Written by Aaron Rains February 14th 2024

I can’t stop thinking about EEAT.

This week, I had a realization. I was on X and noticed a hidden reply to one of my posts – some dumb crypto scam. And this was the first time anyone would click on these. Why spam the web endlessly with these bots? Anyone interested in crypto will seek information from a legitimate source, not some random tweet bot.

And then the realization hit me. These spambots are likely trying to brute force mentions around the web to build signals of legitimacy, signals that, yes, other people are talking about this fantastic crypto app that just came on the scene. They are putting more signals into the world to try and convince AI systems they are a legitimate source.

How do we, as humans, recognize what a legitimate source is?

We do this by taking our knowledge about an entity and pulling the bits related to legitimacy from all the information connected to that knowledge.

dave's burger E-E-A-T

Let’s say I’m visiting your city and ask you, “Hey, should I get a burger from Dave’s?”

To answer this, you need to draw from your knowledge to formulate an opinion. It’s not like you have a unique formula to determine what information to use or how to create your answer. You draw from the information your brain has told you is connected to this topic, and incredibly quickly, you put the relevant parts of that knowledge together to make a statement about your thoughts on Dave’s when it comes to burgers.

“Everyone knows Bob’s is the best burger out there. Their prices are good. They have won awards! And when you order, it comes on time.”

“Dave’s burger is so greasy. They use cheap toppings. No one orders from there. My friend went there and got food poisoning.”

or perhaps,

“I haven’t heard of Dave’s.”

As humans, we make our decisions on the value of an entity based on the information in our heads that is connected and relevant to making that decision.

EEAT is the same thing. Google is taking the vast number of signals they can use that help them better understand an entity and then making a judgment call on whether it has the legitimacy you would expect for results on that topic.

At SMX Next in 2022, Google’s HJ Kim told us that EAT (before the extra E for experience was added) is something Google developed 10-13 years ago as a template to rate individual sites. He said this rating is done for “every query and result.”

I think it’s possible that the purpose of the crypto spambots is to create a deluge of signals that are trying to trick algorithms. To succeed in this world where people get their information from algorithmic sources such as search social media or even LLMs is to be known for your topics. People are unlikely to click on these spambot replies and sign up for new accounts with them. Fortunately, I have noticed that X seems to recognize and flag them. I expect the spammers will continually work on new ways to populate the name of the entity they are trying to establish as legitimate when it is not.

Legitimacy is vital in an age where we struggle to know what is real.

E-E-A-T is not a ranking factor to be used as a single thing considered in an algorithm. It’s a template that every site is rated on that creates a picture of its legitimacy, which is so essential in a world where it is hard to know what is authentic.

This is an excellent place to end this discussion. If you have any questions regarding how you go about building E-E-A-T for your website feel free to contact me.