As you may know, the E-E-A-T acronym stands for Experience, Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness.
Google coined the phrase, originally as E-A-T, before updating it by adding the additional “E” for experience at the end of 2022. These search quality rater guidelines act as a filter that the search engine uses to help decide what content is the best to provide in answer to a search query.
E-E-A-T may feel like a barrier that is getting in the way of your content marketing process. However, it can also be a great tool when creating your website’s content. Rather than struggle against the current, use Google’s E-E-A-T guidelines to help your marketing collateral stand out in a sea of sub-part alternative content.
Here are a few tips to help you get started.
1. (Continue to) Focus on the Reader, Not the Search Engine
E-E-A-T pushes content creators to make informative, quality content that focuses on user experience. That means the content can’t be overtly tailored to keywords and link-building strategies if it sacrifices readability and authority.
Do those classic search engine optimization staples still matter? Yes — at least for now. And you don’t want to throw in the towel when it comes to keywords and linking strategies.
That said, it has also always been an SEO truth that you should focus on the reader over the search engine. This was the case even when keywords and links were a critical ranking factor on SERPs. Google is simply increasing the emphasis on that human-centric user focus for each search result.
The search engine giant has made it clear that its goal is to provide genuine, unique, and insightful content to its users. This makes creating content for those users a top priority. Make sure it is a central part of your content strategy.
2. Understand the Difference Between Experience and Expertise
Experience and expertise are two distinct terms. They are similar but different — and Google wouldn’t have gone to all the trouble of creating a grammatically odd acronym if they were talking about the same thing. This makes it important to consider both “E’s” as you comb over your site, consider page quality, write emails, post on social media, and so on.
The Cambridge Dictionary defines experience as “(the process of getting) knowledge or skill from doing, seeing, or feeling things.” It defines expertise as “a high level of knowledge or skill.”
Consider how these two elements independently impact the creation of high-quality content. For instance, if a freshly graduated engineer is present at a software development conference, they have experience of that specific event.
However, they don’t have expertise due to the lack of deeper knowledge or skills that come from protracted hands-on experience in their field. Experience and expertise are important — and Google wants both. Make sure to take them into account as you build your content strategies.
Unsure how to do that? Try working with an SME…
3. Work With SMEs to Deepen Your Content Quality
The addition of the new “E” for experience is Google’s message to the content creation world that they want personal experience to factor into the mix. Whenever a content creator sits down to develop something, they must consider how they can weave first-hand experience into the content they’re creating.
This isn’t always possible from a first-person perspective. However, you can supplement the creation process by going to a qualified third party, something referred to as a subject matter expert or “SME.”
Look for qualified individuals who can offer direct examples and personal experiences to add depth and color to your content. If you’re creating YMYL (your money, your life) content, an SME can be invaluable. It allows you to infuse their insightful opinions and input into your content as a way that reinforces its credibility.
Keep in mind an individual can be directly and indirectly experienced to fill the role of an SME. For example, if you’re writing an article about robotics in surgery, you could ask a surgeon a few questions …or you could ask a software engineer. Both can provide qualified, nuanced insights that can bring your content to life and provide genuine value for your readers.
4. Pick Your Swim Lane and Stay in It
Websites that focus on more than one topic rarely succeeded in the past. With E-E-A-T principles, they’re even less likely to thrive.
This means it’s important to resist the urge to spread your content eggs out into different topical baskets. That isn’t a viable safety net in an E-E-A-T world. It can water down your content’s potency and prevent a content creator from digging deeper into each subject you cover.
Instead, pinpoint the subjects that truly define your brand. Build content clusters around themes that you want your brand to be known for, and then stick pretty close to those topics.
This gives you a better chance of owning those areas. It helps you build topical authority where it counts and signals to Google what you are an expert on within the E-E-A-T framework.
Working With E-E-A-T (Not Against It) to Create Good Content
E-E-A-T is more than a buzzword. It is a central part of Google’s quality rater guidelines. The search engine expects each search quality rater to adhere to those recommendations when rating content.
This makes E-E-A-T a necessary item to work into the content creation process. The good news is that by investing in following E-E-A-T guidelines, you can only make your content better for your audience.
So consider the recommendations above and compare them to your current process. Maybe hire a SEO agency that can help develop your main content strategy. Where can you up the ante? What areas of experience and expertise can you draw from within or around your brand? Use the answers to take your content to the next level.