Chad Hetherington

As content marketers, we’re well aware of how Google is always going through transformations. Well, at the end of last year, they mutated again. By now, we’re used to it — and in a vast majority of cases, we’re here for the changes! Google strives to provide a second-to-none user experience to millions of searchers on a daily basis and this most recent update to their search rater guidelines adds to that emphasis. And, it doesn’t really change anything in terms of content strategy, SEO or marketing — so long as you’re already following best practices for content creation, development and deployment.

Most content markers and SEO professionals are familiar with E-A-T — and we’re not talking about pecan pie. In this case, we’re talking about expertise, authoritativeness and trustworthiness (i.e., the three fundamental components Google uses to assess websites and webpages). But as of December 2022, they’ve added a new entree — an extra E for experience. So now, the quality rater guidelines clamor at you with extra emphasis as you work through your lunch, reminding you to nourish the body and mind. EEAT!

But in all seriousness, the new acronym is as follows: E-E-A-T, standing for experience, expertise, authoritativeness and trustworthiness.

As Google said themselves, “These are not fundamentally new ideas. And we’re by no means abandoning the fundamental principle that Search seeks to surface reliable information, especially on topics where information quality is critically important.”

Instead, with the addition of the second E, Google hopes to “better capture the nuances of how people look for information and the diversity of quality information that exists in the world.”

Much of what we already know about content marketing and SEO best practices remains true. To have the best chance at ranking highly:

  • Original, relevant content is essential: Which means original research, relevance and topical authority still prevail. This is your expertise.
  • Your off-site, online presence matters: Things like third-party reviews and having backlinks from respected websites, like Wikipedia. This is your authoritativeness.
  • Transparency and honesty are the best policies. Publishing editorial standards and guidelines, and explicitly stating on a website who is responsible for the content. This is your trustworthiness.
  • Connections go a long way. This includes internal and external links, backlinks and more, which help with your authority and trustworthiness.
  • Using the right technology is imperative. For security, user experience (UX) and everything in between, enabling the right technology on your site can help support the other aspects of E-E-A-T.

If you’re looking for a deep dive on E-E-A-T, we’ve published quite the comprehensive study of more than 70 search engine results pages (SERPs). There, we outline more than 30 ways to improve the E-E-A-T of your website to satisfy Google.

So, there you have it. An extra helping of E to support the users’ experience on Google. At the end of the day, it’s a win-win for everybody. Content marketers and SEO professionals can continue with the strategy they know to work, and, over time, users will be served with more valuable, relevant and high-quality content.

Changes to Google’s algorithm are inevitable, and so, too, are our updates that analyze them and provide information for transforming your content strategy accordingly. So, check back here often, or whenever news breaks of a new change, to stay up to date.