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Google EAT and YMYL in SEO: How to Rank Your Content for them?
Google is always changing its algorithms, and you’re not alone if you keep trying to figure them out.
Google never gives out too much information about its updates, especially about what SEO experts and marketers can do to keep up their search traffic.
In 2015, however, Google decided to give us a sneak-peek into their guidelines and how they consider a piece of content to be of high-quality through their Search Quality Evaluator Guidelines.
In these guidelines, Google mentioned the three aspects they look into:
E-A-T (Expertise, Authoritativeness, Trustworthiness), and
YMYL (Your Money or Your Life)
These guidelines were created to help Google’s human search evaluators to determine how well the algorithm is working out. It would be helpful, therefore, if we try and understand what these terms are and how they work.
The guidelines state that all website content must have a beneficial purpose. It is stated that “Websites and pages should be created to help users.”
This means the pages should be created to help users, and not just to make money. Those made just for money are considered lowest quality pages and will be pushed down in the SERPs.
YMYL (Your Life or Your Money)
YMYL content is one that directly involves a person’s life (health, happiness, safety) and financial stability.
For example, information about how to keep a baby safe in winter is YMYL because it concerns someone’s well being.
On the other hand, if a website has a list of things you can do in a campfire, it is not YMYL.
As you can see, YMYL is a sensitive type of content. If there is inaccurate or false information on these websites, it could affect the reader’s health, finances, or safety.
Google is very strict about ranking it because any wrong information given to people could invite huge problems. Thus, when someone makes a YMYL inquiry in the search box, the engine only shows the best pages that have complete and realistic information.
Here are some examples of YMYL content as listed out by Google:
News and current events: topics related to business, international news, politics, and science.
Government, law, and civil issues: any important information about citizenship, voting, government agencies, and legal issues.
Finance: any sort of advice on finances, investment, taxes, loans, retirement plans, or banking.
Online shopping: things related to purchasing goods/ services, or webpages
Health and safety: any advice or information related to medical issues, drugs, hospitals, safety measures, etc.
People groups: groups of people based on ethnicity, gender, religion, etc.
Other: health and fitness related topics, or those topics related to choosing a college, career, etc.
There are many other topics that are YMYL, and Google asks its evaluators to use their discretion while dealing with them. The pages that eventually rank on Google will need high levels of E-A-T.
Google has about 10,000 human evaluators whose job is to analyze websites. After a YMYL web page gets a top search ranking for a competitive keyword, Google assigns its human evaluators to assess its material. The evaluators then conclude if it is deserving to be on the top.
When a page is considered to have a beneficial purpose, it is checked for YMYL content and then its level of E-A-T is evaluated.
Google E-A-T are the guidelines that the search engine’s human evaluators use to evaluate a site’s articles. They check to see if E-A-T is present in a piece and if yes, the writing (or other content) gets a significant search ranking score.
E-A-T is an acronym for Expertise- Authoritativeness- Trustworthiness. According to Google, a page with YMYL content needs to have all these three qualities to be deemed reasonable to remain on the top search position.
As per Google’s standards, a quality article in a niche should be written by an expert in the field.
For example, if your website has a page describing tips about promoting a product online, it will get better rankings if an accredited internet marketer has written it. For a more general example, say you have an article about some medical advice. You can expect better quality scores if the author is a medical practitioner.
If you notice, in every HealthLine article, which is one of the top health-related websites, you see the name of the author who is an expert in what they write about.
However, the proficiency needed for a subject matter depends on how specific it is. Say that a health niche article is about things that help during a common cold. A random individual with a hobby to write can do it. On the other hand, an article describing the effectiveness of a certain measure of treating cancer has a better chance of ranking higher if a doctor pens it.
Google, however, has an exception for non-YMYL content. In its recently updated guidelines, Google stated that it can make an exception for “everyday expertise” – meaning people with relevant life experience on the topic and no formal training can be considered as experts on the subject.
Another factor that affects the E-A-T score is the site authority.
In other words, the credibility of a site. The site should be approved or accepted by authorities in the same field.
A domain will have high authoritativeness if it has backlinks on other credible websites. At the same time, online testimonials, reviews, etc. also play an essential role to decide this score.
This factor of the E-A-T checks the sufficiency and relevancy of information. Your content is checked with respect to the inquiry of people.
Thus, you can get good rankings only if your motive is to help people with the best answer including as much information as you can. You should add citations in your website about the source of the things that you have put. Also, connecting it directly with the expertise factor, you can get rankings if you include the name of the author and his/ her expertise in every article.
Take a look at Neil Patel’s Article. He is one of the most influential digital marketers in the world. One thing you can notice is that in every point in every article, he has links pointing out to sources from where he got his information.
Adding on to that, your content should always be relevant to the website’s niche. For example, according to Google, you can’t put tax tips on a cooking website.
Trustworthiness means up to what extent people believe in you. If you want to enhance it, you should be consistent with the quality of your web page.
Whatever your site offers- be it content or other services, users should be able to make full use of it, and they should not have any doubts. They should be able to feel dependent on the content and should know where it comes from.
In short, people should know about you and your background, and you should be a recognized name in the industry you are in.
Especially sensitive are topics related to medical advice, news and current affairs, scientific advancements, financial or legal advice, life topics such as parenting and childcare, and also hobbies that require advanced skills such as photography or extreme sports.
For example, an e-commerce website needs to provide strong password protection to its users. Also, a blog providing YMYL tips should give maximum information to the people, and should not be very short.
You must never add content only with the intention of making money. Also, updating the home page and about page of your site will take you a long way, as it gives people data about where they are getting information from.
You need to make a clear way for readers to contact the author of the blog. Another way to build trustworthiness is to display the physical location of your office or company.
Create a terms and conditions page that is easily accessible to your readers. Make sure your website domain is secure by correctly implementing HTTPS.
If you have an online store, be sure to include all relevant details of the product along with images of the product.
If you have an educational/ informational blog, share a detailed author biography with relevant qualifications and citations when possible.
Include external links to high authority websites so that people understand that you are doing this to help them and not just for the monetary benefit.
How to Rank Your Content for E-A-T?
Well, if you have YMYL content on your site, you will need to optimize the E-A-T aspects. To be honest, enhancing your content for E-A-T isn’t anything special. All you need to ensure is that you have a quality website with the primary purpose of helping people.
First, Hire Proficient Content Creators
Whether it be news articles or videos, you should hire people who have made a name for themselves in the niche.
You should look for individuals who have significant experience in the type of content you wish to publish. Also, their skill sets matter.
For example, for a written article, Google assesses the content length, comprehensiveness, reading level, sentence, and paragraph format.
Let us visit the Healthline website again. If you check their writer’s roster, you can see them partnering only with people with relevant degrees.
Adding on to that, you should also look for the expertise of a person and its relevance. An engineer writing about increasing Red Blood Cells in the human body is not what E-A-T ratings favor.
Include the Name of Authors
It is about optimizing the authoritativeness. You should let people know whose content they are reading. At the same time, you should include their personal information like about their field of work, interests, experience, etc.
Anyway, being secretive about the personal information of the content creators is fine as long as your article has enough citations. If you have data asserting that your material comes from a credible source, you are good to go. Thus, having as much as links in your website pointing out to other sources is an excellent idea, but make sure you put those links up in things that are significant.
Creating high-quality backlinks applies to optimize E-A-T as well. When renowned websites in your niche point to your site, it increases both, your authority and trust. However, remember that you should look for good websites and avoid creating links in spam sites.
When a website having a good reputation talks about you, Google comes to know that big players in the game recognize you. People will think the same as well, so you get both A and T of the E-A-T. Well, from this, what you should conclude is that instead of the number of backlinks you should focus on their quality.
You can’t expect anything to come out from your YMYL site if you have outdated content. Old information is equivalent to the wrong information; you will put people in trouble if you don’t move according to trends when needed. Due to this, Google prefers websites that have frequent changes whenever needed.
For example, say that there are two websites that convert the USD into Malaysia Ringgit. Among these two, one website provides real-time information; it updates every second while the other informs about daily rates. The former will get better ranking.
When I Googled “SEO Ranking Factors”, the articles on the top had been updated for 2019 changes. As you can see, the search engine prefers fresh content.
If you haven’t noticed, Google Chrome these days puts a ‘Not Secure’ symbol on its address bar when you open a website that doesn’t have https:// encryption. So, the first thing you will need to do is purchase an SSL certificate.
As per E-A-T, your visitors should be able to trust your website. And the only way for that is being honest about who you are. If you are running a website providing a sensitive type of content such as health or business tips, you should make it clear to your readers from whom they are getting the data. If you have a good “About Us” or “Services” page, and only then the Google’s human evaluators can be assured that you deserve to provide people the YMYL content.
BBC has one of the most comprehensive About Us pages. They have tried to give every piece of information they can, even dedicating separate pages for different aspects of their company information.
Letting people become clear about the website also means that you should stick to a niche. You need to focus on a particular field of expertise rather than writing about everything because according to Google, the more you work on a specific subject, the better understanding you have on it.
Responsiveness of the Website
You will get a higher E-A-T score if you provide easy means for your users to communicate with you. For example, on a blog page, you should not only include the author’s name but also his/her contact information such as email or phone number. If you do, it will show that you want to build a positive relationship with your customers so that you will get a good score.
At the same time, the evaluators also check how often you address people’s questions in the comment section. All in all, we can say that being active in your site as much as you can is your key to getting good E-A-T.
More YMYL Content
You have already got a clue about the type of content that Google puts more focus on. Your site won’t be given much attention if you don’t have a lot of YMYL content.
Well, we are not saying that everything you have on your site should directly affect someone’s life. All you need to do is build your reputation as someone providing essential information to the people.
Google YMYL or E-A-T could be a newer concept for users, but they are not rocket science. All you need to understand is that you should have quality content that informs people and at the same time, spend some of your effort in doing SEO. You should update your site regularly with any new information you can gain to help people, and then it won’t be hard for you to start getting a good number of visitors.