In a time when digital competition is fierce and yesterday's algorithm update is already outdated today, staying on top of search engine optimization best practices can seem like an impossible task - and hopes for top search engine rankings may seem less slim than ever.
But don't despair. It's all about focusing on the most important parameters and not staring blindly at the trees in the SEO forest. And if there's one tree that should be the tallest in your SEO forest, it's E-E-A-T! You can learn more about this in this article.
The acronym for experience, expertise, authority and credibility are not just buzzwords but the foundation of any modern SEO strategy. It's a guide to ensure you focus on what really matters: delivering real value to your target audience. And your carrot: better rankings in search results.
So let me dive into the acronym that everyone in the SEO world should have engraved on their retinas.
E-E-A-T (also known as Double-E-A-T) is an acronym for Experience, Expertise, Authoritativeness and Trustworthiness.
The term E-E-A-T comes from Google's Search Quality Guidelines, which aim to provide users with the best search results. In this way, E-A-A-T is inextricably linked to Google's Helpful Content system.
Despite the name, we are far from the world of gastronomy (which is why the word "eat" is in quotation marks in the title of this article). On the contrary, we're deeply rooted in the digital landscape, where E-E-A-T can be your ticket to stand out on Google and other search engines.
The acronym for experience, expertise, authority and credibility are not just buzzwords from a SEO consultant like myself, but the absolute core of any modern SEO strategy. It's a guide that ensures you focus on what really matters - delivering real value to your target audience and being rewarded for it by the search engines.
You may have heard of E-A-T, which has been SEO best practice for many years, but since the end of 2022, there's an extra E to consider in the form of "Experience".
Competing for Google's top spots now requires even more quality content that reflects experience, expertise, authority and credibility in addition to experience.
Let's take a look at the individual E-E-A-T criteria:
The latest addition to E-E-A-T stands for experience and refers to the specific knowledge that the sender of the content possesses.
If you want to appear credible to your target audience, you need to actually have some experience and therefore a specific knowledge of the topics you write about. This is the only way to make the content authentic, as it shows users that the sender actually knows what they're talking about.
Let's take a small example. Imagine you're about to invest in a new computer and you have your eye on a specific model. Would you take advice from someone who has experience with that particular model or someone who has no experience? Probably the former.
Similarly, the sender must have some knowledge of the topic - whether it's from their education, work, experiences or other relevant experience. Just as the sender (in all modesty, yours truly) of this article has experience with E-E-A-T and SEO.
Google rewards the sites that demonstrate experience in the topics they write about. With the surge of AI-generated content, it's important for Google to still have search results that show quality content. And here, human first-hand experience is a key element.
Expertise and experience often go hand in hand, but they're not quite the same thing. According to Google, there are two types of expertise. Formal expertise and everyday expertise. Formal expertise comes from sites that have deep knowledge of a topic.
At Webamp , digital marketing is our expertise, and we demonstrate this through our Academy universe and a case study page, both of which demonstrate our (formal) expertise.
On the other hand, we find everyday expertise, which typically manifests itself through things like recipes, smart housewife tips, gardening advice and similar guides. The point is clear: you don't necessarily need a master's degree or similar to boost your E-E A-T score. It's all about in-depth knowledge and the ability to share it with others.
The food blog Valdemarsro is a prime example of how everyday expertise can form the basis for E-E-A-T. Here, the sender Ann-Christine is really just a passionate enthusiast with a keen interest in cooking, and so everyday expertise was the basis for the blog in the beginning. The fact that she has now established herself as a formal expert is a side note.
Try googling any recipe and I can almost guarantee you that Valdemarsro will show up in the top 3. Personally, I'm a huge fan - both as a SEO specialist and amateur chef.
Authority is very much about reputation and can, with a little caution, be compared to recommendations and reviews.
Many people believe that you can only build authority through link building. However, this is not entirely correct. Authority is also about strengthening your website through valuable content and recommendations from others.
You need to have content on multiple pages that answers users' questions and search intentions. In addition, you want to create content that others want to share and link to. This tells Google that you're an authority on your topic that others refer to as well.
Therefore, link building is of course also an important part of building authority - even though link building doesn't have quite the same weight as it did a few years ago. Quality links from credible sites tell Google that your site is worth a visit and should be higher up in the search results.
When you master this triad, you will rise to dominate the top rankings for your competitive keywords and achieve what we in the SEO world call 'topical authority'. This makes your website the go-to site for certain keywords and topics.
For example, Webamp's organic traffic has exploded in the last year - partly because we have topical authority in digital marketing. In other words, we know our way around when it comes to terms and concepts within our own field.
Finally, it's a wise strategy for all websites to present authentic customer reviews of their products and services.
But remember, only authentic testimonials from unbiased sources count. Taking shortcuts with fake reviews can have fatal consequences for your credibility and you could risk penalties from Google.
However, user reviews not only contribute to your website's authority, but also to its credibility - which brings us to the last letter of the E-A-A-T acronym.
Google takes pride in delivering results that are both relevant and trustworthy. Want to get your site to the top of Google's coveted page 1? Here are some steps you can take to cement your website's credibility.
SSL, which stands for Secure Sockets Layer, is more than just technical jargon. This technology guarantees a protected connection between your web server and the user's browser.
You know the certificate as the little padlock in front of the URL, and websites with these make it harder for cybercriminals to access sensitive information.
It can't be said enough: high-quality content is key. Always make sure your content is well-researched and free from misinformation.
Google's primary goal is to deliver quality content to users, so avoid incorrect information that could damage your site's credibility at all costs.
With the advent of AI, this is more important than ever - after all, who's going to make sure the robots don't flood the internet with misinformation?
Spoiler: It needs a sender with expertise. That's why Google recently changed their definition of what constitutes useful content - including this wording: "Is this content written or reviewed by an expert or enthusiast who demonstrably knows the topic well?"
So it's okay if ChatGPT or other language models have written the content, but it needs to be quality stamped by a (human) expert.
Easy access to contact information, chat functions and social media links can be key to increasing your website's credibility. Make it as simple as possible for your visitors to get in touch with you. This signals openness and creates a dialog between you and your users.
Online credibility is not something that happens overnight. But by implementing these steps, you can be sure that you're well on your way to strengthening your online position and improving your visibility in Google search results.
Mastering E-E-A-T is not just a technical exercise - it's a deep understanding of the quality of the content you produce.
In today's complex digital landscape, where misinformation is easily accessible, Google has strict requirements for content that needs to be in the spotlight. Simple keyword stuffing or low-quality link building is no longer enough.
Instead, it requires a special effort to deliver expertise, build authority and maintain credibility.
Search engines like Google have one mission: to serve users the most relevant and trustworthy content. When Google evaluates your website based on the E-E-A-T criteria, the search engine looks for opportunities to offer the best user experience.
Websites that adhere to these standards will therefore have a better chance of ranking high in search results. And that's exactly the point of E-E-A-T: to ensure that websites meet Google's high standards - and therefore reach users with useful content
Essentially, E-E-A-T is not only a step towards better online visibility - but also towards building a strong, reliable and authoritative brand in a rapidly growing digital age.
E-E-A-T is your compass in the digital landscape
E-E-A-T is highly relevant for all websites, but for YMYL websites it can be the difference between life and death, between financial stability and bankruptcy - at least for their users,
To understand why E-E-A-T is so crucial for YMYL companies, we first need to define what YMYL actually is. YMYL stands for "Your Money Your Life" and within SEO it refers to web content that can have a direct impact on the health, finances, safety or well-being of the user. Dentists, private hospitals, physiotherapists, debt collectors, lawyers and banks are all examples of YMYL businesses.
Imagine a person seeking information on medical treatment, financial advice or legal issues. Misinformation in these areas can not only be misleading but also directly harmful to the user - either to their health or their wallet. That's why Google prioritizes that content related to YMYL is of high quality and from credible sources.
This is where E-E-A-T comes in. For YMYL companies, it's not enough to have accurate information; the information must also be presented by experienced experts with authority and credibility.
Experience: When YMYL companies share knowledge, it should come from people with hands-on experience, so users can feel confident that the advice is rooted in practical knowledge.
Expertise: YMYL content should come from experts in their respective fields. For example, medical advice should come from a medical professional rather than a self-taught quack.
Authority: YMYL websites must be recognized and trusted in the industry. This can be proven through references from other trusted sources, certifications or industry standards.
Trustworthiness: For YMYL content, it is crucial that users can trust the accuracy and reliability of the information they receive. Any kind of bias or misinformation can have serious consequences.
At the end of the day, E-E-A-T isn't just important for YMYL businesses - it's essential. So if you have a YMYL website, your content needs to meet these criteria to protect your users, maintain a good reputation and, most importantly, rank high in search results.
If anything, YMYL websites should take E-E-A-T seriously
Google "reviewers", often referred to as Search Quality Raters, use a specific guide issued by Google called the "Search Quality Rater Guidelines". Within this comprehensive guide, detailed instructions are given on how their raters should evaluate web content - including how to rate E-E-A-T.
A website gets a very low E-E-A-T score if...
A website gets a lower E-E-A-T score if...
A website gets a high E-E-A-T score if...
A website gets a very high E-E-A-T score if...
In addition to E-E-A-T, reviewers also look at other quality criteria such as site design, functionality, the impact of advertising on the user experience and much more.
It's important to note that while reviewers' ratings don't directly affect Google's algorithms, they do help Google understand how their algorithms work in practice and where there is room for improvement.
With the increasing popularity of AI-generated content, questions may arise about how E-E-A-T can be applied to content written by a robot. In this regard, it is worth considering:
The absence of personal experience - AI systems can analyze and "learn" from incredibly large data sets in a way that humans cannot. This gives them a form of "experience" based on the data they are trained on.
But while an AI can process millions of texts, its "understanding" is fundamentally different from a human expert who has spent years studying and working in a field. An AI model lacks the intuitive understanding, the sense of context, the ethical consideration and the deep insights that come from real, personal experience.
Lack of human expertise: While AI machines can generate content based on massive amounts of data, they may lack the nuanced understanding and subjective judgment that human experts bring. Therefore, in some cases, AI-generated content can lack depth and expertise.
Authority challenges: For a source to be considered an authority, it often needs to have a recognized reputation and qualifications in a particular field. AI doesn't have "authority" in the traditional sense, as it doesn't have education, professional experience, etc.
Credibility issues: AI models can be subject to bias based on the data they are trained on. If an AI is working with skewed or unreliable data, it can result in misleading or incorrect content, undermining credibility.
Google prioritizes useful content above all else. While AI-generated content can offer scalability, speed and efficiency, it's important to approach AI-generated content with a critical eye towards E-E-A-T. In most cases, a combination of AI generation and human effort can provide the best outcome in terms of content quality.
In the digital world, visibility in search results isn't just a nice-to-have; it's a necessity. With search engines' focus shifting towards quality and trust, the concept of E-E-A-T has become central to SEO strategies worldwide.
However, it's not just about ranking high, it's also about building a strong and positive brand that resonates with your target audience. E-E-A-T is your compass in this journey.
To help you on your way, I've put together 10 golden rules to keep in mind when working with E-E-A-T.
Highlight your company's expertise and achievements by building relationships with media and industry-relevant blogs. This not only cements your online visibility, but also your authority in the industry.
When citing information, make sure you refer to reputable and credible sources. This reinforces the reliability of your content.
YMYL companies, in particular, need to link to any research or other research that can back up their claims.
Specialize in certain topics within your niche. The more in-depth and comprehensive your content is on specific topics, the more likely search engines are to consider you an authority.
Google works with semantic associations. So if you have many different pages that all touch on a certain topic and also link internally between them, your topical authority on that particular topic will also increase.
At the risk of blowing our own horn, we at Webamp have many articles on SEO - including this article. In this way, we also show Google that our website is an authority on SEO because we have topical authority through so-called "topicclusters" on the subject.
Make it clear who is behind the content. An in-depth author bio or an informative about us page can highlight your or your colleagues' expertise.
When citing information, make sure you refer to reputable and credible sources. This reinforces the reliability of your content.
YMYL companies in particular need to link to any research or other research that can back up their claims.
Good reviews on Google, Trustpilot etc., positive publicity and great customer service can all help to increase your company's credibility.
That's why you need to keep an eye out for negative publicity - and if there are any bad reviews, you need to respond promptly and professionally.
User Generated Content is user reviews, comments and content created by users that can increase your credibility - especially if they are positive and authentic.
Link building can help build authority. When reputable websites link to your site, it can improve your authority in the eyes of search engines. Therefore, be proactive in building quality links from credible sources.
Nothing speaks more clearly about your authority and credibility than concrete examples. Share case studies or success stories that show how your products or services have benefited others.
For example, at Webamp we have collected some of our success stories with current customers so that potential customers can see what they can expect from a potential collaboration.
One thing is for sure: The world is constantly changing and information can quickly become outdated. So make sure you review and update your content regularly to keep it relevant and accurate.
Good reviews can have a direct impact on your E-A-A-T
Webamp is a 360-degree digital marketing agency, so of course we can add SEO-agency to our CV. That's why we actively work with E-E-A-T every single day when we help our customers with digital marketing.
So, if you need input on how to improve your E-E-A-T and your SEO, contact us to learn about your options for creating a plan that puts your business in the Google spotlight!
Whether you're a generalist or a marketing specialist, our SEO specialists have put together some great advice for you on our blog.
Learn more about SEO in Webamp Academy.