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A Guide to Mastering E-E-A-T In YMYL Sites

Think E-E-A-T is just another buzzword in the endless SEO alphabet soup? Think again.

After the parade of recent Google algorithm updates, E-E-A-T can be the secret sauce for making your website the belle of the Google ball.

In this guide, we're not just scratching the surface; we're going all-in. We'll dissect the difference between E-E-A-T and E-A-T, explore how it intertwines with YMYL, and unlock the strategies to make Google fall in love with your content. 

Whether you're an SEO rookie or a seasoned pro, this guide is packed with insights that'll make you see experience, expertise, authoritativeness and trustworthiness in a new light.

What is E EAT?

E-E-A-T, which stands for Experience, Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness, represents a critical framework in the world of Search Engine Optimization (SEO). 

It's an extension of the well-known E-A-T principle, with the added emphasis on 'Experience'. This concept is particularly relevant when Google evaluates the quality of content on the web.

This means that website owners and SEO professionals must not only showcase their knowledge and authority but also their direct experience in the subject matter to gain Google’s trust and improve their search engine rankings.

Difference Between E-E-A-T and E-A-T

E-A-T (Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness) has been a cornerstone of Google’s quality rater guidelines for quite some time. In December of 2022, the introduction of 'Experience' into E-E-A-T marked a significant entry. 

Experience here refers to the practical interaction or engagement the content creator has had with the topic at hand.

It's not just about knowing the theory but also about having real-world exposure and insights to share.

E-A-T focuses on the creator's depth of knowledge, their credibility in the field, and how trustworthy the information is. E-E-A-T takes this a step further by considering the tangible and personal involvement of the creator with the subject. 

This addition underscores the value of first-hand experiences and personal anecdotes in enhancing content credibility in this new AI world we are currently living in.

The relationship between E-E-A-T and YMYL

Your Money or Your Life (YMYL) pages are those that could potentially impact the reader's financial stability, health, safety, or happiness. 

Google holds these pages to the highest standard because of their potential impact. The relationship between E-E-A-T and YMYL is intertwined and critical.

E-E-A-T plays a pivotal role in determining the quality of YMYL content.

For instance, a medical blog written by an experienced and certified doctor (demonstrating high E-E-A-T) will be considered more reliable than one written by a layperson. 

Google aims to ensure that users receive content that is not only accurate and truthful but also comes from a source that has both professional expertise and personal experience in the field.

Components of E-E-A-T

Let's take a deeper look at E-E-A-T and its elements.

Experience

In the realm of SEO, 'Experience' refers to the practical knowledge and skills that a website or content creator has in their niche. 

This is more than just understanding a topic; it’s about having real-world involvement or interaction with it.

For SEO professionals, this means creating content that reflects hands-on experience or showcases actual case studies and examples.

Take the example of marketing agency Enleaf, that has a category dedicated to showcasing the results of case studies with customers.

The fact that their customers include the University of Idaho and Dallas Fort Worth international airport demonstrates a high level of marketing experience and understanding for potential clients and to Google.

Experience is vital because it differentiates AI content that is theoretically correct from content that is enriched with practical insights and real-world applicability. 

Google values content that doesn't just explain a concept but also offers practical advice, personal anecdotes, or unique perspectives based on actual experiences.

Expertise

Expertise is a step beyond experience. It's not just about what you know; it's about your depth of understanding in a particular field. 

An expert is someone who has a comprehensive and authoritative knowledge of or skill in a particular area.

In the context of SEO, this translates to creating content that is not only accurate but also shows a deep understanding of the subject matter.

Establishing expertise means continually updating your knowledge base, being aware of the latest trends and updates in your niche, and reflecting this expertise in your content.

This could involve providing detailed analysis, advanced tips, or innovative strategies that go beyond the basics.

Authoritativeness

Authoritativeness is about being recognized as a reliable source of information. 

It's the reputation that a website or content creator has within their field. Authoritativeness is built over time by consistently providing high-quality, accurate, and useful content.

You build authoritativeness by getting recognized by peers in your field, receiving citations from authoritative sites, and being mentioned or featured in reputable publications. 

It's not just what you say; it's about who recognizes and validates your content.

Trustworthiness

Trustworthiness is the foundation of E-E-A-T. It refers to the credibility and reliability of a website and its content. 

In the eyes of both users and search engines, trustworthiness is crucial for determining the value and rank-worthiness of a site.

Here’s an “Easy win” checklist for demonstrating trustworthiness to Google and site visitors:

  • Securing your site with HTTPS
  • Making sure your site has little to no technical errors
  • Providing clear contact and business information
  • Including an ‘About’ page with author bio pages for each author on your site
  • Having clear legal policies
  • Showcasing real testimonials or reviews
  • Ensuring that all your content is fact-checked and error-free

How does Google rate E-E-A-T for YMYL?

Understanding how Google evaluates websites is crucial for any SEO strategy.

There are 4 chapters in Google's search quality rating document which is used to assess E-E-A-T as a potential ranking factor. Let's take a look at each of these sections.

Chapter 4.5.2: lowest E-E-A-T

Google’s Search Quality Rater Guidelines Chapter 4.5.2 states,

If the E-E-A-T of a page is low enough, people cannot or should not use the MC of the page. If a page on YMYL topics is highly inexpert, it should be considered Untrustworthy and rated Lowest. Use the Lowest rating if the website and content creator have an extremely negative reputation, to the extent that many people would consider the webpage or website untrustworthy.

Websites with the lowest E-E-A-T often display several red flags:

  • Extremely poor reputation: These sites typically lack credentials or evidence of expertise in their content area and in fact, are known to have a negative reputation.
  • Poor user experience: Navigation is often confusing, and the design might be outdated or unprofessional.
  • Misleading information: Content is frequently unsubstantiated, possibly misleading, and lacks authoritative sources.

To avoid falling into this category, ensure that your content is backed by credible sources and your site is not negative or harmful to users.

Chapter 5.1: lacking E-E-A-T

Here’s what Google’s Search Quality Rater Guidelines says in Chapter 5.1,

Low quality pages often lack an appropriate level of E-E-A-T for the topic or purpose of the page. Here are some examples:
  • The content creator lacks adequate experience, e.g. a restaurant review written by someone who has never eaten at the restaurant.
  • The content creator lacks adequate expertise, e.g. an article about how to skydive written by someone with no expertise in the subject.
  • The website or content creator is not an authoritative or trustworthy source for the topic of the page, e.g. tax form downloads provided on a cooking website.
  • The page or website is not trustworthy for its purpose, e.g. a shopping page with minimal customer service information.

Websites in this category show potential but fall short in key areas:

  • Inconsistent expertise: While some content may demonstrate knowledge, it lacks consistency across the site.
  • Moderate trust issues: There might be some concerns over privacy, ads, or affiliate links that aren't transparent.
  • Variable content quality: Some good content can be found, but it's mixed with lower-quality pieces or unrelated topics.

Improving consistency and transparency can help elevate your website from this level.

Chapter 7.3: high level of E-E-A-T

In Chapter 7.3 of Google’s Search Quality Rater Guidelines, here’s what Google has to say about experience,

Pages with High E-E-A-T are trustworthy or very trustworthy. Experience is valuable for almost any topic. Social media posts and forum discussions are often High quality when they involve people sharing their experience. From writing symphonies to reviewing home appliances, first-hand experience can make a social media post or discussion page High quality.

Websites that achieve a high level of E-E-A-T display the following characteristics:

  • Consistent expertise: Content is regularly updated and created by knowledgeable authors.
  • Strong reputation: The site has a good reputation among users and other experts in the field, as shown through reviews, social media, or an active forum.
  • User trust: Clear policies, secure browsing, and transparent affiliations contribute to high user trust.

Maintaining this level requires ongoing effort in content quality and credibility.

Chapter 8.3: very high level of E-E-A-T

Here’s what Google says regarding achieving the highest level of E-E-A-T in the Search Quality Rater Guidelines Chapter 8.3:

Very high E-E-A-T is a distinguishing factor for Highest quality pages. A website or content creator who is the uniquely authoritative, go-to source for a topic has very high E-E-A-T.
A content creator with a wealth of experience may be considered to have very high E-E-A-T for topics where experience is the primary factor in trust.
A very high level of expertise can justify a very high E-E-A-T assessment. Very high E-E-A-T websites and content creators are the most trusted sources on the internet for a particular topic.

At the very high end of E-E-A-T, websites exhibit exemplary characteristics:

  • Recognized authority: These sites are often go-to sources in their field and are recognized externally for their expertise.
  • Exceptional content: The content not only provides information but also offers unique insights or analysis.
  • Outstanding user experience: The site goes beyond basic usability, offering an engaging and intuitive user experience.

Achieving this level is the pinnacle of E-E-A-T and requires sustained excellence in all aspects of your website.

10 strategies to implement E-E-A-T in YMYL content

Here are 10 tips to improve your website's E-E-A-T profile.

1. Create high-quality content

High-quality content is one of the cornerstones of E-E-A-T in SEO. It's not just about creating content but about ensuring it's valuable, informative, and relevant to your audience.

Here are some key steps to ensure your content meets these standards:

  • Identify audience needs: Understand what your audience is looking for. Use like keyword research tools and audience analytics to gauge topics of interest and questions your audience is asking.
  • In-depth research: Before writing, conduct thorough research on your topic. This not only improves the depth of your content but also ensures accuracy and reliability.
  • Originality and uniqueness: Your content should offer something new or a unique perspective. Avoid generic information that's widely available.
  • Engaging and readable: Use subheadings, bullet points, and images to make your content easy to read and engaging.
  • Actionable insights: Provide actionable tips or solutions in your content. This adds value and encourages reader interaction.
  • Regular updates: Keep your content updated to ensure it remains relevant and accurate over time.

2. Include author information

Transparency about the author enhances trustworthiness and authoritativeness, key components of E-E-A-T.

Implementing these strategies can make a significant difference:

  • Author bio: Include a detailed author bio with each piece of content. Highlight the author's experience, expertise, and qualifications relevant to the topic.
  • Social proof: Link to the author's professional social media profiles, such as LinkedIn or a personal website. This adds credibility.
  • Author's track record: Showcase previous works, publications, or any recognitions the author has received in the field.
  • Contact information: Providing a way for readers to contact or engage with the author adds a layer of trust.

3. Build authoritative backlinks

Backlinks from credible sources have been one of the strongest signals of authority to search engines for many years. 

Here's a few ways to build authoritative backlinks:

  • Guest blogging: Write guest posts for reputable websites in your industry. This not only provides quality backlinks but also expands your reach.
  • Content partnerships: Collaborate with other authoritative websites or influencers to create content that links back to your site.
  • Resource link building: Create valuable resources that other sites want to link to, such as guides, whitepapers, or research studies.
  • Broken link building: Identify broken links on other websites and offer your content as a replacement.
  • Regular outreach: Consistently reach out to websites and blogs in your niche to build relationships and secure backlinks.
  • Monitor backlink quality: Regularly check the quality of your backlinks to ensure they are from reputable and relevant sources.

4. Cluster topics

Topical clusters are a strategic way to organize your content.

By creating a series of interlinked pages around a central theme, you can demonstrate extensive knowledge and authority in a particular area, which greatly enhances your site's E-E-A-T.

  • Choose your core topics: Identify key topics in your industry that are of interest to your audience and relevant to your expertise.
  • Create pillar content: Develop comprehensive, authoritative sub-content pieces on these core topics.
  • Develop cluster pages: Create related content that addresses specific questions or aspects of the core topic, linking back to your pillar content.
  • Interlink for user experience: Ensure that all related content is interlinked, providing a seamless user experience and establishing a web of authority on the subject.
  • Update regularly: Keep your topical clusters updated with the latest information, trends, and data.

5. Implement schema

Technical SEO is a critical component in enhancing your website's E-E-A-T score. While E-E-A-T primarily focuses on content quality and reliability, technical SEO lays the foundation for how effectively this content is presented and understood by search engines.

Schema markup is a code that you put on your website to help search engines return more informative results for users.

By implementing schema markup, you can enhance the way your website appears in SERPs, potentially increasing click-through rates and user engagement.

Rich snippets created through schema can highlight your expertise and authority directly in search results. For instance, displaying star ratings for reviews or author bio can bolster trustworthiness and expertise.

A few key schema markups relevant to EEAT are

  • Review schema: Showcases user reviews and ratings, enhancing trustworthiness.
  • Author bio schema: Highlights the author's qualifications, reinforcing expertise and authority.
  • FAQ schema: Useful for displaying expertise in a particular subject area.
  • Local business schema: For local businesses, this can enhance trust by providing accurate, verifiable information.
  • Product schema: Crucial for e-commerce sites to exhibit detailed product information, building trust and authoritativeness.

6. Utilize credible sources

In the realm of SEO, particularly under the lens of E-E-A-T, the use of credible sources cannot be overstated.

Credibility is the cornerstone of both authoritativeness and trustworthiness. 

You can use the custom knowledge feature inside Surfer AI to determine information that you want included in your AI generated article.

By citing reliable and respected sources, your content not only gains factual solidity but also leverages the reputation of these sources to bolster its own credibility.

This is especially crucial in YMYL (Your Money or Your Life) topics, where misinformation can have serious implications.

  • Reference and cite: Whenever you use data, statistics, or statements from another source, make sure to reference them appropriately.
  • This not only shows due diligence but also allows readers to verify the information.
  • Diverse sources: Use a variety of sources to provide a well-rounded perspective on your topic.
  • Expert contributions: Involve industry experts or thought leaders in your content creation, either through direct contributions or interviews. This can significantly boost the perceived expertise of your content.

7. Build brand reputation

When your brand is recognized as trustworthy, it not only attracts more customers but also receives favorable evaluation from Google’s quality raters. 

A good reputation leads to more backlinks, social shares, and overall engagement, all of which are crucial for SEO success.

Do the following to build a good brand reputation,

  • Consistent brand messaging: Ensure that your brand's message is consistent across all platforms. This consistency builds trust and reliability in the eyes of your audience.
  • Engage with your audience: Actively engage with your audience through social media, forums, and comments on your blog. Responsive and helpful interactions go a long way in building a positive brand image.
  • Manage online reviews: Encourage satisfied customers to leave positive reviews and respond professionally to negative feedback. This shows that you value customer feedback and are committed to improving.
  • Community involvement: Participate in community events or initiatives. This not only improves visibility but also demonstrates your brand's commitment to social responsibility.
  • Share success stories: Highlight customer success stories or case studies on your website and social media. This not only illustrates the effectiveness of your services or products but also humanizes your brand.

8. Leverage user-generated content

User-generated content (UGC) can be a goldmine for SEO, particularly in enhancing E-E-A-T.

UGC, like reviews, comments, and forum posts, provides fresh, relevant content that search engines favor. 

It also reflects the experience component of E-E-A-T, showing real-world usage and opinions about your products or services.

Create platforms for your users to share their experiences, such as forums, review sections, or social media hashtags.

While UGC is valuable, it's important to moderate it to ensure that it aligns with your brand values and maintains quality.

Feature positive reviews and testimonials prominently on your website and in your marketing materials.

9. Diversify content distribution

Diversifying content types is helpful for engaging different segments of your audience and demonstrating your authority and expertise in your niche. 

Here's how you can leverage various content forms to boost your site’s E-E-A-T:

  • Blog posts: A staple of any content strategy, these should be informative, well-researched, and reflective of your expertise in your niche.
  • Videos: Videos can be a powerful tool for demonstrating expertise and authority. They are also highly shareable and can increase user engagement significantly.
  • Infographics: Complex data can be made accessible and engaging through well-designed infographics, enhancing the user experience.
  • Podcasts: Emerging as a popular content medium, podcasts can showcase your experience and authority in a conversational, easily consumable format.
  • Webinars: These can help in building a community around your brand, allowing for real-time interaction and demonstrating your expertise.
  • E-books and white papers: Long-form content like e-books provides an opportunity to delve deeply into topics, showcasing thorough knowledge and expertise.

10. Establish an online presence

In the ever-evolving world of SEO, establishing online authority has become a cornerstone for success.

But what does it really mean to be seen as an authority in your field, and how can you effectively communicate this to Google, and more importantly, to your audience?

Online Social Presence

Your social media profiles are more than just platforms for sharing content; they are powerful tools for building authority. Here’s how to leverage them:

  • Consistency is key: Regularly post content that adds value to your audience. This could be industry insights, latest trends, or how-to guides.
  • Engage with your community: Respond to comments, participate in discussions, and create polls or surveys. Engagement builds trust and positions you as an approachable expert.
  • Showcase achievements and endorsements: Share awards, certifications, and endorsements from industry leaders to boost credibility.

Wikipedia Page

A Wikipedia page can be a significant boost to your online authority.

  • Notability is crucial: Wikipedia requires subjects to be notable. Garnering press coverage, winning notable awards, or being cited as an expert in reputable publications can help.
  • Follow Wikipedia’s guidelines: Understand the platform’s rules around neutrality and verifiability. Self-promotion is a big no-no.
  • Seek professionals: Consider hiring a Wikipedia expert to navigate the complexities of page creation and maintenance.

Engage Experts

Collaborating with established experts can significantly bolster your authority. Consider these approaches:

  • Guest blogging: Invite experts to write for your blog or offer to write for theirs. This cross-pollination of audiences can be mutually beneficial.
  • Webinars and podcasts: Host or co-host webinars and podcasts with industry leaders. This not only provides valuable content but also associates your brand with established names.

Encourage Reviews

Positive reviews are a goldmine for establishing trust and authority. Here’s how to encourage them:

  • Make it easy: Provide clear, simple ways for customers to leave reviews, such as direct links in emails or on your website.
  • Incentivize: Offer incentives for leaving a review, like discounts on future purchases or entry into a giveaway.
  • Respond to reviews: Show that you value feedback by responding to reviews, both positive and negative, in a constructive manner.

E-E-A-T and AI-generated content

In today’s SEO landscape, the surge in AI-generated content presents both a challenge and an opportunity for websites aiming to excel in E-E-A-T.

The key to differentiation lies in strategically leveraging AI while maintaining a human touch that resonates with authenticity and depth.

AI can efficiently produce content, but it often lacks the nuanced understanding and empathy of human experiences. 

To stand out, edit your AI-generated content with real-life examples, personal anecdotes, or insights that only a human can provide.

Offer in-depth analysis, well-researched opinions, or innovative solutions to common problems.

This approach not only asserts authoritativeness but also adds value to your audience, setting your content apart from generic AI-generated articles.

While AI can aggregate and process information, it doesn't replace the depth of human expertise. 

Highlighting the qualifications and real-world experience of your authors can significantly boost the perceived expertise of your site.

Use AI as a tool to assist your experts, not replace them, ensuring that the content reflects a deep understanding of the subject matter.

This blend of AI efficiency and human discernment ensures that your content is not only data-driven but also accurately contextualized and relevant.

Encourage comments, discussions, and sharing of experiences related to your content.

This engagement adds a layer of authenticity and community-driven value that AI alone cannot achieve.

Conclusion

As we conclude our journey through E-E-A-T in SEO, remember it's more than a checklist; it's about creating authentic, engaging content that resonates with both search engines and real people. 

Embrace the blend of experience, expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness as a holistic approach to stand out in the digital crowd. Keep it genuine, keep adapting, and let your content be as memorable as it is findable – that's the true essence of mastering E-E-A-T.

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Screenshot of Surfer SEO Content Editor interface, displaying the 'Essential Content Marketing Metrics' article with a content score of 82/100. The editor highlights sections like 'Key Takeaways' and offers SEO suggestions for terms such as 'content marketing metrics