E-E-A-T is one of the hottest topics in the SEO community right now. The concept is rather comprehensive yet simple to understand. Basically, Google and its raters use this method to rate online articles and sites based on their usefulness and reputation among peers and readers.
In this article, we’ll explain this term, its potential benefits, and how to get the most out of it. Enjoy!
What does E-E-A-T stand for?
E-E-A-T, or just EEAT, is an acronym that stands for Experience, Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness. It was first introduced in December 2022, and it was based on EAT concept from 2014 and Search Quality Rating Guidelines from 2013.
E-E-A-T is one of the focal points of Google’s Search Quality Rater Guidelines alongside YMYL (Your Money or Your Life). It’s a form of virtual notebook used by the company’s search raters, also referred to as quality raters, to evaluate the information presented within the SERPs.
Basically, these professionals use the notebook to assess the relevancy and trustworthiness of a content piece. For the most part, they do so by analyzing authors’, but also websites’, credentials for covering the topic. As the E-E-A-T concept indicates, the blog writer needs to have a certain level of experience, authority, expertise, and trustworthiness to be featured among the top search results.
Here’s how the MiroMind team understands each one of these letters, based on our experience and Google’s explanation. Keep in mind that the list mainly refers to authors’ E-E-A-T score, not necessarily website E-E-A-T:
There are several potential ways raters quantify the experience. They probably take a look at a writer’s track record creation across the board. If a person has been in the business for a while and they have articles dating back several years, this is a good indication of experience.
Raters also probably assess if a person has used the product or service in the past. They can do so by tracking purchases or store visits. Alternatively, a creator can demonstrate experience by sharing images or videos on the blog that feature that said product or service.
Anyway, raters likely assess a writer’s life experience that would corroborate claims regarding their use of a product or service or their visit to an establishment.
Similar to all other Google E-E-A-T categories, expertise is intertwined with other factors.
Presumably, this one is based on writers’ real-world credentials, such as degrees and other certifications. As most people don’t disclose these documents online, the raters most likely check their bios on social media and other third-party platforms.
There’s also a good chance that Google’s employees assess expertise based on online feedback. In the end, it isn’t hard to establish if a single-person service provider has the necessary skills to perfect certain tasks. All that raters need to do is check how users rated their service and what they said about them online.
The raters probably use several methods to determine authority. Perhaps the optimal one is how often a creator is mentioned by other sites. It’s common for authoritative sources to be quoted by other publications, so this is one of the better reputation indicators.
In our opinion, raters might also assess inbound links to pages written by authors. Similarly, they likely take into account the number of top-tier platforms where they were featured in. They might also assess how a writer ranks among their peers (i.e. if a website features several top-tier experts, where does a person place among them).
Based on how we perceive this category, trustworthiness is probably connected with negative actions as much as it is related to positive ones. In other words, a person who has a history of giving poor tips to their users will likely have a low trustworthiness score. Similar goes for authors who are purposely going against the grain to cause controversy.
In our opinion, a trustworthy source is someone who provides advice in accordance with what everyone else writes online. These authors stick to an exact science, and their articles reflect what other elite influencers think about a topic. Most importantly, they don’t suggest anything that could be potentially harmful, nor do they try to make financial gain through shady practices.
Why does E-E-A-T matter?
Websites’ and pages’ value to the users is directly correlated to content relevancy. No matter how much website owners invest in great design or improve user experience, they should never reach the top of Google search without providing quality information.
By utilizing E-E-A-T, search raters can determine if a website is a trustworthy source. They can analyze the site’s reputation and see if a content creator has adequate expertise to cover the topic. Furthermore, not only should authors properly cover the topic, but they should also have enough expertise for that particular content type.
Interestingly enough, Google’s raters assess the authority and trustworthiness of all people involved, including the website owner and all authors featured on the platform. The concept also covers user-generated content and social media posts. So, featuring pieces from irrelevant or low-quality authors on your site will affect your E-E-A-T score.
Based on their findings, raters can assign websites four levels of E-E-A-T, ranking from lowest to highest. According to what we know so far, this score may or may not have a direct impact on Google search rankings.
Some sources claim that E-E-A-T works as a self-assessment category, helping website owners analyze their site’s trustworthiness and overall content quality. Alternatively, it might have a direct impact on how Google’s algorithms perceive a page or a website, and thus, it might affect placement.
How do quality raters evaluate pages E-E-A-T?
Recently, Search Engine Land published an article explaining that Trust is the most important factor according to Google’s quality rater guidelines. Experience, Expertise, and Authoritativeness all rank below it and hold equal value to each other.
Here’s how the company scores pages:
According to the guidelines, users should interact with any content which scores in this E-E-A-T category. These web posts are the lowest of the low, commonly written by authors that have poor online reputations or might be known for deceiving practices. In fact, raters consider that these web pages can cause more harm than good.
Content that has low E-E-A-T is generally perceived as much better than the first category. However, it still lacks one or more things to be considered quality content. Here are the most common issues that low E-E-A-T posts suffer from:
- The author might not be confirmed as an authoritative or trustworthy source for that particular topic. In other words, they still have to demonstrate expertise in that particular subject
- The author has created a post about a topic that he or she doesn’t have experience with. This commonly occurs in the case of a bar or a restaurant review written by a person who was never detected as a visitor via a phone device
- The entire site or a particular page might not be related to a specific topic. This occurs when a website tries to generate organic traffic for a keyword that isn’t related to their business
- The information on a page is, in one way or another, lacking. A good example of this malpractice is a product page with minimal customer service information or limited product specs
One of the more interesting things is that a writer’s positive reputation can’t trump the lack of adequate experience and expertise on the topic. The same goes for authoritative sites.
Websites that have high E-E-A-T scores aren’t necessarily industry leaders but are among the most reputable sources within that field. They focus on relevant topics that are suitable for all enthusiasts visiting their pages. Here are a few things that characterize this group:
- Google values pages and websites that have provided reliable information in the past. Furthermore, authors on these websites can discuss and analyze various phenomena and theories related to that topic
- Content writers can provide expert opinion that wasn’t “stolen” from another blog
- Content creators have real-world experience with a particular topic and use it for their articles
For the most part, sites with high E-E-A-T have been in the business for a while and are recognized by their peers as strong brands.
Pages that have the highest E-E-A-T commonly occupy the top three spots for a particular query. In fact, there’s a common practice for other authors to reference these pieces when writing their articles.
- Sites with high E-E-A-T commonly feature several authors that have enormous reputations and trustworthiness and are considered some of the best experts in the field
- Not only do these pages have trustworthy content, but they often publish original research
- One of the better ways to establish an authoritative site is by checking how often it’s quoted by other sources
In most cases, getting the highest E-E-A-T score requires years and years of dedication (for the website).
5 Methods to increase your E-E-A-T
Although getting a high E-E-A-T takes time and effort, there are ways to expedite the process with smart content marketing strategies. Here are a few tricks that can help you boost the quality of your content, but also overall website authority.
1. Feature top-tier authors
Featuring elite writers is easier said than done. Industry experts are generally unwilling to contribute to unknown sites unless they’re paid handsomely, or there’s a personal connection with the blog owners or employees. Still, there are a few tricks you can implement to attract these content creators:
- Perhaps the best way for a low-quality site to feature top content creators is through connections. Create social media groups, forums, and other platforms geared toward industry professionals. Alternatively, you can contact writers via email or social media messages. After spending some time to get acquainted with a person, ask them to guest post on your blog
- Create content that’s inviting for top-tier experts, or that presumes their participation. Some of the best examples are interviews, event-related posts, and roundups, where reputable content creator can share their opinion with your audience. The best thing yet, they don’t have to spend time writing the actual piece
- Incentivize reputable writers to participate in your blog without hiring them. You can do so by featuring them on your website or social media, providing do-follow links to their pages, or giving out freebies. Although a bit sneaky method, you can also agree with authors to “feature” them on your blog for compensation. They can be signed in the bio but won’t actively participate in content creation
Keep in mind that new sites and writers can also build authority over time. This can be done by not only posting articles on your blog but also being featured on other platforms as a guest author. Similarly, you should try to create as big a footprint as possible on third-party sites and social media.
That way, you don’t have to rely on external writers to boost the site’s E-E-A-T.
2. Focus your content
Sites that write about lots of different topics will inherently have a lower rating because a person can’t be an expert on all these subjects. So, a good way to internally improve a website’s scores is by focusing on similar topics.
Keep in mind that you don’t have to be too restrictive when focusing your posts. For example, if you’re covering an industry with lots of subcategories, such as digital marketing, it’s normal that you’ll eventually cover SEO, SMM, content marketing, and a few other topics. Similarly, if you have a biology website, it’s normal to write about different flora and fauna.
However, if you’re focusing on dogs, it’s somewhat expected that you won’t stray too much from the main topic. Although deciding whether the content is relevant or irrelevant is sometimes hard, you should always start by asking yourself the question, “How will my audience react?”
As you write more and more on related topics, Google’s raters will slowly perceive your pieces as relevant, perceiving you as an expert source.
3. Reference studies and top-tier experts
Based on what we know, the focal point of E-E-A-T is how it values different authors’ opinions. If you’re a new person in the industry, the raters might perceive you as a newbie content creator despite your real-world expertise and experience.
That being said, a potentially good way to fool the raters is by providing valuable information from other sources. Among others, you can consider the following strategies:
- Sharing findings from different case studies, white papers, and scientific research
- Quoting product and service creators regarding product and service features
- Sharing opinions and remarks from top-tier writers
If you have extremely low E-E-A-T scores, you should rely on the most reputable sources and weave your web posts around them. Use as much data as possible, giving precise answers to questions and quantifying different phenomenon and their impact.
Basically, if raters don’t value your theories or opinion, you should rely on available data to provide the best possible information for the users. To further reinforce your claims, we suggest that you link out to the sources, which should, among others, significantly improve user experience.
4. Improve external authority
Most company owners prefer listing themselves as authors for all the site content. This practice is especially common among coaches and influencers. Although this prevents “dilution” of authority gain between several authors, it might lead to several issues. For example, you’ll become the focal point of the site’s E-E-A-T score, which means that raters will monitor everything you say online.
Then again, this can also bring certain benefits. Whenever you’re featured on external sites, make sure to place your name as the author. Similarly, each time you interact on social media, post a forum comment, or tweet under your name, you’ll effectively increase your web footprint.
Based on previous Google practices, there’s a good chance that algorithms rank authors differently depending on the sites they were featured on. If you wish to supercharge the E-E-A-T of an individual writer, it’s best to get as many guest blogging opportunities on reputable sites as possible. As these platforms are considered authorities within their respective industries, they don’t share anyone’s content.
All of these efforts have a cumulative effect, slowly increasing your overall authority.
5. Avoid negative practices
Improving E-E-A-T has everything to do with negative practices when creating content as much as it has to do with positive ones. Not only should your articles demonstrate expertise, but you should also avoid tricks common for low-quality pages. In particular, you should pay attention to:
- Proper grammar and readability
- Use of AI-generated content
- Sentences that serve no purpose
- Excessive plagiarism
Among others, the use of AI and plagiarized content might affect Google’s assessment of web posts and the value they bring to users. Raters don’t want to feature posts that were heavily copied from other sources and don’t provide anything new of value.
If you’re struggling to increase your website’s reputation and trustworthiness, contact MiroMind today!