Thursday 15th of December 2022 – what a day. It was the day Google announced a new student in the E-A-T class: an extra E.
That’s why Google’s quality parameters are now called E-E-A-T.
What does E-A-T mean?
The original letters are short for Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness. And now, Experience has arrived.
But what are these? They are a part of Google’s Search Quality Rater Guidelines, based on which Google assesses the quality of your website. This means that your website should score as high as possible on the four parameters that make up E-E-A-T if you want your content to be considered of substantial quality by Google.
It is especially important to demonstrate E-E-A-T if you have a website that is in the so-called YMYL category (Your Money or Your Life). Those are websites that deal with topics such as money and health. Google pays extra attention to pages that fall within this category, as misinformation in this area can have a major impact on people’s lives.
Let’s start with the basics
Real people: 10,000 quality raters around the world.
They rate the quality of your website.
They thoroughly and manually assess the E-E-A-T score of each website that they are presented with.
But how does that actually work?
We write Google, but is it the algorithm that judges – or what?
No – actually, it’s real people. Approximately 10,000 quality raters around the world assess whether your website lives up to E-E-A-T or not. These quality raters are responsible for judging the extent to which a website delivers what people are looking for and assessing the quality of the results based on the content’s E-E-A-T.
This assessment does not have a direct influence on the ranking of the website. Instead, Google looks collectively at all reviews of websites relevant to the search and assesses which of these offers the highest quality and most helpful results.
The aim is to provide the users with the best, most valid search results.
There’s a good chance you already demonstrate E-E-A-T to one degree or another – most do. It is about creating a website with a focus on giving visitors the best possible experience. And that is of course your noblest task.
However, it’s never a bad idea to learn about things that you already do – and more importantly, maybe don’t do. That’s why we give you an overview of E-E-A-T and what you can do to score better on the four parameters.
Any topic will be considered more credible and reliable if the writer has experience with the topic. Let’s take an example: who would you trust the most?
The person who has eaten at a restaurant and subsequently writes a review about his experience.
The person who has read that a place should be delicious and writes a review for this.
There is probably no doubt that 99.9% would say 01 – this also applies to Google’s quality raters.
When you demonstrate experience, you should prioritize using your own images of products, and produce unique content that is based on your own experiences. In this way, you can show that you know what you are dealing with.
For that reason, it is also not recommended to use AI-generated content – at least not without it having been corrected by a human before publication. The reason for this is that a machine cannot write content that demonstrates experience. It is not possible for it to test a restaurant and subsequently review it. It is only possible for it to draw on the experience of others and create content based on this.
Maybe it’s not entirely coincidental that the extra E was added shortly after ChatGPT was launched.
Experts. That is what Google wants. Someone who knows what they are talking about. The more an expert you are, the more credible you will appear. When that is said, there are two types of expertise: the formal expertise and the everyday expertise.
If you write about topics such as crafts, economics, or the like, expertise is achieved by, among other things, having a professional education related to the subject, or by otherwise having a great deal of knowledge about it. Again, you can put it this way: whether you trust the person who writes about how to save money, but has no factual background for it, or the person who has a degree in economics.
If you instead focus on more hobby-related topics such as interior design or knitting, it is not necessary to have a subject-relevant background to be able to appear with expertise. The high E-E-A-T score is achieved by demonstrating a solid understanding and experience in the field.
Presentation of extensive research, citing credible sources, using guest authors with expertise in the field, and an author bio on all articles illustrating why the author is knowledgeable to be able to comment on the topic can also support expertise.
Link Building used to be one of the ultimate solutions when it came to building authority. This does not apply to the same extent today. However, it still has an effect – but it is important that the links come from authoritative, trustworthy sources.
Fortunately, there are several ways you can demonstrate that your website has authority. This can be done by crafting quality content and getting people to talk about your brand. In addition, the website must be easy to navigate, be relevant to your purpose, and be updated regularly. The fewer errors that can be found on the website, the better. Also, be careful with promotional content – use it sparingly.
A solid content strategy can also have a positive impact. In it, you should consider everything that users might want to find answers to and include as much of it as possible on your website.
Finally: a website must show trust. In fact, that is the most essential thing to be able to demonstrate. No matter how much you can demonstrate experience, expertise, and authority, it won’t matter if your website doesn’t also inspire trust.
Trust can be gained by clearly stating contact information and physical location. In addition, Google attaches great importance to safety and security-creating initiatives. Therefore, you should provide an SSL certificate and subsequently implement HTTPS correctly. If you have a web shop, you can acquire the E-label, which is a blue stamp for safe online shopping. In general, you need to be able to maintain a secure domain. The Center for Cyber Security provides several good tips on how.
Don’t ignore reviews either. If you can get reviews on external review sites, this is considered a sign of trust – not only with Google’s quality raters, but also with potential customers.
Also, be aware that the sources and pages you may link to are trustworthy and relevant to your website. And don’t forget to fact-check all information on your website so you don’t share anything misleading.
The main takeaway
Of course, you can choose to focus exclusively on one of the parameters. However, it is never recommended if you want to score high. The four parameters are inextricably linked – if you miss one, you miss them all. Every time you update or correct your website, all parts of E-E-A-T must therefore be in your thoughts.
Although Google has drawn up detailed guidelines, and we have tried to simplify them here, it can be difficult to see how it all should be carried out in practice.
We are ready to lend a hand and can help you with everything from content to designing your digital platform.