This is the second of a three-post series that is taking a detailed look at the Google E.E.A.T. guidelines and content quality rating in general. In the first post, I explained how a former client had 1,322 pages of A.I. generated content deindexed by Google a few weeks ago.
And although the content read well, it was still considered low quality by Google. I believe the client had yet to take the spirit of E.E.A.T. to heart. Good structure, perfect spelling and great grammar don’t necessarily make a piece of content high-quality. At least not in the eyes of Google and other search engines.
At First It Was E.A.T.
Originally, the E.E.A.T. acronym was one letter shorter. Just E.A.T. Expertise, authoritativeness and trustworthiness. Google didn’t add the second E, experience, until December 2022. I’m going to start here I think. Experience. What does Google mean by this?
Well, it means that when the quality of content is being judged, Google wants the publisher or author to show that they have real-world experience in the topic they are publishing content about.
For example, if a website is recommending a travel destination, the author should be able to demonstrate that they have actually visited the location being recommended.
As a side note, this means that E.A.T. is now an E.T.L.A. An extended three-letter acronym. OK, bad joke, my apologies.
Adding E for Experience Combats Junk Sites
I believe Google added this second E to combat things like affiliate review sites, that simply reword or copy a review of a product and publish it, without ever actually seeing the product. We have all landed on these sites from time to time.
They are not intended to help people make an informed buying decision, they are aimed squarely at making revenue. They couldn’t care less whether you purchased the product or service that is best for you, as long as they make some money on the sale from affiliate income or paid advertising.
Other examples include copycat news sites, broad-spectrum how-to-guide sites, listicle sites, etc. No matter how well-written and presented their content is, they can never demonstrate actual experience in every topic they publish content about.
Does Generative A.I. Have Experience?
Those of you who have been publishing purely A.I. generated content should be having a lightbulb moment right now. The A.I. tool you have been using has never handled a physical product, visited a travel destination, or taken advantage of a service offering. It has no experience whatsoever.
Of course, you could take the content that has been generated by A.I. and then edit it up to read like a real person wrote it, with actual experience of the subject matter.
But if a Google Search Quality Rater comes across your page and suspects you are trying to game the system, things will go bad for your site. The rest of your content will then come under scrutiny. This is especially true for sites that are publishing Your Money or Your Life (YMYL) related content.
Experience Tops Expertise
Have you noticed how so many sites in certain niches, such as personal finance, now use a figurehead persona to base the site around? This was a very good way to game the system with a fake demonstration of expertise back when it was just E.A.T.
But experience tops expertise. Kind of like the old adage, those who can’t, teach. If you are running a site that is using a persona such as a financial expert as a frontman, you will still not tick the experience box when it comes to E.E.A.T.
Why? Because there is no way that one person has applied for every loan, tried every savings method, searched for every type of insurance and dealt with every type of debt the site will be publishing content about.
E.E.A.T. is Contra to Purely Monetised Content
I’ve singled out the personal finance niche here, but there are many others that this applies to. Ultimately, this type of site is usually well presented, with excellently written content. But again, the site is not there to help people. It is there to generate revenue (with some exceptions).
By now, you should be getting the message that Google is sending. Publishing content just to make money is not acceptable. No matter how well-presented your content is.
This is the ultimate goal that Google had in mind when they added the extra E, experience. To clean up search results so that people find valuable and helpful content before purely monetised content.
Some people will scream and holler reading that last paragraph. Generally, those who are running purely monetised sites. They know the writing has been on the wall for this kind of site for some time, but they don’t want to hear it.
How to Demonstrate First-Hand Experience
Does Google mean personal experience? Or does the concept also apply to industry experience? The simple answer here, is that it depends on the subject matter.
For example, a client of mine buys, refurbishes and sells oil and gas rig equipment. Some time ago, they published a post explaining why buying refurbished rig equipment makes sense. As a company, they have the industry experience and expertise to have a valid opinion about the subject matter, and this piece of content did very well indeed.
When it comes to personal experience, Google expects to see things such as photographs, video clips, social media discussions, etc. Unboxing videos are a fantastic example here. Nobody can refute the fact that the person doing the physical unboxing doesn’t have real-world access to the product they are covering.
Does Expertise Still Carry Weight?
Yes, of course. And in certain niches, expertise alone is enough. Generally, these kinds of sites are used for reference and research. They can’t prove experience. But the overwhelming expertise they exhibit is enough to carry them.
Wikipedia is a good example here. There is zero experience demonstrated anywhere on the entire site, but it still ranks highly in SERP. But these sites are few and far between. And to muddy the waters even more, they have a high level of the T in E.E.A.T. Trustworthiness.
And this is a good place to stop this post. In the final part, I will cover authority and trust, and then sum up with a quick cheat sheet on how to nail E.E.A.T.
I am a professional freelance content marketer, with over 18 years of experience in creating all forms of content. If you have a content marketing project I might be able to help with, then please feel free to contact me through this site.