SEO Experts On The Importance Of E-E-A-T

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More and more in recent years, best SEO practice prioritizes the quality and reliability of online content. At the heart of this evolution lies E-E-A-T, an acronym coined by Google that stands for Experience, Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness. 

It was originally introduced to Google's Search Quality Rater Guidelines in March 2014 as E-A-T (Expertise, Authoritativeness and Trustworthiness) to assist human rater review the quality of results and as of December 2022 “Experience” was added to the framework. 

This framework puts consumers first, ensuring that their needs are met when searching on Google by providing the best result to match their search query. E-E-A-T has become more important than ever before. 

Specially since September 2023s Helpful Content Update which introduced an improved classifier designed to better identify and demote content perceived as unhelpful or primarily created for SEO rather than to provide value to users. 

This shift means that content lacking in experience, expertise, authoritativeness, or trustworthiness is more likely to suffer in search rankings. Even more recently, as of the 2024 March Core Update, which is set to reduce the appearance of “unhelpful” content by 40%.

Understanding the role of E-E-A-T in SEO rankings

In the realm of SEO, ranking refers to the process of optimizing online content so it appears in a higher position in search engine results pages (SERPs). Google's approach to ranking involves evaluating the worth of a website’s content through various lenses, such as a website’s user experience (UX), keywords, and image alt text. 

Understanding the role of E-E-A-T in SEO rankings

E-E-A-T in particular plays a crucial role in Google's efforts to combat low-quality content and the spread of harmful misinformation, guaranteeing that person-first content is getting the greatest share of visibility. Although it is not directly used as a singular ranking factor, Google’s systems prioritize content that exhibits high levels of E-E-A-T after the relevant sites have been initially identified.

High E-E-A-T scores can significantly improve a website's search engine ranking, increasing visibility to potential readers and ensuring that what they are reading is well-researched, expertly written, and offers trustworthy advice and insights drawn from real-life experience. 

Breaking E-E-A-T down

As E-E-A-T gains prominence, SEO and digital marketing experts such as Semrush and Moz have shared valuable insights and advice on how to optimize content according to each individual criterion.

Let’s investigate the different parts of E-E-A-T according to what they’ve taught us:

1. Experience: The personal touch

As early 2005, Google employed Search Quality Raters to evaluate the performance of its algorithm, but their guidelines didn’t reference E-A-T until 2014. Then in late 2022, the concept was later expanded to E-E-A-T, with the addition of an extra 'E' for experience.

This new addition represents the importance of personal experience in content creation. For instance, a health and wellness website should choose to feature articles written by professionals with firsthand experience in the topics discussed, such as certified nutritionists or personal trainers. 

It’s worth noting that people trust user reviews more than they trust what brands say about themselves, so a key component of utilizing experience in your content is by showcasing the feelings of real customers and clients.

Whether it’s for content creators or agency marketing, this approach makes the content more relatable and trustworthy to readers, producing material that is not only informative but also deeply rooted in practical knowledge and firsthand understanding. 

2. Expertise: Demonstrating in-depth knowledge

Depth of knowledge is another crucial factor in getting content recognized by Google. Superficial articles that only scratch the surface of a topic are less likely to rank well compared to in-depth analyses from authors with credentials to speak on a particular subject - such as having a degree in Mathematics for a math based blog.

Content that covers topics comprehensively, offering new insights or presenting complex information in an accessible way, tends to perform better in search engine rankings. This level of expertise is particularly relevant for content related to so-called "Your Money or Your Life" (YMYL) topics, which are identified by their potential to affect an individual's health, financial well-being, safety, or societal welfare, in which case you need to prove to the search engine that you are credible to talk about such topics.

Furthermore, verified credentials from trusted sources and proof of endorsements from other relevant websites help Google’s Quality Raters to identify the experts and will add to a site’s overall reputation as a legitimate source of information. 

Expertise: Demonstrating in-depth knowledge

3. Authoritativeness: Promoting credibility

Where expertise is all about proving yourself as an expert in your field, authoritativeness is about the readers recognizing you as an expert. Creating authoritative content is thus a nuanced process, hinging on the credibility and recognition of both the information presented and its creators.

Collaborating with other experts and contributing guest posts to esteemed publications are noteworthy strategies, but cultivating an authoritative presence is largely based on the quality and quantity of third-party websites that link to your site, also known as link-building.

This doesn’t always have to be a link itself, even just a mention of your product or brand name will add to Google’s view of your authoritativeness. This practice signals to both users and search engines that the content is not only valuable but also recognized and validated by other reputable voices in the field. Authoritativeness, therefore, is not just about what you know, but how that knowledge is acknowledged and respected by the audience at large.

4. Trustworthiness: Safe to scroll

Ultimately, trust is E-E-A-T’s most important aspect, and the three others all feed into the process of gaining the customer’s trust. Content doesn’t necessarily have to do all four things; some might show expertise and others might show experience, but trust is always key.

Google themselves state:

“Trust is the most important member of the E-E-A-T family because untrustworthy pages have low E-E-A-T no matter how Experienced, Expert, or Authoritative they may seem.”

A trustworthy site is one that prioritizes user security, ensuring that all data transmissions are encrypted and user privacy is respected. Similarly, user experience (UX) is also valued in E-E-A-T metrics, so if a website has so many adverts that they block the actual content, this will lose the site UX points and it will rank lower. 

Clarity of authorship, with explicit detailing of authors' credentials and expertise, also reinforces the content’s trustworthiness. Moreover, the intent behind the content must be clear, avoiding any potential for misunderstanding or misinterpretation. For example, if your website publishes reviews, make sure they are represented accurately, displaying the full range of your feedback, not hiding any negative ones.

Implementing E-E-A-T for SEO and digital marketing success

Now that we’ve outlined each principle of E-E-A-T, let’s look at how they can be used in a practical context.

Implementing E-E-A-T for SEO and digital marketing success

Here's how businesses and content creators have effectively incorporated E-E-A-T into their SEO and digital marketing strategies:

Experience: User-centric content strategy

Zappos, an online shoe and clothing retailer, exemplifies the 'Experience' aspect by focusing on superior customer service and user experience. They have implemented a user-centric content strategy by creating detailed product descriptions, 360-degree videos of products, and customer reviews to simulate an in-store shopping experience online.

Results: This approach not only improved their SEO rankings by increasing user engagement and time spent on the site but also significantly boosted their conversion rates. The commitment to user experience has helped Zappos to establish a loyal customer base, leading to repeat purchases and positive word-of-mouth marketing.

Expertise: Healthline's medical content

Healthline demonstrates expertise by ensuring that all their medical articles and health advice are written or reviewed by certified health professionals. This commitment to accuracy and relevance in their content has positioned Healthline as one of the internet’s most trusted sources for health information, becoming a top result for health related searches in the US and UK.

Results: Healthline’s adherence to medical guidelines and factual accuracy continues to improve their E-E-A-T score, enhancing their visibility on search engine results pages (SERPs) for health-related queries.

Authoritativeness: Moz's SEO guide

Moz is an SEO software company that has established itself as a leading authority in the SEO industry. Their "Beginner's Guide to SEO" is a comprehensive resource that has been widely cited and linked more than 102,000 times to by numerous SEO professionals and websites.

Results: By providing a valuable resource that has become a go-to guide for SEO, Moz has significantly increased its domain rating to a score of 91/100 . This will not only improve their rankings for relevant keywords but also position Moz as a leader in the SEO space, driving traffic, subscriptions, and business leads.

Authoritativeness: Moz's SEO guide

Trustworthiness: Wikipedia's citation and editing policy

Wikipedia, ensures trustworthiness through a rigorous citation and editing policy. Editors are required to provide reliable sources for the information they contribute and articles frequently undergo scrutiny by a vast community of volunteers.

Results: This model has allowed Wikipedia to become one of the most visited websites in the world, with a high level of trust among users for providing accurate information. Despite its open-editing model, the emphasis on citations and the community's commitment to accuracy have made Wikipedia a trusted resource in SERPs.

E-E-A-T continues to grow in importance

SEO and digital marketing is increasingly showing preference for content that not only informs but also inspires trust by demonstrating experience, expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness. 

By incorporating elements of the framework into digital strategies, businesses and content creators can improve their online visibility, engage their audiences more deeply, and achieve greater online success ranking higher on Google.

As we move forward, the importance of E-E-A-T is only set to increase in alignment with Google’s ever evolving, sophisticated algorithms constantly strengthening the importance of high quality content. So, if creating the best possible, reader first content isn’t your biggest SEO priority, hopefully now you can strengthen your ranking potential confidently.

About the author 

Peter Keszegh

Most people write this part in the third person but I won't. You're at the right place if you want to start or grow your online business. When I'm not busy scaling up my own or other people' businesses, you'll find me trying out new things and discovering new places. Connect with me on Facebook, just let me know how I can help.

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