YMYL stands for “your money your life”. And it’s how Google qualifies content that can impact your life, health, finances, or day to day living. It’s a very wide ranging topic that can hold a lot of weight and influence a person’s life. So it’s understandable that Google would put a lot of weight into this kind of content to make sure it’s accurate and helpful.
This article will go into exactly what is YMYL content, why it matters to Google, and how to rank well when your business or website revolves around this type of content.
What is YMYL for Google?
Again, YMYL stands for “your money your life”. This acronym describes certain content pieces or pages that could potentially result in impacting an individual’s happiness, health, financial stability, or safety. Examples of different forms of YMYL content include:
- News or current events that could affect the wellbeing of individuals. These include news articles, podcasts about current events, video, and other types of content that talk about current events that could potentially impact a person’s daily life.
- Civics, government, and law that could deal with civilian wellbeing (such as topics like voting, local politics, etc.). This also could include some current events. But politics, elections, and voting play heavily into this category.
- Financial content that gives advice or information regarding investments, financial planning, loans, etc. This has a lot of stake in someone’s well being, and literally encompasses the “money” part of YMYL.
- Shopping that gives research about shopping habits, e-commerce, etc. This can also include advice on how to better manage your retail store, trends and innovation, or recommendations on what to wear for certain body types or occasions.
- Health and safety such as information on medical issues, emergency preparedness, lifestyle choices, etc. This is probably the biggest YMYL category. Google wants to make sure those writing about health and well-being have enough authority and knowledge to make good recommendations for people to follow.
- Groups of people that are involved through religion, disability, age, nationality, etc. Consider this information that directly impacts certain demographics of people.
- Decisions that can be life changing such as choosing the right college, health plan, or housing options, etc. This can also include financial or health articles. But consider this the life advice section of YMYL.
Google has larger expectations for YMYL content due to the effect it can have on individuals. And rightly so. This type of content directly can impact a lot of people, so you should be writing it with authority and with research to back up your data.
How are YMYL and EAT related?
YMYL and E-A-T both have a main intention of having good QUALITY content for their users. They both want to give the user the best/most valuable information possible. For E-A-T’s goal, content needs to include high-quality information designed to give readers what they want in a way of putting them at ease. For YMYL’s goal, content aims to be credible while not having a negative impact on the reader that could be detrimental if presented inaccurately. Both want the very best information for users to find what they are looking for.
With any piece of content that has lower levels of E-A-T, it has the potential to negatively impact users. It’s the same thing for YMYL content having a huge impact on the reader. YMYL content needs the highest E-A-T possible to have a direct and positive impact on the reader’s lives, livelihood, or happiness. A huge part of this has to do with the source/author credibility. You can do this by improving your author profile to say WHY you’re an authority on a subject. The Google algorithm looks directly at this for E-A-T and YMYL factoring on content.
How does YMYL Affect SEO?
Google has told us repeatedly that the way to improve your ranking on the results page is to have content that’s helpful, informative, and easy to interact with. In 2015, Google released a rare look into how it ranks content online with its Quality Search Rater Guidelines. Normally Google holds that information pretty close to the vest, but these Guidelines give really helpful information into what you need to include in your content in order to rank. These guidelines also evolve and update as new changes to the algorithm get made. But consistently, Google places heavy emphasis on YMYL and E-A-T.
Neither YMYL nor E-A-T have specific guidelines you need to follow in order to rank high. It’s more that you need to have an SEO strategy behind your content and follow the guidelines to rank well for this type of content. Google specifically says “YMYL websites demand a high degree of trust, so they generally need satisfying information about who is responsible for the content of the site.”
So that means you need to establish yourself and as industry authority if you’re going to write on a YMYL topic. If you work in that industry, show your credibility with high ratings on Google My Business and other related platforms. Customer testimonials and case studies will dramatically improve your E-A-T on your website, and help improve the ranking of YMYL content. For your content, make sure it is accurate at every step and demonstrates the authority you have on a topic.
What do I need to do if I write YMYL content?
So what to do if you have a YMYL-related website or need to write this kind of content? Keep the following in mind as you plan out your content strategy and do keyword research for your website.
YMYL content needs to be as accurate as possible, which means you’ll be docked or even reported as fraudulent if your content is found to be deceptive, untrue, inaccurate, or just plain false. So if you work in a YMYL industry, make sure you do your research and show your expertise on the subject. We’re not saying write an academic paper or anything like that. But, for example, if you’re talking on a medical topic as a podiatrist, cite your authority and how you know what you know about the subject.
2. Keep content fresh/up-to-date
Especially for current events and news topics, it’s crucial to deliver fresh and new content. Content that displays the most recent information or latest updates on a topic are very important for YMYL websites. But even if your content is more evergreen, visit it every little while to make sure the content is not outdated or irrelevant with new trends and innovations.
3. Meet the Needs of Your Readers
Clickbait doesn’t play well for E-A-T or YMYL content. People click on something thinking they’ll get an answer to a question. Make sure that what you promise in your title or meta description is what you actually talk about in the article. YMYL content is meant to be helpful. So make sure you do that at every step. This also plays into your SEO strategy. Understanding the search intent behind your main keywords, and knowing your target audience is crucial. High ranking for any article, but especially YMYL-related content, starts with understanding why someone would want to read your article in the first place.
4. Be relatable with your audience
Good content starts with a connection with your audience. You want to know WHY someone would read your content and then answer the question. Take a step back and put yourself in your reader’s shoes. Did you answer all their questions? Did you meet the reason why they came? If you’re not sure, find a purpose in creating content. All YMYL content should have a reason behind why it was created. And generally that is to help people and to answer their questions.
Small Business in YMYL industries
We’ve given a lot of information in this article. So what can you do if you’re a small business working in one of these areas? For example, financial planners, dentists, contractors, HVAC service, car repair, or anything else that falls in these categories. It can be a lot to create good content that is also relevant to your industry, shows off your authority on the subject, and is highly informative. These kinds of guides take a lot of time!
If you hadn’t guessed yet, the biggest aspect of successful YMYL websites starts with good content. But it doesn’t have to be overly complicated. There’s a few easy steps you can take to improve the E-A-T on your website, giving it more authority and more relevancy in the YMYL categories.
- Add content to your homepage that tells visitors who you are as a business. Help them understand who you help, what you specialize in, and what they will learn when they visit your site. Essentially show why you do what you do! This is a chance to let that passion shine through.
- Add in some additional information and details to your “About Us” page. This is another chance to build up your credibility, expertise, and trustworthiness. This is your chance to really let your personality and brand shine through.
- Clearly state information on terms, conditions, payments, exchanges, and returns. This is one of the most important YMYL sections you can have on your website.
- Improve your product pages to make descriptions unique and meaningful. This is also a great place to insert meaningful keywords that can help those pages rank higher.
- Add appropriate references and keep content up-to-date. This was especially beneficial for medical and scientific sites since Google requires these to have a higher degree of expertise.
There’s dozens of more ideas, but these are some good ways to get started. And if you want some help to improve your website E-A-T and create YMYL content, we can do that at Boostability! We specialize in small business SEO services and can help your website to get ranking in these YMYL industries. Call us to get started today!