What is YMYL and what does it mean for Google and SEO?

What is YMYL?

YMYL stands for ‘your money or your life’. It is the term Google uses to describe websites or content that could potentially have a negative impact on a person’s well-being, quality of life, financial stability, or safety. This content has the power to influence a person’s major decisions regarding their life or finances. Due to the potentially negative effects of this kind of content, Google has very high-quality standards for YMYL pages. 

What counts as YMYL content?

Though it is unclear exactly what content is included and what isn’t, YMYL content is not confined to one genre, and webpages can include:

  • News and current affairs websites
  • Websites offering legal advice or services
  • Government websites
  • Websites offering financial advice or services
  • Online shopping
  • Medical and health-related websites
  • Websites that offer safety or first-aid information
  • Information for groups, such as religious groups

How does Google Rank YMYL content?

Google ranks YMYL content differently from other content. Due to its potential to negatively affect a person’s life, Google’s algorithm gives more weight to the expertise, authoritativeness and trustworthiness of sources, often referred to as E-A-T.

  • Expertise

Google’s algorithm gives priority to YMYL content created by experts. It will most likely favour websites that display credentials or other information that proves the creator’s knowledge and expertise.

  • Authoritativeness

Google’s algorithm also considers whether the website has been created by an individual or brand that is recognised by others as an authoritative source on the subject. This may include government websites or well-known organisations.

  • Trustworthiness

Content that is reliable, up-to-date, and factual will be given priority in Google’s algorithm.

What does YMYL mean for SEO?

Google loves high-quality content. Creating regular, informative content and implementing SEO tactics such as keywords are vital in making sure your website ranks well in search engine results. 

However, Google has even stricter standards when it comes to YMYL content, making it even harder for your website to appear near the top of search results.

What can you do about it?

To ensure YMYL doesn’t affect your website’s position in search engine results, you can take the following steps:

  • Firstly, determine whether your website is considered YMYL content. 
  • Make sure your content is factually correct and up to date.
  • Ensure your content is written by people who are considered experts in the field being discussed.
  • Identify all your contributors with an author name and by-line describing their expertise on the subject.
  • Include data and statistics to back up your claims.
  • Don’t give advice on topics you are not knowledgeable about, especially in the areas of health, finance, and law.

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