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Google’s Approach to Evaluating Web Pages: Understanding EEAT

Google employs a team of human raters to assess web pages for organic search rankings. A key metric they use is “Experience, Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness” (EEAT). Google emphasizes pages that demonstrate these qualities.

The Ambiguity Around EEAT
The exact role of EEAT in Google’s algorithm has been a source of confusion. Google executives have shared conflicting views on the matter. In 2022, Google’s VP of Search, Hyung-Jin Kim, stated that EAT (the original acronym before “Experience” was added) was a “core part” of their ranking system. However, in 2024, Google’s Search Liaison, Danny Sullivan, tweeted that EAT had never been a ranking factor.

Google’s Search Central Blog provides some clarity:
“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.”

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This suggests that EEAT is primarily a quality control mechanism for Google, rather than a direct ranking factor. However, the blog post also notes that the EEAT guidelines “may help you self-assess how your content is doing from an E-E-A-T perspective, [and consider] improvements to make.”

Understanding EEAT in Practice
While EEAT may not be a direct ranking factor, Google clearly values web pages that demonstrate these qualities. The guidelines include:

Expertise of the Author:
– Provide details about the author’s relevant experience and qualifications.

Research Methods:
– Explain how the content was researched and created, such as the number of products tested for a review.

Purpose of the Content:
– Address the rationale for publishing the content, such as client interactions, new data, or the goal of helping users.

EEAT applies primarily to informational content, not product or category pages. Google also scrutinizes “Your Money or Your Life” (YMYL) content, which can impact people’s health, finances, or well-being. For such YMYL content, Google expects a high level of expertise and authority.

The Underlying Principles of EEAT
While the EEAT acronym may be new, the underlying principles have existed for a long time. Fundamentally, Google wants to rank web pages that are trustworthy, thorough, authentic, and genuinely helpful to users. By understanding and applying these principles, content creators can improve their chances of ranking well in Google’s search results.