How to get E-E-A-T on your website
Trying to keep up with Google can often feel like a thankless task. Just when you’ve worked out the impact of one algorithm update, along comes another!
Occasionally, however, they introduce a guideline that doesn’t just underlie all the updates that came before, but also reflects the best practices that content marketing teams have already been working with for years.
The most recent example of this is E-E-A-T, the new update for E-A-T.
What is E-E-A-T?
E-E-A-T stands for Experience, Expertise, Authority and Trustworthiness. Originally just E-A-T, Google introduced the second E in December 2022.
Google launched these content guidelines as a way of ending the production of low-value, unhelpful content. But it’s become much more than that. E-E-A-T feeds into the very core of Google, impacting the algorithm itself.
In the past, many websites would produce reams of content to boost SEO and help improve their rankings. But this content was usually… bad. Often written by someone with little knowledge of the topic, it focused solely on driving traffic, without considering the user, the industry,or the usefulness of the content.
E-A-T aimed to get websites producing high quality content that was genuinely helpful to their audience. It was especially important for ‘Your Money or Your Life’ (YMYL) industries – like finance, health, legal and news publishers – to prove their expertise, provide information that was trustworthy, and give evidence that the writer was an authority on the topic.
The extra E – Experience – was added in recognition that not every valuable answer will come from an expert. Helpful content can often come from people with real life experience. For instance, readers may find equal value in an article about running written by a sports therapist, as well as content created by a fun-runner sharing their tips for beginners.
Over the years, E-E-A-T has become a big part of what Google stands for, with the Helpful Content Update in August 2022 essentially formalising E-E-A-T’s core principles.
E-E-A-T and SEO
E-E-A-T is not a direct ranking signal. This means it won’t immediately help your site rank higher if you have it or rank lower if you don’t. But it is part of the Search Evaluator Guidelines – a set of rules provided to Search Quality Raters (actual humans) to rate websites and pages.
Over 16,000 of these Search Quality Raters run millions of sample searches from all across the world providing direct feedback to Google. They rate the quality of search results and provide proposed improvements for Google to feed back into their algorithm.
Web pages are judged on five main factors:
- Page Quality: Determining the purpose of the page
- Page Quality: Assessing if the page is helpful
- Page Quality: Rating the page quality
- Needs Met: Determining the user intent
- Needs Met: Rating the usefulness
Google specifically instructs the Search Quality Raters to use E-E-A-T guidelines to determine the Page Quality rating.
So, while E-E-A-T may not be a direct ranking factor, the fact that Google has launched it and is pushing it hard, means that implementing these guidelines in your content can only help.
The four areas of E-E-A-T explained – and how to display them
Now we know why the four aspects of E-E-A-T are important, let’s dive deeper into what the E-E-A-T guidelines look like and how to showcase them on your website.
Google is a bit like a maths teacher – it likes to see your work process. You might have great, expert-created content on your site, but if you’re not showing Google who wrote it, then they can’t give you full marks.
The new kid on the block, Experience aims to add some heart and humanity to the original academic-style guidelines by surfacing content from real people with real life experiences.
We believe there are two main reasons Google introduced this element: to tackle reviews from affiliate websites that have never actually seen or used the products (scraping content from other sites), and to combat the rise of AI-generated content.
How to display Experience on your website: Experience is all about user-generated content, so invite happy customers to write content about your products, expand case studies, embrace forums and social comments. If your website features product reviews, create a video to explain why you are a trustworthy reviewer and write original content based on your findings. Or, if you’re Good Housekeeping, you could launch the Institute for Product Reviews, which showcases how and who carry out their reviews for them.
One of the main ways to signal expertise is to create author profiles that highlight the content creator’s credentials. In the guidelines, Google asks Raters to ‘review the information available about the website and its creator to see who is responsible for the website and who created the content on the page, even if through an alias or username’.
How to display Expertise on your website: Create an author bio and link to an author page at the top or bottom of every article published. This author page should explain – preferably with links to proof – why this person is an expert. You can also add schema markup to these pages to help Google identify the page.
Other important Expertise content signals include the About Us page, which should explain why your company is an expert in the field and how long it has been an expert. Third party coverage can also help – if a respected website links to your website, it usually means they consider you an expert, and Google will recognise it as such. Backlinks and highlighting any press coverage on your website are also great ways to highlight your expertise.
Finally, make sure your content covers topics in full and in-depth. Don’t just chase quick win keywords – you need to develop content hubs around core topics to be considered an expert.
Think of it this way: would you consider someone an expert on bikes if all they knew was how to change the brakes?
Authority means making sure that the content you’re producing falls within your industry and is relevant to your product offering. For example, you might run a bike repair shop – but that doesn’t mean you’re the authority on how to ride a unicycle.
How to display Authority on your website: Like Expertise, the best way to be seen as an authority is to produce in-depth, highly helpful content on your core topic. Don’t be tempted to chase quick results by focusing on a scattered bunch of keywords. Instead, take your core product and produce content that offers everything a user would need to know about it. Your content marketing strategy should involve developing content pillars around these subjects.
Other ways to highlight your authority is through backlinks. Building up a good backlink profile can show you’re seen as an authority by other sites. The best way to do this is by creating content that people want to link to. Original data sets, unique insights, thought-leadership pieces – all these help with backlink building and authority.
Awards and reviews can also help boost authority signals. Any positive coverage is great – negative coverage, not so much. Keep an eye on your Wiki page, if you have one, for any updates and edit as necessary.
Show users that the content you produce – and your business in general – can be trusted. Trustworthiness covers everything from the quality of your content to the way you communicate your services to users. You should also make sure that any informational content you share is unbiased. Don’t just answer user queries with the ways your product can help – provide balanced and rounded answers that prove you know what you’re talking about.
How to display Trustworthiness on your website: Balance your content. Using the bike shop example again: if you have a specific way of fixing brakes, don’t just use that one example in your content. Explain all the other ways your customer could fix their brakes.
On top of this, it’s about showing your working again:
- Add dates to all new content to show that it’s recent and relevant.
- Include linked references to any third-party statistics or claims.
- Make sure the content is factually correct and free from mistakes.
Your policy pages should clearly show that you can be trusted to provide a quality service to match your quality product. These pages include your Shipping, Warranties, Guarantees, Data Protection, Returns, About Us etc.
Make sure all your business details are accurate and up to date. This includes on your website, on Google My Business and in places like Companies House.
And again: reviews can be a fantastic asset here. Make sure you’re monitoring all third-party review channels and replying to any negative ones. You should also man your social channels and keep on top of any comments and questions.
Why E-E-A-T is important for your website?
E-E-A-T provides your website with solid foundations. Before diving into fun blog content, you should ensure you website displays good E-E-A-T with
- A strong and informative About Us page
- In-depth and reassuring policy pages
- Social channels that tie back to the core website’s messaging
- Accurate details provided on Google My Business
- Clear author information available on site
Once you’ve got these basics in place, you will start to show Google that your site is high-quality, highly relevant, and can be trusted.
And it’s not just Google. Good E-E-A-T helps develop brand recognition and brand trust, crucial factors when it comes to attracting users and customers. Display your experience and expertise and you’ll be seen as an authority. And as an industry authority, people will be more likely to trust you.
Your digital PR and outreach efforts will also benefit from E-E-A-T. When journalists are reading a press release or searching for quotes from experts, they will research their sources. And if you can show them that you’re a trusted source, then you’re more likely to get the coverage you’re looking for.
Implementing E-E-A-T on your website
There’s a lot to do and we know it can seem overwhelming – especially if you have a large website that you’ve already been running for years. The first step to any E-E-A-T strategy will be to conduct a content strategy audit.
At Edge45, we have E-E-A-T guidelines ingrained in all our on-site content audits, so we can quickly let you know which areas need improvement – and how to do it. Contact us today to help you boost your E-E-A-T signals and restore the foundations of your website’s content.