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March 6, 2023

Extra ‘E’ in ‘E-A-T’ shows Google has an appetite for experience

If you take your SEO seriously, you’ll know about the concept of E-A-T. 

E-A-T stands for Expertise-Authority-Trust and it forms part of the Search Quality Evaluator guidelines that Google uses to evaluate the credibility and standing of web pages, of the author of the content and of the website as a whole.  You may be surprised to learn that these guidelines are rated by humans, not bots – which shows the high value that Google places on the ‘human touch’. 

And although E-A-T isn’t specified as one of Google’s direct ranking factors, we do know it plays a significant role in helping Google improve its algorithms and determine its search results to ensure they best meet the needs of the user.  That’s why it’s been such a key focus for content creators and web developers – and if rankings are important to you, you should check out this article on why you should add E-A-T to your website. 

And now E-A-T has become an even more important element of SEO. 

A few months ago, Google updated its search quality guidelines, adding an extra ‘E’ which stands for ‘EXPERIENCE’.  ‘E-E-A-T’ now stands for Experience, Expertise, Authority and Trust’. 

What motivated Google to add an extra ‘E’ to ‘E-A-T’? 

Let’s look at what Google is aims to achieve with this additional factor.   

Google said the addition of the extra factor came about because demonstrating first-hand experience was more important and more valuable than ever.   

According to Google, ‘experience’ is applicable to just about any topic and any type of content and it adds another level of quality to the assessment of its search results.  In their view, high-quality content on specific topics often required a measure of first-hand experience in order to be reliable and trustworthy. 

For example, when people read a review, they want to know that the author has actually used the product or service that they’re talking about.  When a content creator includes real-life personal experience, it deepens trust and makes the content more reliable (for example a verified restaurant review). 

Real-life experiences also attest to the originality of a piece of content which is something which Google places high importance on. 

And let’s be honest – this does make sense from a consumer perspective.  We want to know that the search results that we’re served up are the closest match to our queries and that the options presented to us are reliable, safe and trustworthy.  There are times when we want factual information from experts and there are times when we’re looking for more personal experiences.   And that’s why Google introduced the additional ‘E’.   Experience is not quite the same as Expertise. 

Here’s what Google said:  

‘Pages on YMYL (Your Money or Your Life) topics can be created for a wide variety of different purposes. If the purpose of a page on a clear YMYL topic is to give information or offer advice, a high level of expertise may be required for the page to be trustworthy. 

However, sometimes pages on YMYL topics are created to share personal experiences, often regarding difficult life challenges. People turn to each other in times of need to share their own experience, seek comfort or inspiration, and learn from others. Factual information from experts and authoritative sources may not satisfy this need.’ 

Why is TRUST so important to Google? 

When Google announced the addition of Experience to its E-A-T guidelines, it also emphasised the importance of trust, saying trust was the most important member of the E-E-A-T family.  That’s because while a web page may appear to tick the boxes with regards to ‘Experience, Expertise and Authority’, it is not trustworthy if its E-E-A-T is low. 

How do you define low ‘E-E-A-T’? 

There could be several factors affecting a web-page’s E-E-A-T, including when: 

  • The author lacks relevant experience  
  • The author has insufficient expertise 
  • The website isn’t a trusted source for that particular topic 
  • Websites have scant contact or customer service information 

How to achieve high E-E-A-T levels for your website 

In my decades of experience in digital marketing and SEO, I’ve learned how crucial it is to keep pace with Google’s expectations.  If you get complacent or lose momentum in terms of your SEO and content creation strategy, your rankings will slip.   

If you’re keen to learn more about SEO and how to get to the top of Google’s rankings, check out The SEO School and discover my proven strategies and insider secrets.   

Some useful tips to achieve high E-E-A-T: 

  • Create high-quality, original content that is helpful to users (here’s a useful reference article for writing blogs) 
  • Write content for humans, not search engines 
  • Refresh and update content regularly to maintain its relevance 
  • Include links to credible sources (especially if you are including research facts and figures in your content) 
  • Include author bios with blog posts etc 
  • Make sure your ‘About Us’ page demonstrates you and your team’s expertise and experience 
  • Focus on your socials to highlight personal real-life experiences 
  • Display testimonials and verifiable reviews 
  • Aim for high-quality backlinks to your site from authoritative sources to increase trust 

In conclusion 

Getting to the top of page one on Google and staying there is no mean feat.  But it’s entirely possible through a solid SEO strategy.   Sign up for The SEO School today. 

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