Google rolled out an update to their search quality rater guidelines in December 2022. One of the most significant changes that impacts content creators is that EAT has been reincarnated as EEAT. Read on as Imperial Rank SEO explains the full Google E-E-A-T guidelines and their implications for content creation.
What Does EEAT stand for?
EEAT is an acronym for Experience, Expertise, Authoritativeness and Trustworthiness. As Google revealed many times, including in last years August 22 update, it favours ‘people-first’ content over ‘SEO-first’ content. When evaluating your content, Google’s raters will look at how helpful it is for viewers. Does the author have the relevant experience and expertise to advise others on the topic? Is your website an authority on that subject and trustworthy?
Understanding these updates is a key step in producing content that users, and ultimately Google, enjoy reading. We’ve done some of the work for you by reading through all 176 pages of Google SEO Updates 2022 and pulling out the crucial elements that everyone involved in content creation needs to know.
Key Google E-E-A-T Takeaways for Content Creators
These are the most important updates to Google’s search quality rater guidelines for content creation:
- The focus on ‘people-first’ content that is helpful and useful to readers (this isn’t hot-off-the-press or unique to the Google EAT algorithm update; Google has already been concentrating on this for a while, but it’s so vital that we’re mentioning it again in this article)
- The addition of ‘originality’ when assessing the quality of the main content
- The extra E for Experience: EEAT
- The reputation of a website and its content creators
Let’s delve into each of these in more detail.
Search Experience (0.0)
- Think about what people are searching for when they type in the keywords you’re including, i.e. the user intent. Different searches need different results and your content should answer the users intent accurately. As Google stated, ‘Search results for [cute baby animal pictures] should be adorable.’
SEO TOP TIP: Doing an incognito search of your main keywords can help you figure out the user’s intent when they search for those particular terms. See what kind of pages are ranking in the top few results. Are they blogs with informational content or sales pages intended for people who want to buy?
- Results need to be helpful and trustworthy, not misleading.
Quality of the Main Content (MC) (3.2)
There are many factors that raters take into account when assessing a page. The MC – the quality of the main content – is one of the most important considerations. Google assesses the content based on effort, originality, and talent/ skill.
For YMYL topics, accuracy is also assessed.
- Effort: show you’ve put in the effort to create the content; it’s not just auto-generated content or mass-produced by a writer on Fiverr.
- Originality: make your content unique and original just like you. It should stand out as different from other websites that have similar content.
- Talent/ skill: do you have enough talent/ skill to ‘provide a satisfying experience for people who visit the page?’. (Google’s Search Quality Evaluator Guidelines)
- Accuracy: specifically for YMYL topics, ensure that all the information you provide is factually accurate and consistent with expert opinion on that subject.
Evaluating the quality of the MC will depend on the purpose of the page. If the page is to provide information, then accuracy will be a main factor. If it is a how-to guide, then talent/ skill will be evaluated.
- What is the purpose of your content?
- Does it give the reader a satisfying experience and achieve the purpose?
Inaugurating EEAT Guidelines: Experience, Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trust (3.4)
What do you need to be aware of to ensure your content is as people-friendly as possible?
EEAT SEO Fundamentals
Google has stated that Trust is the ‘most important member at the center of the EEAT family’. The first three factors – EEA – support Trust.
- Experience: do you have first-hand experience with this topic? Eg. have you visited that place/ used that product/ undergone that experience? The more experienced you are, the more trustworthy your content will be.
- Expertise: do you have the necessary knowledge or skills on that particular topic? The level and type of expertise your content needs to be trustworthy depends on what it’s about. Google’s example is: ‘Which would you trust: home electrical rewiring advice from a skilled electrician or from an antique homes enthusiast who has no knowledge of electrical wiring?’
- Authoritativeness: are you or the website you’re posting your content on known as the go-to authority on that topic? Are you seen as the expert and the trusted source on that subject? Take this article about SEO in-house vs. outsourcing – the website it’s on, Imperial Rank SEO, is an SEO agency and therefore, an authority on the subject of SEO. Additionally, the writer who may or may not be the same author as this article[#humblebrag] is an SEO expert. If this same article was on a gardening tips site or was written by a real estate agent, it wouldn’t get a high rating for the authority element.
- Trust: think about what type of content you’re producing to work out the amount of trust it needs. Eg. if it is a YMYL topic like an informational article on a medical condition or a guide on Core Web Vitals, it needs to be very accurate. Conversely, a satire article about what the late Queen Elizabeth said when she met Liz Truss* needs a much lower level of trust.
Even if a page scores highly in E-E-A, if it is untrustworthy, it will have a low E-E-A-T.
The different factors often overlap.
Raters will also look at how trustworthy a website and/ or the content creators are. They will check out your website, read your About page, and look for reviews, news articles, or references to your site. They might also look at reader comments on your article to evaluate your expertise. If you’ve posted a video as part of your article showing how to do a certain thing, they might watch it to assess your skill and make sure you really know what you’re professing.
YMYL in SEO (3.4.1)
YMYL content refers to information that can have implications on ‘Your Money or Your Life’. The content in YMYL articles can potentially cause harm to people in areas such as financial security, health and safety, and the welfare of society (eg. groups of people, public institutions, etc.). According to Google search quality evaluator guidelines, YMYL content needs a much higher level of scrutiny than other types of content.
EEAT Guidelines and YMYL
If you’re writing about a YMYL topic, consider what amount of Experience and Expertise it needs.
- Are you sharing a personal story about your challenges in that area? You need Experience for it to be trustworthy, but not necessarily a high level of Expertise.
- Are you advising people and giving them important info? Your content needs a high level of Expertise and needs to come from experts. It may also be valuable to have Experience in the subject matter.
Google provides a handy table of YMYL examples and the Experience and/ or Expertise they require:
More Do’s and Don’ts from Google SEO Updates 2022
- MC Quality: DON’T auto-generate your content without any effort. Apologies to ChatGPT and cronies, but human input is still invaluable. Google doesn’t like unoriginal content, content created without any effort or skill, and content that fails to achieve its purpose.
- Title: DO use a title that accurately reflects/ summarises your content. Don’t use a misleading or exaggerated title.
- Ads & SC (supplementary content): DON’T obstruct or obscure your content with ads, download links, or other content that isn’t beneficial to the reader. It’s annoying and if your readers don’t like it, Google won’t like it either.
- Info about the Website/ Content Creator: DO make sure you have information about your site and authors so that Google knows you are trustworthy. This is really simple to do but can make all the difference. Sometimes raters will give a page a low rating just because it’s not clear who to contact about the website. For any websites with YMYL content, it is essential you include information about who you are.
Will Google E-E-A-T & Other Updates Change the Content Landscape?
The crucial updates to Google’s search quality rater guidelines for content creation, as detailed above include:
- A helpful search experience
- Main content that showcases originality, effort, talent, and accuracy
- Content that displays Experience, in addition to Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness
Bearing these in mind, will online content now look different?
With 1.145 trillion MB of data created every day, there is no doubt that the impact of these updates will be felt in the content creation world. However, rather than changing what type of content is produced, in our opinion, these guidelines will act as a filter. They will help ensure that content is useful, beneficial for those reading it, and can be relied on in terms of EEAT.
When mapping out your content creation plan, think about what topics you have experience and expertise in. Demonstrate your authority, and ensure all the info you include is accurate. Let people know they can trust you and what you write about.
An SEO agency can guide you in building and implementing a content strategy that takes into account Google’s updates. Reach out to an experienced SEO strategist who can help you focus on producing people-first content that Google E-E-A-T will like because the public will like it.
*And for those of you who were wondering what indeed Queen Elizabeth II said to Liz Truss when she became Prime Minister of the UK:
Liz commented to the Queen (2 days before she died), “You don’t look like you’re going to last long.”
“Neither do you,” prophesied Elizabeth in her perfect Queen’s English.
And after just 44 days in office, Liz Truss became the shortest-serving prime minister ever.