On 15 December Google announced its latest update to the quality rater guidelines, adding an additional E for Experience to E-A-T.
E-A-T (Expertise, Authoritativeness and Trustworthiness) is a core part of the quality rater guidelines used by Google to evaluate whether search results are providing helpful and relevant information. Essentially, E-A-T helps Google to determine whether the content on a webpage is valuable to readers and whether it should rank well.
It’s key to remember that E-A-T isn’t a ranking factor and is simply a guideline which is combined with other aspects of the algorithm to decide whether content should be ranked more highly. So while it’s not a direct ranking factor, it can have an indirect impact on overall rankings.
Updates to the Google quality rater guidelines
Google has recently updated its quality rater guidelines and has added an extra E for Experience. This update is designed to ask whether content was produced with experience of that topic, item, place, etc. Has the writer got real world experience, used a product, or visited a place they are describing?
Google says, “there are some situations where really what you value most is content produced by someone who has first-hand, life experience on the topic at hand.”
It adds, “You’ll also see clearer guidance throughout the guidelines underscoring the importance of content created to be original and helpful for people, and explaining that helpful information can come in a variety of different formats and from a range of sources.”
Does E-E-A-T change anything?
There is little within these guidelines that is new to many SEO; Google is still putting a core focus on content that is trustworthy, helpful and valuable.
Rather, the updates are a reflection on how the search landscape is constantly changing and how search engines need to adapt to ensure they are always delivering the best content to users.
Webmasters should continue to create content that is written with users in mind, and that answers questions those users may be asking. This best practice, combined with making improvements to support other ranking factors, is how sites can continue to perform well.
Google hopes that their recent updates will “better capture the nuances of how people look for information and the diversity of quality information that exists in the world.”
Whilst quality rater guidelines don’t directly influence ranking, they are considered useful for those who are trying to improve their content for both users and search engines. By using the guidelines to self-assess content, webmasters can have a better idea of how to serve the most valuable and successful content.
If you would like support on improving your results in search, get in touch with one of our expert team today.