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E-E-A-T Is the New E-A-T. What the New “E” Means for SEO

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E-E-A-T Is the New E-A-T. What the New “E” Means for SEO

E-E-A-T (or Double-E-A-T) is a concept used by human quality raters to evaluate Google’s search ranking systems. Originally, it consisted of only three factors (E-A-T). But in December 2022, Google added the criterion of “experience” to the concept.

So according to Google, some types of content need to be produced with firsthand experience to be trustworthy. Here’s what that means for SEO.

Is E-E-A-T a ranking signal?

No, at least not directly. Nothing has changed here since the original concept of E-A-T

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As a reminder, these guidelines are what are used by our search raters to help evaluate the performance of our various search ranking systems, and they don’t directly influence ranking (source).

Google’s general idea here is to reward (rank higher) quality content that comes from trusted sources. So the messenger is at least as important as the message. 

How Google understands experience

Experience in the Double-E-A-T means firsthand or life experience in the topic. 

This means that Google will aim to “reward” pages where the author has actually experienced the topic they are writing about. For example:

  • For an iPhone review, the author must have actually used the product.
  • For a guide on the best jazz bars in San Francisco, the author must have actually visited them.
  • For an overnight oatmeal recipe, the author must have actually made the dish.
  • For an article on how to help people mentally cope with an illness, the author must have actually gone through it personally and/or helped other people.
  • For a guide on how to be successful in business… you get the idea. 

Experience vs. other criteria

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Regardless of the topic of the page, the most important out of all criteria is the “T,” or trustworthiness. Other criteria, such as expertise, authoritativeness, and experience, are there to help determine whether the page is trustworthy (QRG, page 26). 

You can think of the other criteria as pillars for establishing trust.

Trustworthiness is the most important in E-E-A-T

Then depending on the topic, other criteria come into play. For some topics, experience may be more important than others. 

You should consider the purpose, type, and topic of the page, then ask yourself what would make the content creator a trustworthy source in that context (QRG, page 26).

For example, a personal travel blog doesn’t have to be written by an expert to be trustworthy. Conversely, a guide on DIY car fixes is more trustworthy when it comes from a car mechanic. 

It’s worth noting the difference between experience and expertise. Expertise is about knowledge and skills. Naturally, to gain that, you also need experience. But:

  • It doesn’t work the other way around. Experience alone doesn’t make you an expert. 
  • Experience doesn’t have to come from expertise. 
Experience vs. expertise

What kind of topics does the new “E” concern?

The original concept of E-A-T was confirmed to concern all topics. With the addition of experience, Google seems to reiterate that by stating, “Experience is valuable for almost any topic” (QRG, page 62).

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Experience counts for YMYL (Your Money or Your Life) topics too. But this category of topics that Google pays special attention to isn’t reserved for experts. 

In other words, if personal experience is fundamental for establishing trust on the topic, the author doesn’t have to be an expert. Google provides a handy list of examples to better understand this nuance (QRG, page 28):

The difference between experience and expertise for YMYL topics

How to demonstrate experience

Here are some ideas on how you can demonstrate firsthand experience in your content. Keep in mind that these are based on an interpretation of Google’s guidelines; you may find other ways too. 

Show evidence of personal experience with the subject matter 

Let’s take product reviews, for example. Google recently addressed the rash of affiliate websites hosting low-quality product reviews with this document. It basically says that it’s best if the reviews are created by subject matter experts.

However, it’s not enough to prove you’re an expert. You need to show evidence of your firsthand experience with the reviewed product. 

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Provide evidence such as visuals, audio, or other links of your own experience with the product, to support your expertise and reinforce the authenticity of your review (source).

Here’s an example. Thomas Sanladerer is widely known in the 3D printing industry for his product reviews. But as soon as he stops doing hands-on reviews, he will be a less trustworthy source of product information. And that would be because of the lack of firsthand experience with the product. 

Instead, Thomas keeps on getting his hands dirty with each reviewed 3D printer. What better evidence to show your personal experience than pictures like these?

Pictures proving firsthand experience with a product

Explain how you created the content 

Even before E-A-T became E-E-A-T, Wirecutter went the extra mile to demonstrate why people can trust its reviews. Similarly, you can lead your content with a note about how it was created. A section like this is the perfect spot for demonstrating firsthand experience. 

Wirecutter explaining how it created a review

Demonstrate your experience on a dedicated page

Theoretically, you don’t have to show your experience with the subject each time you write about it. That’s because Google advises quality raters to look at what the author says about themselves. 

So consider explaining your personal experience with the subject on an “about” page and even link to your social media profiles if they provide additional evidence. Of course, you can do it together with other methods of demonstrating experience.

References to personal experience on a website
A page about the author of blog posts on helping to cope with cancer (a YMYL topic). The author’s bio shows references to personal experience with the illness.

Your reputation counts

Quality rates are also encouraged to look outside your site for signs of experience (and trust in general). 

Look for independent reviews, references, news articles, and other sources of credible information about the website or content creators (QRG, page 27).

For example, website Best Wallet Hacks features an actual table of contents for press mentions. Imagine comparing that with a completely new blog on the same topic no one has heard about—which is more trustworthy? 

Table of contents for external website mentions

One of the ways a search engine could infer that information is by following links to a site. After all, Gary Illyes confirmed that links and mentions were substantial for the original E-A-T concept. That probably hasn’t changed with the introduction of experience.

If you lack the experience, invite someone who has it 

The fact that the author of the page needs to demonstrate experience doesn’t mean that the owner of the website has to. This means you can still demonstrate experience on topics where you don’t personally have it by inviting guest authors or guest speakers. 

Bottom line: make your site trustworthy 

The addition of experience to the equation opens up the YMYL topics category for creators with personal experience. On the other hand, it raises the bar on topics where this kind of experience is fundamental. 

In any case, this is another of Google’s attempts at serving more helpful, relevant results by filtering out untrustworthy pages. It’s still all about trust: 

Finally, there are many aspects of Trust, some which are not captured by Experience, Expertise and Authoritativeness. Please consider other aspects in your overall Trust assessment, such as customer service information for online stores or peer-reviewed publications for academic authors. If a page is untrustworthy for any reason, it has low E-E-A-T (QRG, page 27).

If QRGs are trained to identify other signs of trust, so are the ranking systems. So if you can think of other ways to demonstrate your trustworthiness, go ahead. 

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This is also a warning for sites that try to game the system: One piece of evidence for experience won’t cover up other signals of untrustworthiness. 

Final thoughts

On a final note, with the introduction of E-E-A-T, Google has updated the content quality self-assessment guide. SEOs and content creators can use it as a resource for aligning content with E-E-A-T. 

For example, for publishers employing AI for content generation, Google advises disclosing the use of automation to the reader (Google is not against AI content). But before that, you need to ask yourself whether the use of AI to produce content can be seen by the user as reasonable. 

Got comments or questions? Ping me on Twitter or Mastodon.



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WordPress Releases A Performance Plugin For “Near-Instant Load Times”

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WordPress speculative loading plugin

WordPress released an official plugin that adds support for a cutting edge technology called speculative loading that can help boost site performance and improve the user experience for site visitors.

Speculative Loading

Rendering means constructing the entire webpage so that it instantly displays (rendering). When your browser downloads the HTML, images, and other resources and puts it together into a webpage, that’s rendering. Prerendering is putting that webpage together (rendering it) in the background.

What this plugin does is to enable the browser to prerender the entire webpage that a user might navigate to next. The plugin does that by anticipating which webpage the user might navigate to based on where they are hovering.

Chrome lists a preference for only prerendering when there is an at least 80% probability of a user navigating to another webpage. The official Chrome support page for prerendering explains:

“Pages should only be prerendered when there is a high probability the page will be loaded by the user. This is why the Chrome address bar prerendering options only happen when there is such a high probability (greater than 80% of the time).

There is also a caveat in that same developer page that prerendering may not happen based on user settings, memory usage and other scenarios (more details below about how analytics handles prerendering).

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The Speculative Loading API solves a problem that previous solutions could not because in the past they were simply prefetching resources like JavaScript and CSS but not actually prerendering the entire webpage.

The official WordPress announcement explains it like this:

Introducing the Speculation Rules API
The Speculation Rules API is a new web API that solves the above problems. It allows defining rules to dynamically prefetch and/or prerender URLs of certain structure based on user interaction, in JSON syntax—or in other words, speculatively preload those URLs before the navigation. This API can be used, for example, to prerender any links on a page whenever the user hovers over them.”

The official WordPress page about this new functionality describes it:

“The Speculation Rules API is a new web API… It allows defining rules to dynamically prefetch and/or prerender URLs of certain structure based on user interaction, in JSON syntax—or in other words, speculatively preload those URLs before the navigation.

This API can be used, for example, to prerender any links on a page whenever the user hovers over them. Also, with the Speculation Rules API, “prerender” actually means to prerender the entire page, including running JavaScript. This can lead to near-instant load times once the user clicks on the link as the page would have most likely already been loaded in its entirety. However that is only one of the possible configurations.”

The new WordPress plugin adds support for the Speculation Rules API. The Mozilla developer pages, a great resource for HTML technical understanding describes it like this:

“The Speculation Rules API is designed to improve performance for future navigations. It targets document URLs rather than specific resource files, and so makes sense for multi-page applications (MPAs) rather than single-page applications (SPAs).

The Speculation Rules API provides an alternative to the widely-available <link rel=”prefetch”> feature and is designed to supersede the Chrome-only deprecated <link rel=”prerender”> feature. It provides many improvements over these technologies, along with a more expressive, configurable syntax for specifying which documents should be prefetched or prerendered.”

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See also: Are Websites Getting Faster? New Data Reveals Mixed Results

Performance Lab Plugin

The new plugin was developed by the official WordPress performance team which occasionally rolls out new plugins for users to test ahead of possible inclusion into the actual WordPress core. So it’s a good opportunity to be first to try out new performance technologies.

The new WordPress plugin is by default set to prerender “WordPress frontend URLs” which are pages, posts, and archive pages. How it works can be fine-tuned under the settings:

Settings > Reading > Speculative Loading

Browser Compatibility

The Speculative API is supported by Chrome 108 however the specific rules used by the new plugin require Chrome 121 or higher. Chrome 121 was released in early 2024.

Browsers that do not support will simply ignore the plugin and will have no effect on the user experience.

Check out the new Speculative Loading WordPress plugin developed by the official core WordPress performance team.

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How Analytics Handles Prerendering

A WordPress developer commented with a question asking how Analytics would handle prerendering and someone else answered that it’s up to the Analytics provider to detect a prerender and not count it as a page load or site visit.

Fortunately both Google Analytics and Google Publisher Tags (GPT) both are able to handle prerenders. The Chrome developers support page has a note about how analytics handles prerendering:

“Google Analytics handles prerender by delaying until activation by default as of September 2023, and Google Publisher Tag (GPT) made a similar change to delay triggering advertisements until activation as of November 2023.”

Possible Conflict With Ad Blocker Extensions

There are a couple things to be aware of about this plugin, aside from the fact that it’s an experimental feature that requires Chrome 121 or higher.

A comment by a WordPress plugin developer that this feature may not work with browsers that are using the uBlock Origin ad blocking browser extension.

Download the plugin:
Speculative Loading Plugin by the WordPress Performance Team

Read the announcement at WordPress
Speculative Loading in WordPress

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See also: WordPress, Wix & Squarespace Show Best CWV Rate Of Improvement

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10 Paid Search & PPC Planning Best Practices

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10 Paid Search & PPC Planning Best Practices

Whether you are new to paid media or reevaluating your efforts, it’s critical to review your performance and best practices for your overall PPC marketing program, accounts, and campaigns.

Revisiting your paid media plan is an opportunity to ensure your strategy aligns with your current goals.

Reviewing best practices for pay-per-click is also a great way to keep up with trends and improve performance with newly released ad technologies.

As you review, you’ll find new strategies and features to incorporate into your paid search program, too.

Here are 10 PPC best practices to help you adjust and plan for the months ahead.

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1. Goals

When planning, it is best practice to define goals for the overall marketing program, ad platforms, and at the campaign level.

Defining primary and secondary goals guides the entire PPC program. For example, your primary conversion may be to generate leads from your ads.

You’ll also want to look at secondary goals, such as brand awareness that is higher in the sales funnel and can drive interest to ultimately get the sales lead-in.

2. Budget Review & Optimization

Some advertisers get stuck in a rut and forget to review and reevaluate the distribution of their paid media budgets.

To best utilize budgets, consider the following:

  • Reconcile your planned vs. spend for each account or campaign on a regular basis. Depending on the budget size, monthly, quarterly, or semiannually will work as long as you can hit budget numbers.
  • Determine if there are any campaigns that should be eliminated at this time to free up the budget for other campaigns.
  • Is there additional traffic available to capture and grow results for successful campaigns? The ad platforms often include a tool that will provide an estimated daily budget with clicks and costs. This is just an estimate to show more click potential if you are interested.
  • If other paid media channels perform mediocrely, does it make sense to shift those budgets to another?
  • For the overall paid search and paid social budget, can your company invest more in the positive campaign results?

3. Consider New Ad Platforms

If you can shift or increase your budgets, why not test out a new ad platform? Knowing your audience and where they spend time online will help inform your decision when choosing ad platforms.

Go beyond your comfort zone in Google, Microsoft, and Meta Ads.

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Here are a few other advertising platforms to consider testing:

  • LinkedIn: Most appropriate for professional and business targeting. LinkedIn audiences can also be reached through Microsoft Ads.
  • TikTok: Younger Gen Z audience (16 to 24), video.
  • Pinterest: Products, services, and consumer goods with a female-focused target.
  • Snapchat: Younger demographic (13 to 35), video ads, app installs, filters, lenses.

Need more detailed information and even more ideas? Read more about the 5 Best Google Ads Alternatives.

4. Top Topics in Google Ads & Microsoft Ads

Recently, trends in search and social ad platforms have presented opportunities to connect with prospects more precisely, creatively, and effectively.

Don’t overlook newer targeting and campaign types you may not have tried yet.

  • Video: Incorporating video into your PPC accounts takes some planning for the goals, ad creative, targeting, and ad types. There is a lot of opportunity here as you can simply include video in responsive display ads or get in-depth in YouTube targeting.
  • Performance Max: This automated campaign type serves across all of Google’s ad inventory. Microsoft Ads recently released PMAX so you can plan for consistency in campaign types across platforms. Do you want to allocate budget to PMax campaigns? Learn more about how PMax compares to search.
  • Automation: While AI can’t replace human strategy and creativity, it can help manage your campaigns more easily. During planning, identify which elements you want to automate, such as automatically created assets and/or how to successfully guide the AI in the Performance Max campaigns.

While exploring new features, check out some hidden PPC features you probably don’t know about.

5. Revisit Keywords

The role of keywords has evolved over the past several years with match types being less precise and loosening up to consider searcher intent.

For example, [exact match] keywords previously would literally match with the exact keyword search query. Now, ads can be triggered by search queries with the same meaning or intent.

A great planning exercise is to lay out keyword groups and evaluate if they are still accurately representing your brand and product/service.

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Review search term queries triggering ads to discover trends and behavior you may not have considered. It’s possible this has impacted performance and conversions over time.

Critical to your strategy:

  • Review the current keyword rules and determine if this may impact your account in terms of close variants or shifts in traffic volume.
  • Brush up on how keywords work in each platform because the differences really matter!
  • Review search term reports more frequently for irrelevant keywords that may pop up from match type changes. Incorporate these into match type changes or negative keywords lists as appropriate.

6. Revisit Your Audiences

Review the audiences you selected in the past, especially given so many campaign types that are intent-driven.

Automated features that expand your audience could be helpful, but keep an eye out for performance metrics and behavior on-site post-click.

Remember, an audience is simply a list of users who are grouped together by interests or behavior online.

Therefore, there are unlimited ways to mix and match those audiences and target per the sales funnel.

Here are a few opportunities to explore and test:

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  • LinkedIn user targeting: Besides LinkedIn, this can be found exclusively in Microsoft Ads.
  • Detailed Demographics: Marital status, parental status, home ownership, education, household income.
  • In-market and custom intent: Searches and online behavior signaling buying cues.
  • Remarketing: Advertisers website visitors, interactions with ads, and video/ YouTube.

Note: This varies per the campaign type and seems to be updated frequently, so make this a regular check-point in your campaign management for all platforms.

7. Organize Data Sources

You will likely be running campaigns on different platforms with combinations of search, display, video, etc.

Looking back at your goals, what is the important data, and which platforms will you use to review and report? Can you get the majority of data in one analytics platform to compare and share?

Millions of companies use Google Analytics, which is a good option for centralized viewing of advertising performance, website behavior, and conversions.

8. Reevaluate How You Report

Have you been using the same performance report for years?

It’s time to reevaluate your essential PPC key metrics and replace or add that data to your reports.

There are two great resources to kick off this exercise:

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Your objectives in reevaluating the reporting are:

  • Are we still using this data? Is it still relevant?
  • Is the data we are viewing actionable?
  • What new metrics should we consider adding we haven’t thought about?
  • How often do we need to see this data?
  • Do the stakeholders receiving the report understand what they are looking at (aka data visualization)?

Adding new data should be purposeful, actionable, and helpful in making decisions for the marketing plan. It’s also helpful to decide what type of data is good to see as “deep dives” as needed.

9. Consider Using Scripts

The current ad platforms have plenty of AI recommendations and automated rules, and there is no shortage of third-party tools that can help with optimizations.

Scripts is another method for advertisers with large accounts or some scripting skills to automate report generation and repetitive tasks in their Google Ads accounts.

Navigating the world of scripts can seem overwhelming, but a good place to start is a post here on Search Engine Journal that provides use cases and resources to get started with scripts.

Luckily, you don’t need a Ph.D. in computer science — there are plenty of resources online with free or templated scripts.

10. Seek Collaboration

Another effective planning tactic is to seek out friendly resources and second opinions.

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Much of the skill and science of PPC management is unique to the individual or agency, so there is no shortage of ideas to share between you.

You can visit the Paid Search Association, a resource for paid ad managers worldwide, to make new connections and find industry events.

Preparing For Paid Media Success

Strategies should be based on clear and measurable business goals. Then, you can evaluate the current status of your campaigns based on those new targets.

Your paid media strategy should also be built with an eye for both past performance and future opportunities. Look backward and reevaluate your existing assumptions and systems while investigating new platforms, topics, audiences, and technologies.

Also, stay current with trends and keep learning. Check out ebooks, social media experts, and industry publications for resources and motivational tips.

More resources: 

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Google Limits News Links In California Over Proposed ‘Link Tax’ Law

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A brown cardboard price tag with a twine string and a black dollar sign symbol, influenced by the Link Tax Law, set against a dark gray background.

Google announced that it plans to reduce access to California news websites for a portion of users in the state.

The decision comes as Google prepares for the potential passage of the California Journalism Preservation Act (CJPA), a bill requiring online platforms like Google to pay news publishers for linking to their content.

What Is The California Journalism Preservation Act?

The CJPA, introduced in the California State Legislature, aims to support local journalism by creating what Google refers to as a “link tax.”

If passed, the Act would force companies like Google to pay media outlets when sending readers to news articles.

However, Google believes this approach needs to be revised and could harm rather than help the news industry.

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Jaffer Zaidi, Google’s VP of Global News Partnerships, stated in a blog post:

“It would favor media conglomerates and hedge funds—who’ve been lobbying for this bill—and could use funds from CJPA to continue to buy up local California newspapers, strip them of journalists, and create more ghost papers that operate with a skeleton crew to produce only low-cost, and often low-quality, content.”

Google’s Response

To assess the potential impact of the CJPA on its services, Google is running a test with a percentage of California users.

During this test, Google will remove links to California news websites that the proposed legislation could cover.

Zaidi states:

“To prepare for possible CJPA implications, we are beginning a short-term test for a small percentage of California users. The testing process involves removing links to California news websites, potentially covered by CJPA, to measure the impact of the legislation on our product experience.”

Google Claims Only 2% of Search Queries Are News-Related

Zaidi highlighted peoples’ changing news consumption habits and its effect on Google search queries (emphasis mine):

“It’s well known that people are getting news from sources like short-form videos, topical newsletters, social media, and curated podcasts, and many are avoiding the news entirely. In line with those trends, just 2% of queries on Google Search are news-related.”

Despite the low percentage of news queries, Google wants to continue helping news publishers gain visibility on its platforms.

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However, the “CJPA as currently constructed would end these investments,” Zaidi says.

A Call For A Different Approach

In its current form, Google maintains that the CJPA undermines news in California and could leave all parties worse off.

The company urges lawmakers to consider alternative approaches supporting the news industry without harming smaller local outlets.

Google argues that, over the past two decades, it’s done plenty to help news publishers innovate:

“We’ve rolled out Google News Showcase, which operates in 26 countries, including the U.S., and has more than 2,500 participating publications. Through the Google News Initiative we’ve partnered with more than 7,000 news publishers around the world, including 200 news organizations and 6,000 journalists in California alone.”

Zaidi suggested that a healthy news industry in California requires support from the state government and a broad base of private companies.

As the legislative process continues, Google is willing to cooperate with California publishers and lawmakers to explore alternative paths that would allow it to continue linking to news.

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