Does Your Website Impact Visitors’ Well-being?
Be Sure to Understand What Google Means By:
Your Money or Your Life (YMYL) and E.A.T.
According to Google guidelines, YMYL are “pages that can have an impact on your current or future well being (physical, financial, safety, etc.).” Websites that provide medical, financial and lifestyle advice are singled out to be held to a higher standard than your local pizza parlor. Google’s premise is that YMYL sites that contain bad, inaccurate or inflated info could hurt people financially, physically, or emotionally.
“So what,” you may say … “Google is forever tweaking its algorithms.” That’s so, but if your livelihood is that of a healthcare professional, financial advisor, or “life coach”, listen up! YMYL is an acronym for Your Money or Your Life. While you are not subject to that as a threat, you are at risk to forfeit your coveted and hard-earned position on Page One of Google searches.
According to Google, any page with content affecting someone’s health, happiness, safety, or financial stability is a YMYL page and lists the following as descriptions:
- Financial transaction pages: From shopping to online banking, these pages allow the transfer of money.
- Financial information pages: These pages are the hub for information and advice on various financial scenarios like taxes, retirement, investments, insurance, home purchases, and college planning.
- Medical information pages: This is where people learn more about medical conditions, health, nutrition, and medicine.
- Legal information pages: From information and advice on things like divorce, child custody, citizenship, or will creation, this is a commonly sought resource category.
- News and/or public information: While not all news articles fall into the YMYL category, specific information like local/state/national government policies, laws, disaster response, and local events may have a more relevant connection to people.
So if your business focuses on users’ happiness, health, financial stability, or safety … keep reading!
While not having any enforcement power, there is a body of 10,000 or so Google Quality Raters at work around the globe. Their job is to ensure that Google search engine users find the info they’re looking for online.
As part of their line of duty the raters are given specific Google searches to perform and report back on the quality of realized results. Their ratings of the top pages sets a benchmark for Google searches that result in the quality and quantity of information searchers would expect to see.
The critical point is that when the quality raters are presented with a YMYL page, they rate it against a stricter set of standards than they otherwise would apply to pages that don’t embody the potential impact on current or future well being as described above.
So if you’ve got a YMYL page, you’ll want to ensure that the Google Quality Raters are particularly impressed with the content you provide.
E.A.T. Your Way to Page One Google Searches
E.A.T. stands for “Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness.” It is a 3-pronged checklist used by Google Quality Raters to rank pages. Here they are:
- Expertise – is the author of the piece an expert on the subject?
- Authority – is the author a well-recognized authority on the subject?
- Trustworthiness – is the content accurate?
High-quality and content-rich websites possess a high level of EAT. Those that score high on the EAT scale tend to perform better in Google searches. Google shares some examples of how your website will score points on the EAT measurements. Your site Must:
- Be functional and easy to navigate
- Demonstrate regular maintenance and updates
- Provide information about the owner and/or the business … About Us, Contact Us
- Deliver helpful, relevant content sufficient to answer the searcher’s query
- Show a positive reputation via social media, reviews and testimonials
According to Google, “We assume that users expect us to operate with our strictest standards of trustworthiness and safety. As such, where our algorithms detect that a user’s query relates to a YMYL topic, we will give more weight in our ranking systems to factors like our understanding of the authoritativeness, expertise, or trustworthiness of the pages we present in response.”
So to optimize your YMYL pages, pay attention to all three of the EAT rules or run the risk that Google Quality Raters may “reward” your page with a low quality rating … result your site disappears from the top Google search engine results pages.
The EAT Rules and Your Site
Here are some practical steps to make sure your site is in synch with the EAT rules.
Expertise … Visible Evidence That You Are an Expert
- Publish content that shows you’re a subject matter expert in your field; your website blog, newsletters and social media are excellent vehicles. Leverage all content by including on your website.
- Always include a brief biography with proof of your expertise in the subject and be sure to include a professionally prepared portrait.
- Link to sites to demonstrate your continued efforts to improve your expertise.
Authority … Demonstrate Your Influence in Your Profession
- Show advanced degrees, certifications and organizational designations on your website. Include institutional logos when possible.
- Show testimonials of satisfied customers, clients or patients, ideally with photos.
- Spotlight events where you were a featured speaker.
- Proactively pursue opportunities to speak and publish in key venues of your profession.
- Seek and publicize endorsements from other recognized key influences.
Trustworthiness … You and Your Website as Sources of Information
- Be diligent to avoid errors in your website content … proofread and seek third parties to do so as well.
- Publish relevant case studies that demonstrate how you helped others to improve their lives.
Google says, “Users need high quality information from authoritative sources when researching products, especially when products are expensive or represent a major investment/important life event (for example cars, washing machines, computers, wedding gifts, baby products, etc).”
Also mentioned in the updated version of guidelines, “When buying products, users need websites they can trust: good reputation, extensive customer service support, etc. Results for product queries may be important for both your money and your life (YMYL)!”
So we’ve covered a lot of ground making the case for the critical need for online business marketers to position themselves for optimum exposure to Google searches in this endless era of Google changes. That means you will be at the top of the vendors list when your customers, prospects and referral resources are searching for what you can deliver.
We at Third Marble Marketing continue to stay current with and deliver to our clients the latest in applying the Google juggernaut of marketing change to drive the right people to the threshold of sales conversion at their websites. That happens when you are consistently on Page One of Google.
What To Do?
Now your choices are do-it-yourself or invest in third-party, professional SEO services. It is likely that you are already wearing several hats as a business owner and ladling in yet another marketing responsibility is probably not an option … particularly if you have to master the learning curve of effective SEO in the age of AI as the new driver.
Why not rely on a resource that delivers proven, successful strategies to maximize the effectiveness of your Google Ads, improve your SEO strategy, feature you on Page One of Google and drive pre-qualified traffic to your website?
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