February 8, 2021
Do you run a website that helps people answer big life questions, such as dealing with financials or legal issues? If so, you might want to make sure your site is considered a YMYL to Google. It will help bring more traffic to your site and establish you as a trusted authority in your field.
Your Money or Your Life (YMYL) pages are a special kind of page that Google seems to hold to a higher standard than other web pages because of their specific function. Whether it be financial stability or physical security, YMYL pages can affect people's future well-being by answering questions about “your money or your life.”
Because of the heightened stakes of this kind of content, Google only wants to serve its users the most high-quality, authoritative, and reputable information. Therefore, Page Quality (PQ) is an important aspect of a YMYL page when it comes to Google’s algorithm.
Here are a few important things to keep in mind when you approach writing high-quality content for YMYL pages.
When thinking about Page Quality, use the acronym EAT (Expertise, Authoritativeness, Trustworthiness). This acronym serves as a reference to Google’s Search Rating Guidelines. You want to make sure that you have deep knowledge of the topic you’re writing about on your website. Part of this involves citing your sources, and making sure that those sources are trustworthy. The more expertise you have on the topic you’re writing about, the higher the page quality, and the more likely users will trust your page.
Here is what E-A-T looks like:
Expertise refers to the creator of the site. If you're the owner, are you an expert on the topic of your site? If you are an expert on the topic, can you provide the credentials to prove this?
For YMYL Content, you must have proof of credentials. Everyday expertise only works for non-YMYL content. Make sure you display your credentials prominently on your website. For example, if you’re giving accounting advice, make sure to put “CPA” in your byline and include any professional organizations you belong to in your bio.
Authoritativeness refers to the content that appears on the website. According to Google, to be authoritative means to have "recognizable authority." This means that people know who you are and the skills that you hold, and they recognize you as a reputable source of information.
A big part of building authority in Google’s eyes is building backlinks. When other reputable, high-authority websites are linking to your content, this is seen as a vote of confidence by Google’s algorithms. The more high-quality backlinks you have leading to your site, the more authoritative your site will be.
Authoritativeness leads into the last part of the EAT acronym...Trust.
Trustworthiness also refers to the content on your website. Trust is the building block of any business. If you are a trustworthy expert, it means people feel that you provide honest and accurate information on your site.
With YMYL pages, trustworthiness is a must-have.
Google’s guidelines give examples of topics that require high EAT for YMYL pages:
Unlike a YMYL page, a low quality page is one that is created to make money with no intention of actually helping its users. Low quality pages tend to stray away from the EAT guidelines and often suffer from thin content. These are pages that provide no real value to readers and you want to avoid them in general, but especially if you fall into a YMYL niche.
After reading the definition of what Google calls a Your Money or Your Life page, you might think that this new quality rating might not work for your website due to how YMYL literally impacts your money or your life. But even if your business is not a medical practice or a financial institution, you might just qualify and you don't know it! In fact, YMYL tends to impact many more owners of ecommerce sites than just the ones you would think apply to this category.
In fact, Google actually gives examples of what it sees as YMYL here:
These are just some of the examples that Google lists, but YMYL are not limited to just these areas.
If you are thinking of making your site a YMYL, you need to make sure you have the right expertise on your topic. Think about how your site is benefitting your users. How are you helping them? How can they trust that you are telling them the truth? Keep the EAT acronym in mind when creating content, and always focus on helping your readers by providing them with the best information possible.