When search engines were first developed, there weren’t a lot of websites to populate results pages. This made it easier to show up on the first page of results with so little competition. Fast forward to today’s world. The competition for keywords and the infinite websites that show up for search results has led to another problem … how does one decipher between a trustworthy web source and an untrustworthy one?
Any person or organization can now purchase a URL and create a website. So how do we ensure that the information we are reading on any given web page is true? Google has heard the cries of despair on this issue and finally addressed it with the recent changes to its Quality Rater Guidelines in Q4 2022 and the implementation of new Google features in April 2023. Let’s go over what they are, their importance, and how they will affect what you put online.
What Are Quality Rater Guidelines?
Previously, Google had focused its SERP (Search Engine Results Page) listings by using the E-A-T content quality guidelines to ensure the content it listed for results was helpful and relevant:
- E - Expertise
- A -Authoritativeness
- T - Trustworthiness
As of April 2023, Google has added another E to these Quality Rater Guidelines: E - Experience. The addition of “Experience” indicates Google is now evaluating content quality through the lens of how much first-hand experience the content creator has with the topic.
With this reframing of E-E-A-T, Google also states that “trust” is at the center of this concept and is the “most important member of the E-E-A-T family.”
Under these new guidelines, it is even more important to overtly put who owns and operates the website on the website itself. Additionally, anyone who contributes content to the website needs to be identified. Include a detailed bio and contact information for a blogger, for example. Google’s updated algorithm will reward these activities with higher rankings.
Other important items that are evaluated and factor into ratings include:
- The purpose of the site and how harmful/deceptive it is
- The type of site it is (is it a hobbyist site or is it a corporate site?)
- Does the site utilize financial transactions?
- Is the site supported by staff or volunteers?
- Content originality: Does Google see that you copied some content from somewhere else?
- Effort: Do you have blogs from multiple people? This would equal a higher amount of human effort.
- Talent or skill: Did the content on your site involve a high level of talent or skill?
- Is the content of your website factually accurate?
When creating new website content, it’s important to take all of this into account and how it will be viewed by Google’s revised algorithm.
What Are Google’s New EEAT Features?
Google released new EEAT search features in April 2023 to put an increased focus on what it is doing to assist its users in deciphering which results are the most trustworthy. Each of these new features is designed to tell the user more about what they are searching for and help them find the best search results for their needs without even leaving the results page. Below are the three newly added features:
About This Result
When you type something into the Google search engine now, each listed result will have three vertical dots right next to it. If you click those dots, a pop-up window opens that details more information about the website. It helps you determine more about the source without even clicking away from the SERP.
About This Author
Similar to the “About This Result” feature, the “About This Author” feature appears when you click the three dots next to a search engine result. That makes demonstrating that you’re an authority on the topics you write about even more important. The more Google sees you as an authority online, the higher your website and those you contribute to will rank.
Google’s new “Perspectives” feature appears below “Top Stories” and is a carousel that highlights insights from a range of journalists, experts, and other publishers who have relevant content on the subject you were searching for.
Why Google's New Features Are Important to You
If you haven’t looked at your website in a while, it’s time to go back in and re-evaluate your content. These new Google updates could affect how your website ranks. Additionally, these updates will make you change the way you think of SEO going forward.
Be sure to give credit to those who contribute to your website content. Think about regular content updates like blogs to show your company’s expertise. Put bios on those blogs. Demonstrate your company’s thought leadership online. Going forward, great content isn’t all that will be important … becoming known as a knowledgeable and trustworthy source will become priority. Google’s new features will help build your online credentials, but the key is to put them to use straight out of the gate.
Set Yourself Apart
Internet users are weary. Large tech companies like Meta and, more recently, TikTok have lost credibility amongst the public due to data concerns. The sooner you are to showcase your experience, expertise, credibility, and trustworthiness online, the more you will stand out from the rest who do not.
Utilizing these new features will get your online content ranked above competitors, get your company found before others, instill more confidence in potential clients, and eventually translate into more sales for your company. It is essential to get a jump on these newly implemented ratings guidelines and features before they become mainstream. Everybody likes the advantage of a head start, right?