Sorry, Kids – Google’s EEAT Is Not About Tacos

by | Sep 1, 2023 | Uncategorized

The ultimate goal of any search engine is to give users exactly what they want when they perform a search query. While all search engines matter, Google has the lion’s share of traffic. Over the past several years, the Google search algorithm has changed dramatically with countless algorithm updates, all designed to make search results more accurate and more relevant to a user’s query. However, it’s not uncommon today for a seemingly simple search query to inundate a user with too much information. It’s also not uncommon for misinformation to track at the top of search engine result pages (SERPs) and mislead users by appearing legitimate.

To combat the growing flood of misinformation online, Google has implemented a new core engine update focused on the EEAT principle. EEAT stands for “expertise, experience, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness.” While it’s still essential to have a professional website full of authoritative, relevant content, content marketing teams must know a few more things about the EAT update to create more effective digital marketing strategies. 

What Is the EEAT Update?

Google consistently invests in new algorithm updates that alter the way searches work and how websites earn their rankings. This particularly update started as EAT, but pretty quickly recognized the importance of experience as a ranking factor. The EEAT update strives to cut down on the number of questionable websites and misinformation landing in SERPs. Google announced the update in August of 2018, but the “EEAT” concept was largely unknown; website owners simply started to notice sharp decreases in their web traffic after the update, prompting countless site owners to reevaluate their SEO strategies. 

The Google EEAT update now ranks pages based on three additional factors:

  • Expertise. The Google Search algorithm now builds an Expertise profile for every site, using countless sources to determine how much accurate information a site truly offers for a given topic. Google rewards websites that prove their expertise for given topics and prioritizes them in search results for related search queries. Websites that do not have the credentials or the linking profiles to back up their claims sink lower in the rankings.  
  • Experience. Google is now taking the experience of the writer into consideration for ranking. Your business isn’t likely writing about something it doesn’t have experience with, so what your site must do is showcase that experience. Again, that means making sure there is a name under the blogs that are being written and that the experience of the writer matches your blog topics and your business. 
  • Authoritativeness. The EEAT update also assesses how much weight a site carries in a given niche. A company with a strong reputation in a given sector will earn much higher SERP rankings than a newer site that has yet to prove itself within a niche. Authoritativeness is not only cultivated over time but also by publishing well-sourced, accurate, and relevant content.  
  • Trustworthiness. The final grading metric of the EEAT update measures how reliable a website is when it comes to the information it provides and the content published to it. A site that is repeatedly flagged as “Fake News” or cited for factual inaccuracies will undoubtedly lose ranking position rapidly following the EEAT update. 

These three metrics now help users locate the most relevant, accurate, and trustworthy results when they perform search queries. As you develop your 2020 content marketing strategy, it’s vital to understand the EEAT update, how it works, and how you can ensure your site’s content ranks well in SERPs. 

Why and How Google Is Using EEAT

The main purpose of the EEAT update is to prevent new websites from instantly dominating SERP rankings by manipulating the algorithm. Prior to the EEATT update, it was not uncommon to see random sites with the right keywords at the top of searches despite having no real identity beyond keyword-laden content that checked all the right boxes to trigger SERP placement when users performed relevant search queries. Today, the EEAT update does not allow new sites to appear at the top of SERPs immediately; it’s essential for every website to consistently nurture brand identity and cultivate a strong backlog of high-quality content for the Google EEAT update to rank it high enough to place amongst the top of search results.

At first, many people considered the EEAT update as the “medic update” because it seemed to affect medical information sites and wellness-focused sites the most. This is likely due to the massive proliferation of pseudoscience and misleading healthcare information throughout the internet over the last several years. So, if Gwyneth Paltrow weren’t famous, she’d be in trouble. Sites publishing misinformation in a critical sector such as healthcare saw rapid declines in website traffic as their SERP rankings plummeted, and for good reason. Many of these sites published information that could potentially harm users. 

Google also wanted to combat the growing tide of “Your Money or Your Life” (YMYL) sites. YMYL sites function on a basic principle: pressure the reader using fear tactics to make a purchase or consume content. Many YMYL sites had fraudulent elements, pushed inaccurate information, and actively harmed many Google users due to the immense pressure they generated on searchers with fear tactics. Google doesn’t just want to provide relevant search results. The EEAT update helps ensure it delivers the correct search results. 

What EEAT Means for SEO Marketing 

Ultimately, if your brand has produced high-quality content geared toward human readers with a solid link profile over the last few years, you probably don’t have much to fear when it comes to the EEAT algorithm update. EEAT rewards sites that have cultivated strong followings, published responsibly sourced and accurate content, and built solid relationships with their audiences. The only sites that should have anything to fear from the EEATT update are those that attempted to capitalize on high-pressure conversion driving tactics and misinformation to drive up their traffic numbers and make quick sales. 

Misinformation is no longer viable on Google. It’s working to be the anti-Facebook when it comes to ensuring authoritative answers. If you attempt to load your content with misleading or incorrect information, the EEAT update basically ensures you won’t be ranked anywhere near the top of the first SERPs. The sites most heavily affected by the EEAT update pertain to personal happiness, health, and wealth. If your business model focuses on any of these areas or claims to improve these things for your audience, it’s essential to take care that you produce valuable, relevant, accurate, and correct content to rank well following the EEAT update. 

Understanding the EEAT Update in 2023 and Beyond

One of the most important yet most often overlooked aspects of the EEAT update is that the Google search algorithm doesn’t just evaluate a website’s content; it also crawls through the credentials and past publication history of the content’s author. If a website hosts any content that falls under the YMYL umbrella, it’s a safe bet that Google is carefully evaluating the past publication history of every author published on the site. 

Author blocks and bios attached to published site content are a good way to ensure this new aspect of the Google search algorithm rewards high-quality content and the authors of high-quality content. The golden rule of SEO marketing continues to prove true: 

  • Focus on delivering the highest quality content you can create using reliable, accurate sources.
  • Research your audience carefully and find out what keywords are most common among their search queries. 
  • Engage with your target market directly through email marketing or through your social media profiles to find out which topics are most important to them. 
  • Deliver content that resonates with those topics. 

SEO is a game where the rules are constantly changing, sometimes without prior notice or any kind of announcement. The EEAT update was a sweeping change that has been incredibly influential for Google Search, ultimately helping the search engine accomplish its primary goal of delivering exactly what users want to see when they perform searches. Instead of trying to work around the EEAT update, work with it, and develop the highest quality content for your audience.

Contact Better Content Matters to Help Your Content Rank

When it comes to what Google wants, it’s less of a mystery than it used to be. While no one knows it all, there are a few sure-things to help get your website closer to the top of the SERPs. And Better Content Matters can help you do it. Learn more about how your words can boost your digital marketing game today. 

Alisa Hummell

Alisa Hummell

Alisa Hummell began her career teaching at Northern Michigan University but found she missed putting pen to paper. She began Better Content Matters with Christie Moll and Kimberlee Henry. Together, they were dedicated to covering a gap in marketing to include boutique writing services that helped clients with their SEO while crafting language that spoke to people – and not just bots. In the wake of AI, that need has grown ever more important.