E-E-A-T is four letters you need to remember when producing content for your website. Google has actually signaled that they rank a website based on this acronym for every search made!
Many websites will tell you that E-E-A-T is not a direct ranking factor, but this statement from Hyung-Jin Kim, Vice President of Google Search in 2022, suggests that this is no longer the case.
Some disagree with this conclusion, but they refer to sources older than Hyung-Jin Kim's statement in 2022. Those sources are, however, Google's own pages, so it's a bit unclear what the truth really is.
Regardless of what is correct, there is no doubt that E-E-A-T is extremely important for ranking online!
What does E-E-A-T stand for?
The letters stand for Experience, Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness.
In short, E-E-A-T signals to both Google and readers whether the content is helpful or not.
Google, like all other businesses, depends on people finding the search results useful. They are therefore working diligently to make the results as helpful as possible for people. There was a time when you had to write directly to the algorithm to rank high on Google, but that time is long past.
E-E-A-T is therefore very intuitive when you get into it. Instead of learning a bunch of technical tricks to rank high on Google, you need to learn to write to people. That is an art in itself, but at least then you can focus on who you're speaking to rather than an incomprehensible machine.
The concept used to be known as E-A-T, but a second 'E' was added in 2021: Experience.
How to build experience
- A blog post reviewing a product
- An op-ed from a recognized industry expert
- A landing page with customer testimonials.
This content shows the reader that you know what you're talking about and are not just copying content from other places on the web.
And before you ask: Yes, AI-generated content performs very poorly as proof of experience.
How to build expertise
- A mechanical engineer explaining step by step how to calibrate a turboencabulator.
- A programmer demonstrating how to optimize a specific line of code.
- An experienced marketer explaining what E-E-A-T is.
If you're writing about something you're very knowledgeable in, you should be as specific as possible. In this section on expertise, for instance, I demonstrate expertise by offering examples of what kind of content demonstrates expertise.
If you're writing about something that isn't 100% your field, you should conduct thorough research, and ideally think thoroughly about the topic so that you, for instance, can share your own opinion on it.
Other ways to showcase expertise could be:
- Listing the author’s qualifications.
- Referencing sources.
- Linking to high authority websites that confirm a point you’re making.
How to build authority
- Links from other high-authority websites.
- Work on SEO for specific keywords
- Spread content on social media
This is perhaps the most challenging piece for many. To build authority, you need other sites with authority to link to your site. But how do you do that, when you need authority for them to find your content online?
The answer is good, old-fashioned networking:
- Contact existing customers who have a blog and ask to exchange content.
- Check sites that write about things you also write about, and see if they have broken links. If they do, and you have content that explains what they link to, contact them and ask them to switch out the dead link with your own link.
- Join social media and spread your content that way. Be active and comment on other posts.
How to build trustworthiness
- Have clear and transparent information
- Spend time creating an intuitive and user-friendly design
- Ensure that the page loads quickly
- Use customer reviews
- Update old articles if they give incorrect info.
We mainly associate trustworthiness with a person who tells the truth. Using real customer reviews is therefore quite intuitive. But in this context, it also implies that your site has a good technical and design setup because this contributes to people trusting your site.
YMYL: the cousin of E-E-A-T
YMYL stands for "Your Money or Your Life" and refers to content that can potentially impact a user's life or health. E-E-A-T is especially important for sites that offer this type of information, such as medical advice sites, news stories about violence or disasters, online pharmacies, among others.
There are no shortcuts
Just like meeting customers face-to-face, building trust takes time. You therefore need to consistently work to prove to customers that you are an expert in precisely what they need, and solving their problems is important to you.
You are therefore not going to top the search results tomorrow. But the good news is that once you have established strong E-E-A-T, it becomes very time-consuming and complicated for others to knock you down from first place.
Sven is part of the Experience Team in the role as content producer and project manager. He writes about customer experience, content, trends and digital marketing from his experience and creative work.