Google’s E-E-A-T Guidelines: SEO Content Strategy Success
It’s well-known in the world of SEO that “content is king,” but as Google advances and launches new algorithm updates, it has become apparent that not all content is created equal. In the early days of Google, content was viewed as a vessel for adding more target keywords to a site regardless of how it enhances the user experience. However, in today’s ever-changing world of SEO, simple content with no added value isn’t cutting it anymore. If we take a look at the most recent algorithm updates released by Google such as BERT, passage indexation, and the helpful content update, it paints a clear picture that the search engine is learning how to evaluate the user benefit of content on a website.
Most recently, Google added another piece of criteria to its content evaluation process. This new benchmark touches on the experience of a website’s content, adding another “E” to the E-A-T formula. In this article, we’re going to explore the meaning behind E-E-A-T and how to utilize the quality rater guidelines to craft a successful content strategy for your brand.
What Is E-E-A-T in SEO?
E-E-A-T in SEO is an acronym that stands for experience, expertise, authority, and trust. These principles are used to describe a set of standards that Google uses to review and rank content on the search engine results page. These criteria was put together by Google quality raters as a way to ensure the search engine values content that serves a purpose to users above content that’s written for the algorithm.
As previously mentioned, the newest addition to the E-E-A-T quality rater guidelines is “experience.” This refers to the degree to which a content writer has first-hand experience with the subject matter they’re writing about. This allows Google to connect a user’s search queries with results that demonstrate a deeper understanding of the subject that can only be obtained through experience in the field.
Expertise can be defined as possessing extensive knowledge of a website’s industry and topics related to it. This can be in the format of formal training or everyday knowledge. Depending on the field you’re writing for, the level of expertise needed can vary. For certain topics, extensive expertise is required because they can impact a person’s future happiness, financial stability, or safety. These types of sites are known as “Your Money Your Life” subjects.
Google stated that E-E-A-T is especially important for these types of sites. If Google doesn’t detect a certain level of E-E-A-T on these sites, it can result in huge drops in rankings or even de-indexation in more severe cases. All content on “Your Money Your Life” sites should be helpful and make users feel safe. The best way to ensure this is to have the content written by a professional or at least reviewed by one before it’s published.
Authority, in this case, refers to a website’s reputation as a knowledge source within an industry. The more respected and reputable a brand or site is in its field, the higher authority it will have. Domain authority is scored on a scale of 0-100. Sites with high domain authority scores will have an easier time ranking for competitive search terms and are more likely to be linked to reputable sources.
Acquiring links from well-respected websites in your field will help to build this authority, but to get those links the content needs to be insightful, up-to-date, and thorough. This is why it’s important to stay up to date on trends and topics in your field to increase your chances of getting these valuable links.
Trust is the level to which consumers trust your brand as a product seller and information source. Having a sense of trust with your consumer base is important for E-E-A-T and brand sentiment. A good way to gauge how well your consumers trust your site is to take a look at third-party reviews of your product or service. Listening to your customer base and making improvements using their feedback can help to foster a greater sense of trust.
Gaining trust for your website is a result of following the additional E-E-A-T guidelines. If you’re creating content that showcases experience, expertise, and authority, consumers will trust your information and brand.
What Are Google’s Quality Rater Guidelines?
The E-E-A-T principles were developed by a network of ~14,000 external search quality raters that Google works with to assess the quality of search results. Quality raters are provided tasks to complete and follow a series of steps to formulate their ratings. These ratings are then shared with Google and the information is used to formulate updates to their algorithm and their quality guidelines. The Google Quality Rater Guidelines are the finished product and provide insight into how the algorithm evaluates and ranks content.
Human participation in this process allows the search engine to keep results helpful and relevant to searchers and prevents AI content from taking over the SERP. This is why it’s crucial for websites to use E-E-A-T as a source of direction when creating content.
How to Optimize for E-E-A-T
There are a few things to consider when creating your SEO content strategy. The most important thing to keep in mind is that your content should be providing value to the user. Before you put anything on your site, ask yourself: What purpose does my content serve? If you’re able to answer that then you’ve already taken the first step towards E-E-A-T optimized content. Other helpful tips to keep in mind include:
1. Choose Engaging Topics
While it’s most important that your topics serve a purpose, they should also be things that users want to learn more about. A good way to find popular topics is by conducting keyword research to find high-search volume terms to craft content around. The keywords you choose should be highly relevant to your topic, which is why choosing long-tail keywords can be beneficial. Additionally, the topics you choose should somehow relate to your industry or field. This ensures that your content is relevant to the overall theme of the site and provides opportunities for internal linking.
2. Use High-Quality Information
The quality of information can make or break your content strategy. As we’ve learned, Google prioritizes accuracy and depth of information when evaluating content. The information you provide should be up-to-date, relevant, and useful to the reader. To keep information up-to-date, try refreshing older blog posts with new details as they become available. When using statistics, facts, quotes, or figures it’s best to link to the source of that information to showcase credibility.
3. Utilize Industry Sources
Using credible sources within your industry becomes increasingly important as the quality rater guidelines advance. The best way to ensure your content showcases experience and expertise, is to have an expert write the content using their first-hand experience and knowledge, especially when writing about “Your Money Your Life” topics. Creating author biographies and linking to their professional profiles will also help boost their credibility.
4. Create Linkable Content
Links have a huge impact on the authority of your website and content. They allow other entities to demonstrate their trustworthiness in your content, and Google picks up on this. To maximize links, focus on content topics that are relevant to your target audience and present the information as an educational article or resource guide. Linkable content should have little to no brand mentions and should stay away from a promotional tone of voice. Sharing this linkable content across company social media accounts will help amplify its reach.
5. Provide Optimized User Experience
User experience is one of the most important SEO principles and should be a priority across your entire website. The way a user interacts with your content is heavily dependent on how easy it is to access and digest. It’s important to take technical factors into account such as site speed, mobile friendliness, and website security. Having a good technical foundation on your site is just as important as the content that’s posted on it.
Creating Your SEO Content Strategy
When crafting your content marketing strategy, it’s important to put out content that adds value for the user. As Google has advanced throughout the years, its main goal remains consistent: help people find the information they’re looking for as quickly as possible. Building your content strategy around this goal, while keeping E-E-A-T in mind, will set your website up for success in the changing search landscape.
At Direct Agents, we specialize in SEO content creation and help our clients create successful strategies that increase keyword rankings, organic traffic, and brand awareness. If you want to learn more about how Direct Agents can help you, check out our full-service SEO capabilities page and contact us today to learn more.
Enterprise SEO Team, Direct Agents