Google’s constantly updating its Quality Rater guidelines for search in order to improve user experiences and promote high-quality content, and the EEAT update is no exception. The update launched in December 2022 and, among other things, added an extra E to the existing E-A-T acronym. This led to the creation of the EEAT quality rating guidelines.
Breaking Down EEAT
Good content is the backbone of any business’s online presence. EEAT refer to four factors for judging the quality of this content: Experience, Expertise, Authority, and Trust. These factors help to determine how useful content is, which in turn affects where it ranks according to Google’s algorithms.
Experience focuses on how much first-hand experience the writer has with the service or product that they’re writing about. For example, which would you prefer: a restaurant review written by someone who had eaten there the previous night, one who had eaten there four years ago, or one who had only seen a commercial for it? A writer with experience tends to be more reliable than one without.
A writer’s expertise is how qualified they are to speak on a given topic. Anyone can create a blog post talking about which species of mushrooms are safe to eat, but that doesn’t mean they actually know which ones are safe. Someone who studies mushrooms or regularly writes a blog on foragable edibles, however, is a much more trustworthy source.
Authoritativeness is the extent to which a source is known as reliable in regards to a given topic. This is due to a closeness to the information—for example, a library website’s guide to getting a library card can be considered the most authoritative source on that process.
Trust is the most subjective of the four factors, but arguably the most important. A page’s trustworthiness determines how accurate, safe, and reliable a page is. Without trust, a page cannot be considered a valid source of information, even if it appears to possess experience, expertise, and authority. For example, if an online newsletter has repeatedly posted retractions for stories that were later found to be false, it would no longer be considered a trustworthy source.
Google Quality Rater Guidelines
The introduction of EEAT guidelines was only part of the December 2022 update. They form only a small part of the new content rating system:
Website and Content Creator Reputation
Google has placed new emphasis on website ownership, as well as the reputation of the content creator in addition to the website itself. The website owner and the content creators should be clearly defined entities (or if they’re the same, that should be made clear).
Overall Page Quality Rating
Google reordered and elaborated on many of its existing content guidelines in the December 2022 update. This includes three guidelines for judging a page’s quality:
- The purpose of the page
- The page’s potential for harm
- The page’s effectiveness in achieving a non-harmful goal
These guidelines are particularly important for YMYL pages. YMYL pages, also known as “Your Money or Your Life” pages, are pages with content that can potentially impact your future health, financial stability, safety, or happiness. A recipe for peanut butter cookies, for example, wouldn’t qualify as a YMYL page, but an informative article on a doctor’s website about what to do if you’ve triggered a peanut allergy would. The importance of their information means YMYL pages have different quality expectations.
YMYL topics are determined based on their capacity to help or harm their users. This update has explicitly outlined what qualifies as harmful. Harmful content has direct harmful intent towards the self or others: threats or incitements of violence, exposing personal information (AKA doxxing) glorifying violence, encouraging unsafe behavior or self-harm, or health-related content that directly contradicts the well-established consensus. Depictions of violence in film, news stories, or educational content do not qualify as harmful content.
Epic Web Studios: Experience, Expertise, and Authority You Can Trust
Creating fresh, high-quality content that ranks well with Google can be challenging, especially with their guidelines constantly evolving. At Epic Web Studios, we work hard to create creative, informative content for you and your business. Contact our experts today and take the first step towards quality content.