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If your website has YMYL pages, you face an uphill battle with SEO.
False information has never been so widespread.
Almost everywhere online, people seem more focused on selling you on a point of view rather than providing accurate information.
Readers now more than ever are looking for sources they can trust.
And Google knows it.
YMYL was brought in by Google to combat false information. That means your YMYL content is:
- Subject to harsher quality control guidelines
- Requires a higher level of SEO to rank
But don’t let that scare you…
You’re about to learn everything you need to know about YMYL and my top 8 tips for ranking your YMYL content high in the search results.
What Will I Learn?
- What Is YMYL And How Does It Affect Your SEO?
- 8x SEO Tips For YMYL Pages & Websites
- 1. Create User-Focussed & Unique Content (ONLY)
- 2. Link Your Content to Relevant External Sources
- 3. Follow The On-Page SEO Best Practices
- 4. Build High-Quality Links To Your Content
- 5. Keep Your YMYL Content Fresh & Up To Date
- 6. Make Sure Your Visitors Have Their “Needs Met”
- 7. Don’t Overuse Monetisation Techniques On Your YMYL Pages
- 8. Boost Your Brand’s E.A.T
- Frequently Asked Questions
What Is YMYL And How Does It Affect Your SEO?
YMYL is a concept that comes from previous Google algorithm updates.
It directly affects how Google views pages and websites creating content to make money or influence a person’s thinking when it comes to making bigger life decisions.
YMYL can seem complicated to get your head around initially. But I have broken down everything you need to know below.
What Does Y.M.Y.L Stand For?
YMYL stands for “Your Money or Your Life“.
It’s a quality control system used by Google for certain types of content.
Google released its Search Quality Evaluator Guidelines (SQEG) back in 2015.
These guidelines were brand new standards for web pages. They provide insight into how Google differentiates low-quality pages and websites from high-quality ones.
Every website passes through the Search Quality Evaluator Guidelines.
These 3 important criteria make up the guidelines:
- Beneficial Purpose – The content must provide value
- EAT – Expertise, Authoritativeness, Trustworthiness
- YMYL – Your Money or Your Life
The guidelines were technically created for the Google webspam team to easily evaluate websites. But SQEG has also been implemented in the Google algorithm to automate a lot of the quality control.
The Search Quality Evaluator Guidelines have been updated twice since its initial release in 2015. There were updated in:
- July 2018
- May 2019
These updates give us clues into how we understand YMYL and its effects on SEO for certain websites.
What Websites/Pages Are Included In The YMYL Category?
There are loads of websites that are included in the YMYL category.
Your Money or Your Life (YMYL) websites and pages containing content that could directly impact your readers:
- Financial stability
YMYL guidelines are used to vet the information on your website to see if it is inaccurate, untruthful or deceptive in some way.
Google’s goal is to filter out these pages and remove them from the Google SERPs altogether. This will prevent anyone from being affected negatively by bad or fake content.
Websites included in the YMYL category are sites that contain content on:
- News and current events – Business, world events, politics, science and technology
- Civics, Government and legal – Voting, government policies, social services and legal issues
- Finance – Financial advice on taxes, financial planning, banking, insurance, investing
- Shopping – research and information related to purchasing products and services such as affiliate marketing sites
- Health and Safety – Advice and information on medical issues, drugs, hospitals, emergencies and more
- Groups of people – Relates directly to race, ethnicity, religion, sexuality, nationality and even age
- Other – Information on topics that are influencing people to make a decision
The basic rule is this…
If your website could influence someone to make a big decision in their life based on the information you are providing, Google will categorise your site as YMYL.
And make no mistake: Google takes YMYL very seriously.
You must ensure that you write quality content and each page contains the highest EAT levels to rank in the search results.
What Is The Connection Between E.A.T & Y.M.Y.L?
EAT and YMYL are all part of the same SEO page quality guidelines.
E.A.T stands for:
Whatever your website is about, you must have high levels of EAT in your pages or you just won’t rank. This is even more important for website owners with YMYL content.
Here’s what I mean:
Google first looks at a page to see if it passes the basic EAT metrics. If it passes, Google reviews your website to see if you have YMYL content. If you do have YMYL content, Google will expect your EAT metrics to be much higher.
Simply put – YMYL content is judged by Google a lot harsher than other content.
Google needs to be confident that:
- You are an expert who knows what you’re talking about
- Your website is an authority in your niche and accepted by other large websites
- You are trustworthy and provide information that others can depend on
As a YMYL website, your SEO needs to be at a higher standard than other websites.
8x SEO Tips For YMYL Pages & Websites
You now know that YMYL websites can be harder to rank in Google.
So how do you get your YMYL pages to rank?
Follow these 8x SEO tips:
1. Create User-Focussed & Unique Content (ONLY)
Content is one of the most important factors for YMYL.
Google actively looks at your content to ensure that it’s accurate and high-quality. You must create unique content that delivers tons of value to your readers.
Your content should-
- Always be up to date
- Well organised and easy to understand
- Long enough to cover the topic comprehensively
- Newsworthy or adding new insights to an older topic
- Contains all three forms of content: visual, audio and written
- References other reputable sources and industry leaders
- Free from spammy links or too many affiliate links
The key to content creation is consistency. You need to be consistent in creating amazing content your readers will love.
This is how you improve your EAT metrics and rank your pages in Google despite being a YMYL website.
2. Link Your Content to Relevant External Sources
External links to high authority websites and industry leaders is a great way to establish credibility.
Because you are citing someone else who is known to be a credible source. Think of it as proof that what you’re saying is true and accurate.
Google only wants to show YMYL content that is accurate and credible to its users.
Adding relevant external links to well-known websites is the best way to show Google that you have done your research.
- Quote someone
- Use another website’s information
- Make a big statement
Add an external link to a reputable source. Typically you want to add at least 2-3 external links in every piece of content you write.
This will help establish credibility with Google and can improve your SEO rankings.
3. Follow The On-Page SEO Best Practices
Good on-page SEO is a must for YMYL websites.
On-page SEO factors are like “signals” for Google.
It helps the algorithm better understand what your pages are about and who the intended audience is. On-page SEO forms a strong foundation for your website to build on with your content.
Google has over 200+ on-page SEO factors to understand a website. But not all on-page factors are created equal.
These are the 7 most important on-page SEO factors for YMYL websites:
- Mobile responsive: Ensure your website is optimised for mobile devices
- Keyword at the start of your title tag: Put your primary keyword at the beginning of your title tag.
- Internal linking: Link relevant pieces of content together with good internal link building.
- Comprehensive accurate content: Ensure your content is long enough and fully covers the topic.
- HTTPS domain security: Secure domains are a must, so ensure you have HTTPS enabled.
- Optimised URLs: Make each page’s target keyword the URL.
- Website speed: Your website should load fast and offer a good user experience.
Once you have all these in place, work through this on-page SEO checklist to ensure that your website is completely optimised and Google is super happy.
Seriously…don’t underestimate the power of on-page SEO.
It can be the thing that pushes you above your competitors in the search engine results.
4. Build High-Quality Links To Your Content
Link building is still the best way to build up the authority of your content pages.
Google thinks of links from other websites to your content as endorsements.
Think about it:
The website owner who places the link to your website says: “I trust this website enough to link to it“. The more endorsements (links) you get from high-authority websites, the higher your content pages can rank.
Link building for serious YMYL websites is a must.
SEO is only getting more competitive. Link building is one of the best ways to:
- Stay ahead of the competition
- Create a real competitive advantage for your website
Use any of these link building strategies to build high-quality links to your content pages.
Is link building too time-consuming?
Outsource your link building needs to a reputable link building service like LinksThatRank.
They only build high-quality links that help move the needle forward – even for YMYL in websites’ competitive industries.
5. Keep Your YMYL Content Fresh & Up To Date
It amazes me how many people publish a piece of content and never look at it again.
Those same people later complain when their old content isn’t ranking anymore.
Fresh and up to date content is important for any website. But for YMYL pages and websites – it’s essential.
It’s basically a YMYL requirement to rank in the Google SERPs.
In 2011 Google released a “freshness” update to their algorithm.
This meant that Google would:
- Crawl your pages more frequently
- Categorise specific topics as needing to be updated more regularly than others
Most YMYL websites are affected by the freshness algorithm update. Google expects you to keep your content extremely relevant and current, so your readers always have accurate information.
Having fresh YMYL content will give your website an SEO boost! The more up-to-date and accurate your content is, the higher you can rank in the SERPs.
Here’s what you need to do:
Identify which topics on your page need to be updated more regularly. For some topics, it will be every 3-6 months and for others, it might be 6-12+ months.
Then create an automated reminder for you to go and update each piece of content so that it stays fresh and up to date.
6. Make Sure Your Visitors Have Their “Needs Met”
Part of the Google Search Quality Evaluator Guidelines is a concept called “Needs Met”.
The guideline ensures that your website visitor gets the information they want. In other words – they get what they came for. Google takes this very seriously, so you need to make sure that your content always meets the searcher’s needs.
How do you know what the searcher wants to see?
Two words – Searcher intent.
When someone makes a search on Google, they have an expectation of what they will see in the search results. This is searcher intent.
You need to understand the intent of each keyword search to provide the content that your readers want.
With YMYL content there are 3 main search intent types:
- Informational – The user wants to learn something
- Commercial investigation – The user is learning so they can buy soon
- Transactional – The user is ready to buy
Once you understand what searchers want to see, you know what to write about.
Long-form content is almost always the best way to go. It establishes you as an expert in your niche and will give the reader all the information they need.
Take a step back from your content and ask these 2 questions:
- Does the content directly answer the reader’s search query?
- Does the content provide answers to future related questions?
Is the answer “Yes” to both of those questions? You have a nice piece of comprehensive content that meets the searcher’s needs.
That’s how you’ll convince readers that you know what you’re talking about and it can also improve your SEO.
7. Don’t Overuse Monetisation Techniques On Your YMYL Pages
YMYL pages are notorious for over monetising.
People pack their content full of ads and affiliate links, hoping to increase sales. This couldn’t be further from the truth.
More ads and affiliates do not equal more sales.
It lowers the page quality and provides a bad experience for your readers. And Google will punish you by decreasing your rankings.
Don’t get me wrong…
Google isn’t against ads and affiliate links. After all, they control a ton of ads through the Google display advertising network.
They are against having ads or affiliate links that dramatically lower the user experience – especially for YMYL websites.
Your primary goal should be to provide each of your website visitors with the information they came for first. Then you can focus on monetising the content.
Don’t be greedy.
8. Boost Your Brand’s E.A.T
As you now know, EAT is very important for YMYL websites.
You need to make sure that Google views your website as an:
EAT signals have a significant effect on whether Google will rank your website content or not. You need to take every opportunity to show that the information on your website is accurate and provides value to your readers.
To boost your brand’s EAT-
- Create high-quality and in-depth content
- Cover entire topics, not just individual keywords
- Write descriptive page titles that explain what the content is about
- Build a positive brand reputation online (reviews, social media etc.)
- Add the information about who is responsible for (owns) your website
- On your contact page add your business name, phone, email and address
- Build high authority backlinks from trusted websites
According to Google’s guidelines, EAT doesn’t just apply to your website’s individual pages. It applies to your entire website.
That means if your blog post content gives strong EAT signals but other parts of the website have very low EAT signals, your content may not rank.
Conduct a website audit and make sure each page shows you are an expert, authority and trustworthy in the eyes of Google.
This will give your YMYL content an SEO boost!
Wrapping It Up
Ranking YMYL content and websites can be difficult…
…but it’s not impossible!
Google has significantly higher quality standards for your content. The most important thing is to focus on delivering:
…content to help your readers.
Follow the 8x SEO tips above to give you an extra advantage in the SERPs.
Use the YMYL guidelines to your advantage. Ranking a YMYL website is more challenging initially, but once Google trusts your website as an accurate source of information you will reap the benefits long-term.
If you are looking for a reputable SEO service that you can trust with your YMYL website, I recommend Search Logistics.
We have a team with a reputation for delivering excellent results for YMYL websites, even in competitive industries.
Frequently Asked Questions
What does YMYL mean?
YMYL means Your Money or Your Life. It is a Google page quality guideline that applies to specific types of websites and content. YMYL refers to content that has the power to influence you when making a significant decision that could dramatically impact your life – especially when it comes to financial decisions.
What is a YMYL site?
YMYL (Your Money or Your Life) sites are websites and pages that contain content and recommendations that could significantly impact your happiness, health, safety or financial stability. YMYL websites are subject to higher quality standards to ensure the accuracy and trustworthiness of the information.
What are some examples of YMYL pages?
Examples of YMYL pages are any website pages that contain content about:
- News and current events
- Civics, government and law
- Health and safety
- And groups of people
A clear example of a YMYL page would be a page that contains political news that could influence the way you vote in an election.
What are your thoughts?