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Google Adds “E” to “E-A-T“ Emphasizing Human Experience Over AI

In our previous article on Google’s E-A-T concept (Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness), we discussed the importance of these factors in creating excellent, useful, and high-performing content. Recently, Google expanded E-A-T to include “experience” making it E-E-A-T. In this article, we examine the significance of Google adding “experience.” Google shares “trust” is at the center of this addition and content quality will be evaluated through the lens of the content creator’s first-hand experience on the topic. It highlights the vital role that true subject-matter experts (SMEs) have in creating high-quality content, which cannot be easily matched by AI-generated content or content written by non-experts.

smiling robot writer sitting next to a human writer

The Importance of Experience in E-E-A-T

As a new component of E-A-T, “experience” focuses on the content creator’s first-hand experience with a topic. Genuine experience cannot be faked, and its authenticity is essential to the credibility and value of the content. This can manifest in several ways:

Irreplaceable Insights

Real experts with hands-on experiences bring unique insights, perspectives, and practical knowledge to the content they create. These insights cannot be easily replicated by AI-generated content, which often lacks the depth and nuance of genuine experience.

Trust and Reliability

Content created by individuals with genuine experience in a particular field is more likely to be trusted and valued by readers. This trust is vital for building a strong online reputation and driving user engagement. Authors who are well-known to the reader or have credentials as experts in a particular field will have more trust than a writer who is unknown or has no verifiable credentials.

Content Depth and Relevance

Subject-matter experts with first-hand experiences can create content that addresses specific issues and concerns relevant to their audience. This level of depth and relevance is difficult for AI-generated content to achieve on its own, as it often lacks the contextual understanding that comes from real experience.

“As many rush to use unedited, generative-AI content as the latest SEO trick, baking actual, authentic human experience into your content will make you stand out all the more – not only to search engines but to your visitors, who’ll be more prone to see your site as a trustworthy authority to seek out in the future.”

Mark Traphagen, seoClarity, Vice President of Product Marketing and Training

Why did Google Add Experience to E-A-T?

Google’s Search Quality Raters Guidelines are intended for its human evaluators but the information contained in these Quality Raters is baked into Google’s core algorithm allowing Google to constantly improve its search results. Google has long recognized that there are situations where searchers will prefer content created by someone with actual experience. Experience is especially valuable for “Your Money Your Life” (YMYL) queries where the results or advice given can significantly impact someone’s life, health, or finances. It’s my perspective that Google recognized the need to place additional importance on “experience” to differentiate content created by humans with real-world experiences from content created by AI and large language models, such as ChatGPT.

In fact, Google’s latest revisions to the Quality Raters Guidelines specify that “trust” is central to E-E-A-T.

The word trust appears in the core ring of a tree cross-section to demonstrate trust is the core of E-E-A-T

Integrating Experience with Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness

By integrating genuine “experience” with Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness, and focusing on “trust” as the central aspect, you can create a comprehensive approach to creating more valuable, engaging content while future-proofing your business from more changes that Google will need to make to combat the anticipated influx of AI-generated content lacking first-hand experience.

Resist the urge to create content quickly by relying on AI-generated content or content from non-experts. Encourage and reward your subject-matter experts (SMEs) for participating in your content creation processes. Or if your SMEs aren’t willing, hire or contract with SMEs vetted by your team who are willing to contribute. This is a change you must make since Google’s expectations for high-quality content are rising.

Continue to monitor Google’s guidelines and industry best practices to stay ahead in this ever-evolving world of SEO. Ensure that human engagement and real-life experiences remain central to your content strategy – all while building trust with your audience.

Reach out today to learn more about building E-E-A-T as part of your SEO strategy.

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Part 1: Embrace the Long Tail in Your Keyword Strategy
Part 2: Align Your Site Structure with Your Keyword Strategy
Part 3: What is E-A-T and Why It’s Important

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