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Google’s E-E-A-T update: how to make your client’s experience shine online

Updated: May 11

You’ve likely heard of E-A-T, one of the signals Google uses to determine page quality, but did you know they recently added an extra ingredient?

With a new E for ‘Experience,’ the acronym has changed to E-E-A-T (“Experience-Expertise-Authority-Trust”) or “Double-E-A-T” to account for this overhaul. While it’s not directly reflected in Google’s Search Quality Rater’s Guide (QRG) because of its inherent subjectivity, it's still incorporated as a proxy for identifying how humans might assess content.

So, while better E-E-A-T doesn’t promise you’ll top the SERP every time, it’s still an important consideration for more personal, informed and helpful content that can potentially rank.

E-E-A-T explained

Before we dive into what Google means by “Experience,” let’s refresh our understanding of E-A-T, and how each element works together to create great content.

  • Expertise indicates a high level of knowledge. For example, if a reader is looking to get discovered online, they might seek advice from an SEO specialist, content strategist or marketing agency.

  • Authority displays compelling leadership or influence in a particular space. A well-known furniture brand would likely be considered an authoritative source on chairs and chair parts.

  • Trust: Positive reviews, author biographies and a secure domain are all examples of elements that convey trustworthiness to readers.

In retrospect, the missing piece of this formula is experience. Think about it: In the discoverability example above, you’d probably prefer to get advice from a content creator who constantly ranks highly on their SERPs, rather than someone with a degree in digital marketing who’s never personally optimized the SEO of their client sites.

By adding this “E,” Google is presumably factoring in someone’s firsthand knowledge on a subject, rather than simply counting on knowledge they might have gained from research, interviews, analysis and other means.

Now, it’s unclear if Google is truly looking at experience algorithmically since the QRG is not technically part of the algorithm, but it’s still important when creating helpful content. It can be argued that E-E-A all overlap to produce trust, which is arguably the most important piece of the puzzle.

Another distinction: Both expertise and experience are valuable, but they’re not necessarily the same thing. While an exercise physiologist can tell you what you need to do to build strength, an athlete can offer a firsthand perspective. Content offering both can be especially helpful, and all things being equal, may help you rank higher by signaling greater trustworthiness.

Ways to add experience to your content

How can you better acknowledge experience on your clients’ websites? Although there’s no telling exactly how the algorithm factors in this element, there are some tangible ways content creators can signal their experience with a topic, which benefits readers, too.

Create elements that signal trust and transparency

Eighty percent of shoppers cite trust as the key factor when making a purchasing decision, according to a survey conducted by Clearchannel and JCDecaux. But how can a brand signal its trustworthiness?

Whenever possible, mention the creator’s direct experience with the subject matter being discussed (rather than just calling them an “expert” or listing their credentials). Demonstrate real world knowledge, and make examples vivid for the audience.

Additionally, a company’s “About Us” page should be comprehensive and thorough, detailing the company’s history in their industry and the experience of its leadership.

Share personal experiences

Perhaps the most obvious strategy for highlighting a company’s experience is to, well, share experiences. You might think publishing content directly by experienced authors would matter greatly, but Google analyst Gary Illyes recently said the benefits are overstated; authors and author bios are not heavily factored in.

Reach out to subject matter experts and see if they’re willing to contribute insights. In-depth interviews to uncover real-life experiences and unique perspectives is arguably the best route to integrating the new ‘E’ into your content, so long as you spotlight these subject matter experts to establish trust and make sure your content actually answers your audience’s questions.

Also worth noting: First-hand experience is an important factor in the Product Review Updates. For example, Google mentions you should take a picture with the product you’re reviewing to show you actually used it. Proof is important for demonstrating authentic, lived experiences.

Develop a strong keyword strategy

To emphasize experience in your content, focus on your long-tail keyword strategy, targeting phrases and words that are more specific and represent a higher level of experience with the subject matter. For example, for a SaaS client, consider targeting more technical terms and addressing questions asked by advanced users or programmers. Specificity demonstrates experience because it delves into the nuances that only someone who has truly gone through what they’re describing can know; a long-tail keyword strategy is highly specific.

Cite sources and use original images

Always cite sources — not only is it ethical, but it also offers a higher level of transparency and trustworthiness. In fact, the quality of your sources can itself demonstrate an author’s experience. For instance, using primary sources, such as historical documents, rather than secondary sources can exhibit a higher level of experience in a subject. Also consider posting YouTube videos that walk users through the process of fixing bugs or solve users’ most pressing problems.

Outsource insights

Direct, personal anecdotes are one of the strongest ways to demonstrate experience.

A person might start by explaining their background with the subject matter. For example, for an article about healthy diets for pets, the author might explain their background as a veterinarian or detail their experience fostering rescue animals. It would also be useful to include an image of their own pets thriving on their recommended diet or a video showing how they prepare their pets’ meals.

In some cases, the author might not be experienced, and that’s okay. This is where locating credible experts with a high level of experience can go a long way. The author can interview these sources to help increase the experience factor.

Another way to share firsthand experience is by sharing testimonials. Consumers often want to hear from people with direct experience with the products and services they might purchase. eCommerce sites that include detailed reviews from real customers, including video testimonials, stand to benefit from Google’s latest algorithm update.

Include examples

The more you bring concrete examples into your content, the greater success you’ll have with E-E-A-T. And, perhaps more importantly, conveying first-hand experience in a topic will make your client’s content stand out among more generalized, run-of-the-mill articles on the same subject.

Find this article useful? Discover more industry insights, agency best practices and inspirational stories when you join the Wix Partner Program.

Jesse Relkin

Founder & CEO, C-Pop Marketing

SEO content strategist with over a decade of copywriting experience and a passion for the written word.

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