In the ever-changing and evolving world of SEO, YMYL has emerged, and it’s here to stay. It simply stands for Your Money or Your Life. In short, this defines any websites or pages with content which could potentially impact somebody’s health, happiness, safety or financial stability, so not to be taken lightly.
Through Google’s algorithm updates, certain pages relating to health, e-commerce, finance, and business have come under strict scrutiny to assess their value – ultimately ensuring Google’s users get the best and most accurate information in these all-important categories.
So, what do YMYL sites mean?
Put simply, if your website offers any information or advice pertaining to the YMYL categories, whether you provide financial advice, parenting tips, fitness guidance or even run an e-commerce business (i.e. selling marketed products), your website could be affected by these changes.
In this article, we’ll reveal some of the ways you can meet Google’s updated criteria, improve your SEO ranking and perform highly in searches…
Understanding Google Quality Guidelines
Let’s clarify something first – these guidelines aren’t an automated measure since Google has human teams of assessors. There are reportedly more than 10,000 around the world, who manually rate the quality of Google’s search results across many different terms they are provided.
Reports are submitted on the quality of results across these agreed search terms, but YMYL pages are judged against a stricter set of guidelines compared to other pages, owing to any potential impact from “bad information”.
So, it’s completely understandable that, as a business and search engine, Google wants to keep its content relevant and its users happy and safe. Your Money or Your Life is a big, bold, eye-catching definition, and this is perhaps why.
Now that we understand this process and the logic behind the change in algorithm, we can find ways to make sure any of our YMYL sites continue to rank well in search results, not by attempting to manipulate the system, which is never a good solution, but by upping our game to meet certain criteria.
What is EAT? E-A-T for Success
Perhaps the most important rules applied to YMYL pages is E-A-T. So, what is EAT? It stands for “expertise, authority and trustworthiness” which should remain front of mind as we adapt or repurpose the content in our YMYL sites or continue creating more in the future. We even created a handy guide for writing new content from the very start.
In a nutshell, Google places more emphasis on the expertise of the people publishing any given YMYL defined content, alongside the authority of a said website, and the overall trustworthiness of the content.
So, if you’re trying to optimise a website and you don’t pay attention to all three of these rules, Google’s rating staff might give your page a “low quality” rating, which could, in turn, affect your ranking and remove you from the top of the search engine results pages (SERPs).
The good news is that there are lots of things you can do to improve your trust in the YMYL category, while future-proofing your website and content for possible future changes from Google. Understanding E-A-T SEO will come in handy, so don’t ignore it.
Here are some steps you can take to improve your rating and ultimately E-A-T for success…
What is EAT: Expertise
Work towards being seen as an expert in your field. One of the simplest ways to do this is to publish a regular blog and new content on your specialist area. This proves you are knowledgeable and, in time, you’ll build an audience who recognises this and comes to your page for expert insight.
Don’t be humble: feel free to list your career experience and professional credentials on your homepage too, especially when they help reinforce your standing as an industry expert.
What is EAT: Authority
It comes down to semantics, but to understand the difference between “expertise” and “authority”, you could look at this second category as social evidence of your expertise.
An expert knows about their subject, whereas an authority might publish articles, speak at public events or share testimonials. You could start small by volunteering to speak at local business events and build your experience and confidence over time. Again, it’s about social proof or evidence of your knowledge. The more recognition you get, the more you’ll be seen as an “authority” figure.
What is EAT: Trustworthiness
Beyond your expertise and authority, you need to establish yourself and your website as a trustworthy source of information, which quite simply means accurate content, without errors.
Other ways to prove that you’re trustworthy in the YMYL definition could be by showing case studies of previous work, testimonials from satisfied customers or clients, or even product reviews, perhaps allowing visitors to post reviews publicly. This shows transparency and will enable others to validate and verify your expert information, advice or products. We already know that Google reviews are very important for SEO.
Quality is Key for YMYL SEO
While you potentially spend a lot of time and effort, creating great and informative content, don’t let yourself down with a poorly designed website, spelling mistakes or 404 errors. Make sure your website looks slick, professionally made and matches the quality of your content.
If you run an online shop and expect visitors to become paying customers, you need your website to be trustworthy. Also, keep your blog and information up to date since old, outdated blogs stand out in a bad way and don’t make a good first impression with website visitors, or potential Google rating staff. E-A-T has clear SEO benefits, so quality across the board can only be a good thing.
See the Opportunity
You are knowledgeable in your field, and you have strong insights to share, it’s just about presenting it in the right way so that Google’s staff can recognise it. All of these changes might sound like a lot of work, but it’s not difficult.
If you adjust the way you present and talk about your information or products and adapt to meet the stricter YMYL / Your Money or Your Life criteria, you’ll rank well in search engine results, and potentially rank even higher than your competitors who don’t take these guidelines seriously. See this as an opportunity to grow your business and don’t forget to E-A-T in order to build your expertise, authority and trustworthiness visibly. Again, what is EAT? See it as a recipe for future success.
Do you run a YMYL site? Get in touch to find out how we can help you and support you in your wider SEO strategy.