SEO and content marketing have come a long way since the early days of web design and search engine marketing, so staying abreast of the latest developments is pivotal. One crucial facet is a term commonly known as “E-E-A-T” or “Double-E-A-T”, a concept wielded by human quality raters to evaluate Google’s search ranking systems. Initially, it comprised three factors – Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness (E-A-T). However, in December 2022, Google introduced a new criterion, “experience,” to the equation, adding an extra layer of complexity to the evaluation process. As marketing professionals, it’s imperative to comprehend the significance of this evolution and how it impacts our SEO strategies.
The Value of Experience in E-E-A-T
The “E” in E-E-A-T, which stands for “experience,” signifies firsthand or life experience in the subject matter. In essence, Google now rewards content creators with genuine experience with the topics they’re addressing. This has far-reaching implications for content creators and marketers.
For instance, if an author reviews the latest iPhone, they should have hands-on experience with the product. Similarly, the author should have personally visited these establishments for a guide on the best jazz bars in San Francisco. The emphasis on experience extends to diverse topics, including personal wellness, business success, and more.
Experience in the Context of Other Criteria
It’s important to note that while experience is a vital component, the most significant criterion in E-E-A-T remains “T,” or trustworthiness. Expertise, authoritativeness, and experience complement each other in determining the overall trustworthiness of a page. These criteria are pillars supporting the establishment of trust.
However, the importance of each criterion varies depending on the topic. When evaluating content, consider its purpose, type, and subject matter. The content creator’s trustworthiness should align with the context in which they operate. For example, a personal travel blog doesn’t necessarily need an expert author to be considered trustworthy, while a guide on DIY car repairs benefits from being authored by a car mechanic.
Distinguishing Experience from Expertise
It’s crucial to distinguish between experience and expertise. Expertise encompasses knowledge and skills, often acquired through experience. However, experience alone doesn’t automatically confer expertise, and expertise does not exclusively stem from experience.
Examples from Google below are a good way of understanding the difference between Experience and expertise:
Expanding the “E” to All Topics
The introduction of the “E” in E-E-A-T emphasizes that experience is valuable across all topics. This applies to general subject matter and YMYL (Your Money or Your Life) topics, which Google closely scrutinizes. Personal experience is essential for establishing trust in YMYL topics, even if the author is not a certified expert.
Demonstrating Firsthand Experience
To meet Google’s E-E-A-T criteria, content creators should find ways to demonstrate their firsthand experience. Consider these strategies:
- Provide evidence of personal experience: For example, showcasing personal experiences with the reviewed product can enhance your trustworthiness when writing product reviews. Visuals, audio, or links to your own experiences can reinforce the authenticity of your review. Source.
- Explain how you created the content: Transparency in the content creation process can bolster trust. A section explaining the methodology and personal experiences in creating the content can be highly effective.
- Create a dedicated page about the author: Explain your personal experience on an “about” page and link to your social media profiles to offer additional evidence of your expertise and firsthand experience.
Is E-E-A-T a Ranking Signal?
First and foremost, let’s clarify that E-E-A-T isn’t a direct ranking signal. The core principles remain consistent with the original E-A-T framework. These guidelines serve as reference points for Google’s search raters, aiding them in assessing the performance of various search ranking systems. While they don’t directly influence rankings, they are pivotal in shaping Google’s broader objectives.
Leveraging Your Reputation
In addition to your site’s content, Google encourages quality raters to look beyond your website for signs of experience and trustworthiness. Independent reviews, references, news articles, and other credible sources can further establish your credibility.
Inviting Guest Authors with Experience
Content creators who need more personal experience on a topic can still adhere to E-E-A-T by collaborating with guest authors or speakers with the requisite expertise. This approach can help maintain your site’s trustworthiness.
The Main Takeaway: Trust Is Paramount
Including “experience” in E-E-A-T expands the scope of YMYL topics for creators with personal experience while raising the bar on topics where experience is fundamental. In essence, Google’s goal remains consistent: to provide more helpful and relevant results by filtering out untrustworthy pages. Trust is at the core of this endeavor.
In conclusion, Google’s introduction of E-E-A-T is a powerful reminder of the pivotal role content quality plays in the digital landscape. As dedicated marketers and SEO professionals, we recognize the significance of this framework and its ability to align our content with Google’s ever-evolving standards. However, it’s essential to remember that experience is just one facet of the equation – E-E-A-T encompasses several factors that collectively foster trust and reliability.
To ensure your company’s online success and maintain a robust digital presence, it’s crucial to excel in each dimension and continually adapt under Google’s guidelines. As the SEO and content marketing arena evolves, adaptability and a commitment to best practices remain at the heart of triumph.
At Dominate Local, we specialize in building websites and crafting search strategies that elevate businesses. Contact us today to discover how we can tailor a comprehensive online strategy that propels your business to new heights. Your success is our priority, and together, we can ensure your company’s lasting impact in the digital sphere.