There is a new category of websites, as far as Google is concerned, and it’s got its own set of rules. If your website solicits any personal information, uses monetary transactions, or offers any type of major life advice – like legal, medical, educational, health, or financial – you’ll want to listen up.
These types of websites are referred to as YMYL pages by Google. That stands for “Your Money or Your Life”.
Within Google’s Search Quality Rater Guidelines is a more detailed description of what sites are considered YMYL, and how you can make sure your YMYL site is fit for Google’s search engine.
First off, let’s talk about the Rater Guidelines. The 146-page document provides valuable information on what Google looks for while ranking pages within its top search results.
Google Search Quality Raters understand what defines a high quality website, and they work to make sure this is reflected within the search results pages.
Since Google released its full guidelines in November of 2015, it has been through some major updates. Instead of you having to read through all 146 pages of the document to find out what they are, we decided to break it down for you.
What are YMYL Sites and Pages?
As mentioned above, YMYL is used to identify sites that focuses on information regarding your financial future or well-being.
Because these pages could have such a significant impact on a person’s life, Google evaluates them with high scrutiny and applies a secondary level of evaluation.
Think of the following as YMYL pages:
- Pages that take personal information such as personal identification numbers, bank account numbers, driver’s license numbers, etc., which could be used for identify theft.
- Pages that accept financial information or offer financial advice could impact your financial standings or decisions.
- Pages that offer medical advice could misguide you and provide inaccurate information that could cause bodily harm.
- Pages that offer legal advice could mislead you and provide you with inaccurate interpretations of the law.
So what does this mean?
If your website falls into any of the categories listed above, make sure you pages are up to date.
How do you make sure your YMYL pages are up to par?
In the Guidelines, Google announced it gave raters specific things to look for when rating YMYL pages.
What are they? And what should you be concentrating on for your YMYL pages?
The content on your page should be written by an author who is an expert on the specific topic.
Since YMYL pages hold valuable information that could have a major impact on an individual, it is important to have someone who is proficient in the space write the content.
2. Up-To-Date Information
Make sure your YMYL page is frequently updated within any new information and reviewed regularly.
For example, if you’re writing about law, medicine or finance, your content needs to up to par with the current standards in the industry as well as any state/federal regulations that may have changed.
If you have any certifications and endorsements, showcase them in your website’s footer or within the content to display your reputation and credibility.
This makes it apparent to the user that they are in good hands and can trust that their personal information will stay private and secure.
4. Contact Information
Make sure all your contact information is visible to readers. It’s important for readers to be able to ask questions since the topics of YMYL pages contain vital and sensitive information.
At any point during the user’s buying process, they may need further guidance. Make it easy for them to find it.
Make sure the homepage of your website is consistent with the rest of your website. Raters are asked to check that the homepage of the website matches the rest of the website.
There should be a uniform flow from page to page as the user navigates your website.
Having a great website layout is just as important as having great content. Make sure your site is user-friendly and organized.
If the user can’t find what they are looking for easily, or the pages don’t load properly, the user won’t feel comfortable sharing their personal information.
Take a look at this article on how to create a landing page that converts.
3 SEO Tips for YMYL Pages
1. Create In-Depth “About” Pages
As I mentioned above, any information on your YMYL site should come from an expert or authority on the topic at hand.
How do you show you are an expert?
Simply add an ‘About’ page to your website to showcase any expert knowledge and experience your team has.
Provide information on your brand and authors. This will demonstrate your industry authority and trustworthiness.
2. Manage Your Reputation
Saying how great you are online is easy; getting others to say you are great could be a challenge. Raters will look at information outside of your website to rate your overall brand.
Raters usually score very positive reputation ratings based on awards or references from industry experts.
Showcase your awards and professional highlights on your site. Sell yourself as an industry expert through positive customer reviews while creating a community of loyal followers that help support your company.
3. Showcase Your Expertise In the Content
High quality main content is one of the most important considerations in Page Quality rating, according to the Rating Guidelines.
YMYL pages require that the content put out is written by a person with formal expertise in the specific field.
YMYL pages are heavily scrutinized for ranking purposes.
If your page accepts personal information, gives medical, financial or legal advice, make sure your content is accurate, authoritative, and up to date.
Finally, display your brand as a true industry expert. When discussing a topic that could have such a significant impact on an individual, you have to showcase that you are well-versed and a thought leader in the industry.