Everything You Need to Know About Google's EEAT Model
The world of SEO is constantly evolving. Although there are tried and true best practices to follow, you risk being left behind when you don't stay on top of the latest trends. To stay relevant and rank higher on search engines, you'll need to take some key steps — but where do you start?
Is Your Site Meeting Google’s Standards?
Trying to decipher Google's ranking algorithm can be tricky. However, Google does offer some clues, such as its Search Quality Evaluator Guidelines, which the search engine giant updated last year. In these guidelines, you'll find three key concepts — EEAT, YMYL, and beneficial purpose. These concepts provide insight into what Google looks for when determining the quality of web pages.
Since its release in 2015, the “Search Quality Evaluator Guidelines" page has been updated only. a handful of times, with the most recent change coming in December 2022. The last revision may have looked minor at first glance, but it demonstrates continued evolution of an SEO strategy you can't afford to ignore.
Explaining The E-E-A-T Model
E-E-A-T is an acronym that stands for Experience, Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness.
This model represents one of the best approaches when aiming to rank better in Google. The December 2022 update turned the long-standing E-A-T model into E-E-A-T, adding an additional “E” to emphasize the importance of demonstrating first-hand experience when creating content.
The Double-E-A-T model is one of the most important factors in determining Page Quality, a rating that also considers:
Once it is determined that a page has a "beneficial purpose," meaning the page was created to help users, the level of E-E-A-T is considered. This step is used to determine whether the content falls under the “Your Money or Your Life” (YMYL) umbrella. This type of content, if presented untruthfully, inaccurately, or deceptively, could have a direct effect on the reader's health, safety, happiness, or finances. Because of that, Google takes YMYL content very seriously.
Of course, if you are an expert on a topic, you’ll need to write YMYL content to demonstrate and share that expertise. Within Google’s guidelines, there are notes covering the topics that require E-E-A-T. If you cover any of the following topics, you need to have specialized expertise:
Journalistic news articles
Informational content on scientific topics
Advice pages that cover "high-stakes" topics, such as parenting or home renovations
Hobby pages that require expertise and a specific skill set, such as playing an instrument or photography
When writing this type of content, pages need to contain the highest levels of E-E-A-T. And, even if your content is non-YMYL, it’s still an important model to consider when optimizing your content for search visibility. So, let's break Double-E-A-T down to better understand how this acronym affects your ranking.
The addition of “Experience” to Google’s E-E-A-T model implores writers and publishers to ask themselves: Does the content we’re sharing demonstrate that it was produced with someone who holds first-hand experience in this topic area?
Google’s guidelines provide the following examples of what constitutes experience:
In this same section, Google’s guidelines go on to describe a situation where a person looking for information on filing their taxes would want to see content produced by a tax expert. More interestingly, they also provide the example of a user searching for tax prep software, in which case user-generated content from a forum where the software is being discussed may be more valuable.
Expertise goes hand-in-hand with the next two components of E-E-A-T — authoritativeness, and trustworthiness.
When determining expertise, Google focuses on the creator of the main content on the page. Is the creator an expert on the topics covered? Do they have credentials to back up the information they speak about? These are the types of questions you need to consider. However, according to the latest guideline changes, Google makes exceptions for "everyday expertise."
This means that Google can still consider you an expert, even if you have had no formal education or training. In this case, you will need to showcase relevant life experiences. The standard for being an expert comes down to the topic. For example, if you write restaurant reviews and are someone who loves food, visiting a range of restaurants frequently would showcase everyday expertise.
Related: How to Find the Right Subject Matter Expert for Your Content Marketing Needs
Basically, to hold expertise, you need to be knowledgeable or skillful in a particular area. That expertise should then be demonstrated by incorporating your specific experiences where it’s relevant in the content you’re sharing.
The level of authoritativeness depends on the main content creator, as well as the website. When you are an expert, you develop authoritativeness. Meaning people tend to know you and look to you as a leader in your industry.
When you regularly publish content that is engaging and valuable, people will come to you when they are interested in learning more about the topics you discuss. This is also how you grow your email list — which is one of many powerful digital marketing strategies that is fed by, and feeds back into, your site’s authority.
When you are an authoritative brand, people turn to you as a reliable source of information. For example, if you own a nutrition blog, your certifications, industry expertise, and demonstration of first-hand experience in this area will help you position yourself as an authority.
Trustworthiness is another aspect of the Double-E-A-T model that refers to the main content creator, as well as the website and content displayed. To be a trustworthy expert, you need to become a source that people trust. The content you publish needs to be accurate and honest. Remember, you have a responsibility to provide correct information — especially when that information could directly influence someone's well-being and overall life.
The innerworkings of the incredibly complicated search ranking algorithms are a mystery to everyone, even engineers at Google itself, so it’s difficult to say exactly how Google evaluates trustworthiness. It’s possible that your site will be considered slightly more trustworthy if one of its authors has a byline in a major industry publication. It’s just as likely that your site could be considered less of a trustworthy source if its contributors have been associated with spammy guest posts, poor quality ratings, or misinformation in the past.
Putting It All Together — How to Rank Well
There's a lot to consider when you create content, especially in terms of SEO.
The goal is to create high-quality content every time you cover a topic. However, there's more to it than that.
Leveraging the clues provided in Google's guidelines to rank well:
Every page has to have a purpose that benefits the user
Every page needs the "right" expertise behind it — the subject matters in terms of the level of E-E-A-T required
YMYL pages need to showcase the highest E-E-A-T because of how that information can
So, now that we understand what it takes to rank well, it's important to note that just because your content showcases the concepts of E-E-A-T doesn't mean you will get traffic to your site.
You need to communicate in a way that engages people. That way, you will build a following that allows you to market who you are and whatever it is you offer. So, while considering how to improve your site ranking, always create content that your audience will love — while adhering to Google's guidelines.
To create expert content your readers want to read, do a bit of research. What is your audience searching for? During your keyword research, what is the intent of searchers?
There Is No "E-E-A-T Score" — Here Are Some Tips
Although your website will not receive an Double-E-A-T score, there are ways to improve and continually show E-E-A-T to Google. Keep the following tips in mind to grow your audience and continually rank higher.
Build more links — Link building is imperative to any SEO strategy. The more links and mentions you get from authoritative sites, the better. For example, if the Washington Post mentions your company, this will support a higher ranking. Google does a good job of knowing which links count. Prioritize fewer quality links over many low-quality ones.
Update your content — If you're providing medical, financial, legal, or any other form of advice, your content needs to be maintained. The last thing you want is outdated information that lacks any true value. In some cases, when writing about YMYL topics, inaccuracy could be harmful to your readers.
Check your facts — If you are writing a news article, press release, case study, or any other type of content that is data- or fact-driven, the content needs to be factually accurate. This is very important when you're writing any scientific content.
Seek more reviews — Online reviews can help you build your reputation online. Work towards more positive reviews on the sites that matter within your industry. For example, if you operate a restaurant, you'll want to focus on TripAdvisor. You can also reach out to a popular local food blog to be featured.
Hire experts — There are experts available across all industries, ranging from technology to engineering. If you plan on covering YMYL topics, this is a mandatory requirement. Depending on the topic, you can either seek writers that showcase specific credentials or those that have a proven track record in your industry. Writing samples can help you better decide whether a candidate is a good fit.
How to Rank Higher on Google in 2023
To rank higher on Google in 2023, you need to remain mindful of Google ranking factors.
You will need to make quality content a top priority, and when creating content, always consider how you appear to both search engines and your readers. You need to consider SEO strategies to rank higher so that you can increase your visibility. However, that's just one piece of the puzzle.
People need to want to read the content you create. This means you need to write for humans and — in the world of AI-generated content — you need to write like a human, too. Let your personality shine through. Tell stories and engage your audience using those first-hand experiences that only humans can hold.
Regardless of the type of content you produce, it's important to understand the following ranking factors:
Off-page ranking factors are measured outside of your website — think backlinks and the importance of thought leadership
On-page ranking factors relate to keywords and the quality of your pages — think keyword targeting, meta descriptions, and header tags
Technical ranking factors mainly relate to the performance of your site — think site and page speed, being mobile-friendly, etc.
There are over 200 Google ranking factors, so there isn't one ranking factor that will determine whether you have an SEO-friendly website. Optimizing for Google ranking factors takes time and effort. That is why you must commit to the importance of quality content from the get-go. If you consistently produce content that is fresh, unique, and valuable, you will rank higher on search engine page results (SERPs) — and being on the first page matters. The top three Google search results get 54% of all clicks.
Know Your Reader
To excel online, you need to focus on many content marketing elements beyond Google’s algorithm updates. Remember, Google’s goal with these guidelines is to get publishers focused on the user experience above all else. This requires a steady flow of quality new content that’s more focused on the audience’s needs than optimization. Great content becomes optimized content naturally.
Targeted copywriting, which ties into the E-E-A-T model, is a good place to start. This requires industry-specific knowledge and it’s why 84% of B2B companies outsource their writing needs. As you create content, think about who you are speaking to, addressing your targets' pain points and needs. Leverage any profiles and personas you have developed.
Who are there in terms of their gender, age, title, etc.?
How much does your target audience know about the topics you cover?
Are they open or closed-minded? Are they willing to learn?
The ultimate goal here is to spark a connection between your content and the reader. If your message is untargeted, it will probably fall short. Every word should be written for your ideal reader. Anything else is a wasted or distracted copy.
How Scripted Can Help
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