How to Write Content That Meets Google’s E-E-A-T Guidelines

How to Write Content That Meets Google's E-E-A-T Guidelines

The days of being able to rank web pages with low-quality, keyword-stuffed content are well and truly over. Ever since its Penguin update in 2012, Google has placed increasing emphasis on high-quality, useful content.

In 2013, Google released its Search Quality Rater Guidelines (SQRG) to help ensure that search results return content from the most reliable sources. The guidelines contain a whopping 170 pages, and are updated approximately once a year. However, there’s also a condensed version that you can read here.

In 2014, Google added E-A-T to its guidelines – Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness, which became important factors in the ranking and visibility of content.  

More recently, in December 2022, the Big G added an ‘E’ for Experience to make E-E-A-T. In turn this added a new dimension to what Google considers quality content.

It’s important to note that the SQRGs aren’t ranking factors like domain authority, or backlinks. Instead, they help evaluate the quality of search results.

Here’s what Google says:

‘‘Ratings are used to measure how effectively search engines are working to deliver helpful content to people around the world. Ratings are also used to improve search engines by providing examples of helpful and unhelpful results for different searches.’’

Okay, history lesson over, let’s take a look at what E-E-A-T stands for in SEO

What Does E-E-A-T Stand For?

Experience

The newest addition to the acronym, “experience,” refers to the value of first-hand, or life experience on the topic that’s being written about.

It’s important because people want to know that what they’re reading is credible, especially if it relates to buying a product or a service.

Experience implies that Google rewards pages where the author has actually experienced the topic they’re writing about. For example, if someone is selling an online course about copywriting, Google wants to know that the person selling the course has actual copywriting experience and can back it up with a strong portfolio.

Expertise

Google rewards content that has been written by experts. As a writer, you should try to demonstrate a deep understanding of the topic you’re addressing. You’ll need to go beyond surface level information and dig deeper into the nuances of a subject.

To create expert content, you’ll need to conduct thorough research, cite credible sources, and ensure the accuracy of facts.

Wherever possible, you should showcase your own, or your company’s credentials, and use your own statistics and insights to establish your authority.

Authoritativenes

Building authority involves becoming a trusted voice in your industry.

It’s one thing to sound authoritative, it’s another to prove it.

Building authority in your content means backing up your claims with reputable sources, studies, and including opinions from subject matter experts if you aren’t one yourself.

Trustworthiness

Establishing trust is hugely important if your content is asking people to part with their money.

Your content should be transparent, accurate, and reliable. For example, if you’re writing a sales page, you should be sure to include information about returns, guarantees, and exchanges.

You should also avoid making exaggerated claims and demonstrate that there are real people behind the content by providing contact information.

Why Did Google Add ‘‘Experience’’ to E-A-T?

We know Google updates its SQRGs once a year or so, but why did it add a whole new rating factor to its content quality acronym?

Well, Google’s official line is:

‘’We hope these updates better capture the nuances of how people look for information and the diversity of quality information that exists in the world.’’

However, there are a few (dare we say conspiracy) theories floating around on SEO forums and Reddit as to the real reason.

Some SEOs believe that Experience has been in added in response to Google’s Search Generative Experience (SGE) trial in the US, which launched in May 2023. I wrote about SGE and how it could impact copywriting in another post, but SGE is basically about Google trialling AI generated content in its SERPs.

If Google does rolls out SGE globally, Experience will come to be an important way for the search engine to differentiate content written by humans and content written by AI.

Another theory is that Google recognises that Expertise, Authority and Trust aren’t enough to guarantee high-quality content. For example, it’s easy for someone to write a review of a restaurant or a city without actually having been there themselves.

Experience is the one thing that can make content authentic.

What Does YMYL Stand For in SEO?

YMYL stands for Your Money or Your Life. It has nothing to do with robbing banks and everything to do with prioritising quality in content that directly impacts peoples’ health, finance, or safety.

Google places a higher emphasis on the E-E-A-T criteria for YMYL content.

Websites that provide content related to finances, medicine, mental health etc. are expected to demonstrate a higher level of experience, expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness to ensure the well-being and safety of readers.

When your YMYL content meets E-E-A-T guidelines it increases the chances of it performing well in search results. Not only does it increase trust, but readers are more likely to engage with the content if they perceive it as being reliable and valuable for their life decisions.

E-E-A-T and YMYL graphicHow to craft Content That aligns with E-E-A-T

Although Google doesn’t provide specifics on how to meet its E-E-A-T criteria, there are some best practices I’d recommend…

Share personal insights and experiences

If you operate in an industry that’s already saturated with how-to content and FAQ-type articles, one way to stand out is to double down on personalisation. By giving your opinion on an industry issue or oft-debated topic, you can position yourself as a thought leader and break free from the same old content that circulates in your industry.

Given Google’s addition of Experience to its quality criteria, you should also try to incorporate personal experiences into your writing.

Even if you’re writing from a company, or brand perspective, you can still draw on experiences from your co-workers and quote them in your content. One thing that AI-driven content can’t do is tell real stories, and sharing personal experiences is a great way to engage readers on a deeper level.

Do thorough research

AI writing tools can’t verify facts. In fact, they often make them up.

That’s why it’s important to thoroughly research the topic you’re writing about and make sure you back up claims and statistics with links to the original source.

You should also aim to use authoritative sources in your writing, such as government websites, academic journals, and industry experts. Not only do they help strengthen the authority of your content, they also add credibility.

Here’s an extract from an article I wrote for SaaS company, triPica. Even in the first few paragraphs, you’ll see I’ve linked to sources to back up my claims:

Screenshot of triPica article written by Jamie ThomsonConduct expert interviews

Including insights from recognised experts in a field can help your content stand out as being trustworthy. Interviewing industry professionals not only adds value but it reinforces your expertise by association.

Expertise essentially lay the foundation for your brand’s positioning as a thought leader. When used strategically, expert insights can also position you as a pivotal source of industry insights.

The diversity of perspectives that expert interviews provide also gives your audience added value and helps them make well-informed decisions.

What’s more, when an expert’s name is attached to your content, it opens doors to expanding your reach. Experts tend to share their contributions across their networks, potentially introducing your brand to an entirely new audience.

This ripple effect can significantly enhance your content’s exposure, driving more traffic and raising brand awareness in the process.

Provide credible statistics

When you present well-sourced, reliable statistics, you give the reader concrete evidence that what you’re saying is true. Your audience wants to know that the information you’re sharing is not just your perspective, but is grounded in objective data.

Credible statistics wield a persuasive power that words alone can’t match. They provide quantifiable evidence of trends, patterns, and insights that can be compelling in supporting your theories.

When your readers see that you’ve done your homework and are presenting accurate data, they’re more likely to be persuaded by your message.

What’s more, numbers have a way of aligning focus and conveying information succinctly. They break up the flow of text, making your content visually appealing and easier to consume. This can mean that people end up spending more time on your content, which lowers your bounce rates and increases the likelihood of social sharing.

When citing statistics, I like to present them using a simple formula I call SSA – Statement, Statistic, Analysis. Make a statement about the topic, provide a statistic to back the statement up, and then provide additional context in the form of an analysis.

Here’s an example of SSA in action from a thought leadership article I wrote for tech recruiter CWJobs:

CWJobs article written by Jamie ThomsonInclude case studies

Real-life examples and case studies provide concrete evidence of your expertise and they demonstrate the effectiveness of your recommendations.

Think of case studies as real-world examples of your brand’s capabilities. By showcasing how your product or services have made a positive impact, you’re doing more than simply telling your audience about your value – you’re showing it in action.

Case studies and success stories also help your readers visualise how your offerings can address their own challenges. This storytelling approach engages emotions while making your content more memorable and compelling.

When you demonstrate measurable results, you provide proof of your ability to deliver on promises, which is particularly persuasive for potential customers who are evaluating their options.

Focus on long-form content

In-depth, comprehensive articles tend to perform well in terms of Google’s E-E-A-T criteria. Longer content allows you to explore topics thoroughly and demonstrate your expertise in detail.

Of course, there’s no magic word count for how long your content should be, but from experience, I tend to find that web pages and articles between 1,000 and 2,000 words perform better than pages with less content.

By opting for longer content pieces, you demonstrate a commitment to delivering substantial value to your readers. You’re not just scratching the surface; you’re taking the time to explore subjects thoroughly and present a more holistic view.

This in-depth approach can position you, or your brand, as an authoritative source of information and sets you apart from those who provide quick, superficial content.

And in the age of AI writing, this is more important than ever.

Add author info

This applies more to articles than landing pages, but I reckon that adding author information will become one way of helping Google see that your content was written by a human and not AI.

Adding author information is as simple as including the author’s name and a brief bio at the end of an article. Adding in information about the author’s background, experience, and qualifications can also create a sense of transparency and accountability.

Expertise is a key component of E-E-A-T, and shining a spotlight on the author helps validate the expertise behind your content.

Include user-generated content 

User-generated content (UGC) is any content that’s created by users, rather than by the brand or company itself.

UGC could be perceived as more authentic and trustworthy, as it represents the opinions and experiences of real users.

Some examples of user-generated content include product reviews, social media posts, and content from forum discussions.

Here’s an example of user-generated content from an article I wrote way back in 2013 (see, I practice what I preach – albeit before E-E-A-T):

User-Generated Content ExampleIn summary

As Google sharpens its focus on high-quality content, getting web pages and articles to rank well in its SERPs will inevitably become more difficult. By adhering to Google’s E-E-A-T guidelines, you can sleep peacefully, knowing that you’ve done everything you can to give your content the best chance of being found online.

By showcasing your experience, expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness, you can establish yourself, or your brand, as a reliable source of information.

Remember, the key lies in sharing personal insights, diligent research, transparent sourcing, and a personal touch that resonates with your audience.

Related posts:

SaaS Copywriting Tips to Improve Your Conversion Rates

Jamie Thomson

Jamie Thomson is an award-winning senior copywriter and the owner Brand New Copy copywriting studio. With over 15 years professional writing experience, he helps companies engage with their target audience through tailored content strategies and exceptional copywriting.

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