Google has made first-hand experience the most important factor for its search ranking by upgrading its E-A-T page ranking guidelines to include an extra “E.” The new E-E-A-T or Double E-A-T is a search rating guidelines update that stands for Experience, Expertise, Authority and Trust. With this update, Google aims to refine how it ensures truthful, accurate, safe and helpful information for online searchers.
The search giant determines E-E-A-T through a combination of the content, the creator and the website. Here, page experience relates to the first-hand or life experience offered by the content.
Google states, “You should consider the purpose, type, and topic of the page, then ask yourself what would make the content creator a trustworthy source in that context.”
Do You Really Need to E-E-A-T?
The E-E-A-T guidelines are especially important for businesses that publish Your Money, Your Life (YMYL) content. This is the acronym that Google is using to guide the classification of pages that impact your health, finances, safety and/or happiness. Sites deemed as publishing YMYL content have been held to the highest standards of E-E-A-T scrutiny because misinterpretation of the information by the user could lead to serious consequences.
YMYL Sites According to Google
#YMYL pages are those that include:
- Financial information or advice associated with taxes, investments, loans, insurance and banking.
- Advice or information regarding medical and health issues and drugs, including pharmacies and hospitals.
- Current events and news, related topics that cover international events, politics, business, technology, science, etc. (although not all news is considered YMYL, such as sports or entertainment news).
- eCommerce-related content that includes product research associated with a purchase.
- Information related to government agencies, law, voting, social services, public institutions and legal advice.
- Content that provides information about people based on race, nationality, ethnicity, age, gender, religion, disability or sexual orientation.
Google says, “We have very high Page Quality rating standards for YMYL pages because low-quality YMYL pages could negatively impact a person’s happiness, health, financial stability, or safety.”
The Special Ingredients of E-E-A-T
Google says that trust is the most important of all the components of its E-E-A-T guidelines because “untrustworthy pages have low E-E-A-T no matter how Experienced, Expert, or Authoritative they may seem.” In other words, Experience, Expertise and Authority are the elements that support Trust assessment during quality rating.
Here’s a deeper dive into the four components.
When an investor talks about their real-world experience of investing in a specific instrument, it reflects first-hand experience of the subject matter. Google then sees this as the content creator having the expertise or, at the least, a deeper understanding of the topic. This then means greater trust can be ascribed to the content. Similarly, a cancer survivor’s journey to recovery or even a recipe for a dish that the writer has actually made themselves will raise the experience score.
Extensive knowledge of the topic or industry, gained through experience, education any form of formal training is held in high regard. But expertise can differ for different domains. For instance, you could be a self-taught artist with several years of experience in creating paintings or having showcased your art in professional gallery events. It could also mean you’ve spent years training to be a data scientist and have first-hand knowledge of handling big data. Here, it is important to remember that the higher the YMYL attribution to the topic, the greater will be the expertise required.
This pertains to the reputation of a website as being a reliable source of knowledge for a particular field. Google scores domain authority on a scale of 0 to 100, with sites that have built a respectable reputation for high-quality information in a specific arena being scored higher. If you’re a start-up or new at content creation, staying updated on trending topics in your area of expertise can help build authority over time. There are other ways to get quicker results, but we’ll come to that a little later.
The all-important trust component is measured by assessing the level of experience, expertise and/or authority of a content piece. Google also looks into the level of consumer trust for a brand, not just as a products or services provider but also as an information source., along with brand sentiment. One way to check brand sentiment and trust is to look at third-party reviews of your business and its offerings. Get customer feedback and make improvements to build credibility.
Page quality plays a key role in determining page ranking in organic search results. Google judges overall page quality according to:
- The purpose of the page (does it help searchers?)
- E-E-A-T (of course)
- Amount and quality of the main content
- Information regarding the site or its primary content creator
- Reputation of the author or site of the primary content
Optimising for E-E-A-T
With Google regularly refining the way it indexes and then ranks pages on organic search results, a regular website audit can be a good starting point. With the latest revision, the value your web pages or content on other platforms adds to the viewer has become the most important factor to check. So, look at your existing and fresh content to see what purpose it serves for a searcher. Here are some more tips on how to optimise your content and website.
Optimise the User Experience
The overall experience of a page is one of the key SEO parameters and user experience (UX) should be the focus of your entire website. How easily a user can access and digest your content, and the way they interact with it will determine the UX. Don’t forget to look into factors like page loading times, security and, most importantly, mobile-friendliness.
Choose the Topics Wisely
Consider what a person looking for your offering would want to know more about. A good way to learn more about this is to look for the most popular or trending topics in your domain. Use this for your keyword research too. While long-tail keywords are a good idea, they should be relevant to the topic and flow effortlessly through the content.
Ensure High-Quality Content
Regardless of whether you write blog posts, or create videos or infographics, quality could make or break your SEO efforts. Remember that Google now prioritises depth of information and accuracy while assessing content for E-E-A-T. Keep the information updated by refreshing older content with fresh ideas. Use the latest stats and facts. And, most importantly, make sure it is engaging.
Use Trusted Links
Remember how we said we’d tell you a quicker way to build on the Trust component? Linking information on your page to websites with a high Authority or Trust score is a great way to do just that. On the other hand, when you put out authoritative information online, other content creators can link back to your pages and establish you as a trusted information source. Educational content and resource guides that offer good value to your target audience can help you achieve this. And don’t miss out on sharing linkable content across all your social media pages.
A Final Thought
We understand that while you might be an expert in your domain, you might not have the experience to create high-quality content across different formats. So, don’t hesitate to invite an experienced content creator to add value to your pages. You could invite guest authors or guest speakers for podcasts. You can even hire a proven content marketing firm to create content on your behalf to ensure you crush the E-E-A-T guidelines without tying up internal resources.