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It’s no secret that Google closely guards its search engine ranking algorithm criteria. That’s why search engine optimization (SEO) experts across the world are constantly scampering to figure out what algorithm updates mean for their websites’ rankings.

With little clarity offered by the search giant, there was a glimmer of hope back in December 2022 when Google released its updated 170-page-long Search Quality Evaluator Guidelines for its human quality raters.

Previously focusing on “E-A-T”, or Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness, the December update ushered in a new criterion. With one simple letter added to the acronym, it was a game-changer for SEOs worldwide. That additional letter is “E” and it stands for Experience.

And thus began the evolution from E-A-T to E-E-A-T. But what does it mean for SEO, especially post-2023? We take a closer look below.

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Understanding E-E-A-T

E-E-A-T diagram
E-E-A-T diagram. Source: Google User Content

With Google’s constant focus on improving the user experience, it’s no surprise that it has updated its Search Quality Evaluator Guidelines. But what do they mean and how is E-E-A-T SEO impacted?

First, we need to understand what E-E-A-T means in more detail. Here’s the gist of what you should know:

  • Experience: A person’s direct involvement or acquisition of knowledge on a particular topic.
  • Expertise: Expert skill and/or knowledge in a particular field. It may include qualifications. However, these are not a specific prerequisite, per se. Even user-generated content that appears on a review site can count as expertise.
  • Authoritativeness: This looks at how well-recognized and respected a person is by their industry peers, industry authorities, and the public at large.
  • Trustworthiness: The most important criterion in the E-E-A-T saga, trustworthiness focuses on a range of sub-factors that include accuracy, transparency, ethical practices, and user-friendly experiences.

Impact of E-E-A-T on SEO Rankings

And now for the ultimate question: What is the impact of E-E-A-T on SEO rankings? We’d love to give you a straightforward answer. Unfortunately, things aren’t as clear cut as we’d like them to be.

That’s because there is no E-E-A-T algorithm. This means that none of the E-E-A-T criteria are considered ranking factors.

However, what we can add is that despite this, each one plays an essential role for content to be considered quality. And if we take this a step further, why is quality important? Because it influences user trust, your online credibility, and ultimately, your level of conversions.

Strategies to Optimize E-E-A-T for SEO

With that being said, ignoring E-E-A-T will cost you dearly.

But there are some important actionable strategies and best practices that you can implement to boost your E-E-A-T score, which we share with you below.

Experience

Do you have something worthwhile to share with your online audience? Then use your blog to say it. However, one content piece won’t be sufficient to prove your experience. Consider publishing multiple forms of content, such as writing authoritative blog articles, that’s dedicated to your topic. Once you’ve built up a portfolio of content, don’t let it get old and outdated. Regularly updating and expanding your content helps to maintain relevance and grow your blog effectively.

Repurpose it and keep it valid and relevant for your audience. And naturally, make sure it is original. No one, including Google, likes or respects duplicate content. So, whether it’s a study, a test, research findings, or anything else — be sure that it’s your own work.

Once you’ve done this, be sure to include detailed author bios, which demonstrate the author’s experience with the topic. But don’t stop there. Apart from author bios, consider creating author profiles, having an “About us” page, adding a page dedicated to your team, or even adding a “Reviewed by” information, for ensuring credibility.

First-hand experience can also be demonstrated by using images and videos, such as how-to guides or tutorials. This can be especially useful if you want to show how to use a specific tool, be it social media scheduling tools a CRM system, or anything else.

Expertise

Screenshot of an article written by establish expert in the industry
Screenshot of an article written by establish expert in the industry. Source: https://www.investopedia.com/terms/m/marketing.asp

When highlighting your expertise on your topic, be explicit and mention aspects such as your achievements and awards, education, work experience, certifications, books authored, speaking engagements, conference panel discussions, and knowledge. You may look at it as bragging but it can add credibility to what you’re posting online. Include things related to the topic; if your blog is about how to make an app and you have made apps yourself, make sure to mention it to establish your expertise in the industry

In cases of Your Money or Your Life (YMYL) content, such as medical, financial, legal, and other advice that could cause harm, sourcing expert materials is essential. Consider working with contributors with real-world experience and credentials that back up their knowledge to review your content for factual accuracy.

Mention their levels of expertise and verify their credentials. And don’t forget to add them to your websites. Also, link to these authors or reviewers’ websites and social media handles. This is an important way to help Google understand the entities behind your content.

Authoritativeness

Earning authority in any industry is tough. But it’s not impossible. One of the most elementary ways to do so is to earn high-quality backlinks from authoritative websites. You don’t want to focus on large volumes of links. Instead, you want to focus on quality. For this purpose, you want to publish informative content that people will find genuine value in.

When other websites take notice of your content, even if they do not link back to you but provide an unlinked mention (“implied link”), this still adds value as it’s considered one among hundreds of ranking factors for Google. Getting brand mentions can be achieved in various ways, among which include:

  • Guest posting on authoritative sites
  • Securing interview opportunities
  • Appearing on podcasts
  • Partnering with influencers
  • Speaking at or hosting events
  • Sponsoring charity events
  • Creating high-value resources

In addition, you want to provide value that other websites notice and are willing to link back to you. Furthermore, you can build links by contributing as a guest author on authoritative websites. And when we talk about authoritative websites, we’re not just talking about having a high domain authority. Instead, you need to look for websites that are relevant to your niche, that are trusted and credible sources of information.

Another way to build authority is by boosting the user experience (UX). It’s not only about having a well-organized website that’s easy to navigate and user-friendly. It’s also about making it easy to verify the accuracy of the information you publish. What is more, you should also make it easy for people to contact your business by being transparent.

A further aspect to consider regarding improving the UX of your website is to exercise restraint with your use of ads and promotional content. Intrusive interstitial ads are a no-no. Make sure your site is secure by moving to an HTTPS protocol and getting an SSL certificate. And lastly, check and double-check your site for any errors or functionality issues such as grammatical errors or broken links.

Trustworthiness

The most important pillar in this four-piece quartet is trustworthiness. And to build trust, you need to roll your sleeves up. Here, you may have to engage in some off-site SEO strategies, such as incorporating review generation to generate honest online reviews on third-party online platforms such as Yelp, Truspilot, and others and create case studies of success from your previous and current clients. The way in which online reviews is something akin to word-of-mouth advertising.

A growing number of consumers are reading online reviews and case studies to see whether others have had a positive experience with your website and/or business. Resembling a narrative essay, those reviews tell a story of your brand and the experience it delivers to users.With their impact to heavily drive purchasing decisions, it’s essential that you also respond to online reviews, whether they are positive or negative. And you should do so quickly to demonstrate your commitment to ensuring excellent customer service and enhancing the customer success process

But reviews are only one part of the equation. That’s because trust is earned by being transparent with a focus on user safety and ethics. Here, you will want to:

  • Disclose potential conflicts of interest
  • Provide clear Privacy Policies
  • Publish clear Terms and Conditions
  • Provide open channels for communication
  • Share company policies and practices

Future Trends and Predictions

While we have no certainty about what direction E-E-A-T will take in SEO in the future, there are a few trends that could make an impact. Here’s what to consider if you want to stay ahead of the curve, shaped by both user behavior and emerging technologies:

  • Technological advances: In the space where artificial intelligence (AI) is flourishing, Google’s own use of AI and machine learning in its algorithms is anticipated to become even more sophisticated. This could mean that the way in which E-E-A-T is evaluated becomes more nuanced as the search engine giant seeks to make more advanced assessments.
  • Voice search: The rise of voice search shouldn’t be ignored. Naturally, it implies the use of natural language and long-tail keywords. Making sure that your content can be delivered by digital assistants who are catering to their users’ voice queries will be impactful on E-E-A-T, too.
  • Changing user behaviors: Content that meets E-E-A-T standards and offers users personalized experiences and information is likely to be much more successful in terms of SEO rankings. Apart from personalization, there is likely to be more discernment exercised by users in an age where misinformation is rife. Websites that can consistently prove the validity of their information are more likely to thrive.

As search algorithms evolve to prioritize E-E-A-T factors, websites must anticipate emerging challenges such as cyber attacks and cyber security threats targeting credibility and trustworthiness. Implementing robust security measures, including regular updates and secure hosting solutions, and staying vigilant against potential threats will be crucial for maintaining SEO rankings in the face of evolving digital landscapes. Proactively addressing data security concerns not only protects user data but also enhances the overall reliability and authority of your website, aligning with the principles of E-E-A-T that search engines value.

Conclusion

As SEO experts begin moving in a new direction, spurred on by the introduction of E-E-A-T as important criteria in determining content quality, it’s essential to constantly remain open to learning and adapt as the winds change. Investing in quality content will be the key for ranking in the future.

Meanwhile, engaging in emerging technologies can help drive this process. The importance of prioritizing E-E-A-T for sustainable SEO success can’t be overstated. It’s a competitive space out there but by following the actionable tips mentioned above, you have a greater chance of succeeding.

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