The SEO industry loves an acronym. Google has two absolute beauties, EAT and YMYL that you need to take seriously if you plan to make money from your site.
Here we will explain why these two critical acronyms can build ranking success or could sink your site like a stone in a pond.
What are E-A-T and YMYL in SEO?
E-A-T stands for “Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness.”
E-A-T comes from Google’s Search Quality Rater Guidelines. This 168-page document was published online in 2013 to “help webmasters understand what Google looks for in a web page”. Human quality raters use it to review the quality of Google’s search results. The recommendations from the human raters are used to evolve the Google search algorithm and offer searchers an even better user experience.
YMYL stands for “Your Money or Your Life.”
This is a description of a particular type of content. As the term implies, YMYL refers to content that has the potential to affect a big financial or life decision.
Web information can be as helpful as it is dangerous. There is content available that can significantly impact our well-being and health, but not always positively.
Search engines appear aware of the concerns and attempt to govern SERP content using their own methods. Conversely, Google has unique algorithms that detect “possibly dangerous” themes and apply individual ranking criteria to them. These are known as Your Money or Your Life (YMYL).
What is Google E-A-T exactly?
E-A-T is one of many guidelines used by Google to decide whether material is beneficial to readers and whether it should rank well. Google search quality reviewers were advised to look for:
- The skill of the content creator.
- The authority of the content creator, the information itself, and the site.
- The credibility of the content author, the material itself, and the website.
So Why Is E-A-T Important for SEO?
Have you ever heard the expression “content is king?” or “quality over quantity” Of course you have. SEO professionals have been hammering for more quality content for ages.
While those terms are well-intended, they don’t tell us anything about what constitutes high-quality content.
Is it more photos? More in-depth content? Alt tags aplenty? Better meta-data? Outside the higher sanctum of Google’s offices, the rest of us may never know.
Google now provides a glimpse into what they consider high-quality material, which might have enormous consequences for content marketers and SEO professionals.
E-A-T criteria specify what type of material Google considers high-quality to genuine human reviewers who examine hundreds of websites.
Great material, according to their guidelines, should:
- Assist users.
- Be developed by a professional.
- Be published on a trustworthy source.
- Be trustworthy.
- Be kept up to date.
Where possible, web admins should use high-level expertise to develop the content. But “everyday expertise” from people with real-world experience is acceptable when appropriate.
Pages that spread hatred, injure, misinform, or mislead users may obtain a worse E-A-T grade from search assessors.
What are the critical elements of E-A-T?
Introduce Yourself to Visitors
According to all three prongs of the E-A-T standards, Google wants to know who provides the material and whether that person(s)/website is a credible source of that knowledge.
If you don’t already have an About Us or a Team page that describes your team – and who your content contributors are – now is the time to create one. Author pages are a simple method to demonstrate your team’s experience, authority, and dependability.
Collaborate with Subject Matter Experts to Create content
Google wants content from people who know what they’re talking about, not just nice material.
Rather than engaging ghostwriters to create half-baked material on high-click key phrases, collaborate with subject matter experts to build content that Google will trust.
This approach could entail interviewing a scientist, hiring a guest blogger, or collaborating with another company to disseminate high-quality research.
Make it clear what your content’s purpose is.
- What is the purpose of your content?
- Do you aim to educate, explain, persuade, or describe?
- Use headers and headings that clearly state the aim of your content, and use simple language.
For example, I have utilised headlines that are questions in this post so you know you’ll get answers to all of your E-A-T inquiries.
Don’t write long, meandering articles. Get to the point quickly and cover the subject as plainly (and comprehensively) as feasible.
Maintain Regular Content Updating
Every day, we generate massive amounts of data. By 2025, we will create an average of 463 billion GB of data per day. This enormous amount of information means that content becomes out of date quickly.
Sites are updated, websites are taken offline, people get promoted and sacked, and Google tweaks the algorithm… again!
According to my observations, the average lifespan of internet material is two years, depending on the topic and business. Include content updates in your SEO plan and audit your website to keep your content accurate and up to date.
Every few years, update metrics and best practices, and check for broken links, especially for high-ranking content.
Provide a link to high-quality sources
To be perceived as an expert, you must rely on reliable data. Use authoritative references, studies, and research papers to support your claims and demonstrate that you know what you’re talking about.
Employ reliable sources to locate studies to back up any claims. You can also provide links to tweets, papers, or reports written by industry experts.
Consider Multiple Points of View
To be trusted, content should investigate challenges from different perspectives and consider how each attitude contributes to the broader debate.
For instance, if your content is about the best sorts of running shoes, there’s a considerable probability that one type of shoe isn’t ideal for everyone.
Someone may prefer they be made from natural materials or manufactured by a company with outstandingly high ethics. Maybe the type of sole material or the type of lining is crucial. You will build trust with the audience by clarifying the various points of view on a subject.
Maintain Your Online Reputation
Your online reputation might impact the credibility of your site and its content. Keep an eye out for negative publicity and reply quickly to poor reviews to protect your brand’s reputation.
Claim all of your social profiles for your business name (so no one else can take them!) and encourage customers to submit positive reviews about your company.
You don’t have to go wild trying to establish a large brand if it doesn’t make sense for your company, but make sure your good name isn’t tarnished.
Now that we have dealt with the basics of E-A-T, we need to add YMYL principles and understand why Google has highlighted YMYL as a focus point.
How do you write YMYL content?
These are the critical points to keep in mind when producing Content for YMYL (Your Money or Your Life) Subjects
- Put searchers’ needs ahead of keywords and traffic.
- Consider E-A-T.
- Add external links and citations.
- Write about what you know.
- Check spelling, grammar, and content structure multiple times.
- Regularly review your content and make revisions as needed.
What are YMYL topics?
According to the Guidelines, YMYL describes topics that “... have a high risk of harm because content about these topics could significantly impact the health, financial stability, or safety of people, or the welfare or well-being of society.”
Pages about YMYL subjects deserve the most care regarding Page Quality ranking; as a result, SEOs will have a more difficult job.
The Guidelines provide various YMYL issue groupings, including Health, Safety, Financial Security, Social, and Others.
Health themes include knowledge that might affect a person’s or a group’s physical, mental, and emotional health. It mainly refers to health-related advice, such as drugs, diseases, mental health, diet, etc. Examples:
- Can I take aspirin whilst pregnant?
- Is it safe to eat a “raw” only diet?
- How to treat mental health issues without drugs
Safety and health are inextricably linked, and they both refer to content that may impact a person’s or a group’s online and offline security. Cybersecurity, defensive tactics and equipment, workplace risks and hazards, etc. Examples:
- How to avoid accidents: 8 Important Safe Driving Tips
- 10 ways to beat hackers
- How to sunbathe safely
Financial Security issues may impact people’s financial situation or capacity to support themselves and their families. You’ll discover pages on investing, taxes, retirement planning, home buying, buying insurance, and other topics.
This category also contains pages and websites where visitors can make purchases, transfer money, pay bills, etc. Examples:
- Top ten retirement investment options
- Homes for sale
- Cheapest car loans
As much as any other public interest, confidence in public institutions can be influenced by societal topics. Information on government processes, policies, people, laws, government programmes, social services, international events, business, politics, research, and technology. Examples:
- New driving laws everyone should know
- 5 customs changes that every exporter needs to implement
- How care in the community is funded
This category includes all those topics that can harm people’s health and well-being but do not fit into any of the other categories. These could consist of subjects such as household, education, and profession. Examples:
- How to choose the best career path for you
- 10 crucial factors to consider when purchasing a home
- Trainers’ picks for the best home fitness equipment
If you are still unsure whether a subject is YMYL, ask yourself, “Could even slight errors in content hurt a person or a group of people?” If so, the topic is most likely YMYL.
What is needed for YMYL content to rank high?
To be clear, Google has not publicly acknowledged using YMYL-specific ranking factors. All of the suggestions listed below are the SEO community’s best guesses.
When it comes to YMYL content evaluation, Quality Raters consider numerous factors:
- The page’s purpose, Expertise, Authority, and Trustworthiness
- Main content quality and quantity
- Website information/information on who is in charge of the material
- Reputation of the website/reputation of the person responsible for the material
Clearly, these points are not ranking factors in themselves. However, they provide hints about what Google considers top-quality YMYL content. And SEOs did detect a tangible increase in organic rankings once sites were tweaked to the Quality Raters’ standards.
Page accomplishes its goal
The page’s purpose is the reason it was created. Website visitors can use pages to browse, inform, educate, buy goods and services, convey opinions, entertain, and so on.
YMYL content must fulfil its purpose: there is enough text to convey a concept, the information is clear, nothing confuses visitors, no disruptive adverts, unwanted pop-ups, and so on.
A page is considered low-quality if it fails to accomplish its goal, which could result in lower rankings.
Some subjects may be created by authors with little or no competence or even by amateurs (for example, chicken recipes, restaurant reviews or home decorating). Everything is different with YMYL, and Non-professionalism will not work here.
In their book How Google Fights Disinformation: A Guide for Webmasters, Google expressly stated that they impose the strictest E-A-T requirements for YMYL pages.
“For these “YMYL” pages, 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.”
Let’s have a detailed look at what you have to do regarding YMYL:
Hire an author that is an expert.
If you are writing about medical topics, it would be wise for the content to be peer-reviewed by a medical professional unless written directly by an accredited professional.
Create a dedicated author page and add a bio.
However, Google maintains that having a dedicated author’s page is not a ranking criterion. Most SEO specialists believe that a dedicated author’s page is good practice and establishes the author’s knowledge in Google’s eyes, increasing confidence.
This is precisely what Google wants of YMYL pages, and it will increase your users’ trust in you.
Get mentioned on niche platforms.
It’s fantastic if your writers are showcased on other expert sites. For example, it may be guest posting on a respected blog or becoming a guest on some expert YouTube channels and specialist podcasts. A solid internet presence demonstrates your author’s knowledge, which is always advantageous.
How Google Fights Disinformation.
PageRank, according to Google, is one of the few indicators utilised to evaluate E-A-T.
So, prioritise obtaining extra backlinks from authoritative sources. After all, this is likely to be one of the first things Quality Raters search for – mentions of your site on resources such as Wikipedia, Hub pages, and other authority sites.
Before you begin your link-building strategy, you should examine your site’s backlink profile and domain authority and compare it to your competitors. It will assist you in determining how many backlinks you will require to compete and outrank your competitors.
Remember: When executing a link-building effort, attempt to get do follow links because they pass PageRank.
Examine your backlink profile.
Obtaining new links isn’t the only thing that matters, and it would help if you also kept an eye on current backlinks, as they may be detrimental to your site.
Most SEO professionals believe that low-quality backlinks might cause more harm than good. However, when it comes to YMYL and Trustworthiness, harmful links can not only lead to a penalty but can also cause your site to relate to so-called “bad neighbourhoods.”
Add schema markup.
Why?. Rich snippets often outperform ‘regular’ search results and are powered by schema markup. This brings more visitors to your website. The primary aim of the markup, however, is to assist search engines in better understanding your content. Which can mean it could consider you a trusted source quicker.
Include all the trust seals on your website.
Your insignia, certifications, testimonials, evaluations, user success stories, etc., speak volumes about your credibility to both users and search engines.
Enable HTTPS on your servers.
HTTPS is an official ranking factor. Today, about 80% of websites use HTTPS by default; however, many small sites continue to use unsecured HTTP. Enabling HTTPS is a necessity for YMYL. So, obtain one if your website doesn’t have a TLS/SSL certificate. And also don’t neglect to renew it every year.
Without HTTPS, third parties can use unprotected communications to trick your visitors into sharing sensitive information or installing malware.
Verify your content with links to trusted sources.
It is untrue that if you address YMYL subjects, you should solely be concerned about backlinks, and outgoing linkages are also significant.
Reboot Online’s experiment demonstrated that relevant external links to authoritative sites had a favourable impact on rankings.
As a result, ensure your content includes links to reputable and authoritative sources. Then Google will have more faith in you (as it already trusts them).
High content quality
Make sure that the amount of content is sufficient.
The Quality Raters Guidelines emphasise the importance of content quantity. However, this does not imply that you should develop lengthy pages with thousands of words to appease search engines.
Everything is straightforward here: the amount of content is determined by how broad the topic is. The larger the word count, the more aspects you should address.
Maintain the freshness of your content.
Facts and information change with time. So it would be best to stay on top of those modifications to ensure content is always up to date.
Google also asserts in the Guidelines that new content is always preferred:
“Remember to think about the query and its current meaning as you are rating. We will assume users are looking for current information about a topic, the most recent product model, the most recent occurrence of a recurring event, etc., unless otherwise specified by the query.”
So, to maintain your pages as evergreen and receive Google’s approval, update them regularly.
Compose a descriptive, helpful title.
The Guidelines cite the title as a quality indicator. And we know that titles are important.
Make sure that your titles are neither deceptive nor click-baiting. Click-bait titles can damage the reputation of any website, let alone YMYL sites.
Furthermore, remember the page’s aim; even a title should serve the purpose, and a clickbait headline will not assist in this situation.
Your titles should be meaningful and accurately reflect the content. A popular approach is to include a keyword at the start of it to specify exactly what your article will be about.
Check for plagiarised content.
Using other people’s work may result in scraped content. Simply put, they are duplicates.
When there are multiple search results with the same Content, Google never groups them together on the SERP since users will not profit from it, and it will only select one. And either your page wins or loses the war.
As a result, you should create unique material, but herein lies the issue. You can hire trustworthy copywriters, but how will you know if your unique work has been stolen?
Don’t take advantage of monetisation.
Say no to annoying or deceptive ads and pop-ups, as well as an abundance of affiliate links.
Of course, Google likes advertisements, but only if they do not negatively impact the user experience. So, if you own a YMYL site, think twice before putting any adverts or pop-ups on it.
Avoid the overabundance of distracting advertisements and affiliate links. They may appear unworthy of a respected website, and it may indicate to Google that you are here for advertising and revenue rather than to assist users. These issues can lead to poor search performance.
Make sure that your content is well-organised.
This is standard advice, but it is crucial: arrange the text correctly and write in a readable manner. If you write on a complex subject, this does not imply that your readers should struggle to read your material.
Apps like Hemingway can help you assess the readability of your text.Literacy is also essential. Even if authored by an expert, a book with poor grammar will not be deemed genuine. Hiring a proof-reader or using grammar and spell checkers is the best option.
Your site’s reputation is tightly linked to E-A-T; thus, you should pay special attention to it. Work on brand creation and popularity indicators.
Active social media profiles with many followers and frequent updates can indicate that your brand is in high demand. So having them along for the ride makes sense.
How do you go about doing that? Based on industry trends, establish a social media presence on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, Reddit, etc. Because social media posts can be ranked high enough, users may believe visitors can trust you because you have an outstanding account.
You should also join and participate in all of the specialist review sites. Though you cannot directly control them, you may manage your reputation there. Respond to all comments and reviews, especially unfavourable ones.
Encourage your clients and readers to post positive feedback on your services or products (if applicable to the structure of your site). You can also monitor the platforms where people may pose awkward questions or speak negatively about you and direct your loyal consumers there (if appropriate). This approach can add weight to the numerical superiority of good evaluations, which Google uses.
Finally, create a Google Business Profile if you have a physical address. This is not the simplest or fastest process, but you should give it a shot. Add all important links to your site and discuss your accomplishments – this will increase brand recognition and authority.
Use social listening tools. Keeping track of your internet reputation might be difficult without solutions like Hootsuite or Google Alerts. You can use them to set up notifications to learn about new brand references on the internet. This allows you to quickly track customer evaluations, references, news articles, and other material published by people about your website.
It will assist you in addressing all potential reputation risks quickly.
Anyone with a website needs to know the effects E-A-T and YMYL can have on your search rankings and business.
The subject is complicated and highly detailed, which is why most people prefer to hire an expert in SEO to handle this side of the business.
An experienced Google Certified SEO specialist will know how E-A-T and YMYL can best be implemented for your online presence and how to manage changes in the future.