Google E-E-A-T: A simple guide

The more you know about E-E-A-T, the more you can deliver the kind of content that your audience will find useful and the kind of content that Google wants to reward. In this short guide we answer some of the key questions about the concept.

What is E–E-A-T?

E–E-A-T is an acronym that stands for experience, expertise, authoritativeness and trust. It’s an important part of SEO. You can think of it as one type of criteria that Google uses when assessing the quality of a page (though, to be clear, it is specifically designed for raters to assess the performance of the systems that underpin the tech giant’s search engine).

Where does E-E-A-T come from?

For a long while it was just E-A-T. It first popped up in early 2014 when Google published an update to its search quality rater guidelines (which first came out in 2013). It became E-E-A-T in December 2022, when another update added experience to the mix.

The guidelines are a really useful document for SEO. As noted above, while it’s principally intended to help raters evaluate whether Google is delivering a high-quality search experience, it can also be used by individuals and businesses to assess and improve their own content.

What do I need to know about experience?

Experience is about the first-hand experience someone has with something. The extent of it can vary depending on the subject meaning it can be minimal or substantial – there’s nuance. What’s important is that the experience is genuine.

For example, let’s say you’re looking to invest in email marketing software. In addition to wanting to read about the various features and benefits, it’s very likely that you’ll also want to find content that features other people’s experience of the software. That info, combined with other info, will help you make a decision about whether or not you invest in the email marketing software.

Do note that experience should not be confused with expertise (more on this further below).

What do I need to know about expertise?

Expertise is about how much knowledge and skill an individual has about a topic they’re producing content about. The short of it is that we’re more likely to trust/value content produced by experts than non-experts. 

For example, let’s say you want legal advice. Google, rightly so, places more value on accurate and highly informed content that has been created by a qualified and seasoned lawyer – with a byline – than content generated by a copywriter without any formal legal training or qualifications (with or without a byline). For certain content, expertise is really important.

Can you give an example of how experience and expertise differ?

We can (and we appreciate that there can be overlap between the two). The easiest way to differentiate between the two is as follows: you don’t need to be an expert to experience something and for that experience to be useful to someone else, while being an expert doesn’t necessarily make your expertise or experience useful (although, of course, it can be if that’s what’s sought after). It’s all about context.

For example, and to continue with the legal theme, you might have been called up to perform jury duty. Reading a blog about the experience of a lawyer is probably going to be less useful to you than watching a video from someone who has gone through it. The lawyer’s info might be factually correct, but that’s not what you’re after. It’s the detail and perspective of someone who has been a juror that is going to be the most helpful type of content.

What do I need to know about authoritativeness?

Authoritativeness concerns how well you, your brand and/or your website – including social media platforms – are known within your space. In other words, authoritativeness takes into consideration your reputation and renown. 

For example, type in anything general about marketing and HubSpot will generally pop up on page one. Why? Because Google sees it as an authority. Likewise, Citizens Advice and GOV.UK rank highly for debt-related search queries because they are respectively recognised as being authorities in this area.

What do I need to know about trustworthiness?

As you might have noticed, everything comes back to trust. It’s no surprise – it’s wha Google values above everything else. After all, if it’s to continue to be the number one search engine in the world, it needs to keep serving its users the most trustworthy content.

Trust needs to be earned. You can do this by consistently demonstrating experience, expertise and authoritativeness across all your content (though do note that this does not necessarily mean you need to demonstrate all three at all times).

Key takeaways

All Google wants to do is to quickly and effectively present people with reliable, relevant and trustworthy content in response specific searches. E-E-A-T is one of the ways it determines whether the results that people see are the best and most accurate they can be, and that what ultimately gets through to people is the kind of high-quality content they need.

How you go about this is simple. For every type of content you produce, ask yourself, as Google has explained, what will make it trustworthy? Is it experience, expertise or authoritativeness? And then set about emphasising just that, whether that’s getting more experts to write your content, generating more backlinks, working on your UGC strategy and ensuring that your content is up-to-date, accurate and robustly researched.

We’ve been delivering bespoke SEO solutions since 2013, helping start-ups and corporates across various industries achieve the kind of organic results they’ve long been looking for. Drop us a message to see what we can do for you.

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