E-A-T and SEO in 2024: Expertise, Authority, and Trustworthiness

By Shahin Fard

Updated Over a Week Ago

Minute Read

E-A-T and SEO will be familiar to anyone in content marketing. Sadly, knowing the acronym – even knowing what it stands for – is not enough to keep you ahead of the ever-changing world of SEO.

The days of low-quality, mass-produced content are nearly over, as increasingly sophisticated Google algorithms are able to differentiate between quick and quality content.

Enter E-A-T, a core element of Google’s Search Quality Rater Guidelines, the reference book used by humans who check the quality of search results. It’s always great to create an action plan after every Google Core update.

So what is E-A-T? How has E-A-T changed? And how can you use E-E-A-T to improve your SEO?

In this quick tour of all things E-A-T, we hope to answer those key questions and more.

What is E-A-T?

E-A-T is changing the way that digital marketers create content as its influence extends to every website across the internet, compelling companies to redesign their pages and provide information of the highest quality

There was a time when less quality-conscious SEO specialists could head for quick wins through the prolific creation of box-ticking, algorithm-beating content. E-A-T is Google’s antidote.

Fed up with wily SEO specialists finding ways to circumnavigate Google’s systems, Google created E-A-T in an attempt to determine not just who mentions the right keywords but which companies, brands, and expert content were most helpful to the people entering search terms.

Google aims to enhance the quality of online content for users by prioritizing E-A-T: Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness. This not only puts a damper on those who generate spammy content but also pays dividends for platforms that uphold the quality content standard.

By following the guidelines outlined in EAT, site owners have the valuable opportunity to showcase their expertise, authority, and trustworthiness. This is undoubtedly a win for those who have stoically been creating high-quality content, even at a time when a quick bit of keyword stuffing might have yielded better results in the first instance.

Google’s ability to rank web pages accurately ensures that users receive search results that effectively address their queries, aligning with the expected outcomes of their searches.

It’s worth noting that E-A-T isn’t a single, one-time update but an ongoing process of fine-tuning Google’s search quality algorithm. This continuous refinement guarantees that page quality ratings remain consistent.

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Why is E-A-T so important in Search Engine Optimization?

E-A-T plays a vital role in your search engine performance, ultimately contributing to higher rankings in search engine results pages. Google’s priority is to give searchers high-quality content that meets their specific needs and search terms, and the best way for them to do that is to rank content in terms of their E-A-T parameters.

E-A-T doesn’t just serve Google’s purposes; the practice can help you to build trust with your users, making sure that when they do find your site in SERPs, they know that they can trust it, making customers more likely to engage with you. Once this relationship starts with prospective customers, it becomes progressively easier to engage with them and increase that trust, brand awareness, and engagement.

Whenever you start working with a new SEO consultant or an agency, Bravr recommends asking about how SEO will be incorporated into the overall marketing strategy.

How has E-A-T changed?

It will come as no surprise that there are ongoing reviews and updates to the Search Quality Guidelines, which will, in turn, impact vectors such as E-A-T. What did come as a surprise to SEO specialists and digital marketing teams was that two updates were released in 2022, virtually out of the blue, which left many websites behind the curve.

One of the most significant changes happened at the end of 2022 when Google added another E to E-A-T: Experience.

This addition acknowledges the fact that while an organization may know a lot, have authority, and be trustworthy, they may lack valuable experience. As part of this revamp, Google emphasized that trust was central to E-E-A-T, stating that it was the “most important member of the E-E-A-T family.”

How to use E-E-A-T to improve your SEO

Experience

The introduction of Experience, according to Google Quality Rater Guidelines, encourages SEO professionals and website owners to: “Consider the extent to which the content creator possesses the necessary first-hand or life experience related to the topic.”

Search quality assessors will now meticulously analyze your content to determine whether it includes any direct experiences relevant to the subject matter, be that allusions to how long you have been in the industry or the breadth and depth of services and products that you offer.

Demonstrate your experience via testimonials, case studies and blog pieces to help to boost your Experience rating and engage a relevant audience.

Expertise

“What’s the difference between experience and expertise?” we hear inexperienced content writers and SEO teams across the world mutter. While experience relates to the amount of real-world, hands-on interactions that an organization has had, expertise alludes to their levels of knowledge.

Well, both experience and expertise are extremely important factors: an organization seeking to increase their ranking in SERPs – search engine results pages – will not only look at an SEO team’s expertise in terms of skills and qualifications, they will also want to see experience – how long they have been mastering SEO, who they have worked with, and what results they have yielded for other organizations and past and present customers.

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Demonstrate your expertise

There are several ways that you can demonstrate your expertise:

  1. High-quality content that covers topical news, relevant data and statistics, and well-researched discussion pieces. Cite reliable sources and add author bios to emphasize the integrity of your content and inside industry knowledge and understanding. 
  2. Demonstrate industry knowledge. Make sure that you have at least one page highlighting your history and showcasing the expertise of your team. Create regular blogs that demonstrate the depth and breadth of your knowledge and engage users via relevant forums and social media.

Authority

While expertise and experience are largely down to the creation of quality content, raising your website’s authority is all about the backlinks. When it comes to website authority, it is about who you know.

Every time you create a high-quality backlink, it will tell Google that you can be trusted – because another trusted website trusts you. The more backlinks you get, the higher your authority. What’s more, in order to make sure that those backlinks are genuine, Google introduced a Spam Link Update, which voided the impact of bought links and other black-hat activities.

The best way to create quality backlinks is to put the legwork in and focus on guest posting, infographic creation, which can then be shared by other authoritative sites, broken link replacement, multi-media appearances (YouTube, TikTok, podcasts), reviews for strong brands and sites.

Demonstrate your authority

 Demonstrating authoritativeness will often go hand in hand with expertise.

  • High-quality backlinks from high authority, high-traffic sites will demonstrate your authority to Google. Guest posts and outreach with influencers and bloggers will help to demonstrate your authority within your, while the inevitable backlink will further boost your credibility.
  • Social media activity can help to build an engaged audience and encourage dialogue via shares and comments.
  • Reviews and testimonials are valuable tools for boosting authority.

Trust

Saving the best – and most important – until last: Trust.

Transparency is key here: making it clear who the domain owner is, making it easy for prospective customers to contact you, and making information about your organization clear and easy to find (e.g., via an “about us” page).

Content plays an important role here, too: make sure that your language is clear and the tone reflects your brand voice. Avoid low word counts, but steer clear of jargon, too.

Remember who your target audience is, and make sure that you are not only telling them what you want them to hear but you are saying it in a way that they will understand.

Demonstrating trust

When it comes to building trust, there are some simple rules:

1.     Keep it accurate

2.     Build good links

3.     Avoid stretching the truth

4.     Make sure your website is optimized

5.       Optimize User Experience (UX), particularly page speed

6.       Make sure that your privacy policy is transparent.

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What YMYL means for you

While the concept of YMYL – Your Money or Your Life – does not fall directly under E-E-A-T, it does play a critical role in your SEO. The term YMYL refers to any pages that “could potentially impact a person’s future happiness, health, financial stability, or safety.” This includes websites that touch on health, finance, or even current events.

Some information, for example, news events about imminent safety threats and advice on how to reach them, is clearly YMYL, but for some sites, the line can be less clear; in these instances, Google’s evaluators will make a judgment call.

For websites that are – or could be – considered to contain YMYL content, E-E-A-T is even more important because they will be expected to reach the highest standards of each vector.

Conclusion

Of course, E-E-A-T is more complex than writing great content and building a host of backlinks, but they do provide strong foundations for a robust SEO strategy. In the right hands, high authority backlinks could help your organization gain visibility over your competition.

But by thinking about your expertise, experience, authority, and trustworthiness and placing them at the center of your consideration as an organization, you can help to ensure that you maintain the highest standards throughout your company, creating a virtuous cycle that will naturally help you to become a leader within your industry.



How Does E-A-T and SEO Shape Your Content?

If you have ideas about E-A-T and SEO that might be helpful to readers, share them in the comments section below. Thanks!

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Shahin Fard on Linkedin
Shahin Fard
Shahin Fard
Shahin Fard is the founder of Bravr. a digital marketing agency based in London. He is a senior digital marketer with 20+ years experience with a keen interest in search marketing, data and technology.
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