In December 2022, Google rolled out a major update to its search algorithm that prioritises websites demonstrating experience, expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness (E-E-A-T). Google’s update was designed to help the search engine better surface high-quality, reliable content for users, and it’s already proven to impact how businesses rank in search results significantly, explains SEO expert Nick Brogden founder of Earned Media.
Due to this, I thought it’s worth taking a closer look at the definitions of E-E-A-T and some effective methods to enhance your website. By understanding these factors, you can ensure your content fulfils users’ requirements and attains higher rankings on Google.
Why has Google made these changes?
Google has made these changes to improve the quality of search results. In the past, Google’s algorithm focused primarily on keyword density and backlinks. However, this led to a proliferation of low-quality, spammy content. The E-E-A-T update is designed to weed out this content and reward websites that provide high-quality, reliable information.
It’s important to remember that Google is still a machine and can’t understand human language. When writing content for humans, you focus on creating informative, engaging, and helpful content. You’re using clear and concise language, providing evidence, and being transparent about sources.
On the other hand, when you write content for SEO, you’re focusing on keywords and backlinks. You’re trying to game the system and get your website to rank higher in search results. But this can often lead to dry, dull, and unhelpful content.
The good news is that you can write content that is both informative and SEO-friendly. By staying informed about any changes to Google’s algorithm, you can create content that is both helpful to users and attractive to search engines.
What is E-E-A-T?
So, after all of that, let’s get into the details of this update and break down each factor to see why they’re essential.
This refers to the creators’ first-hand experience in the industry or topic they are writing about. This factor helps Google assess the quality of the content and whether it is likely helpful to users.
How to display experience
There are several ways that sites can demonstrate experience. For example:
- Create a dedicated author page
It is worth creating a dedicated author page highlighting their experience and expertise to enhance credibility, providing detailed insights into their industry or specific background.
Image Source: Engadget
Above is a screenshot from Engadget.com, where you can see the author’s name, photo and a brief description of their experience and expertise.
- Provide evidence
Another effective method to demonstrate experience is to provide examples and case studies to illustrate your points.
Say, for example, the author is writing a product review. If the article is just plain text, it’s not very engaging and can be seen to be less credible. However, if the author includes evidence of their personal experience, such as unique product photos or customer testimonials, then the information is viewed as much more credible.
By demonstrating experience, sites can show Google that they are experts in their field and that their content is valuable to users.
This factor refers to the quality of the content and how well it reflects the creators’ knowledge and understanding of the topic. The information provided should be accurate and up-to-date.
It’s important to note that while expertise and experience are similar, they are distinct concepts with unique attributes.
To gain expertise, you need experience; however, it doesn’t work the other way around. Knowledge alone doesn’t grant expertise.
How to display expertise
There are several ways that sites can demonstrate expertise, such as:
- Content authored by experts
In addition to creating an author page for your site, the content itself should have depth and provide informative content that is well-researched and accurate. By utilising an expert author, or better yet, a team of experts to review the content, you can demonstrate a high level of expertise to Google.
Image Source: Reviews.org
- In-depth content
It’s important to use clear and concise language that shows an understanding of the topic. Incorporate relevant keywords throughout and craft well-organized, informative, long-form articles.
Authoritativeness refers to the perceived credibility of the website or content and reputation within your industry. This factor is relevant because it helps Google assess how likely users are to trust the information on the website.
How to display authoritativeness
There are several ways that sites can demonstrate authoritativeness. For example, they can:
- Get featured on other sites
Another essential method to consider is getting featured in industry publications and being cited by other reputable sources through backlinks. This adds another layer of credibility to your content and demonstrates expertise and trustworthiness.
- Cite your sources
Using examples and case studies to illustrate your points is essential, as it can effectively engage your audience. Citing the sources for these examples indicates to Google that the author has done their research and knows what they are talking about.
A great way to do this is by having the sources at the end of the article, with a drop-down box, to reinforce high editorial standards. As seen in the example below:
Image source: Healthline
Trustworthiness refers to the perceived reliability and impartiality of the website or content and is the most crucial factor of E-E-A-T. Any websites trying to demonstrate this should be free of bias and conflict of interest. This factor helps Google assess how likely users are to believe the information on the website.
How to display trustworthiness
There are many ways that sites can demonstrate trustworthiness. For example:
- Be transparent
It’s essential to be clear about who wrote the content and that it’s been edited and checked for factual accuracy. You should also be transparent about funding sources and disclose potential conflicts of interest.
- Back-end trust
Trustworthiness also covers more than just content marketing. For example, Google’s Search Quality Rater Guidelines consider it untrustworthy if a shopping checkout page has an insecure connection. One way to manage this is by using secure and encrypted transaction channels and effectively communicating this feature to the consumer.
Image Source: Semrush
E-E-A-T and AI-generated content
Content that is purely AI-generated can challenge E-E-A-T. It’s difficult for machines to demonstrate experience and expertise in the same way humans can. Google is not against AI-generated content. It’s all about rewarding high-quality content. However, it is produced.
The general principles of E-E-A-T still apply, and publishers should strive to create informative, trustworthy, and authoritative content.
It is important to remember that AI-generated content is not a replacement for human-written content. AI can be a valuable tool, but it is essential to have humans involved in the process to ensure that the content is accurate and trustworthy.
The E-E-A-T update is a significant change for businesses that is definitely worth paying attention to. Google strongly signals that it will no longer reward content written for SEO first and humans second.
By taking note of these changes, you can improve the quality of your website and your chances of ranking well in search results. This can lead to increased traffic, conversions, and brand awareness.
The E-E-A-T update is a long-term trend, so it is vital to implement these changes now. By doing so, you can ensure that your website is well-positioned to succeed in the years to come.
Want more? Get our newsletter delivered straight to your inbox! Follow Kochie’s Business Builders on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn.
Now read this: