Unlocking the Power of E-E-A-T: Leveraging Experience and Expertise for Content Advantage

Whilst Google may not ever reveal the ins and outs of its algorithms, it does, from time to time, provide us with some valuable nuggets of information. 

In December 2022, significant modifications were made to Google’s E-A-T guidelines, introducing another ‘e’, signifying ‘experience’. This update underscores the significance of incorporating experiential insights into your content

In the Search Quality Rater guidelines issued by Google, the term E-E-A-T (experience, expertise, authoritativeness and trustworthiness) is mentioned no less than 126 times. This is a strong indication of its importance. 

When properly leveraged, making sure your content meets high E-E-A-T standards has the potential to significantly boost your SEO.

So, how can you use experience and expertise as an advantage in content creation? 

Putting Experience at the Forefront

In December 2022, Google added an extra ‘e’ to its E-A-T guidelines signifying ‘experience’. This change emphasises how critical experience is in any SEO content strategy.

  • “The inclusion of ‘experience’ in the guidelines is truly a game-changer. Sure, anyone can learn and write about any given topic, but it’s those with real-life experience who can offer the kind of insights necessary for making life-changing decisions; be it health, finance, or even deciding tonight’s dinner.”
  • “So, ask yourself this; does your content genuinely reflect a degree of credible experience? Have you personally tested the product, or visited the place you’re talking about?”
  • “Remember, sometimes what matters most is content that features the authentic life experience of the author.”

Showcasing your expertise

Let’s delve into why the breadth of your expertise infused into your content can be a game-changer. It’s not just about impressing your readers but also about providing valuable signals to Google about the calibre of your content.

  • Did you know that in August 2022, Google rolled out its first helpful content update? This move hinted at Google’s probing of content for firsthand expertise and depth. Puts a different perspective on things, doesn’t it?
  • So, why not take a peek at the guidelines? Strive to be beneficial as swiftly as possible by adding distinct value. Maintain consistency, but remember attention to accuracy is not a trivial feat. It’s this level of commitment that’ll help Google decipher whether your content is a product of human intellect or AI.
  • Strategise. Strategise relentlessly. My advice? Have an intricate blueprint for every piece of content you create. The mission here is to manifest that you are a genuine connoisseur. Having experience grants you authority on the subject. The challenge lies in showcasing this prowess through your content, and it’s high time we embrace new ways to do just that.

Give some thought to your authoritativeness

Hold on a second, have you considered the crucial position authoritativeness holds within the E-E-A-T ecosystem? It is seamlessly interwoven into the fabric of credibility and trust. How, you might ask? By ascertaining that your content isn’t merely run-of-the-mill, but a reliable and invaluable resource for users. And here’s the best part: it can aid in enhancing your search rankings and augmenting user satisfaction.

  • “Ever considered yourself to be the ultimate thought leader in your realm? That’s the key – continuously aspire to be the most authoritative voice in your field. What, you might guess, could keep you flying high above (and beyond) everyone else in the space?”

The Crucial Role of Trust in Today’s Content Landscape

Are you aware that the notion of ‘trust’ is featured a whopping 213 times in the latest Google’s guidelines update? Astounding, wouldn’t you agree? For those of us deeply involved in the realm of SEO, it’s a beacon screaming for our attention. Quite indicative, don’t you think? 

  • “So, what’s the big deal with trust? Google, interestingly, holds onto trust as the crown jewel of the E-E-A-T concept. Now you’re probably wondering why. The answer is pretty straightforward: regardless of how rich in expertise a page might be or how renowned its author is, or even how much authority it wields, it’ll stumble and fall without the safety net of trustworthiness. It’s like having an extraordinary writer devoid of the crucial trust factors. Annoying, isn’t it?”
  • “So, here’s a bit of wisdom I’d like to share: Don’t just breeze through Google’s guidelines, immerse yourself in them. And if you haven’t already, why not begin with the trust components? Gain insight into how your content and website can harness this pivotal element within the E-E-A-T framework. Engaging with this, my friend, could revolutionise your content strategy.”

The Power of Consensus

It’s fascinating to note that Google’s guidelines reference the term “consensus” an impressive 32 times. This stark fact underlines the absolute necessity for SEO strategists to align their content with Google’s quality standards. Let me further illuminate this: 

  • Picture this: a popular automobile website consistently made the elite top 10 rankings for car reviews. However, a review on a specific vehicle surprisingly missed out on a coveted top 10 spot. Given the website’s usual stellar performance, it prompted me to examine the review. What did they discuss? How did the competition succeed in outdoing them?
  • The vehicle in question had a unique feature: an abundance of electric batteries in the trunk, leaving no room for a spare tyre. This resulted in the vehicle being fitted with ‘run-flat tyres’. While more expensive, this is an essential factor for potential buyers to consider when calculating cost. Could this be labelled a ‘Your Money, Your Life’ (YMYL) issue? Quite likely.
  • Interestingly, the website claimed that the said vehicle was equipped with a spare tyre. Did this misinformation lead to the website’s ranking downfall? It’s hard to say for certain. I may not entirely comprehend Google’s algorithm workings, but as an auto enthusiast and experienced website evaluator, I know such significant mistakes could potentially disadvantage the buyer or visitor, causing the site’s content to deviate from the consensus.

Commit to creating quality content

Google’s guidelines mention the concept of effort in regards to content creation a staggering 101 times. Here’s what it means: 

  • “Google’s guidelines clearly emphasise that they value the effort exerted by real humans in crafting enriching content. It’s a powerful point, isn’t it? The reference to ‘a human being’ clearly indicates their preference for person-crafted content over AI-generated.
  • “Moreover, Google clarifies that they assess the quality of content based on the effort, ingenuity, and the skill or expertise involved in its production. Their emphasis is on unique content, rather than content that’s merely copied with hardly any effort, lacking hands-on curation, or providing no value-adding factor for the user.
  • “Looking ahead, the amount of effort you invest in your content will undoubtedly play a significant role.”

Does your content meet the user’s needs?

It’s important to create content that caters to user needs and aligns with their intent. This point is reiterated in Google’s guidelines a whopping 119 times.

  • “Are you providing a relevant response to your user’s query through your content? And are you doing so swiftly, or are you making them navigate through hoops to find the answer? Let’s face it, none of us enjoy unnecessary work – and you can bet your users don’t either. So, meeting their needs quickly and efficiently is crucial.”
  • “I’d also like to dispel the myth that effective content has to be long-form. Those days are long gone! It isn’t necessary to churn out a 5,000-word essay to stay ahead of your competition. User needs can be met with far fewer words. Short-form content can be just as effective, if not more so, helping the user to find answers quickly.”

The Not-So-Secret Significance of YMYL

Here’s some good food for thought: Google doesn’t casually toss around the term “Your Money, Your Life” (YMYL). In fact, it’s flagged a whopping 120 times in Google’s guidelines! Now, if that’s not a screaming siren to sit up and take notice, then what is? 

  • “In no uncertain terms, Google explicitly expresses their concern about certain subjects. Why? They’re deemed high risk as they could seriously impact societal aspects such as health, financial stability, safety, and well-being. Imagine the ramifications of propagation misinformation in these areas!
  • “Google has even gone to the extent of removing harmful content. It’s proof of the high priorities they place on societal safety, welfare, and well-being.
  • “If your niche falls within these ‘high risk’ topics, fasten your seat belts. You’re in for a ride that demands more than the average effort to ensure your content is beyond reproach.”

Grasping the AI Quandary

Whilst AI is ceaselessly improving, its capabilities can’t quite mimic human experiences, for instance, reviewing the indulgent touch of a leather sofa. Being mindful of this limitation, I advise against an excessive dependence on this emerging technology: 

  • “Sure, AI can be an excellent time-saving device, but it fails to evaluate and devise an SEO strategy potent enough to surpass a top-ranking, highly contested website. An inexperienced SEO might falsely believe AI content alone suffices, but it falls short.”
  • “I’ve come across several guides suggesting ChatGPT as an alternative to human SEO processes, but they’ve skipped over crucial elements—so avoid relying on those entirely. Challenge everything—as a competent SEO should.”
  • “While we emphasise the integral role of experience in crafting valuable content, we continue underscoring quality information and pivotal traits like authoritativeness, expertise, and trustworthiness. So, for businesses considering whether to cut costs by replacing writers with AI, my advice is, definitely not.
  • “I implore you not to depend on AI to supplant your workforce.”

Key Insights

Let’s delve into how to harness the power of E-E-A-T for your SEO content strategy: 

  • Study: “Have you ever considered studying the fluctuations in SERP across, say, five different industries? It’s an interesting exercise because you might notice a pattern – a change that affects one could soon influence another. In other words, what you see happening elsewhere might very well be a sign of what’s coming up for you.”
  • Test: “With every venture, comes a certain degree of failure, right? And here’s the thing about failure – it’s a window into knowledge. Keep experimenting. Test, retest, and test again. Each misstep is but another opportunity to learn and grow.”
  • Plan: “Sure, your content might be doing remarkably well today. But have you thought about where you’d be 12 to 18 months from now? With the rapid evolution of artificial intelligence and Google’s algorithms, a long-term vision is absolutely crucial.”
  • Anticipate: “It’s always intriguing to speculate about what the future might hold, isn’t it? That’s precisely what you need to do here. Closely watch the trajectory of search and figure out where you want to be when the next major shift takes place.”
  • Competitive Analysis: “Sounds a bit absurd to consider Google as your competitor, doesn’t it? However, to thrive in the SEO world, one must embrace this truth. Google’s SERP features are essentially your rivals. Hence, it’s critical for you to understand them thoroughly across various industries so you can effectively strategise for the future.”
James Ewen

James is an SEO consultant based in London working with clients around the world to get more traffic from organic search. He’s the author of the 100 days of SEO newsletter.

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