The Extra ‘E’ in E-E-A-T

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Google wants the people creating content to have experience in the area they’re writing about, and it updated the E-E-A-T formula to reflect this new standard.

Google issued one of its most critical updates for its quality guidelines in March 2014. Establishing the acronym E-A-T (expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness), Google became and has since been more transparent about what it expects from content creators who want to rank well on search engine results pages (SERPs).

More than eight years later, Google further updated its E-A-T guidelines by adding an extra “E” at the beginning. With the new acronym  “E-E-A-T,” Google expects content to offer firsthand experience. 

Read on to learn more about Google’s new addition to its quality guidelines. You’ll also discover what it means for search engine optimization (SEO) and how to incorporate it into your content strategy.

What is E-E-A-T?

The word “quality” gets thrown around a lot in today’s SEO-centric world, and as a result, the concept can seem unclear. In response, Google established the E-E-A-T framework to define quality and help content creators understand how it’s measured when it comes to content rankings. 

The E-E-A-T framework comprises the following four pillars:

  • Experience. Do you have experience with or in what you’re telling others about?
  • Expertise. Are you knowledgeable and skilled in this area?
  • Authoritativeness. Are you a go-to source of information for this niche?
  • Trustworthiness. Is your content accurate and accessible, with precise citations?

Together, these concepts make up Google’s Search Quality Rater Guidelines, which help the search platform evaluate website quality and determine which pages deserve top rankings. 

Anyone looking for an effective SEO strategy must consider the E-E-A-T framework as they create content.

What Does the New E Mean in E-E-A-T?

The newly added “E” in E-E-A-T stands for “experience,” and though many people undoubtedly understand the word’s definition, it’s important to know Google’s intent behind including it as a new dimension of quality in their Search Quality Rater Guidelines. 

Experience is the content creator’s firsthand or life experience related to the topic the content is about.

Google intends to combat the rise of AI-generated content. While AI content can be helpful in some contexts, some website owners see it as an easy way to fill pages with low-quality content, duplicating what is already available online and often failing to deliver what a user genuinely wants. AI content doesn’t reflect the writer’s experience, so this new factor keeps that content from ranking.

It is also important to note, in the context of E-E-A-T, that expertise differs from experience. The former indicates a high level of skill or knowledge, whereas the latter is centered more around the creator’s real-world involvement with the subject. 

Someone writing a travel blog about a city or venue they’ve never visited, for instance, would lack experience with the subject matter despite having established writing expertise. From now on, Google will consider such content low-quality.

What Does It Mean for SEO?

Quality is a ranking factor that you must consider when building an effective SEO strategy, and given that Google has updated its guidelines for assessing quality with E-E-A-T, you must adjust your content strategy if you want your content to climb the SERPs.

Demonstrate Experience

It’s not enough to show your visitors that you know something – you must demonstrate how you received that knowledge. 

When did you visit that restaurant and what did you order? Do you have photos of the process you used to install that new graphics card into your PC? How did you use the product you’re reviewing? Sharing information that answers these sorts of questions and thus demonstrates to the reader that you’ve done your due diligence is critical to creating quality content.

Create Trustworthy Content

As you develop content, consistently ask yourself why the reader should believe what you’re telling or showing them. Show your reader that you know what you’re talking about — that you’ve experienced it firsthand and have the expertise to speak on the topic.

It’s likely that you wouldn’t necessarily trust a person’s cooking expertise if there’s no indication that they’ve ever put together a meal before. Likewise, demonstrating experience in the topic you’re creating content about makes your content, be it written or visual, more trustworthy to the reader.

Audit Your Existing Content

Even as you generate new content, you must ensure that you’re also auditing the content already available on your website. If you’ve been following the original E-A-T guidelines since 2014, all you need to do is display a bit of personal experience with each piece. If you’re unsure how to do that, the next section will outline tips for adding the new “E” to your organic search strategy.

Tips for Incorporating Experience in Your Content

With Google’s new requirements in place, you may wonder how to further increase your content’s quality and trustworthiness. Here are a few tips on demonstrating firsthand experience in your content.

Show Your Competency

If you’re unsure about the information or advice you’re giving, that doubt will seep into the content itself. Demonstrating your competency might involve showcasing your credentials (such as a medical or legal license) in a particular area, but it also means speaking and writing with clarity and conviction about the topic at hand. Use in-depth explanations and ensure the accuracy and validity of any facts you provide. 

Get a Content Team

Building a solid brand requires an investment, whether it’s for the best Managed WordPress hosting, website design, or logo creation services. Hiring a qualified content team is an easy way to create distinguished content that clearly demonstrates your experience to your visitors. 

Professional writers are experts at crafting unique and authoritative content that answers questions. As they get to know your voice and style and understand more about your niche, their increased expertise will shine through in your content development, further aiding your SEO efforts.

Focus on Quality

Developing quality content should already be a given if you want to connect with your audience and increase sales and conversions. High-quality posts, videos, and images have been a requirement for effective SEO for years. They’re how you show people that you care about meeting their needs.

Demonstrating experience ties into the rest of Google’s quality content indicators (E-A-T: expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness). When you include details about your educational background or firsthand knowledge of a subject, you automatically position yourself as an authoritative and trustworthy expert.

Write for Humans

Keep in mind that one of Google’s primary goals in requiring content creators to demonstrate firsthand experience is to combat the proliferation of low-quality or AI-generated content. Always remember that you’re writing for humans. 

Often, people need reassurance that what they’re being told is accurate and that the advice they’re being given truly works. Likewise, your visitors will often want proof of your knowledge in the form of pictures, videos, dates, times, and stories. When you take the time to share your experience, people will feel more comfortable basing their decisions on what you share.

Remember Citations

Employing concepts into your content creation that you’ve picked up from someone else is an acceptable practice — scholars have done it in the academic world for decades — but it is imperative that you disclose the source of that information to your audience. Choosing not to cite or link to your sources means your visitors will likely question how much expertise and experience you have with the topic at hand and the validity of such.

Citations don’t demonstrate a lack of knowledge, either. On the contrary, they indicate that you have done extensive research regarding the topic, formulated original ideas, and credited others for theirs, which, in turn, makes your content even more credible and authoritative to your readers. 

Get the Boost You Need

As a website owner, you likely have plenty of experience in your niche, and thankfully, Google’s new guidelines will reward you greatly for sharing it with the world. Be that as it may, it’s important to note that Google considers more than just the content you provide when evaluating quality.

If your website is slow or lacks security, it will hurt your SEO and ranking, no matter how high-quality your content is. If the wrong hosting provider is stopping you from getting your content out to the world, it’s time to shop for a new one. Choose Pressable for your managed WordPress hosting. You’ll enjoy infinite scalability, top-notch security, and the 24/7 support you need to ensure quality in every aspect of your online business.

Jessica Frick

Jessica serves as the Director of Operations for Pressable and is dedicated to creating the best managed WordPress hosting experience possible. She’s been using WordPress since 2008, has been in WordPress-focused roles since 2010, and currently serves as one of the Make WordPress Hosting team reps. When she’s not working, you can find her spending time with her family, serving in her community, watching hilarious dog videos online, or brewing a pitcher of iced tea.

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