There is a lot of terminology to understand in SEO. You may have heard the term ‘YMYL’ – but what is it and why is it important for SEO? Read our blog post to understand more about YMYL, including examples of YMYL content topics and considerations for YMYL niches.
What is the meaning of YMYL?
YMYL stands for ‘Your Money or Your Life’. This is a type of content that may impact readers’ health, wellbeing, safety, future happiness or financial security.
The term ‘Your Money or Your Life’ is taken from Google’s guidelines for search quality raters.
Google’s search quality raters are a third-party group of people who follow specific guidelines to evaluate search results, so that Google can improve user experience and relevance of search results.
Examples of YMYL content topics
So what type of content is included under the YMYL umbrella?
Google’s YMYL content examples
Examples of definite YMYL content topics include:
- Medical & health – e.g. information on drugs, illnesses, medical science
- Financial – e.g. factual information on banking, investment advice
- Current events – e.g. natural disasters, wars, current news & world events
- Governance and law – e.g. voting, politics, law
- Online shopping – e.g. the product that a customer securely purchases online has accurate information – ingredients, uses, any product testing
Google’s potential YMYL content examples
Then there are broader topics which may be ‘Your Money or Your Life’, such as:
- Fitness & nutrition – e.g. nutritional advice, fitness tips & exercises
- Weather – e.g. weather forecasts – only going to have a significant impact on wellbeing if there’s a weather warning
- Education – e.g. finding a college/university
- Employment – e.g. job seeking
- Housing – e.g. buying a house
Why is YMYL content important in SEO?
YMYL content is important in SEO because misinformation may cause harm to a large number of people. Misinformation could spread, not just from the readers of the content, but to others if they pass on incorrect information.
For example, you’re looking to buy some antihistamines from an online pharmacy. You want some tablets that are non-drowsy so they are not affecting your day. The product information states that they are non-drowsy, so you order them. However, when they arrive they are not the non-drowsy version, which can affect your concentration and potentially put you at harm. It may affect your health or, in an extreme case, it could cause you to fall asleep while driving.
Not only can incorrect information potentially cause harm to people, it would also seriously damage your brand reputation. Customers would lose their trust and Google’s search quality raters won’t rank your content if it goes against YMYL guidelines.
How to optimise for YMYL
With ‘Your Money or Your Life’ content being so important to get right, how do you optimise for YMYL?
Here are some considerations for YMYL websites:
Thoroughly researched & optimised content
All content in YMYL industries should be thoroughly researched and accurate, citing credible sources. It should also be optimised for keywords to improve chances of ranking.
Some industries will also have specific content guidelines to adhere to. If in the health sector, for instance, medical studies and research should be cited. Language should be carefully used so as not to make claims about health or medication that are not proven.
There are a number of trust signals that should be included on your website to identify your industry expertise.
Trust signals may include:
- Accreditations & approval from governing bodies (for example, in finance, almost all financial services have to be FCA-approved)
- Qualifications (what qualifies them as trusted experts?)
- Award wins (recognition in their industry)
- Customer reviews (a common third-party review site is Trustpilot)
- Case studies (what do people say about their service?)
- Guarantees (for example, money back guarantee)
- Well-known brand partnerships (works with well-known brands)
- Media mentions (‘as featured in’)
YMYL sites should be clear and transparent about who is writing their content along with their expertise.
Provide author biographies to shout about experience, qualifications and authoritativeness. This links to Google’s E-E-A-T guidelines, which you can learn more about in our guide to E-E-A-T.
Industry expert collaborations
Collaborate with industry experts via guest posting and interviews. This can be particularly useful if you’re not as well-established in your industry as competitors.
Collaborating with an authoritative expert can provide valuable insights for your website users and help to build trust.
Positive brand reputation
It goes without saying that a positive brand reputation is vital to success. Even more important with YMYL content, where brands should be trusted and experienced.
As a ranking factor, you should build a link acquisition strategy with an aim to get backlinks from authoritative websites.
Quality links from well-established websites act as a trust signal to Google. That’s why links from big publications and organisations – such as the Guardian or BBC – are so coveted.
There are so many link building tactics, but some considerations for your content should include:
- Original research pieces
- Industry comment
- Build a unique tool or content that has more chance of being linked to such as videos
- Infographics to demonstrate data or statistics
- In-depth how-to guides
With the search quality raters determining what makes good YMYL content, it’s vital to adhere to ‘Your Money or Your Life’ best practices in order to become a trusted brand and have SEO success.
Download our E-E-A-T content checklist, which is especially useful for YMYL topics.
Steph is a Team Leader and has worked in SEO for 7 years. She is a meticulous proofreader.