In our last blog post, we explained how to use Google’s E-A-T to rank at the top of the search results page. Today we’re going to introduce another of Google’s key ranking terms: YMYL, or Your Money or Your Life.
Google pays extra-close attention to websites that fall under the YMYL category. In this post, we’re going to explore:
- ● What is a YMYL website?
- ● Why Google scrutinizes YMYL websites so intensely
- ● Why your YMYL website might not be ranking well
- ● How you can give Google—and your clients—what they’re looking for
If you have any questions or comments of your own as you’re reading this, don’t hesitate to leave a comment below and we’ll get back to you straight away!
First things first, let’s start by explaining the YMYL category.
What is a YMYL Website?
According to Google’s guidelines, a YMYL website is any site that contains content that could affect someone’s health, happiness, safety, or financial security. With a YMYL website, Google isn’t just looking for relevant information—it’s looking for correct information. Incorrect information has the potential to cost someone—you guessed it—their money or their life.
If you offer naturopathic or medical advice on your massage clinic’s website, you have a YMYL website. If the site for your law practice has a wealth of information about the world of law, you have a YMYL website.
Common YMYL websites include:
- ● Public information websites
- ● Financial tips, banking, and insurance websites
- ● Medical information websites
- ● Construction company websites
- ● Doctor, dental, and other medical office websites
Why are YMYL Websites Treated Differently?
Google separates YMYL websites from other websites when determining their rank in local and organic search results. Why? Because it’s important that these businesses are trustworthy and safe.
Google knows that a client’s money or their life is in the hands of these select service providers. That’s why your YMYL website is put under a microscope by Google’s ranking algorithms.
What is Google Looking for in a YMYL Website?
Presently, Google has more than 10,000 people around the world who evaluate search results. The job of these quality raters is to make sure that Google users find what they’re looking for and can trust what they find.
When they stumble upon a YMYL page, they rate it. Their rating isn’t based on the same criteria as other results, though. As we said, YMYL pages are evaluated by a much higher standard.
What are Google’s quality raters looking for? What standards are they abiding by? One set of standards goes by the acronym E-A-T.
What is E-A-T?
We’ve covered E-A-T before in previous blog posts, but we’ll run through it again quickly for the uninitiated.
For those who are not familiar, E-A-T stands for Expertise, Authority, and Trust. This acronym first appeared in Google’s Search Quality Evaluator Guideline. In that dense booklet, Google explained these were the three qualities they were looking for in websites.
Google wants the content to display the business owner’s expertise. When you show off how much you know about your field, you’re nailing it. Just make sure all the information is readable and engaging too—Google never gets enough of that.
At the end of the day, Google wants exactly what potential customers want: clear and relevant information.
Google wants to know you’re an authority in your field. They want to know you’re certified, licensed, registered, qualified, and so on. What’s more, they also want to know that other people see you as an authority, too.
Trustworthiness is essential. The internet is full of distrustful individuals and service providers, so make yourself stand out like the genuine professional you are.
The Importance of E-A-T for YMYL Websites
YMYL websites are so important that if their content isn’t up to par, Google could penalize your website with a low ranking. Have you ever searched for something on Google and looked through the search results on page 79? No, we haven’t either. So, you definitely don’t want to end up penalized by Google!
This might seem unfair, but it’s in the best interest of the user. Google wants users to find relevant and trustworthy businesses and content. Those with a strong grasp of E-A-T are always likely to rank higher, especially if they’re a YMYL website.
How to Convey Expertise on Your YMYL Website
If you were visiting a doctor, you would want to know they’re an expert in their field, wouldn’t you? Well, the same goes for any Google user. When they search for a ‘financial advisor in Burbank,’ they want to find the best financial advisor. They want the financial advisor who has the advice that’s going to save them money—not cost them money.
There are a variety of ways to flaunt your expertise in the YMYL world, but it all starts with publishing content. You should create high-quality content that paints you as an expert on the subject. Write content that is readable and rich with valuable information.
Feel free to flaunt your expertise all over your website. Show it on the first page, even. Do you have certifications? Licenses? Share them for the world to see. Insert the logos of your affiliated institutions on the website, even.
These are things you’d want to see on someone else’s website, so don’t hesitate to put them on yours.
How to Convey Authority on Your YMYL Website
You might think that expertise and authority are the same, but Google thinks otherwise. Having authority isn’t about being knowledgeable. To convey authority, you need to show that your services and online content are respected by people far and wide.
Customer reviews are a great display of your authority—as long as the reviews are positive. When Google—and users—see glowing reviews and testimonials, they see you as a leader in your field. Not just an expert but an expert who makes an impact.
Another way to boost your authority is by getting another website to link to your content. If your website’s blog is being shared by other bloggers and online users, you’re set for success. These links are called backlinks. Backlinks are instrumental in building authority because they work like online referrals for your business.. Plus, if you get backlinks from sites that Google considers authoritative, Google will recognize you as an authority too.
How to Convey Trustworthiness on Your YMYL Website
You want users to trust you. You might think that your gorgeous office and wall of framed awards speak for themselves, but can anyone on the internet see those? You need to make sure anyone who visits your website knows just how legitimate and reliable you are.
Show off those credentials and certificates right on your website. Use badges to show off the awards you’ve received and write a detailed ‘About’ page that gives concrete examples of your trustworthiness. Show the world why you’re so trusted in your field!
Another important thing to do is to make sure that your business information is accurate across all platforms. Google cross-references the info on your website with your Yelp, Facebook, and other online listings. Make sure the information is consistent on all fronts.
Your Written Content Must be Trustworthy Too
There are many opportunities to show your trustworthiness and your legitimacy. The best place to start is with your written content. As a YMYL business, this should be at the top of your To-Do list.
Make sure there are zero factual errors in your written content. If there are, Google’s quality raters will eventually catch them and penalize you. An unsuspecting reader could take your false information for fact—and no one wants to mislead a potential customer. The readers who notice those factual errors will run away from your website immediately.
Google also loves when you cite your sources. The more authoritative your sources are, the more trustworthy you’ll seem. If you’re espousing valuable medical information, make sure you only rely on reputable sources. When linking to third-party websites, make sure you stick with those that are highly authoritative.
When publishing content, never forget to include an author biography on the website, too. Putting a face to facts makes all the difference for Google and Google users.
Never Stop Building Trust with Clients
Remember, it takes a long time to build a client’s trust—but it only takes a moment to lose it. Use every opportunity you can to strengthen their trust in you.
Other approaches to building trust include:
- ● Visible contact information on your website
- ● Associate your business with a physical location (if possible)
- ● Place a ‘Terms & Conditions’ at the footer
What Happens to Low-Rated YMYL Websites?
Many people worry that one small adjustment on their website could ruin their ranking overnight. While Google does take E-A-T very seriously—the acronym appears 186 times in the Quality Rater Guidelines—one slip-up won’t cost you your life.
The findings of the quality raters do not immediately impact search results. But if your website displays a poor grasp of E-A-T for too long, it will eventually disappear from the top of the search engine results page.
You Are What You E-A-T
Your YMYL website is as important to you as it is to those viewing it. As long as you keep the best interest of your clients and readers in mind, Google will see your website as one worthy of a high ranking.
To avoid losing your ranking—or the trust of your customers—you should always update your website with relevant information. Google loves to see active internet users creating new connections and building online communities. The result will be better rankings and more leads for your business!
Would you like to learn more about how to build trust on the web? Let us know in the comment section below. If you have any other questions or concerns, don’t hesitate to call us at 1.888.667.7186, or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.