Posted on May 12, 2023 by Matt George Moore Google’s added another ‘E’ for experience to its search rater guidelines. Here’s how to harness its power for you and your clients. Cookie Monster famously sang, “‘C’ is for ‘cookie.’ That’s good enough for me!” Similarly, Google has been singing “‘E-A-T’ is for search ratings. That’s good enough for me!”* As it turns out, that wasn’t quite good enough — so they’ve added another “E.” About that Second ‘E’ Foundational to Google’s search quality ratings, E-A-T stood for expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness. Google updated the acronym to include an additional “E” for experience. Google’s introduction of experience as an evaluating factor means that content produced with a focus on first-hand experience is more likely to be judged as being of high quality. So we now have E-E-A-T, which now stands for experience, expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness. At a high level, it reveals a clear path toward making one’s site a trustworthy source of information. This is not only important for so-called YMYL topics (“your money or your life”) but also for content where the stakes aren’t quite so high, such as product reviews. When readers trust sources, Google begins to recognize those as authoritative sites and directs traffic to them. As Google writes: “E-E-A-T — or ‘Double-E-A-T,’ if you prefer**, is now part of the updated search rater guidelines. … (W)e hope these updates better capture the nuances of how people look for information and the diversity of quality information that exists in the world.” The search giant reminds us that the guidelines “help (raters) evaluate the performance of our various search ranking systems, and they don’t directly influence ranking. They can also be useful to creators seeking to understand how to self-assess their own content to be successful in Google Search.” E-E-A-T and Content Creation Google So, creators, what does this “E is for experience” update mean for content creation? Does it shift the balance of power within the search quality evaluator guidelines themselves? After all, when it comes to assessing content quality, Google continues to tout “trust” as the “most important member at the center of the E-E-A-T family.” From my seat, this update does three things right off the bat: It provides insight into the angles we should take when creating content for our clients. It serves as a reminder that brand-building is part and parcel of what we do as content writers. (Experience is essential in building a client’s brand.) It gives SEOs direction when working with content teams on content marketing strategies and planning. It reminds us to create content that resonates with readers, not just search engines. Google’s algorithm updates often emphasize this point explicitly. Google’s Search Quality Rater Guidelines are used to evaluate the quality of websites and their content. The guidelines are designed to help the raters — human evaluators — assess the quality of pages found via search results and determine if they provide helpful, relevant, and trustworthy information to users. Thus, by adhering to these guidelines, website content creators can improve their chances of ranking higher in search results. Experience Specifically, Google wants to determine if the content demonstrates familiarity or personal experience — specifically, “first-hand, life experience on the topic at hand.” Does the content demonstrate “that it was produced with some degree of experience, such as with actual use of a product, having actually visited a place or communicating what a person experienced?” This makes perfect sense for content marketers — even those who use AI to assist with content creation. Let’s say you want to know how to perform an oil change. Wouldn’t you be more likely to consume this type of “how-to” content if it were written by someone who worked at Jiffy Lube for 15 years? For digital marketers and content creators, this means leveraging the experience of your clients when strategizing on their behalf and when writing the content itself. Ask yourself this: What would make your clients’ experience resonate with visitors to their websites? This is not really anything new when you think about it. How many times have you touted a client’s number of years in business when writing content for their website? Still, by producing content that demonstrates and elevates experience, we can establish our clients’ businesses as trustworthy brands in the industry. The bottom line remains the same: High-quality content that emphasizes experience along with the rest of the E-E-A-T acronym is more likely to rank in search results. This leads to improved traffic, engagement, bounce rates, and, ultimately, conversions for our clients. Of course, now that Google has added experience to its guidelines, some people, including self-proclaimed search geek Barry Schwartz, think even more could be added. Schwartz, for example, suggests adding another “E” for entertainment. Maybe we’ll write about that in a future blog post. For the time being, “E” is for expertise and experience, and those are good enough for me. Who wants cookies? nomnomnomnomnomnomnomnomnom * OK. Not all that similar. But fun! ** We don’t prefer.