E-A-T (Expertise, Authoritativeness, Trustworthiness) was first mentioned in 2014 when Google added it to their Search Quality Rater (SQR) Guidelines, which provide instructions to their “Quality Evaluators” on how to rate the quality of websites. In December 2022, Google updated the guidelines to include an extra “E” for “experience,” making the acronym E-E-A-T (Experience, Expertise, Authoritativeness and Trustworthiness). Pages with a high level of E-E-A-T are trustworthy.
It’s important to note that the quality evaluators’ ratings don’t directly impact rankings, but their ratings do provide insights to help Google improve its algorithms. So, what should we do to improve E-E-A-T? Here are nine practical tips:
Creating factually accurate content is an essential part of an E-E-A-T strategy. Using reliable sources, e.g., statistics and original research, and citing thought leaders and other authorities in your content can help demonstrate a high level of E – E – A – T for your website.
❝ High quality main content must be accurate and consistent with well-established expert consensus when such consensus exists❞ (Page 61 of the SQR Guidelines)
Be it an eCommerce or professional service, websites and pages should be created to provide value and benefits to their visitors. When creating content, consider whether it is useful to readers by assessing whether it was produced with effort, originality, talent or skill. Low-quality content like the following according to the SQR guidelines is likely to be rated lowest:
Wait.. Did we not just say to avoid autogenerated content?
Google has formally declared that the appropriate use of AI is not against their guidelines. If the AI content is helpful and satisfies aspects of E-E-A-T, it might rank highly on Google Search.
So, the real question here is how to use AI to help you produce content that is helpful and original. I’ve used AI to help me with some tasks, such as:
Some other search engine optimization (SEO) professionals also leverage the technology to help:
So, the point here is very clear: You should aim to produce original, high-quality, people-first content demonstrating qualities E- E-A-T if you want to rank high in Google.
An ”about” page can help establish trust that a company is legitimate and credible. We should leverage this webpage to put a more personable face to the brand by providing information about the company, which can help create a sense of transparency and trustworthiness. Some information you should consider showing on your ”about” page include:
Once it’s optimized, use ”AboutPage” schema to mark it up.
Figure1: An example of AboutPage schema
Figure 2: An example of PodcastEpisode schema
Figure 3: An example of Person schema
Asking for an expert quote to support your content is also a way to start building E-E-A-T. Many people are happy to provide a quote in exchange for a mention or link to their website but make sure to make it clear and specific about what you want from the expert. See an example below:
”Some hair experts say we should never sleep with wet hair as it damages our hair. What’s your thought? Can I get a 100-to-150-word quote from you on this?”
If you don’t want to reach out, you can consider using the existing expert materials and quoting what the experts say in the events, webinars or podcasts etc.
Another relatively simple way to engage experts in E-E-A-T optimization is through FAQ contribution. For instance, you run an eCommerce website and get asked a lot about certain products. You can create a ”Customer Questions & Answers” section for those product pages and have your product or customer service team answer the questions. This is fairly welcomed by experts in our experience as it is a more straightforward format and doesn’t require in-depth content creation.
Additionally, we like to feature the expert’s profile picture thumbnail next to their answer to improve transparency and trust.
For some content, you may need to gather information from the real world to create truly informative content with firsthand experience. Imagine you’re an experienced writer in the field of taxation working on a content cluster about income tax. While you have a good understanding of tax, you may still need expert-level insights to answer questions such as:
Once you’ve gathered all questions you need, you can then create a survey using Google Forms. It’s a good idea to keep the questions focused on the same content cluster rather than mixing topics. If you’re sending the survey to internal experts, you may even include some open-ended questions to allow them to elaborate on their real-world experiences. Again, I believe industry experts would love to help especially if you credit them in your article.
❝ Sharing life experience on YMYL topics can be Highest quality, but it must be trustworthy, safe, consistent with well-established expert consensus, and speak to topics that life experience is valuable for.❞ (Page 81 of the SQR Guidelines)
As E-A-T has become E-E-A-T, it’s worth noting that personal experiences matter in some topics, e.g, difficult life challenges where users may need support and comfort in addition to expert advice. So, you may find that both expertise and experience can be trustworthy and satisfying for the same topic. Here’s an example provided by Google: (Page 28 of the SQR Guidelines)
Figure 3: An example to show a topic can demonstrate both personal experience and expertise
While it seems everyone can share their experience, you should consider how to show your firsthand, personal experience with the topic to demonstrate originality, effort and accuracy, can an original picture or video help with it?
An update to E-E-A-T isn’t a scary thing. Instead, it creates opportunities for content writing and SEO as Google now considers first-hand or life experience when weighing content. Again, while E-E-A-T’ isn’t a direct ranking factor, we shouldn’t ignore it as it’ll continue influencing ranking.