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Your Money or Your Life: Everything you need to know about YMYL and how it applies to SEO


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Google recognises that some types of content have the ability to affect people's lives. Because of this, they create a category called Your Money or Your Life, or YMYL for short.

This is content that can impact a viewer's happiness, health, safety or financial security.

Since Google looks at YMYL content differently, it naturally flows on to affect search engine optimization (SEO) of any websites that fall under the category.

In this presentation, we explore:
- What is YMYL
- What does 'Beneficial Purpose' mean?
- How does E.A.T affect SEO and what does it mean?
- Examples of YMYL content
- How to optimise YMYL websites

You can learn more here:

Published in: Marketing
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Your Money or Your Life: Everything you need to know about YMYL and how it applies to SEO

  2. 2. Back in 2015, Google’s Search Quality Evaluator Guidelines gave us a rare glimpse into what makes the search engine’s algorithms tick. They also introduced us to Your Money or Your Life, or YMYL, as well as two other critical insights that factor into how Google defines page quality: 1. Beneficial Purpose 2. (EAT) Expertise, Authoritativeness, trustworthiness 3. (YMYL) Your Money or Your Life
  3. 3. The value the page represents to the user. For example, an instruction manual for a new piece of tech is going to score more highly in terms of beneficial purpose than a few flowery paragraphs telling everyone how great the tech is. BENEFICIAL PURPOSE
  4. 4. Expertise, authoritativeness, trustworthiness. Quite simply, what are the credentials of the author, and what qualifies them to offer advice on this topic? (EAT) EXPERTISE, AUTHORITATIVENESS, TRUSTWORTHINESS
  5. 5. This is the real high stakes content. This is content that could seriously impact the future of the reader or viewer in terms of their happiness, health, safety, or financial security. (YMYL) YOUR MONEY OR YOUR LIFE
  6. 6. WHAT DO THE SEARCH QUALITY EVALUATOR GUIDELINES SAY ABOUT YMYL? Google didn’t come up with the name Your Money or Your Life for no reason.
  7. 7. HOW DO WE KNOW THAT THIS IS REALLY THE CASE? Anyone who has worked in SEO or content marketing for a while has a degree of insight into how Google operates.
  8. 8. WHAT ABOUT MORE RECENT UPDATES? The more recent updates to Google’s algorithm have been the source of major confusion for publishers.
  9. 9. OPTIMISING PAGES FOR EAT AND YMYL Ok, so we’ve covered quite a lot of ground so far and we’ve analysed what EAT and YMYL really mean, as well as Beneficial Purpose.
  11. 11. EXAMPLES OF YMYL Let’s look at YMYL first as this is going to feed into EAT and play a serious role in how EAT affects your pages. NEWS: If your content is covering weighty topics such as international affairs or other genuinely newsworthy fields, this is going to be YMYL. If it is considered ‘frivolous’ or less immediately critical to the global or local stage, it may not be designated YMYL. LEGAL AND GOVERNMENT: We live in a democracy and an informed electorate is an important part of that democracy. If your content provides information that could influence voting or other civic processes, this is going to be considered YMYL. FINANCIAL ADVISE OR INFORMATION: This we’ve already covered – financial advice can have a huge impact on a person’s life. Sure-fire YMYL. RETAIL: This is where it gets a little tricky. Some retailers purport that their products are life-changing for one reason or another. If this is the case with your line of products, you are likely to find your content marked as YMYL. However, this is something of a grey area. PUBLIC SAFETY AND PUBLIC HEALTH: If you are offering any advice or information related to the health and safety of your audience, it is highly likely that you will receive a YMYL designation. SOCIAL GROUPS OR DEMOGRAPHICS: Content that provides information related to specific social groups or demographics will be considered YMYL. This includes groups related to race or ethnicity, sexuality, gender, nationality, disability, age, armed forces status, faith or religious beliefs, among other factors. MISCELLANEOUS: The above list is pretty far from exhaustive. There are many other factors that could land you with a YMYL designation, including offering information about employment or accommodation, education, fitness, and more.
  12. 12. Remember that you are not trying to avoid a YMYL designation, even though, at times, it may feel as if you should. Instead, you simply need to know when your content has the potential of receiving such a designation as you will need to be extra careful with optimisation.
  13. 13. PRACTICAL OPTIMISATION FOR DESIGNATED PAGES So, now that you have decided whether or not your content will be considered YMYL, it’s time to get optimising. The first thing you need to do is choose Your Authors very carefully.
  14. 14. With your content authors chosen, you need to begin building their biographies. Create author pages with information on who the authors are and what their backgrounds are, as well as listing their academic and professional credentials. AUTHOR BIOS
  15. 15. Don’t be tempted to cast your expert author as a jack-of-all-trades, either. After scoring big results with a wonderfully written piece about lower back pain, you might commission your expert to write about a recent change in housing legislation in your area – perhaps for a different website. DEPLOY YOUR EXPERTS IN THEIR RESPECTIVE FIELDS
  16. 16. So, the content is written and ready to go. What comes next? As always, you need to fact check. However, with YMYL content, you need to fact check extra hard. Even the experts make mistakes, and this can throw your content way off the mark. CHECK YOUR FACTS
  17. 17. If you decide to enhance your income with affiliate links or paid advertisements on your pages, good for you. This is a great way to make some extra money from your web pages. However, don't forget that Google will hold these links to a high standard too. TAKE EXTRA CARE WITH AFFILIATE LINKS
  18. 18. You may also decide to run user-generated content on your pages. This is a great way to engage your audience and to build up the content on your site. ALSO, BE CAREFUL WITH USER-GENERATED CONTENT
  19. 19. So, now you know a bit more about Your Money or Your Life content and how it works – and now that you recognise how important it is to make sure those expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness signals are firing on all cylinders – what’s next?
  20. 20. THANK YOU!