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    4 mins

    Your Money or Your Life (YMYL) Update

    06 June 2023

    Google’s Your Money or Your Life (YMYL) update focuses on ensuring the credibility and reliability of websites that provide information related to sensitive topics such as health, finance, and safety. This update has significant implications for search engine optimisation (SEO), particularly for websites falling within the YMYL category.

    This article aims to explore the YMYL update and provide insights on complying with its guidelines, with a focus on the importance of E-E-A-T (Experience-Expertise-Authority-Trust) and other essential factors in SEO compliance. Additionally, we will discuss the types of websites that have been affected by the YMYL update and how they may have been impacted in Google search results.

    Understanding the YMYL Update

    The YMYL update, introduced by Google in 2018, aims to prioritise user safety and well-being by evaluating websites that can significantly impact individuals’ lives, health, happiness, or financial stability. Examples of YMYL websites include:

    • Health and Medical Websites: Sites that provide medical advice, information on diseases, treatments, medications, or mental health support. The medical aspect of the update became known in the SEO industry as the ‘Google Medic Update
    • Financial and Banking Websites: Websites offering financial advice, investment strategies, banking services, or information on loans, mortgages, or insurance.
    • News and Current Affairs Websites: Platforms reporting news on current events, politics, international affairs, and other topics that shape public opinion.
    • Legal and Government Websites: Websites providing legal advice, information on laws, regulations, or government services.
    • Educational and Research Websites: Platforms offering educational content, academic research papers, or scientific studies.

    Impacts on YMYL Websites in Google Search

    YMYL websites have experienced notable changes in their visibility and rankings in Google search results since the YMYL update. The update aimed to promote websites with higher levels of expertise, authority, and trustworthiness.

    Consequently, some websites may have seen improvements in their rankings if they demonstrated strong E-E-A-T factors and adhered to the YMYL guidelines. On the other hand, websites lacking sufficient expertise, authoritativeness, or trustworthiness may have experienced a decline in their search rankings.

    Factors Affecting YMYL Websites in Google Search

    • Content Quality and Accuracy: YMYL websites are expected to provide accurate, well-researched, and up-to-date information. Websites that publish misleading or inaccurate content may face a negative impact on their search rankings.
    • Authoritativeness and Trustworthiness: Google places high importance on the reputation and trustworthiness of YMYL websites. Websites that can demonstrate their authority within their respective niches and build trust with their audience are more likely to rank well.
    • Expertise and Credibility: Websites that exhibit expertise in their subject matter and can showcase the credentials and qualifications of their authors or contributors tend to fare better in search rankings. Establishing credibility through affiliations with industry associations or having renowned experts contribute to the website can also positively influence rankings.
    • User Engagement Metrics: User experience signals such as bounce rate, time spent on page, and click-through rates can impact the visibility of YMYL websites in search results. Engaging, well-structured content that keeps users on the site and encourages interaction can lead to improved rankings.

    How to comply with Google’s YMYL Guidelines for SEO

    To comply with the YMYL guidelines and improve search performance, webmasters of YMYL websites should consider the following strategies:

    Prioritise E-E-A-T:

    Showcase experience, expertise, authority, and trustworthiness in all aspects of your website. Highlight the qualifications and experience of authors, include comprehensive and accurate information, and build trust through testimonials, reviews, and user feedback.

    Create High-Quality Content:

    Invest in producing high-quality, well-researched content that addresses user needs. Focus on providing valuable and accurate information that helps users make informed decisions. Google says to ask yourself the following questions when creating content:

    • Does the content provide original information, reporting, research, or analysis?
    • Does the content provide a substantial, complete, or comprehensive description of the topic?
    • Does the content provide insightful analysis or interesting information that is beyond the obvious?
    • If the content draws on other sources, does it avoid simply copying or rewriting those sources, and instead provide substantial additional value and originality?
    • Does the main heading or page title provide a descriptive, helpful summary of the content?
    • Does the main heading or page title avoid exaggerating or being shocking in nature?
    • Is this the sort of page you’d want to bookmark, share with a friend, or recommend?
    • Would you expect to see this content in or referenced by a printed magazine, encyclopedia, or book?
    • Does the content provide substantial value when compared to other pages in search results?
    • Does the content have any spelling or stylistic issues?
    • Is the content produced well, or does it appear sloppy or hastily produced?
    • Is the content mass-produced by or outsourced to a large number of creators, or spread across a large network of sites, so that individual pages or sites don’t get as much attention or care?
    • Does the content present information in a way that makes you want to trust it, such as clear sourcing, evidence of the expertise involved, background about the author or the site that publishes it, such as through links to an author page or a site’s About page?
    • If someone researched the site producing the content, would they come away with an impression that it is well-trusted or widely-recognised as an authority on its topic?
    • Is this content written by an expert or enthusiast who demonstrably knows the topic well?
    • Does the content have any easily-verified factual errors?

    Maintain Relevance and Freshness:

    Regularly update your content to ensure its relevance and accuracy. Stay up-to-date with the latest developments in your industry and incorporate new information into your articles or blog posts.

    Improve User Experience: Enhance the user experience of your website by ensuring fast loading times, mobile responsiveness, intuitive navigation, and an overall pleasant browsing experience. Optimise your site structure and make information easy to find.

    Earn Backlinks from Authoritative Sources:

    Seek opportunities to earn backlinks from reputable and authoritative websites in your industry. Engage with journalists and reporters to provide expert insights or commentary, which can lead to valuable backlinks from high-impact financial newspapers and other authoritative publications.

    Add contact details to your website:

    If a company is hard to contact, in Google’s eyes that makes it less trustworthy. Make sure that these contact details are more than just a form, and that they are contained somewhere easily accessible, ideally through the main site navigation and through prominent calls to action.