YMYL – Your Money or Your Life
Google updates its search algorithms virtually every day, website rankings vary, but Google rarely shares specific details about the changes taking place with webmasters.
In recent years, algorithm updates have increasingly rewarded websites that demonstrate competence, authority and reliability (EAT) through their content. It is worth noting, however, that this has always been Google’s intention, but today it is able to do it better thanks to more precise and powerful algorithms.
These three pillars of content quality are discussed in the quality raters guidelines, a manual provided to “search quality assessors” who judge Google’s search results.
The issues discussed regarding EAT are particularly important for websites classified as “Your Money or Your Life” (YMYL). These portals publish content that could “potentially adversely affect the happiness, health, financial stability or safety of users”. These are typically websites that provide financial or medical advice.
What are YMYL pages?
YMYL stands for “Your Money or Your Life”. According to Google, any page that includes content about happiness, health, safety, investments, or financial stability is a YMYL page. This means that if you have a blog that provides health advice, it’s a YMYL page. A website that provides stock market tips is a YMYL page.
Google indicates the following pages in the YMYL categories:
- Websites where financial transactions take place: e-commerce and banking websites, sites for paying bills, money transfer, etc.
- Financial Information Websites: Web pages that provide information about an investment, stocks, health insurance, mutual funds, etc.
- Medical Information Websites: Web pages that provide information on health, ailments, symptoms, specific diseases, nutrition, etc.
- Legal information: topics such as the notary, divorce, making a will, rules for adopting minors, etc. They fall into this category.
- News, Press Articles, or Public Information: Websites that contain information about government services and policies, laws, disaster responses, social services, technology, politics, international events, and more. Not all news articles are considered YMYL pages.
- Other Pages: Other pages include location-based information, car safety information, and more.
Below I have compiled some helpful tips for YMYL rated websites to improve the three pillars of EAT.
Check your website content regularly
Google expects the content of a YMYL website to be edited, reviewed and updated on a regular basis to ensure high standards of accuracy.
Publishing new articles is fine, but that’s not the only thing to do. It is vital that you periodically review the content on your site. The update frequency depends on the topic, medical topics usually become obsolete after only 6/8 months. One way to help is to set up future reminders to update any information that is subject to change, such as taxes or exchange rates, or simply information that will get old over time.
Collect a complete list of the URLs on your domain and match them to the volume of traffic they generate. Pages with little or no traffic over the course of a year indicate that they do not meet the user’s intent. These contents should be better looked after.
A thorough content check will reveal whether low-value pages on your site are worth improving, removing, or consolidating. Checking content is a complex business and, depending on the size of your domain, it can take days if not weeks to do it properly. In addition to looking at traffic and engagement metrics, you should look at every page on your website and ask yourself the following questions:
- Is the title useful and descriptive? Does it get good CTR in SERPs?
- Is there a satisfactory amount of content on the page? Can I add other closely related aspects ?
- Is the content out of date and needs to be updated?
- Does the page work as it should or does it receive low traffic and high bounce rates ?
- Are there links to other in-depth pages that help address further questions?
You can then use the insights from your verification to create a plan for updating content already on your site.
Demonstrate the author’s skills
Google’s June 2011 experiment with displaying content authors on its results pages using Google+ profiles as a means of verification didn’t last long. But this parenthesis tells us that Google goes deeper than what’s on a page to figure out who is creating the content and if they are qualified to do so.
Google expects a high level of expertise from websites that publish YMYL content, setting the example that “medical advice should be written or produced by persons or organizations with adequate medical expertise or accreditation” .
Being transparent about the people responsible for the content of your website is not enough. You have to inform why the authors are trustworthy: who are they? What did they study? What are they doing? Any information page on your website, whether it be a guide or a news item, must include an author’s line and a brief summary of their credentials or a link to a page that contains more information.
This can mean rethinking your approach if you currently rely on freelance copywriters who lack specialist knowledge. If you’re lucky enough to have truly experienced authors, make sure their author pages include any awards they’ve won or a list of articles they’ve been featured in.
For authors who are still learning and growing, think about what you can do to highlight their existing experience and further their development: Can they get certified or maybe write for other publications?
Developing a robust editorial process will help ensure the accuracy and overall quality of the content you post. If your content needs to be approved by an expert before it’s published, it’s worth being transparent about it.
Chair your brand SERP
Quality raters must conduct “thorough reputation research” to assess the credibility of the author and the organization. To manage your brand reputation online, you should start by evaluating what people see when they type your brand into a search engine.
Researchers are likely to encounter at least some of the following results in relation to a brand query:
- Social media profiles
- Third party reviews
- Wikipedia lists
- Media quotes
- Forum discussions
- Directory listings
You can do a lot to influence these results by leveraging PR, partnerships, and any other promotional opportunities to preside over the SERP for your brand and make sure it sends a message of trust.
Invest in PR to increase authority
Many SEOs have followed the adage that there is no such thing as bad publicity, as long as it includes a link to your website. Focusing solely on building links, however, overlooks the importance of sentiment and the impact it can have on your brand reputation.
This can mean changing your link building strategy in some way to ensure that your brand and its spokespersons are cited by authoritative publications. Likewise, it is vital to react quickly as soon as negative articles or opinions appear online.
If you don’t have the budget for a digital PR agency, you can set aside some time each week. To respond to media inquiries or offer guest posts to relevant websites. You might not think your brand is particularly noteworthy. But sending out a quick press release to announce a new product launch or attend a seasonal event. It can provide reporters with real value. Also, product guides and tutorials are a proven tactic for building links. But here we leave the topic of this guide and I don’t want to focus on link building.
Enhance the “about / information” page to prove your trustworthiness
We’ve already discussed the importance of influence or what people see. When they search for your brand online. But the “about” page on your website is your chance to curate all this reputation information. To convey to your audience the type of message you want.
Because YMYL websites require a high degree of trust. Google expects them to provide a “satisfactory amount of information about. Who is responsible for the site’s content”.
A good “about” page should include in-depth biographical information about the company or author. It should include up-to-date contact details and give users a compelling reason to trust your brand. This could be a list of awards, accreditation proofs, or legitimate reviews embedded in third party websites.