E-E-A-T can simply be seen as the formula for how Google evaluates websites. E-E-A-T stands for Experience, Expertise, Authority and Trustworthiness (luckily the Swedish translation of the words has the same initial letter). These four are the four pillars of the Google Raters Guidelines. It is important to note that E-E-A-T is not a ranking factor in Google's search algorithm, but a component of Google's search quality rater guidelines used by individuals known as "raters" to assess content creators.
But wait a minute - what about raters? Isn't it an algorithm that ranks websites? Yes, but raters are more like a large reference group of around 10,000 people who evaluate the quality of Google's search results to help Google improve its search algorithm and search experience.
We'll break down the different elements and then look at how they affect SEO and what you can do to improve these factors.
E-E-A-T stands for:
- Experience - This assesses the extent to which the content creator has experience in the topic they are writing about. Blog articles and insights written on a business blog, for example, will be more trustworthy and strengthened by being written by people with relevant experience. For example, who would you trust: a product review by someone who has personally used the product or a "review" by someone who has not?
- Expertise - This refers instead to the content creator's knowledge and skill in a particular subject area. For example, a doctor writing about medical topics or an experienced gardener writing about gardening would be considered to have expertise in their respective fields.
- Authority - This refers to the creator's or website's recognition and respect in their subject area. A website or author who is frequently cited by others in their field or who has won awards can be considered to have authority.
- Credibility (Trust) - This refers to the credibility of the website or its creator. A site that provides accurate information, protects users' privacy and is clear about its intentions (e.g. if it sells products or services) would be considered trustworthy. Trust is the most central component of the EEAT because sites that are not trustworthy will be rated low no matter how much experience, expertise or authority they have.
What is the difference between E-A-T and E-E-A-T?
The E-E-A-T is an extension of the E-A-T which added an extra E for Experience in 2022. It simply takes the previous guidelines one step further by adding a parameter. It intends to take expertise one step further by also building on experience. A company that has been publishing digital marketing articles since 2018 should have more experience (and rank higher) than a newcomer who started yesterday. Our hunch is that Google is trying to do everything in its power to continue to reward relevant texts written by humans as a way to prevent AI-written content from gaining too much ground. With the rise of ChatGPT & co, it means that virtually anyone can create content for the purpose of ranking via SEO. E-E-A-T is clinging on to what it thinks will increase relevance while the internet is flooded with AI-written content.
How does E-E-A-T affect SEO?
E-E-A-T has a direct impact on SEO as these factors form the basis of how content ranks. By ensuring that you meet these factors, you have a good chance of ranking high on Google's SERP (search engine ranking page).
What all these factors have in common is that they emphasize that the content published should be genuine and relevant to the user. It's no secret that Google prioritizes relevance in its SERP rankings. As ChatGPT and other AI tools gain more ground, Google is also trying to reward human-made content.
To improve SEO and fulfill the E-E-A-T factors, you should focus on:
- Authors - Add authors to all articles on your website. Each author can have their own page with their biography describing their relevant expertise and experience.
- Quality - This is nothing new to anyone who has ever worked in SEO, but it bears repeating: quality is KING! Whoever delivers the best answer to the search query will still rank high. E-E-A-T assesses the quality of the content and thus websites with good E-E-A-T will be rewarded.
- Review/Reviews - To help demonstrate experience, it helps to have testimonials and reviews from customers on the website. This is particularly important for B2C and ecommerce businesses where product reviews carry a lot of weight. An additional tip for building authority is that the product reviews are from verified buyers. For companies operating in B2B, reviews are also important to substantiate and support the messages conveyed. These can be located directly on the website but also on Google My Business.
- Dates - Continuously publishing and adding relevant content to your company blog is good for SEO. We believe that marking the date of articles is increasingly important. Dates have started popping up on Google's SERP which indicates that Google gives dates extra weight. As a user, you are more inclined to choose the most current information. To keep the ranking and SEO up, it is therefore a good idea to continuously update articles and then also change the date.
- Write for people - Demonstrate that you are a person who writes for other people. In other words, understand problems and show solutions to them. As AI-written content grows in popularity and accessibility, it is increasingly easy to publish AI-written content for search engines in the hope of ranking. Instead, content that is written to engage and inform the searcher is rewarded.
- Regular updating - Regularly updating and adding content on the topic you are working on strengthens your authority and position as a thought leader. If the topic you write about is in a changing industry or business, it's a good idea to write new articles on the topic as well as update old ones. Mark the date clearly to demonstrate the latest.
- Links - Both external backlinks and internal links can help build authority for the page. When it comes to backlinks, it is best that they come from other high authority sites that are relevant for your page to appear on. For example, it is relevant for a business to be featured in online "trade magazines" or other forums that cover similar topics.
- Source citations - When presenting facts, statistics or claims, link to the original sources to show that your content is well-founded.
- Avoid black-hat SEO - Create credible content that is relevant to the user and don't take shortcuts to rank high and fast.
- User experience - The latest major core update of Google's algorithm put a lot of focus on user experience. It then became important in the SEO work to also ensure that the technical SEO with load times, responsiveness, how different elements load on the page, etc. met certain requirements. This will continue to be important when it comes to how the website ranks on search engines.
Integrating E-E-A-T into your SEO strategy
E-E-A-T is not just about ranking high on search engines, it's about creating content that truly resonates with and is valued by your target audience. With the development of AI and tools like ChatGPT, it is becoming increasingly important to demonstrate the relevance of your content to search engines. Therefore, it is essential to integrate E-E-A-T into your SEO strategy and ensure that these factors are at a good level. By doing so, not only do you take steps towards a better position on Google, but you also build trust and confidence with your target audience and can establish a position as a thought leader in your industry. In an age where information is abundant, credibility and authority become the key to success.