The latest updates to Google's E-E-A-T policy

Table of Contents

There have been major adjustments to its search Quality Rater Guidelines (QRG).

Despite the fact that Google changes this documentation numerous times per year, the most recent edition, released today, included significant modifications to the layout of the document, including many new sections and tables, as well as 11 new pages of information.

In the popular acronym E-A-T, the letter E was introduced as the first letter in the acronym. There are dozens of details regarding what changed. 

Here’s what E-E-A-T is all about

Using E-E-A-T, Google is now introducing a new concept

  • Experience.
  • Expertise.
  • Authoritativeness.
  • Trustworthiness. 

Adding “experience” indicates that content quality can also be assessed by considering how much first-hand knowledge the content creator has.

In its redesigned E-E-A-T concept, Google also reframes “trust” in the most significant way and states it to be the “most important member of the E-E-A-T family.” 

Further examples of important concepts can be found on Google, including:

  • Identifying websites and contributors with a good reputation.
  • How E-E-A-T should be evaluated and how it matters.
  • How harmful content is defined.

The use of more inclusive language and greater granularity

The language of the honest company model search engine is being updated to be more inclusive and facilitate the use of social media. New mentions of social media platforms, influencers, and social media posts were added.

In Moreover, google forum webmaster takes a granular approach to explain E-E-A-T in detail and how it can be applied to specific topics in this version. In order to provide trustworthy content for a specific topic, google user experience jobs explains what content is considered harmful and if everyday experience suffices. 

Listed below are just a few of the changes.

Taking the time to read Google’s new guidelines will give SEOs a better understanding of where Google wants to go with its algorithms. 

In December 2022, the Search Quality major Guidelines went through some significant changes, summarized below.

Website Overview

This new Quality Rating Guide (QRG) includes the following new guidance around identifying who operates a website:

“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 the website itself.” 

Despite the fact that the owners and operators of the website may not be directly named on the site, this addition suggests that it’s important to know who is actually in charge of the website.

Furthermore, your contributions google reviews now refers to the reputations of website creators and/or websites instead of just websites, indicating that evaluating a website also takes into account the reputations of people contributing content to the site.

Identifying the owner of the website and the creator of the content. The owner of a website should be clearly identified when determining who is responsible for it, according to Google.

Previous versions of the Quality Rating Guide asked ad raters to find out who was responsible for the site: individuals, companies, businesses, foundations, etc. As a result, Google called the foundation an organization and a government agency. 

Google also added: 

“…for pages on websites such as forums and social media platforms, people may post content using an alias or username in order to avoid sharing personally identifiable information online. In these cases, the alias or username is an acceptable way to identify the content creator.”

There is also a new table that allows Google to identify who contributed to the main content on a webpage. Google seems to be trying to distinguish between the owner of a website, and the content contributor(s) who contributed content. 

Overall Page Quality Rating 

Several of Google’s guidelines for measuring reputation and ranking page quality have been reorganised dramatically. QRG has created a new three-step process for evaluating page quality:

determining the genuine aim of the page and how harmful/deceptive it is

1.Examining the page for potential harm, deception, and spam

2.If a rater determines that the page is dangerous, untrustworthy, or spammy, they should rate it as Lowest quality.

3.If a page is not hazardous, its quality rating is determined by how well it serves its objective.

As part of evaluating the subject matter of a page, the rater must consider the aspects of the page that are YMYL. These include a spectrum of topics that are referred to in the previous version of the rating system (based on their potential for causing harm to the user). 

There are several factors Google considers when determining what type of website it is. These factors include:

  • Sites run by hobbyists or corporations.
  • Transactions involving money or payments
  • Voluntary or professional support is provided. 

A website’s page quality expectations vary depending on its type

According to Google, although ads are necessary for many sites to earn revenue, their contribution to user experience must also be considered.

As A website’s reputation and how its contents are created contribute to the quality of the page, as we have stated in previous sections.

Our final update to the Quality Rater Guidelines focuses on E-E-A-T: Experience, Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trust. 

Content Quality

The ratings system for evaluating the content of a page has been updated by Google.

In the previous version (page 24), Google stated: 

“For all types of webpages, creating high quality MC takes a significant amount of at least one of the following: time, effort, expertise, and talent/skill.”

In the new version (page 22), Google removed the word “time” and added the word “originality.” 

“For most pages, the quality of the MC can be determined by the amount of effort, originality, and talent or skill that went into the creation of the content.”

The addition of this table according to Google is also not surprising, given this year’s focus on original content: 

This version of the QRG is a big step forward with Google’s increased emphasis on effort with clear explanations of what effort entails.

As opposed to tactics that rely solely on automation without oversight or manual curation, Google seems to be asking raters to pay attention to how much effort actually went into creating the content. 

Additionally, Google is increasingly seeking original content and insights not available elsewhere in  search results. 

As For YMYL topics, Google emphasizes accuracy and alignment with expert consensus as with previous versions of the QRG.

Content Creators’ and Website’s Reputation

In order to better understand the reputations of both websites and content creators, Google has enhanced its recommendations. 

According to Google, reputation research is influenced by the content of the page. When looking at reputation, raters need to consider what the page is about.

A new detail has also been added about websites that create content for many different websites.

In A quality rater can look across different websites to obtain reputation information about the “underlying company or content creator” in these cases.

Creators’ reputations 

Google launched a new section of its content creation guidelines aimed at identifying an author’s or content creator’s reputation. This whole section shows just how much Google values the reputation of content creators (even influencers!):

A combination of Experience, Expertise, Authority, and Trust (E-E-A-T)

The Quality Rater Guidelines introduce a new, evolved version of Google’s E-A-T, which has been a hot topic for a few years in the SEO community. 

The E-E-A-T acronym stands for Experience, Expertise, Authority, and Trust.

This ‘family’ of important page quality considerations has been expanded to include ‘trust’ as well as an additional letter, E for experience. 

Google states:

“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.”

Trust is the mechanism by which raters determine if the page is “accurate, honest, safe, and reliable”. The amount of trust a page requires depends entirely on the nature of the page. 

A trustworthy review would help searchers make an informed decision, rather than simply try to sell the product. Google offers the example of an online store, which requires secure online payment systems and good customer service. 

Experience, expertise and authoritativeness can be rated based on a new table introduced by Google:

The addition of “experience” to the notion of E-A-T is consistent with many of Google’s upgrades and messages over the last few years, notably with product review content.

Google prioritises content writers that have “required first-hand real life experience for the issue.” Having substantial experience fosters trust.

Google provides the example of a product review: someone who has used the product firsthand has more experience than someone who has not, resulting in greater trust.

Raters should take the following factors into account when evaluating Trust, the most important “member of the E-E-A-T family”: 

  • Site profile pages or About Pages describe what the website is about.
  • (Third-party reviews or references) What others have to say about the website or its creators.
  • It is the evidence that is visible on the page that tells us that the content creator is credible (for example, them actually doing the thing they claim to be an expert in).

The search engine giant also clarifies that reviews by product manufacturers or influencers paid to promote a product aren’t trustworthy. 

How do you define expertise? YMYL Topics: What do you define as experience?

A new table has been introduced by Google that distinguishes when everyday experience or actual expertise is necessary for YMYL content.

There is no inherently untrustworthy content because a contributor isn’t a bonafide expert on a YMYL topic.

Content written by people who share their stories based on first-hand experience can be trusted in certain situations. 

Self-destructive or harmful to others

Google established the premise that YMYL themes are decided based on their capacity to do harm to the user in a prior version of the QRG.

Google published a full chart with samples of what is considered harmful or not in this latest version: These distinctions are intriguing, given the amount of public discussion over free speech on multiple social platforms in 2022.

In its definition of damaging content, Google appears to draw a clear boundary between free expression and violent/harassment speech.

A number of popular internet conspiracy theories, as well as several well-established consensus theories, are also cited as examples of “harmfully misleading information” by Google:

Insufficient E-E-A-T

This is the kind of page that has an inappropriate level of E-E-A-T for the topic or purpose of the page, as provided by Google:

  • In the case of a restaurant review written by someone who has never eaten there, there is insufficient experience on the part of the author”
  •  There is an inadequacy of expertise in the content creator, such as someone who doesn’t have any experience with hiking writing an article about it 
  • A cooking website may provide tax form downloads, but the website is not an authoritative or trustworthy source.
  •  There is little data provided about customer service on the page or website, e.g. a shopping page that lacks customer service information.” 

Each letter of E-E-A-T plays a unique role in determining a page’s quality.

If any article has been updated with new language

A number of gender-neutral pronouns and grammar changes are evident throughout the document as Google attempts to be more inclusive. For example, “webmaster” is changed to “owner” and some gendered pronouns are removed (“himself/herself” becomes “themself”). 

Keep an eye on where Google is taking the QRG.

The Quality Rater Guidelines are a must-read for anybody involved in search marketing because they provide a roadmap for where Google wants its algorithms to go.

Reading between the lines of this document’s terminology will help you understand what Google is looking for in terms of content quality, user experience, and website E-E-A-T.

Following these rules will assist ensure that your site and company can attain visibility in Google search and, ideally, are not impacted negatively by any of their algorithm tweaks or other penalties.

Anjali Tiwari

Anjali Tiwari

Anjali Tiwari is a content writer at Fraction Digital, she is passionate about learning new things and writing about them so the topics can be easy to understand, she likes to read and travel.

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