A 2023 SEO Guide to E-E-A-T Content for Google
Google holds the content it ranks to a high standard of genuine, helpful, and human advice. They've been working to understand what real people believe is useful since the launch of Search Quality Ranker Guidelines in 2013.
In 2014, Google followed its Search Quality Ranker Guidelines with E-A-T for content creators. E-A-T stands for ‘Expertise,’ ‘Authoritativeness,’ and ‘Trustworthiness.’ E-A-T gave creators an effective, simple way to evaluate their content marketing.
Now, Google has updated their Search Quality Ranker Guidelines by adding an additional ‘E,’ for Experience, to E-A-T.
E-E-A-T, or ‘Double-E-A-T' (Google's term), is a direct response to generative AI. Google will use 'Experience' to identify real humans writing trustworthy, helpful content.
A Quick Overview of Google’s E-E-A-T Guidelines
Before we get into how to write great E-E-A-T content, we will discuss how Google defines each letter. We’ve included a key takeaway from our digital marketing team under each factor.
Google defines 'Experience' as having the necessary first-hand/life experience to write on a topic. The key to Experience is showing Google that you've developed an understanding of a topic through actual exposure. If you're working with a content marketing agency, their professionals will send marketing content to you for edits and approval. This is your chance to add a unique take or details only someone in your field would know.
Key Takeaway: Google is more likely to believe that content without evidence of first-hand experience was created to manipulate search results using AI.
Google defines 'Expertise' as having enough skill or knowledge to write on a topic. The key difference between 'Experience' and 'Expertise' is that Google sets the level of skill required. Any homeowner can get experience tiling their bathroom wall. A professional tile installer will know how to do it right.
Key Takeaway: The marketing content on your website should closely relate to your areas of expertise.
A Search for 'Bozeman News' Will Almost Always Return Several Articles by the Bozeman Daily Chronicle
Google defines 'Authoritativeness' as the extent to which a creator or website is known as a 'go-to' source. A local paper is often best for news searches. A local businesses eCommerce site is more likely to rank in local shopping searches. A search for the best college majors in Bozeman will likely go to Montana State University.
Key Takeaway: Create a niche-specific website with focused content marketing.
Trustworthiness is the most important metric in the E-E-A-T criteria. Google defines 'Trustworthiness' as the accuracy, honesty, safety, and reliability of your website content. Each other metric exists to support the 'Trustworthiness' of your website. Google gives several specific examples of trustworthy indicators on different types of websites.
- eCommerse sites: The website collects payments securely and has customer service elements
- Review sites: The review site provides content meant to inform
- Your Money Your Life (YMYL) sites: The YMYL site contains accurate information that doesn't cause harm
Key Takeaway: Maintain a website that demonstrates the commitment you have to your audience.
The Key to E-E-A-T Content is Asking the Right Questions
Even with the background we provided above, Google's E-E-A-T guidelines are hard to interpret if you don't have SEO experience. Google understands the work content marketing involves.
Flavor Your Content With Detailed Information
So, they’ve distilled the meaning of E-E-A-T into three guiding questions for the content creation process. Creating marketing content takes expertise, even with this distillation, but these questions CAN effectively guide the learning process.
Google's support article 'Creating helpful, reliable, people-first content,' advises creators to ask the following questions:
Is WHO Created Your Content Clear to Readers?
Google states that articles with an obvious author typically generate the most trust in your readers. The primary indicator of trust to Google is a clear byline. Our web design team includes this feature on all the blog pages we develop.
Our experience as a digital marketing agency has also shown that strong, first-person statements that demonstrate knowledge are also beneficial. This aligns with the 'Expertise' and 'Experience' factors in the E-E-A-T guidelines.
Key Takeaway: Clearly state who created the marketing content on your website.
Is HOW Your Content Was Created Clear to Readers?
Clearly presented research and/or processes give your audience data points that establish your content as 'helpful.' Google points to product reviews as a key example. Readers will appreciate knowing the number of products and the methods used during testing. In other formats, your 'how' can look like linking to recent primary sources, visualizing data with images, etc.
For example, we created this article by gathering data from Google directly and other trusted SEO sources. We've also included pictures throughout from primary sources alongside our interpretations of them. Finally, we listed the articles we reference at the bottom of this article.
AI usage is also important. Google has flip-flopped on how content creators should use AI. From a hard ‘disclose all use of AI’ to a softer take of ‘ensure your content is original.’ For more information about Google's take on AI, read How Google Search Views AI-Generated Content and the Search engine journal article Google September 2023 Helpful Content Update – Changes To The Algorithm.
Key Takeaway: Clearly demonstrate your process and research.
Is WHY Your Content Was Created Clear to Readers?
Why you create marketing content is the most important factor to consider when creating E-E-A-T content. Your 'Why' should always be to help your viewers accomplish some goal. For example, we write content that educates our audience about trends and best practices that relate to digital marketing and website design.
Importantly, Google still views AI content created specifically to rank as a violation of their spam policies.
Key Takeaway: Only create content meant to help your readers.
Next, Assess Your Search Quality Rating
Google also updated its Search Quality Rating Guidelines in conjunction with their E-E-A-T update. They've detailed the new guidelines in their Search Quality Rater Guidelines: An Overview and General Guidelines documents. Notably, Google updated its definition of Lowest to Highest quality pages.
To Note: 'Your Money, Your Life' (YMYL) websites often have lower page quality ratings. Google holds any financial or healthcare information to the highest standards.
Google's Abbreviated Search Quality Ranking Guidelines
Characteristics of Lowest Quality Pages
Google defines the lowest-quality web pages as untrustworthy, deceptive, and harmful. Specifically, the lowest-quality pages will:
- Portray direct harm to yourself or others in a positive light
- Encourage hate or violence
- Convey harmful and/or false information
- Use a deceptive design
- Attempt to spam users
Characteristics of Low-Quality Pages
Google defines low-quality pages as pages that attempt to be helpful but miss their mark. Specifically, low-quality pages will:
- Use copy that can't answer the question readers searched for
- Use a misleading or sensational main title
- Display excessive advertisements
- Display a low amount of information about the business or author
- Associate with a source Google views as harmful
- Have low levels of E-E-A-T optimization
Characteristics of Medium-Quality Pages
Google defines medium-quality websites as one of two things. Medium-quality websites offer either content that doesn't set itself apart OR high-quality content hamstrung by low-quality ranking factors.
Specifically, medium-quality pages:
- Have a beneficial, harmless purpose
- Have titles that summarize the pages they're on
- Display ads that do not impede readership
- Will show correct, not fully supported, information
- Display some amount of customer support information
- Must have a trust score that is not positive or negative
Characteristics of High-Quality Pages
Google defines 'high-quality' pages as web pages that do a good job of conveying beneficial information. Doing a 'good job' often seems to relate directly to trustworthiness from Google's E-E-A-T guidelines.
The only differences Google specifies between medium and high-quality pages are reputation and information quality. Specifically, high-quality pages must be:
- Hosted on a trustworthy website
- Created by a trustworthy source
- Composed of well-researched content that demonstrates a high level of effort, originality, or skill
These guidelines allow how-to guides, short stories, art galleries, service manuals, etc., to rank equally well.
Characteristics of Highest-Quality Pages
Google defines 'highest-quality' pages as pages that provide beneficial information 'very well.' The highest-quality pages are the best version of high-quality content, authors, and sources in any area of interest.
Instead of their previous guidelines, Google only provides industry-specific examples.
- News websites should provide detailed reporting on a new/uncovered and important topic
- Artistic content should demonstrate an inspiring level of skill
- Information-driven content should clearly present well-researched content in an actionable way
Finding Content to Guide Your Work
Learning to write E-E-A-T-optimized content is not easy. It takes practice, a thorough process, and regular analysis. This is why JTech's digital marketing team offers content marketing and content refreshes. We take care of your ranking factors, giving you time to run your business.
The most important fact to remember when creating content is that every good idea starts somewhere. So, we recommend searching for the working title of your content or working with a company that can help you.
Next, find an article that matches the most E-E-A-T and high search quality rating guidelines. That article is likely to be a great example of what you need to do. After a while, you'll find a host of trustworthy websites.
We hope that this overview has helped your content creation process. Please know that our content marketing agency team would love to help you create great E-E-A-T content.
E-E-A-T & SEARCH QUALITY GUIDELINE RATING REFERENCES
- Creating helpful, reliable, people-first content — Google
- Search Quality Evaluator General Guidelines — Google
- Search Quality Rater Guidelines: An Overview — Google
- History of Google Algorithm Updates — Search Engine Journal
- Google Search's guidance about AI-generated content — Google
- Google September 2023 Helpful Content Update — Search Engine Journal