E-A-T to E-E-A-T: SEO Trending Toward Experience First

Every day, the World Wide Web is constantly updated with new content on a variety of subjects; accessible to anyone about anything at any given time. With all the choices available, how can a reader be certain of the quality of their search results?

In March 2013, Google implemented the Search Quality Rating Guidelines to help users easily locate high-quality content that matches their search queries. Using these guidelines, actual people called “Quality Raters” would rate the quality of search results. Their feedback was utilized by Google to help update algorithms and provide better quality content to the user. 

In March 2014, Google added the acronym E-A-T to their Guidelines. E-A-T stands for Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness. While E-A-T is not an official ranking factor for content, it is a large part of the Search Quality Rating Guidelines.

Recently, on December 15, 2022, Google added an additional “E” to the E-A-T acronym. This new “E” stands for Experience and has proven to be an important part of what users are looking for in the content they receive.

SEO Scrabble Tiles on wooden table

How Does Experience Apply to Content?

When providing rankings to content, Google is looking for real-world experience from the author about the topic, giving the author a unique authority. Demonstrating experience on the topic also helps build the author’s credibility in the eyes of their audience. 

The addition of experience to E-A-T also helps emphasize the most important component, “T”, which is Trust. Showing a strong knowledge and understanding of a topic can build trust between the author and audience. Without the audience’s trust, a page could rank lower regardless of how Experienced, Expert, or Authoritative an author may seem. 

To demonstrate an author’s experience with a topic, it is a good practice to include a concise “About the Author” section in the content. This helps the audience get to know who is creating the content and what their qualifications are. 

Audience vs. Traffic

Users are looking for content specific to a certain topic. They don’t go to a recipe blog to learn about personal finances and retirement planning. Seeing that the author has experience with the topic can assure the audience that the content will be relevant to their query. 

It has been shown time and again** that when the content strategy involves targeting search traffic rather than the intended audience, the page does not rank nearly as high. Staying within the intended topic and using clear, relevant keywords will help create high-rank-worthy content.

Quality vs. Quantity

It is important to focus on author experience and audience preferences instead of overwhelming users with a large amount of information. There is no preferred Google word count when it comes to ranking. Filling your page with content relating to multiple topics just to attract search engines and meet this imaginary number will lead to lower rankings. 

It also breaks the trust between the audience and author. Your content needs to be high quality, meaning it is original, helpful to others, and clearly shows the parts of E-E-A-T When writing content, it is best to follow Google Search Central’s Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Starter Guide. Using these guidelines will help build that trust with the audience which can lead to higher rankings and potential conversions from your page.

A.I. Created Content

Much of the content available now has been written using artificial intelligence (A.I.) technology*, but how can a bot have personal experience with a topic? It can’t. As of December 2022, Google does not have a policy regarding A.I.-generated content, but does suggest not using it unless it has been reviewed and fact-checked by a person who does have experience on the topic. They also have a set of guidelines you can follow. 

Is using A.I. to help create content bad? Absolutely not, but it is important to use it correctly. Rather than use A.I. to generate an entire page, you can use it for parts of the whole. 

A.I. can be a great tool to help writers create content briefs or summaries before diving into the full article. It can also be helpful for generating content outlines to show your audience where the content is going. Another great use is for brainstorming prior to creating your content. After A.I. has given some starting points, the author with the actual experience can edit the generated content to better appeal to real people with real interest in their topic. 

How Do We Move Forward?

While Experience is the newest member of the E-E-A-T acronym, Trust is still the most important element. If we focus on the audience and not simply general traffic, we can increase our rankings with Google’s Quality Raters. We can use A.I. technology to help plan out page outlines and brainstorm quality content ideas. This, in turn, can lead to better user interaction and more conversions.

If you want to learn more about how Aronson Advertising’s expertly written content can improve your business, reach out to us online or call us at (847) 297-1700.

*Don’t Do It Yourself, “AI Writing Statistics & Trends: 53 AI Writing Statistics [Updated for 2023]”
**SEJ Ebook Google Ranking Factors: Fact or Fiction, Chapter 18: “Content As A Google Ranking Factor: What You Need To Know”

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