How To Follow Google's E-E-A-T Guidelines To Create High-Quality Content

Catherine Lovering
Published: May 01, 2024
Last Updated:
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The name of the game in content marketing may appear to be beating the Google algorithm, but though there is some truth in that assessment, content marketers will be relieved to know that following Google guidelines is really about giving readers what they want — reliable and trustworthy information.

Reliable content worthy of a Google endorsement via a higher page ranking is content that meets specific criteria, summarized as E-E-A-T. These criteria are fundamental to your content marketing strategy — whether you’re using AI-powered tools or the human touch alone to create your digital assets. 

What Does E-E-A-T Mean?

E-E-A-T is the formula Google developed to rank authoritative sites. It stands for experience, expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness, with experience being the latest addition.

These four words seem self-explanatory, but they have a specific meaning in the content creation process. Let’s dive a bit deeper into what these terms are all about.


The “new kid on the block,” experience is all about first-hand account of the person who wrote the content. Say you’re reading a series of product reviews. One reviewer discussed their experience receiving the product and their attempts to use it at home. A different reviewer says they have not bought the product in question but have prior positive experience with the company as a whole. Whose experience is more relevant? 

In user-generated content like product reviews, firsthand experience is very important for Google to rank the content as reliable and relevant. But experience applies to all content types, specifically those pieces of content where personal experience is as essential as author expertise. Consider an article about undergoing treatment for a chronic illness, for example. Patients might want to hear about someone who has received that treatment in addition to hearing from doctors who provide it. 


Your content creator's level of expertise is an important factor in showing topical authority. Put yourself in the shoes of your reader and ask if this person knows what they’re talking about. Was your legal content written by a lawyer and your health content written by a medical professional?

That said, you don’t need to hire high-priced professionals like practicing lawyers and doctors to write your content. Common practice is to have an experienced writer put together the text and then have it reviewed by a trustworthy source to ensure accurate content. Many quality websites with high search rankings use subject matter expert review services to finalize their blog posts and other content marketing.


It can be easy to confuse expertise with authority. While expertise might refer to an individual author or reviewer, authority usually refers to the site as a whole. Given the choice between two equally expert authors, Google will rank a page higher if it comes from an authoritative site. 

Some authoritative websites are tough to compete with — the federal government will always rank at the top when it comes to issues like border services, for example. When it comes to subject matter that has a lot of companies competing to be the go-to site, you can help increase your authority by always using reputable sources in your content.


T is the catch-all letter that encompasses elements of E-E-A-T. Trustworthy also includes technical elements, like a privacy policy, encryption, and secure data transfer. It also can include other lesser-known elements of quality content, like transparency about adherence to a certain political or social viewpoint.

Ultimately, when Google assesses your E-E-A-T features, it asks whether the search engine can endorse you with a prominent place in results based on content and user experience. If you pass the test, Google gives you the green light, and your organic search traffic should increase.

Why Is E-E-A-T Important for Content?

E-E-A-T is a core component of the criteria Google uses to evaluate trustworthy content it can recommend to visitors who want the best answer to their search query. Content creators have to closely adhere to E-E-A-T to get Google raters to rank a website highly.

By adhering to E-E-A-T, you have a shot at grabbing all that traffic that doesn’t go beyond the first results page. If you do your keyword research and match user intent, you might even snag that coveted featured snippet that provides quick answers to your audience’s pressing questions. 

Understanding Quality Rater’s Guidelines

So how does Google ensure the implementation of E-E-A-T? Is there a sophisticated algorithm that can distinguish between subject matter experts and evaluate user experience? 

While an algorithm like this might exist, Google’s E-E-A-T criteria are evaluated by real people. These are the thousands of Google search quality raters who make sure the machinery turns up the results people are looking for. These individuals have to adhere to Google’s idea of what makes for great content. They use established quality rater guidelines to determine what complies with E-E-A-T.

Knowing that E-E-A-T guidelines are handled by real people can be some comfort to content marketers who put in a significant amount of effort to improve content quality. If marketers are confused about the "technical" specifications of content with strong SEO, they can fall back on E-E-A-T criteria knowing real people will use their own judgment to assess quality. 

Navigating the New Content Landscape

There’s a new elephant in the room when talking about content quality: AI-generated content. Google has said that brands won’t automatically be penalized simply because they used AI to generate content. However, E-E-A-T criteria are still in play and it might be hard for AI to meet those lofty standards. With the continued importance of content marketing, some might question whether content written by AI tools like ChatGPT is worth using if it can't meet E-E-A-T guidelines.

A purely AI-written piece of content likely won’t demonstrate human experience or human expertise on a topic, two fundamental prongs of the criteria. But a piece drafted by AI and then tweaked and reviewed by real writers and experts might be incredibly effective.

It’s therefore important to distinguish between human-generated, AI-generated, and AI-assisted plus human-edited content. The human touch is fundamental at some stage in the content optimization process. Otherwise, with just a few AI tools and tens of thousands of brands, there’s a real risk of companies churning out identical, or nearly identical, content.

It’s also important to remember that many AI content generation tools are in their infancy and rely on information that may be a few years old. Comprehensive, in-depth, accurate content might still be the purview of human content creators for some time.

While there are no performance stats that compare human-generated and AI-generated or assisted content, it’s clear many brands see AI tools as offering a competitive advantage. In one poll, 58% of respondents saw increased general performance as a benefit of using AI in content creation, while 50% saw increased creative variety as a benefit.

Top 13 Tips To Create High-Quality Content Following E-E-A-T

Whether you’re starting to experiment with AI content generation or are still working with a people-first team, there are a few steps you can take to help your website meet its E-E-A-T targets. Consider implementing some of these tips along with your other content creation must-dos, like an on-page SEO checklist and analytics monitoring.

1. Learn How To Assess Your Content

It might seem easier to start from scratch when creating content that adheres to E-E-A-T guidelines, but you don’t want to throw out your existing content. Take a systematic approach to reviewing your content, including your blog posts, informational pieces, and ebooks. You can start with an inventory of your current offerings and devise a plan to go through each piece to ensure it meets the essential criteria. 

2. Do Intentional Keyword Research Based on Search Intent

Your content might meet the four letters in E-E-A-T, but does it matter to your target audience? Often brand marketers can become so caught up in internal messaging that they forget to ask what their target audience is actually looking for. 

Keyword research should drive the subject matter of your online assets, but your content must match the underlying intent of the keyword. If you are an online floral shop that sells flowers and other greenery, you might want to develop content around “uses for lavender.” Your content will be wasted on most users, however, if the more common user intent for this search term is to learn how to add the color lavender to your home décor.

3. Consider Your Domain Authority and Online Reputation

The T in E-E-A-T determines whether your domain is respected in the online space. An indication that a site has a high Domain Authority score is the number of external links — known as backlinks — other sites have used when linking to that site as a source. If you have a high number of backlinks, it indicates a positive reputation, and that's likely to sway the Google raters in your favor.

Although Google says the age of a domain is not a factor in search ranking, it is the case that the longer a website has been on the web using a specific domain, the more time that domain has had to collect backlinks and have its pages indexed on the search engine. 

4. Put the User Front and Center

Displaying the best results for the user is the ultimate goal of the E-E-A-T guidelines. Google sees itself as providing a service: giving users the most reliable, trustworthy, and relevant search results for their queries. 

If your site provides accurate content based on verifiably expert information, but it speaks over the heads of users — or doesn’t take them into account at all — Google will probably dock it a few points. Step back and ask yourself who your target user is and whether your site gives them the best user experience. 

5. Collaborate With Subject Matter Experts

If your site isn’t run by experts, you have to find ways to integrate their voices into your workflow. Consider a medical supply company that has innovative surgical products but fails to consult with surgeons, medical technicians, or other relevant professionals on their content. This can put some questions in the minds of users, as well as get the site knocked down a few spaces on the search engine results page.

Consider partnering with an agency or other service for SME reviews. The subject matter expert review process not only bolsters your reputation for trustworthy content but gives consumers an added sense of confidence in your products. 

6. Use Only High-Quality Sources and Link to Them

Not all content is created equal and not everyone who says they know all the facts actually does. Remember that when you link to a source, you’re endorsing that source — when Google evaluates that source it’s also evaluating your judgment in deciding where to get your information.

As someone who knows your industry well, you likely have an idea of who knows what they are talking about. Link to sites that also follow E-E-A-T guidelines so you know they are trustworthy sources that have also put in the effort to engender trust from readers.

7. Address Multiple Viewpoints for Each Topic

Most subject areas, from health to politics, can encompass a range of views and perspectives. As part of developing trustworthy content, consider including a range of viewpoints. You’ll not only be welcoming a broader range of people to read and enjoy your content, but you’ll demonstrate an in-depth knowledge of some topics that might fall into gray areas. 

8. Include Detailed Author Bios and Credentials

Expertise is often demonstrated through credentials and lived experience. In order to gain trust in your content, it’s essential to tell your readers who your people are. Flesh out your “about” page with information about why you and your team can speak with authority on certain topics. If you can, include external links — like interviews you’ve done in other E-E-A-T sites — that show external credibility. 

9. Implement Structured Data Markup

Structured data markup is a way to include schema code to optimize how your page results display in Google. Sites that do not take this step have to rely on the snippets Google automatically generates from page information. With schema markup, sites can choose information that highlights their page’s relevance to readers, like the creation date of the page and star ratings. 

10. Avoid Unhelpful or Clickbait Content

Clickbait lurks in many parts of the internet, but it rarely meets the criteria of E-E-A-T. It's content with a flashy or scandalous headline that tempts users to visit the page, only to have them scroll endlessly to find the coveted tidbit or discover the “scandal” was nothing notable.

E-E-A-T is all about providing trustworthy content. Content that doesn't answer a search query or blatantly misleads users can hardly be called trustworthy. If your site has clickbait pages, consider removing them.

11. Leverage Social Proof and Reviews

Part of bolstering your website’s online reputation and authority is encouraging good conversation about your brand. Social proof is one way to show you’re worthy of trust: others speak well of you through influencer endorsement, marketing consumer surveys, or sharing your posts. 

You can add strong reviews from sites such as Yelp, Google, and industry-specific sites like TripAdvisor to your online assets to demonstrate your good reputation.

12. Consider Implementing Quality Control for Guest Posts

Swapping guest posts with other high-quality sites is one way for site developers to mutually benefit from trustworthy reputations. But you may need a quality control process for your guest post program in order to avoid a piece of poorly sourced, poorly written, and irrelevant content from docking your status on Google. 

Guest posts should never do more harm than good. Consider vetting the guest post author to ensure they have the right credentials and no black marks on their reputation that could reflect badly on your brand. When they submit the post, run it through the same editing process as you would for your internally sourced content. 

13. Audit and Update Old Content Regularly

Remember what we said about how there used to be just one E in E-E-A-T before Google updated its quality rater guidelines? Things change, and it’s essential to have a formalized process where you review and update old content. 

Newer content is seen as more valuable both by everyday users and search engine ranking evaluators. Regular, dated updates to pieces that consistently perform well can help ensure you continue to benefit from their popularity. Tossing out old content that’s gathering dust helps improve your site's reputation. 

How Can Help You Create E-E-A-T Helpful Content

E-E-A-T boils down to giving readers the information they are looking for. Ensure that information is reliable, accurate, and up-to-date. If you follow E-E-A-T, you can convince the content quality raters that you are as reliable as you claim to be. 

At, we train our writers in the E-E-A-T best practices to ensure our clients receive helpful content that will resonate with their audience. Hire expert writers to give your content the authority your brand deserves.


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