EEAT – Experience, Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness – has become a central pillar of website success in 2023.
This hunger-inducing acronym represents Google’s approach to determining how reliable a particular website is.
The more reliable Google thinks your website and content are, the easier it’ll be to rank high in the search results.
(To read Google’s EEAT guidelines firsthand, you can jump to page 26 of their Search Quality Evaluator Guidelines.)
Unfortunately, Google’s EEAT guidelines are a bit vague, and they don’t provide much actionable advice about how the average website owner can alter their site to meet their expectations.
Enter Kyle Roof – the SEO industry’s leading expert on cracking Google’s EEAT code.
Kyle has recently been interviewed on a series of podcasts to discuss the latest changes to EEAT.
In these podcasts, he provides an awesome overview of what Google is looking for from website owners.
However, much of what he discusses is theoretical – he doesn’t provide many in-depth tips or step-by-step instructions on how to implement these critical EEAT improvements.
To fill that void, I’ve picked up where Kyle left off and written this complete guide to EEAT in 2023.
I’ve included every single tidbit Kyle discusses on these podcasts – as well as additional research from other sources and my own personal experience – and provided actionable, in-depth, step-by-step advice on how to implement EEAT best practices on your website.
Before we get started, make sure you download our complete EEAT checklist!
Download your free printable 2023 EEAT Checklist now.
Alright, let’s dive in.
Before I get into the nitty-gritty details, I want to briefly discuss a necessary shift in perspective that I feel many website owners need to embrace.
In Google’s eyes, you’re not just “running a website.”
You’re running a business. And that’s how you should look at this.
You’re earning money through ads, affiliate marketing, and potentially other methods. Because money is involved, you need to look as legitimate as possible.
You can’t hide behind anonymity anymore. You need to put in the work to show Google this is a legitimate business and that a real person is responsible for the website and the content.
You also shouldn’t think of EEAT as an “all-or-nothing” approach. It’s about ticking off as many EEAT boxes as possible to improve your standing in Google’s eyes.
With that, let’s discuss some actionable ways you can implement the first “E” – Experience – on your website.
According to Google, experience is “the extent to which the content creator has the necessary first-hand or life experience for the topic”
It’s essentially referring to the time you’ve put into learning about the topic and the personal experience you’ve developed as you’ve done so.
So, how do you prove to the Google bot that you have experience?
Kyle believes Google is looking for specific wording and phrases to identify experience. It wants to see that you’re phrasing things in a way that shows you have personal experience with what you’re talking about.
By changing up how you’re writing, you can boost Google’s perception of your site’s experience without having to spend years building real experience in your niche.
Here are a few ways you can do this:
This is applicable to your About pages and Author bios.
Even if you don’t have much experience in your niche, you can still say things like, “I’ve been in love with skiing for over 30 years. In 1987, I went to Lake Tahoe with my parents, and I’ll never forget flying down the mountains on my brand-new skis.”
Even if that Lake Tahoe trip was the only time you ever went skiing, it’s still a truthful statement. And it adds the time-referencing phrases – “over 30 years” / “In 1987” – that the Google bot is looking for.
Use “I” to explain things in a way that shows you have personal experience with the topic.
Here are a few examples:
No Evidence of Experience
Evidence of Experience
“Cedar is the best wood for this project.”
“I think cedar is the best wood for building a dresser.”
“This bike is really heavy.”
“When I picked up the bike, I felt it was heavy and hard to carry.”
“This chair is very affordable.”
“After comparing the cost to the competition, I feel this chair is very affordable.”
Of course, if you don’t have the personal experience these phrases indicate, it’s understandable that you might not want to include these types of phrases.
If you’re concerned about that and want to put forward an honest representation of your experience, I would still suggest using these phrases where you can. Many such phrases are valid and honest even if you haven’t personally experienced what the article is discussing.
For example, the first and third examples in the above table would be valid even if you’ve only done internet research on the topic. You can think that cedar is the best wood for building a dresser without actually having built a dresser.
According to Google, Expertise is: “The extent to which the content creator has the necessary knowledge or skill for the topic.”
Here’s the kicker, though: with the exception of YMYL pages, you don’t need to be an expert to rank.
According to Kyle, all Google really cares about is that a real person is behind the content.
Of course, listing certifications and degrees is helpful. But it’s not required.
Let’s dive into some specific actions you can take to boost your site’s Expertise.
Each author on your website should have a page with their name, photo, and a few paragraphs listing relevant information about them. This information might include:
You’ll want to write as much as possible about your (or your authors’) experience with and passion for the niche. If it feels salesy and boastful, that’s a good thing. (This will help establish trust with your audience as well.)
It also helps to publish pictures and videos of you participating in your niche.
Have a horse website? Add a picture of you on a horse!
Even if you don’t participate with your niche at all, you should – if possible – get a few pictures of you interacting with your niche in some capacity.
Pro-tip: Make sure you link to the author bio page from the About the team page (and vice-versa).
Schema is a special type of HTML code that makes it easy for search engines to detect certain things about your content.
When setting up your Author Bio pages, you’ll want to implement person schema so you can feed the Google bot valuable EEAT-boosting information.
Here’s some of the information person schema lets you give to the Google bot:
Some themes already have person schema built-in, while others will require you to use an SEO plugin like RankMath or AIOSEO to implement it on a specific page.
Check your theme’s documentation (or just Google your theme’s name + “person schema”) to see if you’ll need to use one of these plugins to implement person schema.
If you want to make things super easy, you can use the Schema Pro plugin to implement all types of schema markup in just a few clicks.
It’s not cheap at $67 per year, but it might be worth it if you don’t want to work through the extra complexities involved in the free tools.
Note: Listing your social profiles is about establishing you’re a real human, not that you’re an expert.
Article schema makes it easier for Google to understand essential information about your articles, including:
Again, your theme may include this already. If it doesn’t, you’ll need a plugin like RankMath or AIOSEO.
Google loves user-generated content.
They mention in multiple documents that UGC can help improve their evaluation of a given page (and help you perform better in the SERP).
In the context of blogs, utilizing the power of UGC means allowing comments from your readers.
Their thinking is that a “go-to source” for information in a given niche would likely have comments from readers asking for advice and clarification.
While many SEO professionals recommend disabling comments – after all, it takes work to moderate and respond to them – Google encourages you to enable them.
Over time, the accumulation of comments from interested readers – and your responses to those comments – can add valuable insights that weren’t included in the original article.
Not only does this add value to the article, but it allows you to passively “update” your posts with new content as new comments are added.
It also creates a “moat” around your content that is difficult for your competition to cross.
Competitors who want to compete with you for a given search query will have a harder time outranking you if you have dozens of comments from readers sharing additional information and asking questions that you didn’t cover in the initial article.
If you compare two articles of similar length and content coverage – but one has 2,000 additional words of comments from readers – Google will view the article with comments more favorably.
Pro-tip: You can respond to comments with SEO-optimized responses to help you improve your rank for the target search query and rank for additional queries.
WordPress has built-in comment functionality, and many themes come with a custom comments section.
However, if you’re not happy with the WordPress comments or the functionality included in your theme – third-party plugins can easily insert comments sections that Google can read.
Here are a few free options:
Given how cool some of these plugins are, I’d personally take the risk and use one of them over the vanilla WordPress comments. But it’s up to you!
Here are a couple extra tidbits I’d like to share about the Expertise category:
According to Google, authoritativeness is “the extent to which the content creator or the website is known as a go-to source for the topic.”
However, according to Kyle, you don’t need to be an expert to check off the Authoritativeness boxes.
What matters is how thoroughly you’ve covered the topic. And the best way to do that is by building topical authority.
To gauge your site’s topical authority, Google looks at how thoroughly you’ve covered the topic on your website.
To be clear, I’m not talking about writing an extremely comprehensive article about a particular topic.
I’m talking about how thoroughly your site as a whole covers that topic.
Here’s an example…
Let’s say you have a website about skis and want to target the sub-niche of cleaning your skis.
You could write an amazing 10,000-word mega-post on how to clean your skis.
But it’ll be hard to rank that article if it’s the only article about cleaning skis on your website!
To show Google that you are an authority on this topic, you should publish content about every corner of the “cleaning skis” sub-niche.
This might include:
In each sub-category within the “cleaning skis” sub-niche, you might write several articles that cover all important aspects of the sub-category.
This is what Google wants to see in 2023. Simply cherry-picking low-competition search results isn’t going to cut it moving forward.
According to Google, “Trust is the most important member of the E-E-A-T family because untrustworthy pages have low E-E-A-T no matter how Experienced, Expert, or Authoritative they may seem.”
For example, a well-known banking expert could create a page that promotes a financial scam. This page would have extremely low EEAT even though the author is an expert in the topic.
The goal in this phase is to prove you’re a real business. You need to show Google that a real person is responsible for this website and its content.
Getting a unique business address is crucial for proving to Google that your website represents a legitimate business venture.
The key word here is unique. Kyle made it clear that you don’t want to share an address with any other businesses.
Note: If you’re targeting a U.S. audience, you’ll want a U.S. address. If you’re targeting a different audience, get an address in that country.
(Most websites target a U.S. audience, so these explanations will focus on that. The advice is similar for other countries, though.)
The easiest solution to the address problem – at least for those who live in the United States – is to use your home address.
However, many people understandably don’t want to publish their home address for hundreds of thousands of strangers to read.
If you don’t want to use your home address – or you don’t live in the U.S. – the next best thing is to get a virtual mailbox address.
These services provide you with a real address you can use on your website. They’ll also scan any mail you receive and send it to you digitally.
You’ll want to be careful when selecting a service, as not all of them offer unique suite numbers that differentiate you from the other people using this service.
I did some research and found a couple of services that offer a unique suite number:
You don’t need anything fancy here. As long as you get an address with a unique suite number, you’re good to go.
Note: Anyone signing up for a virtual address in the U.S. must sign USPS Form 1583.
If you’re a U.S. resident, you can simply fill this out yourself.
However, if you’re from outside the U.S., you’ll need a notary to sign the form for you. You can easily do this through an online service like OnlineNotary.net.
Once you have your address, you should put it in the footer of your website and on your Contact and About pages.
In addition to a unique address, you’ll also want a unique phone number.
It’s important that this phone number matches the location of your business address. Google might not like it if your business address is in Chicago and you’re using a Seattle phone number.
If you’re in the United States, The easiest way to get one is through Google Voice. It’s free, and all you’ll need is an existing phone number to link it to.
You can also set it up so that all phone calls are automatically routed to the Google Voice voicemail box.
This lets you review any calls that come in at your leisure and decide which are worth responding to.
Setting up the number is very straightforward, so I won’t explain how to do that here.
However, I will explain how to ensure calls aren’t forwarded to your primary number:
If you’re not in the United States, you can use a service like Sonetel to claim a number that matches your business address.
Once you’ve done this, you can add your new phone number to your website footer and the Contact and About pages.
It’s important that a real face belonging to a real person is clearly shown to be responsible for everything on the website.
Kyle gave the example of the Dr. Axe website, which got annihilated a few years ago in a Google update.
While Dr. Axe has legitimate certifications, there was no About info or pictures of him on the site. Because Google couldn’t verify who was responsible for the site, they decided they couldn’t trust it and stopped ranking most of the content.
To cover your bases, you should include multiple photos of yourself (or whoever is representing the site) – at least one on the About page and a separate photo for the Author profile.
Generic contact forms aren’t enough to make Google happy. To satisfy their requirements, you will need to create email addresses for the various “departments” in your company.
I know that most of you only need a single contact email. However, it doesn’t hurt to pretend you have a sprawling company with different departments and create an email address for each one.
Here are a few email addresses you can create:
Most of these addreses will never be contacted by anyone. However, it’ll make the Google bot like you more, which is all that really matters.
You should be able to create all of these email addresses for free within your web host. Every web host I’ve been with has offered that. If not, Google Workspace is a relatively affordable option.
To keep things simple and ensure you don’t miss out on messages, you can forward all mail to the general contact email.
An XML sitemap is a file that helps Google (and other search engines) find all of the pages on your website.
Having one is essential for ranking on Google. If Google can’t locate your pages, they can’t display them in the search results.
WordPress does automatically generate an XML sitemap for you, so you don’t necessarily need a plugin for it.
However, some technical SEO experts recommend using an XML sitemap from a third-party plugin, as the WordPress plugin is rather basic and might result in Google not crawling every page.
General-purpose SEO plugins like RankMath and AIOSEO can do this for you.
You can also use the XML Sitemaps plugin if you don’t want to use a general-purpose option.
Once you’ve got your sitemap generated, you can submit it to Google through the following process:
An HTML sitemap is essentially a human-friendly form of XML sitemap.
In case there are issues with Google accessing your XML sitemap, publishing an HTML sitemap provides a failsafe that ensures Google can access all of your pages.
There are a few plugins that will instantly create an HTML sitemap for you:
Once the page has been generated, you should embed it in your site’s footer. This will make it very easy for Google to access it and crawl all of your pages.
GDPR compliance is important if your website reaches European users (which is pretty much every website).
For a complete guide on making your site GDPR-compliant, I recommend reading this GoDaddy article on Practical steps for Website GDPR compliance.
To keep things simple, I’ll list the two most important steps here:
The “About the company” page can have information about how your company got started, your mission, and similar high-minded concepts.
Don’t worry… you don’t have to publish a haughty essay about how you want to change the world with your website.
This can simply be a few paragraphs about why you created your site and how you want to help people learn more about your niche.
The “About the Team” page is where you’ll put all of the humans who work with you.
Include names, photos, titles, and links to each person’s individual bio page.
You should make this page even if you’re the only person on your team.
Again, you can use Termly to generate one for free.
If you sell digital or physical products on your site, it’s important to have a page that explicitly explains your refund policy.
You should always have a Copyright message containing your company’s name, the copyright symbol (or the word “Copyright”), and the current year in the footer.
Example: © 2023 | We Write Blog Posts LLC
If you haven’t enabled your SSL certificate, you need to do that pronto.
Any decent web host will offer SSL certificates for free. If you need help setting it up, contact your host’s support team.
Google doesn’t like links that don’t go anywhere. If any pages on your site are linking to another page on your site that no longer exists – thereby generating a 404 error – you should find those and fix them.
Here are a few plugins that can help you find them:
Google hates when you link out to nonexistent pages on other websites just as much as they hate linking to nonexistent pages on your own site.
The Broken Link Checker plugin is an easy way to find broken external links. This works for 404 errors as well.
Before I end this post, I want to share a few extra insights I learned that didn’t fit into any of the above sections.
To summarize, here are the strategies you can use to boost your site’s EEAT:
And if you haven’t already, remember to get your free EEAT checklist!