What is EEAT and How it Impacts Your Site’s Profitability?

How Content and Backlinks Need to be Built Moving Forward
Published on 
January 18, 2024
Updated on 
January 18, 2024
Posted in 

EEAT, or Experience, Expertise, Authority and Trust. If you haven’t familiarized yourself with this concept and what it means for the future of content and link building, then this article is for you. 

E E A T is the natural evolution of the original E A T (Expertise, Authority and Trust) acronym that was the foundation of Google’s QRG or Quality Rater Guidelines up until the end of 2022 and it represents a very important shift in the way websites are ranked and, subsequently, how traffic is allocated. 

Important: We’re link builders and we know that user-centric backlinks continue to play a major role (perhaps the most important one) in how Google makes EEAT decisions. While Google’s search quality rater guidelines don’t come right out and say that (Google rarely says anything completely forthrightly), links and E E A T go hand in hand. 

For this reason, we are going to be dedicating a significant percentage of the article to the relationship between backlinks and E E A T, in addition to an exploration of E E A T in a more general way. 

Let’s get into it. 

What, exactly, is EEAT?

We’ve already told you that E E A T stands for Expertise Experience Authority and Trust and that Experience is the newest addition to that equation. But how is it different from the traditional EAT (usually assumed to be some combination of things like social signals, backlinks, content quality and depth)?

What experience means, as a function of content quality, is the extent to which the content creator actually has first-hand experience with the subject matter–whether it’s a purely informational blog article or a commercial page advertising and selling various products. 

Importantly, Google still indicates that trust continues to be the “most important member of the E E A T family.”

 circle diagram that explains eeat

A broader definition of “quality”

At its core, Google’s EEAT encompasses a much broader definition of quality, and demonstrating experience can include everything from having a strong social media presence, leveraging relationships with influencers, and incorporating more video, UGC (User Generated Content) and social media posts into content and marketing. 

What Google wants to see when creating content moving forward is that it demonstrates actual first-hand experience with topics and subject matter, which can be showcased in an increasingly sophisticated variety of ways, using a wide range of signals taken from both a website itself and other places online. 

Before we really delve into Expertise Authoritativeness and Trustworthiness, we would like to spend a bit of time on a couple of the other (interrelated) updates to the quality rater guidelines that are important to stay abreast of. 

Some of the most significant changes to the Quality Rater Guidelines

In addition to the evolution of E A T to E E A T, there are other noteworthy changes to the QRG that are worth paying attention to and will be increasingly factored into ranking decisions by quality raters. 

Understanding website ownership

Google made changes to its guidelines regarding who owns and controls a website. The December 2022 QRG states that quality raters should “start by finding out who is responsible for the website and who created the content on the page…Then, look for information about the website and/or content creators on th website itself.”

screenshot from google's documentation that explains how google understands website ownership

This is, no doubt, in recognition of the fact that so many websites out there exist for purely commercial reasons (often using shady business models obscured by an opaque business structure and ownership) and go out of their way to hide who owns and operates the site. 

Google also started referring to the reputations of the owner and content creators on a website, which would imply that the people who contribute content to a site (guest posts, etc.) also have a bearing on how the site is rated. 

Responsibility for the site and its content

Google is now adamant that it should be clear who owns a website. Previous iterations of the Quality Rater Guidelines asked raters to determine which individual, business, company, foundation, etc. controlled a site. 

In the end-of-year version from 2022, “foundation” had been conspicuously changed to “organization” and “government agency.”

Google also included: 

screenshot from google's documentation about how google looks for ownership confirmation

There is also a very comprehensive table designed to help quality raters identify content creators and website owners: 

table screenshot from google's documentation with examples

Overall page quality 

Last year’s major QRG overhaul also contained a significant reordering of advice related to page quality and analyzing reputational information. 

Here is the updated three-step procedure for evaluating page quality: 

  1. Assess the true purpose of the page and how harmful/deceptive it is. 
  2. Assess the potential of the page to cause harm or otherwise be untrustworthy or spammy. 

The idea is that if the rater determines pages are “harmful, untrustworthy or spammy” then they should be given the lowest quality rating. These metrics are especially pressing in the age of massive amounts of AI generated content. 

  1. If the page is not determined to be harmful, the quality rating is based on how well a page is seen to achieve its purposes. 

There is another table from Google to help raters: 

screenshot from google's documentation about things google considers when analyzing websites
screenshot from google's documentation page quality importance

The third criterion also asks raters to consider to what extent a page’s subject matter is YMYL.

Google has included new considerations for categorizing website types. There are: 

  • Is it a corporate site or a hobbyist site?
  • Does a site require financial transactions or require payments?
  • Is the site supported by volunteers or professionals?

Pursuant to the monetization considerations, Google’s quality rater guidelines also specify that while advertising is a necessary part of the monetization strategy for many businesses online, the way in which ads influence the user experience also factors into quality ratings, and is, therefore is an indirect ranking factor.

The search quality guidelines are constantly changing and evolving and it would take many more pages to adequately go through them all. We urge you to consult them and familiarize yourself with them, regardless of how you create content. 

We are now going to move onto a more in-depth look at E E A T and how exactly it differs from E A T. Expertise authoritativeness and trustworthiness are the bedrock of how search ranking systems like Google determine who and what gets seen. 

The anatomy of E E A T 

We think its important to begin by revisiting what we initially said about E E A T and trust.

Google makes it very clear in the updated guidelines that trust is the most important component of the E-E-A-T acronym. This is because, in the words of Google, “untrustworthy pages have low E-E-A-T no matter how experienced, expert or authoritative they may seem.”

Another important takeaway here is the different pages have different trust requirements. 

An example of a type of website that required a high trust coefficient to rank well would be an online store. You need, at minimum, a good online payment system and good customer service. 

Another example might be a review website. Trustworthy reviews are those that help searchers make informed buying decisions, rather than simply hawk a product. 

Below is another Google table from the updated guidelines that can help you better understand experience, expertise, and authority. 

screenshot from google's documentation about experience, expertise and authority

Google is increasingly zeroing in on the extent to which websites and content creators actually have the kind of credibility-lending first-hand experience needed to speak authoritatively about a given topic. 

This is especially the case with product reviews, where the opinions of people who can demonstrate first-hand, real life experience with a product are going to be more trustworthy than those from people who have less or none. 

What a lack of E E A T looks like

Equally important is knowing what Google views as a deficit of experience expertise authoritativeness and trustworthiness. Below are a list of examples Google has provided that would indicate a lack of EEAT: 

  • 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 

E E A T and link building

Links and experience (internal linking)

In the realm of Experience, backlinks guide users through a seamless journey. Picture your website as a rich tapestry of information. Strategic link placement ensures that users effortlessly navigate this tapestry, enhancing their overall experience. 

It's not just about information; it's about making your content a rewarding and engaging destination. At dofollow, we emphasize good internal linking, both for our own content, and when we build content for clients. 

We also know that when a client has good internal linking structure (part of on-page SEO) in place, it makes it easier for our efforts to produce the kind of impressive results we have become known for over the years. 

Links and expertise

Moving to Expertise, backlinks act as validations of your industry know-how. 

When authoritative sources link to your content, it's akin to receiving a professional endorsement. Craft content that not only educates but positions you as a trusted source in your field and makes it easier to both acquire and build backlinks. 

Links and authority

Backlinks aren't just arrows pointing to your website; they're signals to search engines that your content is valuable and influential. 

When authoritative sites link to your pages, it's not merely visibility—it's recognition of your influence in the digital domain. This is especially the case with high authority backlinks–those that come from the web’s most trusted websites.

When high authority websites–e.g., Forbes, the Wall Street Journal, etc–link back to you, this tells Google that established players are comfortable sending traffic to your website, which essentially vouches for your authority. 

Check out some of the places we have secured our clients links:

screenshot of logos rom websites that dofollow built links on

These are the kinds of authority-conferring backlinks that skyrocket you up the search engine results page.

Links and trust

Lastly, Trustworthiness is the currency of the online realm. Google has already said that trust is the centerpiece of E E AT, so imagine each reliable backlink as a vote of confidence. 

When you earn links from trustworthy sources, search engines and users alike reward your content with trust. It's not just about being seen; it's about being seen as reliable and worthy of attention, telling Google, “these are high quality pages and everyone thinks the same.”

Power Play: Where Backlinks Shine the Brightest

For businesses with a local footprint, Local SEO and E E A T intertwine seamlessly. Localized backlinks aren't just about reinforcing your local presence; they position you as a community expert.

Picture a restaurant earning backlinks from local food blogs—a local endorsement that speaks volumes. In industry-specific niches, backlinks become the keystones of authority.

Consider a SaaS startup (businesses we specialize in) earning links from renowned tech publications and blogs. These niche-specific links significantly boost your authority in specialized areas, amplifying your influence where it matters most.

With a good depth of content and good content alignment (how you align your content with backlink opportunities), you improve both the quality of links to build and attract. Think of it as thematic harmony; when your backlinks align with your content, the impact isn’t just quantitative—it's qualitative. 

Every link becomes a powerful endorsement of your thematic authority. It’s not just about building links; it’s about creating a blog that is designed to attract the kinds of links that reinforce your expertise and authority. 

When Backlinks pack the biggest punch

High-Quality Content and Link Synergy are the backbone of E E A T. 

This synergy tells Google that the links you have acquired or built over time are powerful indicators of your content’s value. Ideally, you want to be organically acquiring as many of these backlinks as possible, but content marketing and, importantly, link building are also crucial parts of a backlink strategy. 

This is where link diversification is important.  By spreading your links across various platforms, domains, and types, you not only mitigate risks of things like link death but also enhance the overall strength and resilience of your link profile and build out a much wider network of powerful social and trust signals that Google has to determine your reputation, your authoritativeness and, ultimately, when and where your site should be shown to people. 

Beyond Rankings: The Holistic Impact of E-E-A-T-Driven Link Building

We want to spend a few paragraphs exploring how E-E-A-T-driven link building transforms your business’ entire digital possibilities.

Think of a robust E-E-A-T strategy, supported by effective link building, as a shield against evolving algorithms. It’s not just about today's search ranking systems; it's about securing your place in the digital landscape for years to come. 

This approach isn't a sprint; it’s a strategic marathon where your E-E-A-T becomes the foundation of lasting digital success. The links you build now have a profound impact on how well you are able to weather future core update storms and avoid becoming one of the many casualties. 

Wrapping up

E E A T is the future of both content and link building. As Google continues to crack down on spammy backlinks and non-white-hat link building tactics, two things become paramount: the kind of backlinks you build and the kind of content you create that will help you acquire backlinks naturally. 

Get in touch with dofollow today and find out more about how we build Google-approved, user-centric backlinks to turn our clients into SEO-optimized lead-generating machines. 

Why Trust Us On SEO

Eric Carrell & Sebastian Schaffer have been working in SEO for over a decade, building their own projects - understanding and testing SEO strategy, along with building hundreds of white hat links per month for our projects. They take their learnings and experience and apply them to the strategy that drives our link building strategy for our clients.

Eric & Seb have always believed in quality over quantity, doing things the right way so we future proof our client’s websites against future Google updates and the evolving industry of search.

While Seb handles the company strategy around culture, processes and structure, Eric is constantly working to improve our service offering, customer experience, and following the industry in parallel with Google’s Quality Guidelines so that we are always one step ahead of our competition and aligned with what Google wants to see for your site to rank higher.

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