The Complete Guide to the Basics of Google’s E-E-A-T

User executing a Google search on a tablet.
In the world of Google Search, there are few opportunities to peek inside the inner workings. The Search Quality Rater Guidelines is one such opportunity.

In it, we get a better understanding of Google’s view on what is a quality website. From there, we can piece together how that might factor into Google’s algorithms.

After the dust has settled with algorithm updates, we can see much more clearly that Google actions speak louder than words. Many of you know we study, then speak, so while we are not the first to the party, what we say when we arrive is worthy of a listen.

In this article:

What Is Google’s E-E-A-T and Where Did It Come From?

The concept of E-E-A-T, also known as experience, expertise, authoritativeness, and trust, originated in Google’s Search Quality Rater Guidelines (SQRG).

We first found out about search quality teams in 2004 — people who evaluate the quality of the search results — then later when the internal SQRG document was leaked from Google.

In 2015, Google made the full version of Search Quality Rater Guidelines available to the public. Since then, it has gone through several iterations, with the latest version dated December 2022.

(This is a good summary of big changes since the last iteration of SQRG.)

The concept of E-E-A-T within the SQRG debuted in 2014, giving us clues into what Google believes is quality. The added “E” for experience debuted in 2022.

E-E-A-T can apply to individual pages or whole sites, and how important E-E-A-T also depends on the type of topic. I’ll touch more on that later.

How Does Google’s Search Quality Rater Guidelines Work?

The SQRG allows Google to better understand if the changes it’s making to its Search algorithms are producing quality results.

Human evaluators (thousands of them) use the guide as a way to evaluate the search results for certain queries and then report back what they have found. This can act as a feedback loop for Google engineers to make further tweaks to the algorithm.

Here are some snippets from Google explaining how search quality raters work.

In a help file here, Google explains how raters work:

We constantly experiment with ideas to improve the results you see. One of the ways we evaluate those experiments is by getting feedback from third-party Search Quality Raters. Quality Raters are spread out all over the world and are highly trained using our extensive guidelines. Their feedback helps us understand which changes make Search more useful.

Raters also help us categorize information to improve our systems. For example, we might ask what language a page is written in or what’s important on a page.

We use responses from Raters to evaluate changes, but they don’t directly impact how our search results are ranked.

Another explanation from Google here on its “how search works” page:

We work with external Search Quality Raters to measure the quality of Search results on an ongoing basis. Raters assess how well content fulfills a search request and evaluate the quality of results based on the expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness of the content. These ratings do not directly impact ranking, but they do help us benchmark the quality of our results and make sure these meet a high bar all around the world.

And here’s a 2012 video of former Googler Matt Cutts (remember him?) discussing it:

E-E-A-T and Rankings

E-E-A-T does not directly impact rankings as an algorithm would. Instead, Google uses a variety of signals in its algorithm to align with the concept of E-E-A-T.

For example, I believe the “Panda” update was about expertise, the “Penguin” update about authority, the “Medic” update about trust, and the “Product Review” update about experience.

In my opinion, experience is just a different form of expertise … not good for all topics, but important for some.

Those who watch Google know how to read between the lines. When the Medic update hit, we saw both a blog post from Google and a tweet from Googler Danny Sullivan about the SQRG:

In that blog post, Google said:

Another resource for advice on great content is to review our search quality rater guidelines. Raters are people who give us insights on if our algorithms seem to be providing good results, a way to help confirm our changes are working well.

It’s important to understand that search raters have no control over how pages rank. Rater data is not used directly in our ranking algorithms. Rather, we use them as a restaurant might get feedback cards from diners. The feedback helps us know if our systems seem to be working.

If you understand how raters learn to assess good content, that might help you improve your own content. In turn, you might perhaps do better in Search.

In particular, raters are trained to understand if content has what we call strong E-E-A-T. That stands for Expertise, Authoritativeness and Trustworthiness. Reading the guidelines may help you assess how your content is doing from an E-E-A-T perspective and improvements to consider.

Back in 2019 (and the tweet looks like it has since been deleted by Sullivan), he had this to say about how E-E-A-T factors into search:

How Does Google Define Experience, Expertise, Authority, and Trust?

Now let’s examine experience, expertise, authority, and trust and how to achieve it on your website. First, it’s important to know that Google places “trust” at the center of page quality.

As outlined in the SQRG:

Trust is the most important member of the E-E-A-T family because untrustworthy pages have low E-E-A-T no matter how Experienced, Expert, or Authoritative they may seem. For example, a financial scam is untrustworthy, even if the content creator is a highly experienced and expert scammer who is considered the go-to on running scams!

Chart from Google showing relationship between experience, expertise, authoritativeness and trust.
Image credit: Google’s Search Quality Rater Guidelines, December 2022

Let’s look closer at each of the factors in E-E-A-T.


Trust is assessed on multiple levels:

  1. The trustworthiness of the content creator
  2. The trustworthiness of the content itself
  3. The trustworthiness of the website as a whole

Regarding trust, Google says: “Consider the extent to which the page is accurate, honest, safe, and reliable.”

It goes on to say:

The type and amount of Trust needed depends on the page, for example:

  • Online stores need secure online payment systems and reliable customer service.
  • Product reviews should be honest and written to help others make informed purchasing decisions (rather than solely to sell the product).
  • Informational pages on clear YMYL topics must be accurate to prevent harm to people and society.
  • Social media posts on non-YMYL topics may not need a high level of Trust, such as when the purpose of the post is to entertain its audience and the content of the post does not risk causing harm.

The guidelines further highlight how trust factors into quality:

The website or content creator may not be a trustworthy source if there is a clear conflict of interest. For example, product reviews by people who own the product and share their experiences can be very valuable and trustworthy. However, “reviews” by the product manufacturer (“Our product is great!”) or “reviews” from an influencer who is paid to promote the product are not as trustworthy due to the conflict of interest. Finally, there are many aspects of Trust, some which are not captured by Experience, Expertise and Authoritativeness. Please consider other aspects in your overall Trust assessment, such as customer service information for online stores or peer-reviewed publications for academic authors. If a page is untrustworthy for any reason, it has low E-E-A-T.

The guidelines also give examples of trust as it relates to websites with the highest level of E-E-A-T:

Trust is especially important for high quality pages that involve processing financial transactions or cover YMYL topics. Even if the topic is not YMYL, trust may still be required; for example, product reviews and pages offering advice require at least some level of trust. While not all pages require a high level of trust, a trustworthy page is often a satisfying one.

Trust – at least in part – is about reputation.

From the SQRG:

Reputation research is especially important for detecting untrustworthy websites and content creators. Content may look great on the surface, but reputation research can expose scams, fraud, or other signs of harm. You never know what you will find unless you look! Therefore, reputation research is required for all PQ rating tasks.

Google further defines how it thinks about reputation:

A website’s reputation is based on the experience of real users and the opinions of people who are experts. Websites may represent real companies, organizations, and other entities. Reputation research applies to both the website and the actual company, organization, or entity that the website is representing.

Reputation, says the SQRG, is determined by outside information about the website (not just what the website says about itself):

Many websites are eager to tell users how great they are. … Be skeptical of claims that websites make about themselves, particularly when there is a clear conflict of interest. Instead, look for independent reviews, references, recommendations by experts, news articles, and other sources of credible information about the website. Look for information written by a person or organization, not statistics or other machine-compiled information.

The guidelines give clues into some ways that Google evaluates trust and reputation:

News articles, Wikipedia articles, blog posts, magazine articles, forum discussions, and ratings from independent organizations can all be great sources of reputation information.

For YMYL topics, the reputation of a website should be judged by what experts in the field have to say. Recommendations from expert sources, such as professional societies, are strong evidence of a positive reputation.

Sources of reputation information will also vary according to the topic or type of company/organization/entity that the website represents. For example, you might find that a newspaper (with an associated website) has won journalistic awards. Prestigious awards or a history of high-quality original reporting are strong evidence of positive reputation for news websites.

Trust and the Algorithm

Product Reviews

In 2022, Google launched a product reviews update. This update aimed to weed out product reviews written by people who had not actually used the product. The SQRG discusses trust as it relates to product reviews throughout.

Bad Reputation and Rankings

Google does not look kindly upon sites or brands with a bad reputation. This is something it has been battling for years and gained a lot of traction with the Decor My Eyes debacle many years ago.

I believe sentiment is an important factor in trust and can impact rankings. I also believe that artificial intelligence has allowed Google to make significant advances in sentiment measurement as a part of that trust component.

As outlined in an article I wrote on sentiment as a trust signal, things like low ratings on the Better Business Bureau can be a big deal. We believe this harmed rankings for a client.

Others have reported how reputation (specifically poor BBB ratings) may have impacted rankings after the “Medic” update.

Past versions of the SQRG in fact mentioned the BBB several times. Here was one instance:

Look for articles, reviews, forum posts, discussions, etc. written by people about the website. For businesses, there are many sources of reputation information and reviews. Here are some examples: Yelp, Better Business Bureau (a nonprofit organization that focuses on the trustworthiness of businesses and charities), Amazon, and Google Shopping.

One excerpt indicated that “very low ratings on BBB are usually the result of multiple unresolved complaints,” and to “consider very low ratings on the BBB site to be evidence for a negative reputation.”

To be clear, I do not think a BBB rating is a direct ranking signal. Google has confirmed here that it is not.

Again, the SQRG is designed to be used as a feedback loop for how Google designs its algorithms.

Does Google want brands or websites with a bad reputation to rank high? Of course not. Does Google integrate things like the BBB rating into its search results? Yes, just look at the entries for Google Local Services.

Google Local Services entry with BBB rating integration.
Google Local Services entry with BBB rating integration

It seems that Google AI technology can separate good from bad reviews, and properly count them in your rankings. They know if you have been naughty or nice.

So, where does that leave us? Does sentiment impact a website’s trustworthiness, and indirectly impact rankings? I believe so.

I have written more about sentiment as a trust signal in a two-part series. For more, see:


Prior to introducing the “experience” category in 2022, Google discussed the importance of life experience in past versions of the SQRG – but mostly as it related to “expertise.” Now, Google has decided that experience is important – and different enough – to have its own category.

Experience has to do with first-hand experience about the page topic from the content creator.

The guidelines clarify:

Consider the extent to which the content creator has the necessary first-hand or life experience for the topic. Many types of pages are trustworthy and achieve their purpose well when created by people with a wealth of personal experience. For example, which would you trust: a product review from someone who has personally used the product or a “review” by someone who has not?

The guidelines go on to say that:

Experience is valuable for almost any topic. Social media posts and forum discussions are often High quality when they involve people sharing their experience. From writing symphonies to reviewing home appliances, first-hand experience can make a social media post or discussion page High quality.

However, low-quality pages do not have an adequate amount of experience behind them, says Google, and gives the example of a restaurant review written by someone who has never eaten at the restaurant.

Experience and the Algorithm

Google’s product review update in 2022 is about first-hand experience. Google has discussed the types of product reviews it is looking for – and they require that the reviewer has actually used the product.

The experience factor is also something that can help website publishers create more original content in general – content that can stand out from all the other listings in the search results.

The originality of content is discussed in the SQRG when assessing page quality:

Consider the extent to which the content offers unique, original content that is not available on other websites. If other websites have similar content, consider whether the page is the original source.

That said, Google’s helpful content update, which also went live in 2022, was designed to “provide better ranking of original, quality content.”

From Google’s announcement:

For example, if you search for information about a new movie, you might have previously seen articles that aggregated reviews from other sites without adding perspectives beyond what’s available elsewhere. This isn’t very helpful if you’re expecting to read something new. With this update, you’ll see more results with unique, authentic information, so you’re more likely to read something you haven’t seen before.

The bottom line: Differentiation will become more important. And sometimes you need experience to differentiate.


Expertise has to do with the level of skill or knowledge that the content creator must have to speak intelligently on a topic. The guidelines discuss this concept further:

Consider the extent to which the content creator has the necessary knowledge or skill for the topic. Different topics require different levels and types of expertise to be trustworthy. For example, which would you trust: home electrical rewiring advice from a skilled electrician or from an antique homes enthusiast who has no knowledge of electrical wiring?

Google says that pages with a high level of E-E-A-T may demonstrate expertise in the following way:

Expertise is required for satisfying content on a variety of topics, from hobbies such as photography to YMYL topics such as tax preparation. Think about the topic of the page and what expertise is needed to create satisfying, trustworthy content. There are many types of informal expertise that may be visible in the MC itself.

Examples of Expert Content

In older versions of the SQRG, Google clarified some examples in which high expertise is critical:

  • High E-E-A-T medical advice should be written or produced by people or organizations with appropriate medical expertise or accreditation. High E-E-A-T medical advice or information should be written or produced in a professional style and should be edited, reviewed, and updated on a regular basis.
  • High E-E-A-T news articles should be produced with journalistic professionalism—they should contain factually accurate content presented in a way that helps users achieve a better understanding of events. High E-E-A-T news sources typically have published established editorial policies and robust review processes …
  • High E-E-A-T information pages on scientific topics should be produced by people or organizations with appropriate scientific expertise and represent well-established scientific consensus on issues where such consensus exists.
  • High E-E-A-T financial advice, legal advice, tax advice, etc., should come from trustworthy sources and be maintained and updated regularly.
  • High E-E-A-T advice pages on topics such as home remodeling (which can cost thousands of dollars and impact your living situation) or advice on parenting issues (which can impact the future happiness of a family) should also come from “expert” or experienced sources that users can trust.
  • High E-E-A-T pages on hobbies, such as photography or learning to play a guitar, also require expertise.

It’s worth reviewing the examples of high E-E-A-T in the SQRG, Section 8.3, and examples of highest quality pages in Section 8.4.

For example, for this recipe page, Google notes: “The author of this blog has documented her extensive experimentation with a chocolate chip cookie recipe, and her expertise is demonstrated in the large quantity of original high or highest quality MC.” It goes on to say, “The author of this blog has documented her extensive experimentation with a chocolate chip cookie recipe (Experience), and her expertise and skill is demonstrated in the large quantity of unique, original, and very satisfying MC.”

Screenshot of Handle the Heat recipe page.
Image credit: Search Quality Rater Guidelines

For this PDF of a campus map, Google notes: “This PDF file is a detailed campus map of a major university, which is hosted on the official university website. This is a highly authoritative source for this information. The map includes a listing of all the buildings, parking structures, parking lots, construction areas, etc. (effort, skill, accuracy).”

Image of UCLA campus map.
Image credit: Search Quality Rater Guidelines

How to Determine “An Expert”

So how does someone show they’re an expert? Experts build a name for themselves on a particular subject matter. But how do you communicate that expertise to a person who may have just landed on your page from the search results?

Having easily accessible credentials is key. For example, author biographies.

In a Google Webmaster Central office-hours hangout, John Mueller discussed E-E-A-T and author biographies:

In a nutshell, Mueller says it’s less of a technical thing (like using markup on the page) and more of a user experience thing. Make sure that visitors can easily identify who wrote the content and why they are qualified to do so.

In another Webmaster Central office-hours hangout, Mueller again discussed schema markup as it relates to E-E-A-T. He reiterated that while Google can use this info, make sure that information is accessible by users, not just search engines.

This article references a Pubcon Q&A with Googler Gary Illyes in which he was quoted as saying:

“In web search, we have entities for very popular authors, like if you were an executive for the Washington Post, then you probably have an entity. It’s not about the author, it’s about the entity.”

Going back to the SQRG, Google gives another example of how to determine an expert:

… you may be able to tell that someone is an expert in hair styling by watching a video of them in action (styling someone’s hair) and reading others’ comments (commenters often highlight expertise or lack thereof).

Expertise and the Google Algorithm

Let’s talk about expertise and the algorithm. When someone types in a query, Google is going to use its algorithms and RankBrain to determine which webpages (out of potential millions) in its index for that query will show up on page one.

One of the ways Google might determine if your content is “expert” is how similar or different that content is to other expert, high-quality webpages.

In the SQRG, Google reiterates time and again the importance of topics – especially YMYL topics – to be “consistent with well-established expert consensus.”

For instance, say you have content that states that blueberries can cure cancer. Even if you feel you have the authority to make this claim, when competing against YMYL content, you will not be considered an expert for a query about cancer because the claim is not supported elsewhere.

In fact, Google would go so far as to say that this information is harmful, and a page with this type of information may get the lowest rating:

Health-related advice that contradicts well-established expert consensus and could result in serious harm or could prevent someone from undertaking a life-saving treatment.

In summary, expertise is really as simple as this quote from SQRG: “Expertise is required for satisfying content on a variety of topics, from hobbies such as photography to YMYL topics such as tax preparation. Think about the topic of the page and what expertise is needed to create satisfying, trustworthy content. There are many types of informal expertise that may be visible in the MC [main content] itself.”


Authoritativeness builds on expertise, and takes three things into account:

  1. The authority of the content creator
  2. The authority of the content itself
  3. The authority of the website as a whole

To achieve authority, one must be a recognized expert in their field, whether a brand or a person. From the guidelines:

Consider the extent to which the content creator or the website is known as a go-to source for the topic. While most topics do not have one official, Authoritative website or content creator, when they do, that website or content creator is often among the most reliable and trustworthy sources. For example, a local business profile page on social media may be the authoritative and trusted source for what is on sale now. The official government page for getting a passport is the unique, official, and authoritative source for passport renewal.

On the flipside, the guidelines give an example of what would not be authoritative, such as tax form downloads provided on a cooking website.

And even though a website may be a collection of contributors, in many cases, the brand is responsible for the overall content. That means the authority of the brand can come into play.

In previous versions of the SQRG, Google had this to say:

Often a business or organization is responsible for the content of a website, not an individual person. The IBM Corporation is responsible for the content on The Cleveland Clinic is responsible for the content on An individual is not responsible for the content on these websites, even though many individuals contributed to creating and maintaining the content. In these cases, we will view the business or organization as responsible for the content on every single page, as well as maintenance of the website.

The December 2022 version gives examples of websites with the highest levels of authority:

Government tax websites are an authoritative source for tax forms. Local businesses and organizations may be go-to sources for local information. When looking at a page or website, consider whether it is considered a go-to, authoritative source for the type of information it is displaying.

Authority doesn’t have to be complicated to achieve. For example, the US Naval Observatory Master Clock page has a high level of E-E-A-T, according to the guidelines:

US Naval Observatory Master Clock Time table.
Image credit: Search Quality Rater Guidelines

The SQRG says this about it:

The purpose of this page is to display the official US Naval Observatory Master Clock time in 7 different time zones. The page displays the clock information in a clear, easy-to-read format. The Naval Observatory is highly trustworthy and authoritative for this type of information.

Authority and the Algorithm

The SQRG does not make mention of links to a website as an indicator of authority. But we know from experience that links matter.

Since the beginning, a link to a site has been a vote of confidence. This is the concept of PageRank, and yes, it still exists.

Of course, you want links from other experts or other relevant types of sites, not just any links. Google is good at knowing which links should count, thanks to its evolving algorithm and updates like Penguin.

Mentions could also be a factor in how Google determines authority. When determining if an individual or brand is an authority on a topic, do a simple search online.

Is a person’s name connected with the subject matter in the search results?

Search results for the query “Bruce Clay SEO.”
Search results for the query “Bruce Clay SEO”

In a post on E-E-A-T from Marie Haynes, she accurately points out that:

If your business is getting amazing press mentions, this really can help. The incredible thing though is that Google feels really confident that they can determine which mentions are there because there is true buzz circulating about your company, and which are just there because they’re paid, incentivized or self made.

There is a big difference between a mention from a Forbes contributor and a Forbes staff journalist. Google knows to ignore the former, and most likely, they can recognize the latter as a vote for your brand’s authority. In fact, we believe that this was one of the reasons why Google made changes to rel=nofollow. It is possible that now, if Google comes across a great link on an authoritative site, we think they can count it towards your E-E-A-T even if it is nofollowed.

To add to the discussion about rel=nofollow … I, too, believe what Marie is suggesting: that <nofollow> is merely a hint to Google nowadays. Just as a link with a <nofollow> on it can work to your advantage as in her example, it can work against you, too.

Take this scenario as an example: A person on your site is reading an informational article. Within that article is a link with branded anchor text pointing to a company website. This link is a paid placement.

The average reader would not be able to distinguish a <nofollow> link from a regular link. Therefore, that link may be automatically trusted by your website users.

If Google identifies this link as irrelevant or deceptive (especially when we’re talking about YMYL topics), Google might ignore the <nofollow> and still count that link against your site.

(For more on this, see a post I wrote on manual penalties and guest posts.)

Overlap in E-E-A-T

Experience, expertise, authority, and trust are interconnected concepts as it relates to a quality webpage or website. And the guidelines make clear that there is overlap when evaluating page quality:

Experience, Expertise, and Authoritativeness may overlap for some page types and topics (for example, someone may develop Expertise in a topic due to first-hand Experience accumulated over time), and different combinations of E-E-A may be relevant to different topics. You should consider the purpose, type, and topic of the page, then ask yourself what would make the content creator a trustworthy source in that context.

Another excerpt where the guidelines show how interconnected these concepts are:

These considerations overlap. For example, while examining the quality of the MC [main content], you may notice factual inaccuracies that lower your assessment of Trust. While conducting reputation research, you may find information about the expertise of the content creator which increases your level of Trust. This is how PQ rating is designed to work!

How this might work algorithmically is that Google would use different E-E-A-T factors and different weights for those factors based on the topic.

For example, the guidelines have this to say:

Very high E-E-A-T is a distinguishing factor for Highest quality pages. A website or content creator who is the uniquely authoritative, go-to source for a topic has very high E-E-A-T. A content creator with a wealth of experience may be considered to have very high E-E-A-T for topics where experience is the primary factor in trust. [emphasis added] A very high level of expertise can justify a very high E-E-A-T assessment. Very high E-E-A-T websites and content creators are the most trusted sources on the internet for a particular topic. Think about what E-E-A-T means for the topic of the page. How important is first-hand experience? Who are the experts? What makes a source highly authoritative for the topic? What makes a website or content creator trustworthy for the topic? Standards for very high E-E-A-T will differ depending on the topic of the page. [emphasis added]

How E-E-A-T and YMYL Go Hand-in-Hand

“Your Money or Your Life” (YMYL) webpages or topics are those that Google says “could significantly impact the health, financial stability, or safety of people, or the welfare or well-being of society.”

These types of topics, in particular, are held to a very high standard. In these instances, E-E-A-T is critical.

YMYL topics could include:

  • News and current events
  • Civics, government, and law
  • Finance
  • Shopping
  • Health and safety
  • Info related to groups of people
  • Social media viral “challenges”

Section 2.3 of the guidelines categorizes different types of harm that might occur from YMYL topics:

  • YMYL Health or Safety: Topics that could harm mental, physical, and emotional health, or any form of safety such as physical safety or safety online.
  • YMYL Financial Security: Topics that could damage a person’s ability to support themselves and their families.
  • YMYL Society: Topics that could negatively impact groups of people, issues of public interest, trust in public institutions, etc.
  • YMYL Other: Topics that could hurt people or negatively impact welfare or well-being of society.

Assessing YMYL topics, says the guidelines, is not cut and dry: “Because YMYL assessment is a spectrum, it may be helpful to think of topics as clear YMYL, definitely not YMYL or something in between.”

The SQRG gives examples of how YMYL would come into play:

YMYL topic table.
Image credit: Search Quality Rater Guidelines

When Google updated the guidelines in December 2022, it added a section to clarify when experience or expertise is important to YMYL topics:

Pages on YMYL topics can be created for a wide variety of different purposes. If the purpose of a page on a clear YMYL topic is to give information or offer advice, a high level of expertise may be required for the page to be trustworthy.

However, sometimes pages on YMYL topics are created to share personal experiences, often regarding difficult life challenges. People turn to each other in times of need to share their own experience, seek comfort or inspiration, and learn from others. Factual information from experts and authoritative sources may not satisfy this need.

Pages that share first-hand life experience on clear YMYL topics may be considered to have high E-E-A-T as long as the content is trustworthy, safe, and consistent with well-established expert consensus. In contrast, some types of YMYL information and advice must come from experts.

So the answer depends on the context of the page, and the guidelines clarify with some examples:

Table with YMYL topic examples.
Image credit: Search Quality Rater Guidelines

Have a Purpose, Then E-E-A-T

One of the most important things to remember is that a page has a purpose, and then delivers on it (so long as it’s beneficial to users and not intended to harm).

From the SQRG:

  • The goal of PQ rating is to determine how well a page achieves its purpose. In order to assign a rating, you must understand the purpose of the page and sometimes the website.
  • By understanding the purpose of the page, you’ll better understand what criteria are important to consider when evaluating that particular page.
  • Websites and pages should be created to help people. If that is not the case, a rating of Lowest may be warranted.

The guidelines go on to say that “as long as the page is created to help people, we will not consider any particular page purpose or type to be higher quality than another.”

Note that Google said that E-E-A-T is important for “all other pages with a beneficial purpose.”


The concept of E-E-A-T, also known as experience, expertise, authoritativeness and trust, originated in Google’s Search Quality Rater Guidelines (SQRG).

The SQRG allows Google to better understand if the changes it’s making to its Search algorithms are producing quality results. This can act as a feedback loop for Google engineers to make further tweaks to the algorithm.

E-E-A-T does not directly impact rankings as an algorithm would. Instead, Google uses a variety of signals in its algorithm to align with the concept of E-E-A-T.

For example, I believe the “Panda” update was about expertise, the “Penguin” update about authority, the “Medic” update about trust, and the “Product Review” update about experience.

E-E-A-T is important for most websites, but for “Your Money or Your Life” topics, it is critical. The level of experience and expertise needed for other topics varies.

Trust is at the center of E-E-A-T. A page needs to be accurate, honest, safe, and reliable.

Experience is about the need to have first-hand knowledge on a topic, which is obtained through direct interaction or involvement.

Expertise is the necessary knowledge or skill needed to write about a topic.

Authoritativeness builds on expertise and is about being a go-to source on a topic.

Struggling to implement E-E-A-T principles in your SEO program? Our SEO experts can help transform your website into a trusted authority that gets higher search ranking and more qualified traffic. Reach out to us for a free consultation.


FAQ: How does Google define experience, expertise, authority, and trust in the context of E-E-A-T?

E-E-A.T is a crucial factor in Google search algorithms, helping determine the trustworthiness and quality of websites. Let’s delve into how Google defines the key elements of E-E-A-T:


Experience refers to the first-hand knowledge and life experiences of the content creator on a specific topic. Google gives greater consideration to content from people with direct experience, which increases the credibility and reliability of the information provided. A product review written by someone who actually uses the product has more weight than one from someone else.


Level of expertise refers to the knowledge or skill base possessed by its creator on any particular subject matter. Different topics require varying levels and types of expertise to be considered trustworthy. For instance, advice on home electrical rewiring should come from a skilled electrician rather than an individual with no knowledge of electrical wiring.


Authority is closely tied to expertise and refers to the content creator’s reputation and credentials in their field. A reputable source with extensive experience and expertise is considered more authoritative, adding credibility to the information presented. Google evaluates authority by considering expert reviews, references, recommendations, and peer-reviewed publications.


Trust is the foundation of E-E-A-T and the most critical member of the family. Untrustworthy pages, regardless of their experience, expertise, or authority, will have low E-E-A-T. Google measures trust on multiple levels. This includes the creator’s credibility, content credibility, and website reliability as a whole. In order to achieve trust-building results, content must be honest, accurate, reliable, and secure.

Improving your website’s E-E-A-T and ultimately its rankings involves several key steps:

  1. Familiarize yourself with Google’s E-E-A-T framework and its significance in website rankings and trustworthiness.
  2. Research the specific topics and industries relevant to your website to identify the expertise and experience required for content creators.
  3. Assess the reputation and credentials of your content creators to ensure they align with the E-E-A-T principles.
  4. Review your existing content for accuracy, transparency, and trustworthiness, making necessary improvements where needed.
  5. Identify authoritative sources in your industry and aim to obtain backlinks from them to boost your website’s authority.
  6. Engage with industry experts and professional societies to strengthen your website’s credibility and expert status.
  7. Conduct regular fact-checking and ensure the accuracy of all information presented on your website.
  8. Create content that reflects first-hand experiences and authentic perspectives to resonate with users and search engines.
  9. Optimize your website’s user experience, focusing on speed, usability, and valuable content delivery.
  10. Utilize data from user feedback and behavior to continuously improve your website’s trustworthiness and user satisfaction.
  11. Monitor Google’s algorithm updates and guidelines to stay up-to-date with any changes related to E-E-A-T.
  12. Collaborate with subject matter experts and industry influencers to enhance your content’s authority and reach.
  13. Establish a clear editorial policy that emphasizes E-E-A-T principles and enforces high-quality content creation.
  14. Leverage social proof and positive user reviews to bolster your website’s trustworthiness and reputation.
  15. Create comprehensive and well-researched content that serves as a reliable source of information for users.
  16. Regularly audit and update outdated content to maintain its accuracy and relevancy.
  17. Strategize a plan for disseminating your content across various channels so as to reach more viewers and build backlinks.
  18. Engage with your audience through social media and other platforms, building trust and rapport.
  19. Monitor your website’s performance metrics, including bounce rate and user engagement, to gauge its E-E-A-T impact.
  20. Continuously refine your website’s E-E-A-T strategy based on user feedback, data analysis, and industry trends to stay ahead in search rankings.

By following these steps and prioritizing E-E-A-T principles, you can position your website as a reliable and authoritative source, fostering trust with both users and search engines.

Bruce Clay is founder and president of Bruce Clay Inc., a global digital marketing firm providing search engine optimization, pay-per-click, social media marketing, SEO-friendly web architecture, and SEO tools and education. Connect with him on LinkedIn or through the website.

See Bruce's author page for links to connect on social media.

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