What is E-E-A-T?
E-E-A-T stands for Experience, Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness, and it is a concept that Google uses to evaluate a website or a web page's quality. Websites that exhibit high E-E-A-T levels tend to perform better in search rankings.
In the past, this concept only included the first three elements (E-A-T), however, as of December 2022, Google introduced an additional criterion, namely "Experience".
"Experience" in E-E-A-T signifies the practical familiarity or direct participation the creators of a website or webpage have with the topic they are discussing.
For instance, a medical website created by experienced medical professionals may have a better ranking.
On the other hand, suppose there is a fitness blog written by someone who simply enjoys exercise but has no formal training or experience as a fitness instructor or personal trainer.
Despite their enthusiasm, they lack the firsthand experience and qualifications that Google values, which could lead to lower rankings.
"Expertise" refers to the specialized knowledge or proficiency the content creators possess on the topic they are covering.
For example, a financial advice website developed by financial experts could achieve a higher ranking.
Similarly, when looking to hire someone for SEO services, you will naturally incline towards someone with a proven track record and extensive expertise in the field.
Here is a perfect example:
Contrarily, imagine a technology website run by individuals who merely possess a passing interest in gadgets, without any formal education or industry experience in technology.
This lack of concrete expertise may negatively impact the website's ranking, as its content could be deemed less valuable or reliable.
"Authoritativeness" relates to the degree of trust or confidence users place in the website or webpage. A legal advice website built by a reputable law firm, for instance, is more likely to earn a higher ranking.
Whereas, consider a website offering psychological advice that's not managed by qualified psychologists or professionals in the mental health field.
Such a site might lack the perceived authority that users and Google's algorithm expect, which could lead to a lower ranking.
"Trustworthiness" represents the confidence level users have in the accuracy and reliability of the website or webpage's information.
You can see how Google is putting more emphasis on Trust by placing it at the centre.
A good example would be a news website run by a well-respected news organization with a track record of accurate reporting.
Because users trust the organization to deliver correct and reliable information, the site may rank higher in search results.
On the other hand, imagine an e-commerce website that sells products but has a history of poor customer service, late deliveries, or not handling customer complaints effectively.
These negative experiences may lead to unfavourable online reviews and customer feedback, which can make the site appear less trustworthy.
Why is E-E-A-T important?
E-E-A-T is vital for several reasons, primarily related to improving the quality and relevance of search results for users and enhancing the credibility of websites.
Here is how Google give examples of low-quality content:
Google's goal is to deliver the most accurate and helpful information to its users.
By prioritizing websites that adhere to the E-E-A-T criteria, Google can ensure that the content, users find is not only relevant but also reliable, and provided by credible experts with direct experience in their fields.
E-E-A-T is also important for businesses and content creators. Complying with these standards can significantly improve a website's search engine ranking, making it more visible to potential visitors or customers.
Websites that demonstrate high levels of expertise, authority, trustworthiness, and firsthand experience are more likely to be trusted and valued by users, which in turn leads to better user engagement, higher traffic, and potentially increased conversions or sales.
E-E-A-T criteria can help protect users from harmful or misleading content, as sites lacking credibility, expertise, or trustworthiness are less likely to rank highly.
This is especially crucial in sectors where inaccurate information can have serious implications, such as healthcare or finance.
YMYL and E-E-A-T
YMYL stands for "Your Money or Your Life", a term uses to categorize webpages that, if inaccurately presented or misleading, could substantially affect a reader's health, financial status, safety, or overall happiness.
These topics are often sensitive, dealing with areas such as healthcare, financial advice, and critical news events.
The connection between YMYL and E-E-A-T is significant. Due to the potentially high-stakes nature of YMYL content, it's crucial that such information adheres to high E-E-A-T standards to ensure it doesn't cause harm.
This harm could extend to the individual consuming the content, people influenced by that individual, or larger groups impacted by the actions of those who have accessed the material.
Examples of obvious YMYL topics include information detailing escape routes for a natural disaster, reporting ongoing violent incidents, or guiding the purchase of prescription medication.
Other topics that could potentially fall under YMYL might involve weather updates, reports on vehicular mishaps, or guidance on oral hygiene practices like changing a toothbrush.
As per Google's guidelines, quality evaluators must use their judgment to determine whether a page falls under YMYL content.
When a page is identified as such, it's expected to showcase the highest levels of E-E-A-T to be considered quality content.
It's important to note that while E-E-A-T and YMYL might not directly influence SEO rankings, they play a significant role in shaping quality content, which indirectly impacts the content's visibility and performance on search engines.
How to improve your website’s E-E-A-T?
There are several ways by which websites can increase their E-E-A-T:
Create High-Quality Content
The foundation of improving E-E-A-T is developing content that is engaging, well-researched, and valuable to your audience.
This means content should be expertly written, free of factual errors, and provide unique insights or information.
High-quality content not only showcases your expertise but also helps build trust with your audience.
Provide Author Info
It is important to clearly indicate who the authors of your content are, showcasing their credentials, relevant experience, and why they're qualified to discuss the topic at hand.
This transparency helps to build trust with your audience, showing them that the information comes from a reliable, knowledgeable source.
Use Credible Sources
When discussing data, statistics, or specific facts, always ensure you're citing credible, authoritative sources.
This helps to enhance the accuracy of your content and demonstrates to your audience and to Google's algorithms that you're committed to providing reliable, trustworthy information.
Here is an example showing that the information is being provided from credible sources based on research:
Create a Positive Brand Reputation
Your website’s reputation can greatly influence its E-E-A-T. Positive online reviews mention in reputable publications, and good standing in your industry can all contribute to a stronger reputation.
Consistently delivering high-quality products or services and responding to customer feedback can help build and maintain a positive image.
Monitor User-Generated Content
User-generated content like reviews, comments, or forum posts can impact your website's perceived trustworthiness.
Monitor this content to ensure it remains positive, helpful, and relevant. Also, encourage satisfied customers to share their experiences, as this can help to build trust and reinforce the quality of your offerings.
Build Authoritative Backlinks
Backlinks from reputable, high-quality websites can increase your own website's authoritativeness in the eyes of Google's algorithms
To build such backlinks, you could engage in guest posting, collaborations, or simply create content that others find valuable enough to link to. Remember, it's about the quality of the links, not just the quantity.
Is E-E-A-T a ranking signal?
While the principles of E-E-A-T are fundamental in shaping the quality of online content, it's worth noting that these guidelines don't directly impact Google's search engine rankings.
These principles are utilized by Google's search quality raters to assess the performance of Google's ranking algorithms, but they don't directly manipulate these rankings themselves.
E-E-A-T is part of Google Quality Rater Guidelines, used to assess the quality of web content. While not a direct ranking factor, it helps guide content creation.
Adherence to E-E-A-T principles can lead to better content quality and indirectly improve search engine visibility, especially for topics (YMYL) that significantly impact readers' lives.