Marketers love an acronym, and those that get to grips with Google like we do deal with them more than most. In this article, we’ll be explaining a couple of the main ones to get your head around: E-E-A-T and YMYL. They’re concepts that underpin the best practices of SEO optimised page content, so listen up if you want to get into those top spots.
What is Google's E-E-A-T?
E-E-A-T stands for Experience,Expertise, Authoritativeness and Trustworthiness, and it forms part of the Search Quality Rater Guidelines. This is a handbook adhered to by the real people, known as Quality Raters, tasked with evaluating the quality of search results.
Whilst a lot of what Google does is cleverly automated, it depends on real humans too; after all, that’s who it’s ranking content for. Quality Raters help Google measure the success of algorithm updates, so whilst not a ranking factor, the E-E-A-T guidelines still need to be considered in your content to make the cut.
Let’s look at the basics of E-E-A-T.
A marker of quality content is inclusion of first-hand experience, making it an original piece and one that offers value through unique insight, opinions,and/or, or relevant anecdotes. Original photos can help too!
Experience was added to E-A-T in December 2022, no doubt in response to the rise of AI generated content (more on that later).It signalled the importance of relatable content, which can ultimately be achieved through lived experience.
Bluffing just won’t do; Google prioritises content written by people with genuine knowledge of their subject matter, and even more so when they’re formally qualified and have certifiable credentials. They’ve done their research, know their stuff, and can therefore inform their audience correctly.
This part refers to the reputation of the website, the content and its writer within the industry or niche; being better known for valuable, reliable content gets a big thumbs up from Google. If you’re known as the go-to in your area of expertise, your content will be classed as more authoritative. Martin Lewis is a fantastic example of this, with a track record in helping consumers with their finances, particularly during the cost of living crisis.
This is the pinnacle of Google’s E-E-A-T concept, and an indication that your content has been fact checked, backed up by reliable sources, and is easily accessible by the user (i.e, not behind a wall of ads or pop ups). It refers to not only the combination of experience, expertise and authoritativeness, but the trustworthiness of the site itself is taken into consideration too, such as the security of the payment portals.
Why is E-E-A-T so important?
Whilst part of your objective as a site owner is to get your business ranking for what it needs to in order for your customer to find you, it also needs to be genuinely valuable to that customer too. Google prioritises helpful content that helps users get what they need, answering their questions before they have to ask them themselves.E-E-A-T are guidelines that can help your website achieve this.
Is E-E-A-T different from YMYL?
Here’s another acronym for you - YMYL: Your Money Or Your Life. This refers to content that could impact a decision that a user makes about their finances or their life, with the potential to be influential.
Examples of YMYL websites include news outlets such as BBC News,governmental websites such as gov.uk, and medical advice sites like the NHS. Google will make sure that YMYL content ticks all the E-E-A-T boxes before it’s considered for those high rankings.
For example, if you’re offering advice on getting car finance, Google will be looking for the author’s financial accreditations - taking out a loan for a vehicle is no small matter.
How can I improve my content for E-E-A-T?
If you’re looking to follow E-E-A-T best practices in pursuit of content that serves value to your customers, you’re well on your way to better SERP rankings. These are the ways in which you can improve your content for E-E-A-T.
Write quality, useful content
You can’t go far wrong in terms of content if you write in a way that satisfies the user when they find your website. This means that the content on your website is original, helpful,offers trustworthy advice, and answers questions in a way that meets or exceeds a user’s expectations.
If you want to put your content to the test and identify areas for improvement on your website, we’d recommend self-assessing via Google’s handy checklist. Regularly write and upload new content, and update older content to ensure its relevance.
Site reputable sources
A user looks for credibility when reading content - and so does Google. By linking out from your content to other sources, such as government web pages, official studies and trusted news outlets, you’ll signal to both Google and the users that you’ve done your homework, and that what you’re saying has a solid base.
To backup your authority on any subject, it’s recommended that you’re transparent about the author, citing their credentials in the field and their experience on the topics they’re writing about. Draft in experts who can fact check your content, offering quotes to further bolster the piece.
Earn decent backlinks
When you’ve got winning content that engages and informs the reader, you’re likely to be cited by other websites with a link back to you. When those sites have a good reputation, it improves yours too.
Create a secure environment
The web is full of dangers, so mark yourself out as a site to be trusted with an SSL certificate, which proves that data entered by the user is encrypted and therefore secure. This isn’t really optional - particularly if you take paymentdetails!
What about E-E-A-T and AI generated content?
The emergence of ChatGPT, a natural language processing platform that uses Artificial Intelligence, and is accessible to pretty much everyone, has understandably raised questions about the future of human-written content.
However, it was likely in response to this that Google added ‘Experience’ to E-A-T to make E-E-A-T, a nod to the fact that original, person-centred content is still alive and kicking. AI can, essentially, only imagine what the human experience is like, so whilst it can churn out content at a rate of knots, it will be lacking authenticity.
A human truly can make that content come to life. Connecting with your user, understanding their pain points, and answering their questions is still something Google appreciates andrewards. Whilst a useful bit of kit in many ways, AI as a content generating tool as far as SEO is concerned is something we’ll likely see more from Google on in the future.
Need help with your E-E-A-T?
Confident that you know your E-E-A-T from your YMYL? We get that it can be tricky to keep up with your SEO, and the ways in which you should be adapting to Google’s latest guidance. This is why we handle it on the behalf of our clients, working together to understand their users, and get in Google’s good books. Chat to the team to find out how we could help.