The EEAT acronym has long helped marketers understand the criteria by which Google’s algorithm rates content: Experience, Expertise, Authoritativeness, Trustworthiness. The more your content marketing displays these three traits, the better your chances of moving up Google’s highly competitive search rankings.
But with so much content marketing flooding the internet, standards have changed. Last year, Google upgraded their EAT acronym to EEAT. The new E, the first E in the acronym now, stands for Experience. What does this mean in the context of your content marketing? Let’s break down the EEAT acronym and how you can use it for your content marketing.
When we think of “experience” in terms of marketing, we think of how long the business has been in operation, or how long the founders of the business have been providing relevant goods or services. But that’s not necessarily what experience refers to in Google’s EEAT acronym. Google’s algorithm seeks out content that speaks to firsthand experience.
There is, of course, some overlap. If an attorney with 20 years of experience in the field of intellectual property law writes a blog about copyright protection, they likely have firsthand experience when it comes to defending the copyrights of their clients. Google’s algorithm rating ranks articles and content that really display the content creator’s experience in the matter, with specific examples, rather than just tacking on a number of years of experience.
Everyone has felt the annoyance towards that person at a party or on their social media thread positioning themselves as an “expert” because they read a Wikipedia article or two on the subject discussed. True expertise goes much deeper. It is a thorough understanding of the subject matter and all its nuance, based on years of study or practice.
An expert in their field can handle any problem or case that their work throws at them, because they’ve already seen it all. This goes hand-in-hand with experience. The more experience you have, the closer you will come to expertise. When you can provide in-depth content marketing from a place of expertise, your audience will be more likely to return and Google’s algorithm will rank your content more highly.
That Facebook friend who read a few Wikipedia articles on the history of monarchies might have some experience in their study, but they are hardly an authority. A professor of World History, however, who wrote a grad school dissertation on monarchies, is an authority. Just as often, if not more often in content marketing, authoritativeness refers to the authoritativeness of the content itself. What backs up your statements? Do you have high quality sources that you can cite, or specific data that can confirm your point?
Research from Buzzstream about what online readers consider credible online content provided mixed results. Data analysis, indexing, and surveys of relevant audiences were found to be the most reliable sources, with data analysis taking the lead in every focus group. Providing statistics and data, often in the form of infographics, can be a significant boost to your authoritativeness.
Ultimately, it comes down to trustworthiness. Experience, expertise, and authoritativeness are all aspects of your content marketing that can set you up as a trustworthy source.
With so much information on the internet today, consumers are wary of being misled. They don’t want to fall for “alternative facts” or manipulative sales jargon. A catchy headline may draw audiences in initially, but flimsy content that only scratches the surface of a subject is sure to fade into the noise of all the information on the internet.
High quality sources can back up the trustworthiness of your content. Look for sources that are as unbiased as possible, such as academic research or government pages. These sources tend to be respected by your audience and add to the trustworthiness of your content. Bringing in an expert voice, a known and trusted figure in your field, can also boost trustworthiness.
The other three elements of Google’s EEAT acronym all come back to trust. Most readers trust firsthand experience. After all, if you’ve done it yourself, they know that you aren’t just speculating. Expertise in the subject means that they can trust you to know more than someone who just started looking into this subject. The data, surveys, and other examples of authoritativeness that you use in your content speak to accuracy and make the content easier to trust.
Ultimately, you want to publish in-depth content that shows your own personal knowledge on the subject and backs it up with empirical fact to create something truly trustworthy.