What are Google’s E-E-A-T Guidelines?

Author: Lauren Halligan - Senior Communications Executive

Date: 3 November 2023

If you work in the digital marketing sphere then you may have come across the acronym E-E-A-T before and thought, what does that mean? Don’t worry, I had the same thought, but after familiarising myself with Google’s guidelines for assessing and ranking quality content, it all made sense.

We all know that one of the most important aspects of good copywriting and online success is SEO, but so is understanding E-E-A-T and the impact it has on how search engines determine the quality and reliability of content. 

Together we’ll delve into the world of E-E-A-T and discover what it means and how important it is for your website and online content. 

What is E-E-A-T and what does it stand for?

E-E-A-T stands for Experience, Expertise, Authoritativeness and Trustworthiness, but what does this actually mean? Let’s break it down:

  • Experience - the extent to which the content creator has the necessary first-hand/life experience for the topic.
  • Expertise - the extent to which the content creator has the required knowledge or skill for the topic.
  • Authoritativeness - the extent to which the content creator or website is known as a go-to source on the topic.
  • Trustworthiness - the extent to which a page is accurate, honest, safe and reliable. Google considers this to be the most important quality of a page.

The E-E-A-T principles were first stated in Google’s Search Quality Rater Guidelines, a set of guidelines given to “Quality Raters”, a group of evaluators who assess the quality of Google’s search results.  When E-E-A-T first appeared in 2014, there was actually one less E, simply known as E-A-T and it wasn’t until December 2022 that Google introduced experience to the acronym. 

Whilst E-E-A-T is not a direct Google ranking factor, it is still important to consider when producing quality content as pages that have a low-quality E-E-A-T are deemed untrustworthy by Google. 

Examples of this would be when the content creator clearly lacks adequate experience or expertise, such as a film review written by someone who has never seen the film or when a website is not an authoritative source for the topic of the page, such as health advice on a cooking website.

The google search homepage displayed on a Samsung tablet.

Why is E-E-A-T important?

So why is having a good quality E-E-A-T so important for a website if it doesn’t directly impact Google rankings? 

The answer is pretty straightforward, E-E-A-T determines the value of a website and whether it provides a good online experience when users are searching for a particular topic. If your content is deemed invaluable and doesn’t meet a users standards, then you could find that this impacts how Google receives your website.

E-E-A-T is most important on websites that are writing about YMYL (Your Money or Your Life) topics, including financial or medical information or current events. Spreading misinformation on these kinds of websites could cause harm to the person viewing the content, potentially leading to them causing further harm to others. 

How do I improve my website’s E-E-A-T?

Probably the most important thing to consider when improving your website’s E-E-A-T is to ensure that you’re creating people-first content. This means creating content that is primarily for people and not to just manipulate the search engine rankings. 

According to Google, content should be useful, demonstrate a depth of knowledge, leave a user feeling as though they’ve learned something and had a satisfying experience. 

Google also wants to know that the author of a piece of content is a legitimate source of information and having an informative About Us page introducing your team or individual author pages is a great way to do this.

Following basic SEO principles will also help improve your website’s E-E-A-T, such as using internal links throughout your content with descriptive anchor text and regularly uploading new content to your website, showing Google that you always have new insights to provide on a topic. 

A woman sat at a table writing on a laptop.

How does AI impact E-E-A-T?

AI tools and generated content have taken the world by storm and this has been no exception within the digital marketing industry. Within seconds, tools such as ChatGPT can create a blog on any topic from a simple prompt. Google themselves have even jumped on the bandwagon with the introduction of their own AI chat tool, Google Bard.

But does uploading AI generated content to your website affect Google’s ranking systems and E-E-A-T? Truthfully, there’s not a straightforward answer to this question.. Google focuses on the quality of the content rather than the means of how it was produced and as long as a piece of content shows expertise, experience, authoritativeness and trustworthiness, then the ranking systems will reward it the same as it would human generated content. 

However, can a piece of generated AI content display experience of a topic and offer opinion and expertise as well as someone who has physically witnessed or lived through an event? Probably not, as AI tools don’t have feelings or personal opinions as they are just machine learning models. That’s why we recommend always reviewing AI generated content, adding your own personal voice and expertise to it rather than just copying and pasting content directly to your website.
Google is always one step ahead however and has put spam policies in place to recognise generated content that has been produced primarily to manipulate search rankings.

A screenshot of Google Bard on a tablet.

Hopefully this blog has cleared some things up for you about Google E-E-A-T and given you a better understanding of some of the things you need to be focusing on in your content writing. Producing content that follows both E–E-A-T principles and great SEO practices will not only help your website, but hopefully help it thrive and show Google you’re a respectable and reliable source of information.

If you have any questions about SEO or producing high-quality web content, then get in touch with us - we’d be happy to help!

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