What is Google's E-E-A-T?

     Find out about Google's quality content guideline and how it impacts search engine optimization.


    Last Updated: February 1, 2024

     by Lari Numminen.

    In this article, we'll explore Google's E-E-A-T search quality guideline and how to use it to enhance your SEO strategy.

    What is E-E-A-T all about?

    E-E-A-T stands for Experience, Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness - and is a method used to evaluate and rate the quality of information available on different websites.

    As more and more website content is created across the globe, search engines like Google look for clear signals of high quality and original content. 

    More recently, E-E-A-T has become important with the vast expansion of AI-generated and AI-assisted content creation. While Google does not actively discourage the use of generative AI, it outlines guidelines for transparency and for creating people-first content.

    Why is E-E-A-T important?

    The introduction of Google's E-E-A-T, detailed in the Helpful Content update, brought in a new method of search quality evaluation. 

    You can see E-E-A-T as a summary of how Google know their search engine is providing helpful and relevant information. To maintain visibility on Google, businesses need to consistently produce high-quality content and properly structure their website to highlight their experience, expertise, authority, and trustworthiness.

    Let's go through these individually.

    The four elements of E-E-A-T

    In E-E-A-T, Google looks for four key elements when assessing the quality of information provided on websites.

    • Experience - Google's emphasis on experience advocates for content enriched by personal insight and firsthand involvement. This criterion values the unique perspective of individuals who have lived through their narratives, offering an authentic connection to their audience.
    • Expertise - Expertise is another cornerstone of credible content. It underscores the importance of having a profound understanding or skill in a specific domain, acquired through formal education, professional training, or substantial experience.
    • Authoritativeness - Authoritativeness measures the credibility of the website and the author. It reflects how well-respected a website or an individual is among peers and the targeted audience.
    • Trustworthiness - Trust pertains to the reliability and integrity of your content and website. It's about creating a secure environment for your audience while providing accurate, transparent, and honest information.

    How to consider E-E-A-T on your website

    Adapting to E-E-A-T is not merely about compliance; it's about embracing a people-first approach to content creation. Let's go through some  practical steps to integrate these principles into your strategy, ensuring your content resonates with both users and search engines.

    How to demonstrate experience:
    • 'Highlighting real-life experiences: Narrate your journey, share your failures and successes, and draw lessons from them. This not only adds credibility but also humanizes your content, making it more relatable.
    • Share case studies and examples: Incorporate detailed case studies that demonstrate your direct involvement and the outcomes achieved, providing a blueprint for others to follow.
    How to demonstrate expertise:
    • Showcasing credentials: Clearly outline your qualifications, awards, recognitions, or any endorsements from professional bodies to establish your authority in the subject matter.
    • In-depth analysis and advice: Offer exhaustive insights that go beyond general knowledge, presenting well-researched and technically sound content that adds value and addresses the nuances of your topic.
    How to demonstrate authoritativeness:
    • Building a solid reputation: Share testimonials, user reviews, and media mentions. Engage with other authorities in your field through guest posts, interviews, and collaborations to enhance your stature.
    • Consistent content quality: Maintain a high standard of quality across all your publications. Authoritative content is often cited by others, becoming a reference point within its niche.
    How to demonstrate trust:
    • Website security measures: Implement SSL certificates, ensure fast and reliable hosting, and maintain a transparent privacy policy and clear terms of service.
    • Honesty in content: Be upfront about affiliate links or sponsored content. Fact-check your information and cite reputable sources to validate your claims.

    Human-first over search-first content

    Google distinguishes between "people-first" content and content created primarily for search engines through its guidance on creating helpful content, emphasizing the importance of prioritizing the audience's needs over search engine optimization (SEO) strategies. Here's a summary of Google's perspective as outlined in the provided document:

    • People-First Content: This type of content is designed with the intent to inform, engage, or entertain the audience, focusing on delivering real value to people who are searching for information or solutions online. People-first content is characterized by its usefulness, relevance, and ability to satisfy the specific needs or interests of the audience. It is original, offers unique insights or perspectives, and is created by individuals with expertise or experience in the topic. This approach aligns with Google's E-A-T (Expertise, Authoritativeness, Trustworthiness) principles and aims to provide content that readers find helpful and trustworthy.

    • Search Engine-First Content: Conversely, content created primarily for search engines is designed with the main goal of ranking high in search results, often at the expense of quality or user value. This type of content typically focuses on SEO tactics, such as keyword stuffing, over prioritizing the audience's experience or providing genuinely useful information. Such content may lack depth, originality, or relevance and is created more with the intention of manipulating search rankings rather than addressing the needs or questions of real people.

    Google's guidance strongly advises against creating content with search engines in mind first and foremost. Instead, it encourages creators to produce content that serves the audience's interests, which, in turn, is more likely to perform well in search rankings due to its quality and relevance. Google's algorithms aim to reward people-first content by ranking it higher, reflecting the company's commitment to improving the overall quality of information available on the web.

    Google's view on AI-generated content

    Google's view on AI-generated content, as outlined in their blog post from February 2023, emphasizes the importance of quality and user value, regardless of whether the content is created by humans or AI.

    In Google's perspective AI-generated content is not inherently against their guidelines, but the focus remains on the helpfulness and information quality of the content provided to users. They stress that content should be designed to help and inform people, not to manipulate search rankings.

    The blog post underlines several key points regarding AI content:

    • Quality over origin: Google's ranking systems aim to reward high-quality content that demonstrates expertise, experience, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness (E-E-A-T), regardless of how it's produced.
    • Guidelines alignment: AI-generated content is evaluated by the same standards as human-created content. The emphasis is on the content's ability to meet user needs and adhere to Google's content guidelines.
    • Purpose of content creation: The intention behind creating content should be to inform and help users, rather than to game SEO rankings. Content created primarily for ranking purposes, without regard for user value, is viewed unfavorably.

    Google's approach encourages creators to focus on generating content that is valuable, informative, and user-centric, highlighting that the method of creation is secondary to the quality and purpose of the content

    Conclusion on E-E-A-T

    As Google's algorithms become increasingly sophisticated, the importance of aligning with E-E-A-T principles will only grow. This final section should speculate on future trends in SEO and content creation, emphasizing the enduring relevance of quality, credibility, and user focus in achieving online success.

    Disclosure: I have used ChatGPT and AIContentfy in summarizing and creating this content.



    Lari Rounded 200x200

    About the author

    As a growth advisor I help B2B and SaaS companies accelerate organic growth. As a CMO I was able to 22x organic traffic within a year using generative AI in SEO. Could I help you achieve superhuman growth?