What Exactly is E-E-A-T and Why Does it Matter for SEO?

• updated on
September 11, 2023
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In the world of SEO, the acronym E-E-A-T stands for some of the key elements that Google looks for when evaluating the quality and authority of online content and websites:

  • Expertise
  • Experience
  • Authoritativeness
  • Trustworthiness

E-E-A-T refers to the standards outlined in Google's Search Quality Rating Guidelines that its human quality raters use to assess page quality. Though the guidelines are meant for manual reviewing, they shape and align with how Google's algorithms evaluate authority and ranking factors.

The concept of E-A-T (without the second "Experience" E) first emerged around 2014 as a critical ranking factor and has progressively become one of the most important considerations in organic search. Google elevated E-A-T even further in 2018 after rolling out its major Medic algorithm update, which was aimed at promoting authoritative medical and health content.

More recently in 2021, Google added the additional E for "Experience" to the E-A-T acronym in its guidelines. This highlighted the importance of demonstrating real-world expertise and first-hand experience with a topic in order to be considered an authority.

For SEO practitioners, optimizing and aligning content with Google's E-E-A-T quality standards can lead to higher rankings, improved click-through rates, and protection against volatility from future algorithm updates. Pages satisfying the E-E-A-T criteria are those deemed highest quality and most useful for users by Google.

Let's explore the meaning behind each of the E-E-A-T components and why they matter:


This refers to deep subject matter knowledge and proficiency. Expert-level content should provide insightful analysis beyond surface-level information, demonstrating a true understanding of a topic. Subject matter experts are able to provide novel insights and a nuanced perspective. Expertise is built through education, experience, and qualifications.


Hands-on experience actually using or engaging with products/services/topics provides authenticity. Google wants to feature content from those with first-hand practical experience, not just textbook knowledge. Unique experiences build credibility. Images, videos, and testimonials can help demonstrate real-world expertise.


This reflects expertise plus trustworthiness. Authoritative sites are considered highly trustworthy sources on a topic, often referenced by others across the web. Authorities earn recognition through citations, partnerships, publishing credentials, and a professional reputation built over time.


Content should be factual, transparent, and honest. Publishers considered highly trustworthy adhere to high-quality standards, avoid misleading claims or manipulation techniques, and back up claims with sources. Trust is built through expertise, integrity, and transparency.

In summary, E-E-A-T is Google's way of encapsulating what makes a source truly expert, credible, and worth featuring prominently in search results. Optimizing content for these quality attributes can lead to improved organic visibility and stability long-term.

How E-E-A-T Impacts Your Money or Your Life (YMYL) Websites

Google places extra importance on optimizing for E-E-A-T (Expertise, Experience, Authoritativeness, Trustworthiness) when it comes to Your Money or Your Life (YMYL) websites.

YMYL topics include those related to finance, health, safety, or other subjects that can potentially impact people's livelihood in a major way. For example, medical sites, financial advising services, legal firms, and parenting resources fall under the YMYL category.

Since YMYL sites provide information and services that can seriously affect someone's wellbeing, finances, or physical health, Google wants to ensure the content meets high standards of quality and integrity. Providing inaccurate, misleading, or potentially dangerous information on YMYL topics can have severe real-world consequences.

That's why sites publishing YMYL content must demonstrate deep expertise and extensive experience on such sensitive topics. They need to back up claims with credible sources and clearly represent qualifications and credentials. YMYL content that satisfies E-E-A-T by coming from an authoritative, trustworthy source has the best chance of appealing to users and ranking well in search results.

Some examples of YMYL sites that excel due to their high E-E-A-T include:

  • WebMD - Provides in-depth health news and information from a team of experienced medical professionals. Users trust their expertise.
  • Consumer Reports - Rigorously tests products for safety and quality to give impartial recommendations. They have earned consumer trust.
  • NerdWallet - Offers extremely detailed financial guidance and tools with transparency about sources. Users rely on their authority.

On the other hand, YMYL content that lacks E-E-A-T signals risks being labeled low-quality by Google's algorithms and human quality raters. For example, a personal finance blog giving questionable investment advice without citing sources or demonstrating the author's qualifications. Or a diabetes information site providing medical advice without any references or credentials.

Even if your content is not directly YMYL, optimizing for E-E-A-T can be beneficial. It demonstrates you are a credible authority worth ranking. Crafting content that signals expertise, real-world experience, authoritativeness, and transparency can position your site as a helpful resource users can trust. This is especially important for YMYL topics that impact peoples' lives and livelihoods.

How to Implement E-E-A-T Best Practices for SEO Content

Now that you understand the importance Google places on E-E-A-T (Expertise, Experience, Authoritativeness, Trustworthiness), it's vital to adopt content strategies that align with these quality standards.

Optimizing your pages for E-E-A-T establishes credibility and authority, which can lead to higher rankings, improved click-through rates from search results, and protection from future Google algorithm updates.

Follow these best practices to demonstrate E-E-A-T in your content:

Build Expertise and Qualifications

  • Create detailed author bios and About Us pages highlighting relevant experience, education, credentials, qualifications, and passion for the topic.
  • Have content written or reviewed by demonstrable subject matter experts where possible.
  • Interview and quote trustworthy external experts to provide unique insights and perspectives.
  • Link to authoritative third-party sources to back up claims and facts.

Establish First-Hand Experience

  • Share original images, videos, audio, and testimonials showing real-world use and hands-on experience with products/services.
  • When reviewing or comparing, describe detailed testing methodologies and criteria used.
  • For advice content, use realistic scenarios and examples from the author's own relevant experiences.
  • Disclose any potential biases, lack of direct experience, or limits to your expertise.

Convey Authoritativeness

  • Ensure content is accurate, unbiased, and transparent about any sponsorships or ads.
  • Update old content frequently to maintain freshness and accuracy on evergreen topics.
  • Build online reputation via guest posting, partnerships, quality link building, press mentions, and user engagement.

Earn Trust

  • Respond professionally to user comments and questions.
  • Adhere to strong ethics policies regarding honesty, transparency, and conflicts of interest.
  • Meet high standards for attribution, citing sources, and providing references where applicable.
  • Avoid hype, sensational claims, or manipulation tactics. Focus on helping users with quality information.

Proactively implementing E-E-A-T best practices demonstrates your commitment to providing truly useful, expert-driven content that aligns with Google's quality expectations. Sites that satisfy E-E-A-T tend to earn featured placement in search results.


What does E-E-A-T stand for?

E-E-A-T stands for Expertise, Experience, Authoritativeness and Trustworthiness. It refers to how Google evaluates if content provides value to searchers based on the website's knowledge, first-hand experience, reputation, and credibility on a topic. Optimizing for E-E-A-T helps pages rank higher by satisfying Google's criteria for content quality.

How can I demonstrate expertise in my content?

Showcase in-depth knowledge by providing well-researched information, data, stats, and insights. Cite credible sources and quote industry experts to back up claims. Have content written or reviewed by those with credentials in the field.

Why was experience added as a new E-E-A-T factor?

Google wants to surface content based on real-world expertise and first-hand knowledge, not just book learning. By verifying hands-on experience through evidence like customer testimonials, before-and-after examples, case studies, and product demos, you demonstrate true subject mastery.

How do I showcase authoritativeness on my site?

Build inbound links from reputable sources like educational institutions, government websites, and recognized media outlets. Get featured or referenced in authoritative publications. Have content written or edited by known experts. Properly disclose credentials of writers.

What makes a website trustworthy in Google's view?

Factors like accurate contact info, complete business details, secure HTTPS, lack of popups/ads, and a professional design establish trust. Customer reviews, testimonials, service guarantees, and transparency around operations also help. Providing unbiased information builds confidence in advice.

How often should I review if my content meets E-E-A-T standards?

Set reminders every 3-6 months to audit if existing content remains aligned with E-E-A-T best practices. For each new piece of content, review it against the Search Quality Evaluator Guidelines before publishing. Ongoing E-E-A-T checks ensure long-term search performance.

From The Author

Terry Williams

With over 10 years optimizing sites, I've boosted search visibility for brands through customized strategies. Currently, I develop effective SEO solutions for a top agency, immersed in the latest trends and innovations. Read my full bio.

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