Welcome to part 3 of “Write to Rank – Hidden Treasures from Google’s Quality Rater Map,” where we uncover gems in Google’s Search Quality Raters Guideline to help you write content that ranks higher on Google’s SERP.
Today, we continue our discussion of page quality ratings and break down what Google defines as Your Money or Your Life (YMYL) pages and how expertise, authority, and trustworthiness (EAT) boost your quality ratings.
YMYL pages are those that impact peoples’ happiness, health, financial stability, or well-being. Examples include transactional, financial, medical, legal, news, and safety information pages.
Google has more stringent page quality rating standards for YMYL pages because incorrect or outdated information on these pages can actually hurt people financially, physically, or emotionally.
So, how do we write content for our YMYL pages that does not hurt or misinform people? Let’s dive in.
But first—here’s the top tips for writing quality YMYL pages.
Top 8 Tips for Writing Quality YMYL Pages
- Ensure that your content shows your expertise, authority, and trustworthiness.
- Publish content regularly.
- Communicate your credentials.
- Share testimonials.
- Include accurate and up-to-date company, contact, and customer service information.
- Don’t allow factual errors.
- Share case studies.
- Maintain your website regularly and frequently.
YMYL Page Types
There are endless possibilities for YMYL pages. They are any that can affect someone’s quality of life or financial state. For example:
- If you’ve got a vegan website with nutritional information, it’s likely got YMYL pages.
- If you’ve got an investment website with stock tips, it’s likely got YMYL pages.
- If you’ve got a jewelry website with an online store, it’s likely got YMYL pages.
- If you’ve got a parenting website with lifestyle advice, it’s likely got YMYL pages.
Here, straight from Google’s guide, are some typical YMYL pages:
Shopping or Financial Transaction Pages
Webpages that allow users to make purchases, transfer money, pay bills, etc. (such as online stores and online banking pages)
Financial Information Pages
Webpages that provide advice or information about investments, taxes, retirement planning, home purchase, paying for college, buying insurance, etc.
Medical Information Pages
Webpages that provide advice or information about health, drugs, specific diseases or conditions, mental health, nutrition, etc.
Legal Information Pages
Webpages that provide legal advice or information on legal topics like divorce, child custody, creating a will, becoming a citizen, etc.
News Articles or Public/Official Information Pages Important for an Informed Citizenry
Webpages that include information about local/state/national government processes, policies, people, and laws; disaster response services; government programs and social services; news about important topics, such as international events, business, politics, science, and technology; etc.
There are many other topics that Google may consider YMYL, such as child adoption, car safety information, etc.
The key takeaway for writing YMYL pages is that they must show expertise, authority, and trustworthiness (EAT).
You are what you EAT
Google directs its page quality raters to hold YMYL pages to a higher standard when it comes to EAT:
“Please have especially high standards when answering all questions for [YMYL] PQ rating. In particular, please be very careful evaluating the reputation of the page and whether the content has been created with the necessary authority and expertise. Websites need enough expertise to be authoritative and trustworthy on their topic.”
Therefore, it’s important to communicate your expertise on the subject, your recognized authority in the industry, and the accuracy of your content.
While EAT applies to all pages aiming for a high-quality rating, it is especially important for YMYL pages.
YMYL: How to Communicate Expertise
Is the author of the website or webpage an expert on the subject? That’s the first question Google looks at in quality ratings.
There are two key ways to establish your expertise:
The best way to show that you know what you’re talking about is to actually talk about it! By writing relevant and helpful content, you position yourself as a subject matter expert, showing that you’re knowledgeable about the space.
Communicate your credentials
Do you have certifications? What’s your educational and work experience background? What is it about you that makes you an expert in the field you’re writing on?
Shout that out loud every chance your get.
- Each blog post should include the author’s bio and credentials.
- Your About page should include your company bio and service credentials.
- If you’ve got a PhD, append that to the end of your name in all sign-offs.
It’s all about showing why and how you’re uniquely proficient in the subject you’re writing about.
YMYL: How to Communicate Authority
Is the author a well-recognized authority on the subject matter? That’s the second question Google asks when looking at YMYL page quality.
Showing your authority is about showing your leadership in the field. While experts have knowledge, authorities have influence.
There are two key ways to establish and communicate your authority:
Include testimonials on your site. Who wouldn’t want to hear from the happy people you’ve worked with? Those happy people show Google that you know what you’re doing and are credible.
It’s important to also include the information that establishes your key endorsements as authorities, which in turn boosts your authority.
When listing testimonials, don’t forget to include the contributor’s name, company, and position title.
Rochelle’s bonus tip: There are ways to pepper testimonials throughout your site. Your web developer will have a solution for you so that relevant endorsements appear at opportune times as people visit your site. Not only does this establish your authority, but it’s great for business development.
Rochelle’s bonus tip: Create social posts out of your testimonials.
Don’t forget to include auxiliary information
Make sure you have clear, accurate, and accessible about, contact, and customer service information. This shows Google that you’ve got actual humans behind the site who care about its maintenance and its message.
Rochelle’s bonus tip: Another great way to establish your authority is to speak at industry events and then write about those speaking engagements and list them in your bio. This shows that people are interested in hearing your perspective. To find speaking gigs, browse upcoming conference sites and look for the ‘interested in speaking’ link. Follow that to learn more about landing the gig.
YMYL: How to Communicate Trustworthiness
Is the content accurate? That’s the third question Google asks when looking at the quality of YMYL pages.
So, how do you convey trustworthiness and accuracy?
Don’t allow factual errors
This one is obvious, but it’s a great reminder to ensure that what you write is right.
Perhaps you wrote a blog post a few years ago, and the content has become outdated. Or perhaps an employee was confused on an issue and posted a mistake inadvertently. Or perhaps your transaction page isn’t as secure as it could be.
You need to fix these mistakes as they seriously damage your YMYL credibility. And since Google has higher standards for YMYL pages, you could lose ranking if errors persist.
Share case studies
Writing and sharing case studies shows that your clients trust you. In these case studies, explain how the service you provided made their lives and businesses better. When listing clients in case studies, don’t forget to use their names and logos and link to their websites.
Rochelle’s bonus tip: Create social posts out of your case studies.
Regularly maintain your website
It’s helpful to show that your website is regularly and frequently maintained. This goes back to publishing content and including up-to-date auxiliary information—your trustworthiness benefits from showing that you are committed to maintaining the quality, accuracy, and timeliness of your content.
It’s clear that expertise, authority, and trustworthiness all work together to boost the quality ratings of YMYL pages. While EAT applies to all pages, it is especially important for YMYL pages, which can affect peoples’ lives, well-being, and finances.
Check out the other articles in our series to learn more about needs met ratings, page quality ratings, and 10 key takeaways:
How can I write SEO content that performs well on Google?
We’ve also put together a great article on blogging best practices for SEO. It’s a guide for writing quality SEO content that converts and ranks well on Google.