content, boosting your authority in search rankings.
Additionally, mentions or recognition from respected institutions, as well as endorsements or testimonials from experts or influencers, can enhance your authoritativeness.
Engaging with your audience through comments, feedback, and active discussions strengthens your authority. It demonstrates that users value your content and can further validate your expertise.
Your authority can also be demonstrated through your social media presence, with large follower bases or high engagement rates.
But it’s essential to balance authority, expertise, and trustworthiness. High authority without the necessary expertise or trust can lead to misinformation or reduced credibility.
It’s essential to ensure that your content remains accurate, reliable, and supported by reputable sources while showcasing your authority.
The final element in Google’s E-E-A-T guidelines is ‘Trustworthiness.’
Trustworthiness refers to the reliability and dependability of your content, both from a user’s perspective and in the eyes of Google’s algorithms. It forms the foundation of your E-E-A-T score and provides assurance to users that they can engage with and act on your content with confidence.
Credible sources are essential for establishing trustworthiness. Your website content is more trustworthy when it contains references or citations that validate it and is regularly updated with new information.
Website security is another important aspect of trustworthiness. A secure (‘https’) website protects user data and offers a safe browsing experience.
User experience is also a factor in building trust. A user-friendly, responsive website with a clear layout and fast load times can increase trust, as can prompt customer service responses.
Together with expertise, experience, and authoritativeness, trustworthiness completes the E-E-A-T framework, underpinning Google’s approach to assessing the quality of web content.
In the next section, we’ll explore the four levels of E-E-A-T and discuss what it takes to climb the E-E-A-T update ladder and achieve better SEO rankings.
The 4 Levels of E-E-A-T
Google’s E-E-A-T is not a one-size-fits-all metric. Google’s Search Quality Evaluator Guidelines describe E-E-A-T as a spectrum with four distinct levels. Understanding these levels can help you gauge where your website stands and what you need to do to climb the E-E-A-T ladder.
1. Lowest E-E-A-T
At the bottom of the E-E-A-T spectrum, we find spammy websites that provide a poor user experience.
These sites often lack substantial and reliable information, feature unclear main content, engage in harmful practices or scams, and employ manipulative tactics.
As a result, they struggle to inspire trust and fail to meet users’ search needs effectively.
2. Lacking E-E-A-T
Even decent websites can sometimes need to catch up in certain aspects of E-E-A-T, highlighting the importance of maintaining topical relevance to build a solid E-E-A-T foundation.
Websites at this level may fail to fully serve their intended topic or purpose, regardless of having a good reputation or other positive factors. Examples include:
- The content creator needs more substantial experience, for example, a restaurant review penned by an individual who has never dined at the establishment.
- The content lacks the necessary expertise, such as an article on skydiving written by someone without prior knowledge.
- The website or content creator needs more authority and trustworthiness on the subject matter, such as finding tax form downloads on a cooking website.
- The page or website needs to inspire trust in fulfilling its intended purpose, like a shopping page with minimal customer service information available.
3. High E-E-A-T
Websites with a high level of E-E-A-T demonstrate a well-balanced combination of experience, expertise, authority, and trustworthiness.
You can find high E-E-A-T content across various platforms, including news or government sites, relevant videos, small business websites, and even blogs.
These sites satisfy user search intent, deliver high-quality content, and showcase clear expertise. Google’s Search Quality Evaluator Guidelines notes that pages with high E-E-A-T are trustworthy or very trustworthy, and have the following qualities:
- Demonstrate a high level of effort, originality, talent, or skill such that the page achieves its purpose well
- Contain adequate information about the website and content creator for the purpose of the page
- Author and/or publisher has a positive reputation
- Serve a beneficial purpose
- Are not expected to cause harm
- Include quality titles that summarize the page
- Do not have ads or sponsored content that significantly interfere with the main content
4. Highest E-E-A-T
The pinnacle of E-E-A-T achievement lies in websites that go above and beyond to provide top-notch content that fully satisfies user search intent.
Such websites produce accurate, in-depth, well-articulated content that aligns with expert consensus when necessary. It’s not just information—it’s enlightening, adds value, and has a profound positive impact on users. Websites or content creators who establish themselves as unparalleled authorities in their respective fields possess very high E-E-A-T.
Google’s Search Quality Evaluator Guidelines notes that Tthe criteria for highest-quality content can vary depending on the purpose and type of website. Here are examples of such content:
- News: Exceptional reporting that uncovers new and valuable information, backed by primary sources and meeting professional journalistic standards.
- Artistic Content: Unique and original creations by highly skilled artists, requiring significant talent and effort. YMYL standards apply if the content relates to YMYL topics.
- Informational Content: Original, accurate, comprehensive, and clearly communicated, reflecting expert consensus. While expectations may differ based on the subject, all very high-quality informational content shares traits of accuracy and clarity.
Climbing the E-E-A-T ladder requires meticulous content curation and a strong focus on user satisfaction. The effort invested pays off, as Google recognizes and rewards websites with high E-E-A-T scores by offering better search rankings.
Impact of the E-E-A-T Google Update on YMYL Sites
YMYL, which stands for Your Money or Your Life, includes websites that provide information or services with the potential to significantly affect someone’s financial status, health, safety, or overall quality of life. This can range from sites offering financial advice to those sharing the latest news or parenting tips.
The introduction of Google’s E-E-A-T update — Expertise, Experience, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness — has specific implications for YMYL websites. Because incorrect or unreliable information can have far-reaching impacts on users, Google has set up specific measures to assess the quality and reliability of YMYL sites.
YMYL sites, especially those related to crucial aspects of users’ health or financial well-being, must closely follow E-E-A-T guidelines. Content creators on YMYL sites can share personal stories as long as they don’t mislead or defraud users. Pages detailing personal experiences on YMYL topics can still rank high on the E-E-A-T scale, provided the content is reliable, secure, and agrees with expert consensus.
But when it comes to giving YMYL advice or guides, the content should ideally come from certified professionals in the relevant fields. Certain types of YMYL information need to come directly from industry experts, highlighting the importance of maintaining high E-E-A-T standards for these websites.
10 Key Steps to Optimize Your Website for Google’s E-E-A-T Update
To tap into the power of Google’s E-E-A-T update, it’s crucial to ensure that your website’s SEO strategy is aligned with them.
By focusing on Experience, Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness, you can enhance your website’s credibility and visibility in search results.
The standards for attaining very high E-E-A-T will vary depending on the page’s focal point. The bar is higher for YMYL topics and topics with much competition.
But regardless of the topic or industry, you should apply some universal E-E-A-T principles to everything you publish. So let’s delve into the key steps you should take now.
1. Provide Accurate and Verifiable Information
A fundamental part of building E-E-A-T is making sure your content is accurate and that you can easily fact-check it.
Supporting your information with references, citations, and links to credible sources is crucial. And it’s just as important to ensure that the sources you link to are trustworthy. Connections to questionable websites can harm your credibility.
This is why Wikipedia ranks so well across so many search queries. While Wikipedia pages rely on crowdsourcing, they link to reliable sources.
By making it easy for users to verify the accuracy of your content, you boost your E-E-A-T score and improve your SEO.
2. Prove Your Organization’s Authenticity
Your website needs to show it’s part of a real organization. To establish authenticity and bolster your website’s E-E-A-T, you must go beyond surface-level claims and demonstrate that your organization is genuine and trustworthy.
- Provide Detailed About Us Page: Dedicate a comprehensive “About Us” page that provides an in-depth overview of your organization. Include information about your mission, values, history, and the people behind the scenes. Communicate your organization’s story and how it aligns with your products or services. This helps users connect with your brand and understand your commitment to authenticity.
- Share Team Bios: Introduce the individuals behind your organization by creating engaging and informative employee bios. Highlight their professional expertise, qualifications, and achievements. Additionally, include personal details such as their interests and passions to add a human touch. This showcases the real people driving your business and builds trust with your audience.
- Display Physical Address and Contact Information: Provide a physical address, phone number, and email address prominently on your website. This transparency reassures users that you have a legitimate presence and allows them to contact you if needed. Verifiable contact information adds credibility and reinforces the authenticity of your organization.
- Show Photos of Your Offices or Operations: Include original and high-quality photos of your offices, facilities, or production processes. Visuals offer a glimpse into the real-world aspect of your organization, making it tangible and relatable to your audience. This level of transparency instils trust and authenticity.
- Highlight Certifications and Awards: If your organization has received certifications, industry awards, or recognition from reputable sources, proudly display them on your website. This demonstrates external validation of your expertise and adds credibility to your brand. Ensure you provide details about the certifications or awards and the criteria required to achieve them.
- Showcase Community Involvement: Demonstrate your organization’s commitment to giving back and community involvement. Share information about charitable initiatives, partnerships, or events reflecting your values and community engagement. This showcases authenticity and highlights your organization’s social responsibility and positive impact.
All of these steps can significantly increase your site’s E-E-A-T and in turn boost your SEO results.
3. Make Contact Details Easy to Find
Building trust with your audience is essential, and one way to do this is by making your contact information readily accessible.
Create a dedicated “Contact Us” page with an email form and phone number. Consider placing your contact details in a prominent location such as the footer of your homepage.
You establish an open and transparent communication channel that enhances your website’s trustworthiness by providing multiple contact points and making it easy for users to reach you.
4. Be Transparent
You need to go beyond providing accurate information to strengthen your website’s trustworthiness. It’s time to implement practices that prioritize transparency, ethics, and user safety, such as:
- Disclose Potential Conflicts of Interest: Be upfront about any potential conflicts that could impact your content or reviews. If you have a partnership or receive compensation from a company or product you feature, clearly disclose it to your audience. This transparency helps maintain the integrity of your recommendations and builds trust with your users.
- Offer Terms and Conditions: Publish clear terms and conditions that govern the use of your website, including any limitations, liabilities, and disclaimers. This demonstrates your commitment to transparency and establishes a framework for user engagement on your site.
- Engage in Open Communication: Encourage open communication with your audience by providing accessible channels for feedback, questions, and concerns. Display contact information prominently and respond promptly and thoughtfully to inquiries. Active engagement shows that you value user input and are dedicated to providing a transparent and user-centric experience.
- Showcase User Testimonials and Feedback: Display genuine user testimonials and feedback to provide social proof of your website’s quality, products, or services. Ensure the testimonials are authentic and include real names or identifiable information to build credibility. Genuine testimonials can demonstrate transparency and reinforce the trustworthiness of your offerings.
- Share Company Policies and Practices: Go beyond the standard legal disclaimers and share additional policies and practices highlighting your commitment to transparency. This could include information on your sourcing practices, sustainability initiatives, or community involvement. Openly sharing these details showcases your values and allows users to make informed decisions based on their alignment with your principles.
Remember, transparency is an ongoing effort. Regularly review and update your policies, address user feedback, and adapt your practices to maintain trust and credibility.
By prioritizing transparency, you strengthen the foundation of your website’s E-E-A-T and foster long-term relationships with your audience.
5. Showcase Your Expertise
One of the key elements of Google’s E-E-A-T framework is demonstrating your expertise. That means highlighting your subject matter experts’ qualifications, affiliations, and experience.
If you’re creating new content, consider including expert quotes or inviting industry professionals to contribute articles. Google’s guidelines prioritize content from expert authors. For example, a parenting blog written by a recognized authority in the field would score high for E-E-A-T.
For YMYL topics, expertise is incredibly crucial. Google expects content on these subjects from individuals with relevant qualifications or credentials. For example, health advice should ideally come from healthcare professionals. It must be fact-checked, current, backed by reputable sources, and presented in an understandable and accessible manner.
Consider having your experts write guest posts on other websites to enhance your brand visibility and emphasize the qualifications or skills of your content creators. This will boost your website in turn.
6. Champion Authentic Reviews
Genuine customer reviews are a powerful tool for validating your expertise and building trust with your audience.
Encourage satisfied customers to rate and review your services on platforms like Google My Business, social media, Yelp, Glassdoor, and more. Make it a habit to invite feedback after every interaction.
You should also respond to reviews, both positive and negative, on a regular basis. Google offers the following suggestions for dealing with bad reviews:
- Be prompt: Respond to negative reviews promptly to show you value customer feedback.
- Stay professional: Remain courteous and avoid taking reviews personally, maintaining a professional tone.
- Understand the issue: Investigate the customer’s experience and acknowledge any mistakes, offering genuine apologies when appropriate.
- Show empathy: Display compassion towards the customer’s concerns and offer to discuss the matter further through email or phone.
- Be authentic: Sign off with your name or initials to demonstrate that a real person is addressing and taking the issue seriously.
As for fake negative reviews? Check out our step-by-step process for how to deal with fake negative reviews of a business, including how to report fake reviews and what to do when removal isn’t possible.
Creating case studies about happy customers is another great way to enhance your trustworthiness and E-E-A-T standing. We’ve generated thousands of qualified leads using custom case studies tailored to our clients’ needs and markets.
7. Secure High-Quality Backlinks
Securing high-quality backlinks from reputable websites is another important aspect of building E-E-A-T.
Google’s algorithms now prioritize the quality of backlinks over their quantity. Focus on obtaining backlinks from relevant and authoritative websites in your industry. The anchor text used in the link and the overall authority of the linking domain are also essential factors to consider.
Avoid engaging in “black hat” link-building tactics, as they can harm your website’s credibility and ranking. Instead, focus on creating valuable content that naturally attracts backlinks from reputable sources.
Quality backlinks act as endorsements, signalling to Google that your content is trusted and relevant.
8. Write For People, Not Search Engine Algorithms
Google prioritizes content that benefits users over content created to enhance search engine rankings. Create valuable, high-quality content that addresses users’ needs as your primary goal, with search engine optimization as a secondary objective.
Ensure your content is unique, substantial, thorough, and enlightening. When you reference other sources, you must do so without plagiarizing or simply rewording them.
Avoid creating search engine-first content. Prioritize your audience’s needs and preferences instead—even if you’re using generative AI tools like ChatGPT for SEO content.
9. Refresh Your Website’s Content Frequently
Users often attribute greater trust to websites that show signs of being updated or reviewed recently. Maintaining a competitive edge involves regularly infusing your site with fresh, high-quality content. This delivers updated information to your audience and signals to Google your ongoing activity and business status.
Don’t forget to refurbish existing content, too! Certain themes, like breaking news, product launches, or recurring events, call for timely updates.
10. Make E-E-A-T Clear and Conspicuous
Users make quick decisions about which sources to trust, so making your website’s E-E-A-T readily apparent is crucial.
If users can’t quickly determine your site’s expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness, they may leave and look for other sources.
Ensure that each page answers key questions: Who is the author? What credentials do they have? Is the information adequately sourced? Can users quickly contact the author or site owner? Are there any errors?
The more transparent and upfront you are, the more trust your audience will have in you.
Harness Google’s E-E-A-T Update for SEO Excellence
Your website’s E-E-A-T (Experience, Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness) must be prioritized and nurtured as part of a comprehensive search engine optimization strategy.
Google’s E-E-A-T update reflects the evolving demands of internet users who seek trustworthy and credible sources of information. They want content created by experts, endorsed by authorities, and deemed reliable by both humans and search engines.
We’ve explored numerous strategies to showcase your site’s E-E-A-T, from highlighting your organization’s capabilities and providing transparent reviews to acquiring high-quality backlinks and creating valuable, user-centric content that is regularly updated.
However, it’s important to remember that these guidelines are not simply a checklist to complete. They are part of a long-term commitment to quality content, transparency, and a consistent user experience.
The goal is to cultivate an authentic and valuable online presence that users and search engines can rely on.
Navigating this complex landscape can be daunting. Our team of SEO experts understands the intricacies of E-E-A-T and is ready to guide you on your journey to establishing a trusted and successful online presence.
Because at the end of the day, improving your E-E-A-T is not just about boosting search engine rankings; it’s about delivering genuine value to your audience.
Frequently Asked Questions
E-E-A-T stands for Experience, Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness. It is Google’s framework for evaluating website credibility and content quality, ensuring users receive accurate and trustworthy information in search results.
E-E-A-T is important for SEO because it redefines what a credible website should be in the eyes of Google. By prioritizing Experience, Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness, businesses can enhance their content quality, user satisfaction, and trustworthiness, leading to higher search rankings and attracting more organic traffic. E-E-A-T aligns with Google’s goal of providing accurate, reliable information to users and serves as a powerful tool to combat misinformation and subpar content online.
Google assesses E-E-A-T (Experience, Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness) by evaluating various factors. Experience involves firsthand knowledge or practical involvement in a subject. Expertise considers the depth of knowledge in a specific field, including qualifications and thought leadership. Authoritativeness looks at recognition and respect from peers, industry authorities, and the public. Trustworthiness includes accuracy, transparency, ethical practices, and user-friendly experiences. These aspects collectively determine a website’s E-E-A-T score, influencing its ranking in search results.
Yes, E-E-A-T applies to all types of websites. Google’s E-E-A-T update emphasizes the importance of Experience, Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness for determining a website’s credibility and ranking. Whether it’s an informational blog, e-commerce site, or news platform, aligning with E-E-A-T principles is essential for establishing trust and delivering valuable content to users.
Yes, certain industries and topics require higher E-E-A-T standards. The previous E-A-T update emphasized the importance of expertise and credibility in finance, health, safety, and legal sectors. With the addition of ‘Experience’ in E-E-A-T, these industries, known as “Your Money or Your Life” (YMYL) topics, now emphasize firsthand experiences and personal insights. Content involving financial advice, medical information, legal guidance, and similar areas necessitate higher E-E-A-T standards to ensure reliable and trustworthy content for users.
E-E-A-T (Experience, Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness) can impact local search rankings. Google’s emphasis on providing accurate and trustworthy information applies to all websites, including local businesses. By aligning with E-E-A-T principles, showcasing expertise, building authority, and establishing trust through transparent practices and customer reviews, local businesses can improve their online visibility and local search rankings.