The Original Northwest Web Marketers

Google’s E-E-A-T & The Myth of the Perfect Ranking Signal


In the world of SEO, few concepts have stirred as much curiosity and debate as E-E-A-T. Short for Experience, Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness, this framework has been a crucial element of Google’s Search Quality Evaluator Guidelines for years. Yet, its precise role in Google’s ranking algorithms remains a topic of much discussion and occasional confusion. Greenhaven Interactive aims to clear up any confusion.

Unpacking E-E-A-T

In a recent episode of Google’s “Search Off The Record” podcast, Elizabeth Tucker, Search Director & Product Manager, shed light on the intricacies of E-E-A-T and its influence on search rankings. Tucker’s insights underscore a fundamental point: no single ranking signal perfectly encapsulates all elements of E-E-A-T.

No Perfect Match

A significant takeaway from Tucker’s discussion is the clarification that there is no singular E-E-A-T ranking signal. Instead, E-E-A-T should be viewed as a holistic framework rather than a metric to be optimized directly. Tucker stated,

 “There is no E-E-A-T ranking signal. But this really is for people to remember it’s a shorthand, something that should always be a consideration, although, you know, different types of results arguably need different levels of E-E-A-T.”

This means that while Google’s algorithms assess factors like expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness, there isn’t a direct, one-to-one correspondence between E-E-A-T and any specific signal.

The PageRank Connection

Tucker did offer an example of how one traditional Google ranking signal – PageRank – correlates with an aspect of E-E-A-T. PageRank, an algorithm that evaluates the importance and authority of a webpage based on the quantity and quality of links pointing to it, aligns somewhat with authoritativeness. Tucker explained,

 “PageRank, one of our classic Google ranking signals, probably is sort of along the lines of authoritativeness. I don’t know that it really matches up necessarily with some of those other letters in there.”

This indicates that while PageRank might serve as a proxy for authoritativeness, it doesn’t capture the other dimensions of E-E-A-T, such as expertise or trustworthiness.

Focus on Quality Content

Tucker’s comments highlight an essential truth for SEO professionals and content creators: E-E-A-T is not a magic bullet for high rankings. Instead of chasing an elusive “E-E-A-T score,” websites should concentrate on producing high-quality content that showcases their expertise and builds user trust. Key areas to invest in include:

Accurate, up-to-date information

Clear sourcing and attribution

Author expertise and credentials

User-friendly design and navigation

Secure, accessible web infrastructure

By focusing on these elements, websites can effectively signal their quality and reliability to both users and search engines.

The E-E-A-T Evolution

It’s important to recognize that E-E-A-T is not a static concept. Google’s understanding of search quality has evolved, and the Search Quality Evaluator Guidelines have adapted accordingly. Today, while E-E-A-T remains a critical factor, it is just one of many that Google considers when evaluating and ranking content. The principles of expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness are likely to continue being central to search quality for the foreseeable future.

While E-E-A-T is a vital framework within SEO, it should not be viewed as a singular, definitive ranking signal. By prioritizing the creation of quality content that demonstrates expertise and builds trust, websites can effectively enhance their search performance in alignment with Google’s guidelines. Let the experts at Greenhaven help your business E-E-A-T. Give them a call today!

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