YMYL (Your Money Your Life) Explained: Impact on Content & SEO?


In a digital world crowded with websites vying for users’ attention, trust becomes paramount, particularly in fields involving personal finance. Here, the skepticism bar is naturally high as users are discerning about where they turn for financial advice.

As a business owner or content creator in the finance sector, you should understand the significance of a YMYL (Your Money, Your Life) site and how it can help your business thrive.

What Is YMYL (Your Money, Your Life)?

YMYL refers to websites where monetary transactions can occur or that have a profound impact on users’ lives—be it financially, health-wise, or safety-wise. The umbrella of YMYL extends to a myriad of services, products, concepts, or health practices.

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Google introduced the YMYL category in 2014 to counteract online disinformation, ensuring that websites deliver top-quality content. The company subsequently launched an update in September 2019, popularly termed the “medic update,” causing notable shifts in the rankings of various health and healthcare sites. From this, we learn that high-quality, honest content is the key to achieving better YMYL SEO rankings.

We introduced the YMYL category in 2014. They include financial transaction or information pages, medical and legal information pages, as well as news articles, and public and/or official information pages that are important for having an informed citizenry.” 

Source: How Google fights disinformation

Identifying YMYL Sites

Google identifies YMYL sites as web platforms impacting people’s health, financial stability, safety, and happiness. These could be:

  • News and current events: politics, business, disasters, etc.
  • Civic, law, and government sites: civic wellbeing, local politics, voting, community development, etc.
  • Finance: investments, loans, banking, insurance, taxes, financial planning, etc.
  • Shopping: shopping services, eCommerce, etc.
  • Health and safety: medical issues, hospitals, emergency preparedness, activity safety, workplace safety, drugs, etc.
  • Social groups: ethnicity, religion, age, disability, nationality, gender, gender identity, etc.
  • Life decisions: housing information, college choices, job search, fitness, nutrition, etc.

Google holds YMYL pages to high Page Quality rating standards as low-quality content in these areas could have a substantial negative impact on users’ lives.

YMYL and Google’s EAT

As defined by Google, EAT (now EEAT) is the guidelines by which content is judged. It stands for the content being Expert, Authoritative, and Trustworthy; thus, EAT! Once you learn how to write content that exemplifies EAT, your site will undoubtedly perform better. 

“YMYL websites demand a high degree of trust, so they generally need satisfying information about who is responsible for the site’s content. In addition, High-quality stores and financial transaction websites also need clear and satisfying customer service information to help users resolve issues.”

According to Google

Very high-quality content can be provided by experts, hobbyists, or people tagged as everyday experts. YMYL websites should hold a high standard in giving out information. Here are more tips to help satisfy EAT on a YMYL website:

  • Original and authentic news that can hardly be found elsewhere
  • Original and well-made artistic multimedia content
  • Clear, concise, professional, accurate, and original informational text content
  • Information that holds clear consensus and is proven to be true
  • Utilization of citations and references to back up content

What is high-quality content? 

Great content is content that delivers its purpose effectively. For a YMYL site, it has to be beneficial to the majority. As per the Search Quality Evaluator Guidelines, high-quality pages should hold the following:

  • Top-notch Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness 
  • High-quality main content
  • Descriptive or helpful title
  • Accurate and satisfying information about the main creator and customer service information
  • Positive website reputation and main content creator reputation 

While Google is strict in satisfying EAT with YMYL sites, the company states that it should also apply to all types of sites that are non-YMYL such as fashion, humor, and gossip websites. 

What is low-quality content?

This is how Google defined low-quality content:

“We will consider the [main content] of the page to be very high or highest quality when it is created with a high degree of time and effort, and in particular, expertise, talent, and skill—this may provide evidence for the E-A-T of the page.”

As per Google’s guidelines, here are the characteristics of a low-quality page:

  • Insufficient Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness 
  • The main content’s quality is low
  • Exaggerated main content title 
  • Distracting Ads or SC in the main content page
  • Insufficient information about the main content creator and website information
  • Mildly negative website and content creator reputation

Low-quality pages would hurt your Google rankings. So ensure that your content has a purpose and is accurate. It should be well-meaning to the people and their well-being. Bad content means bad SEO. Always remember that!

YMYL website checklist

  • Is the site frequently maintained or updated? Are your articles out-of-date, causing them to not rank? Additionally, browse your site on various platforms to ensure that it works well on all of them, such as laptops, desktops, tablets, and smartphones.
  • Is the contact information easy to access and accurate? Is it easy for viewers to contact you for clarification? 
  • Is there anything on your site that can deceive visitors? Did you optimize a keyword that isn’t relevant to your content? Being honest is key!
  • Is there anyone who handles the technical and marketing side of your website? 
  • Is your content authoritative and reputable? Is it well-written? Is it trustworthy?

YMYL SEO best practices

To optimize your YMYL SEO, here are some tried and tested practices that can help you up your game:

  1. Include your authors’ byline and bio

It’s difficult to trust a site with anonymous authors or an author named “James” with no surname. Utilize journalistic professionalism in creating your articles for people to believe in them. Always include the author’s bio and byline!

  1. Top-notch content marketing

By now, we believe you already understand how actual great content is. It should be accurate and well-researched with enough clarity so even non-specialists can easily understand. 

A tip: consider optimizing your YMYL website by creating bare-minimum content on topics like:

  • Customer service pages: guidance, troubleshooting, instructions, etc.
  • FAQ pages
  • Contact pages/ NAP: name, address, contact number
  • About page or company info page: business history, authority, years of experience, or accolades
  1. On-page SEO work

Optimize on-page SEO factors with your prioritized keywords: h-tags, metadata, site structure, anchor text, etc. This will help your website with the rankings!

Just because you’re utilizing on-page SEO best practices does not mean that you’re deceiving your visitors. It can help improve user experience and, ultimately, your website’s reputation:

  • Optimize accuracy, keywords, and title tags
  • Avoid mixed contents that make the user experience complicated
  • Move to HTTPS domain security
  • Improve mobile friendliness
  • Improve page-load duration
  • Design your URLs for SERP clarity
  • Utilize bread-crumb links to aid search engines and users 

Ensure that your target keywords and meta-data are completely honest to gain organic visitors and for Google to give you a higher ranking, hopefully. Perform professional keyword research before your SEO campaign. The goal here is to find the best keywords without being misleading. 

  1. Update information

Do you have a blog post about something from four years ago? Four years ago is a long time, and things may already have changed, so ensure that your content is always updated. It’s a good rule to update every 6 months!

  1. Provide the visible and easy-to-access address and phone number

Whether you have a local business or are strictly online, you still want to provide this information.

  1. Keep your content fresh!

Google had a freshness algorithm update that checks if your content is up-to-date and relevant to current happenings. This will help your website with SEO rankings. Some topics like sports, breaking news, trending events, and recurring events require freshness. Providing fresh content on your website will help boost your YMYL SEO.

Google states, “Some queries demand recent or ‘fresh’ information. Users may look for ‘breaking news,’ such as an important event or natural disaster.” Google furtherly shares that “unmaintained/abandoned ‘old’ websites or unmaintained and inaccurate/misleading content is a reason for a low Page Quality rating.”

  1. Make sure to meet your visitors’ needs.

Another concept of Google’s quality evaluator is the “needs met.” You’d want every visitor to find what they need on your website. In short, you have to ensure usefulness. Could you say visitors who visit your site can leave with their needs met?

Understanding the “search intent” behind your keywords and your target audience will ensure that you’re giving people what they need and not merely wanting to rank high in terms of keywords. 

  1. Don’t be all for monetization.

Google’s page layout algorithm has been around since 2012, and it demotivates websites from housing too many ads at the page’s stop. Thus, ads that push the main content far down may be ranked lower in SEO and are called “top heavy.” This is to provide your users with a better experience!

The coalition for better ads provides an effective ad monetization strategy that is proven to be effective for both the users (viewers) and the promoter (you):

Few pop-ups and interstitials are acceptable such as legally mandated cookie-consent requests, reasonably sized banner ads, age-verification pop-ups, or log-in dialogs. Go to their site to check which ads you should be implementing on your site.

  1. Link to other expert pages

Linking your website to legitimate articles or news written by experts in the field gives an idea that you spent your time ensuring accuracy.

  1. Acquire some social proof

Put great reviews and feedback into your website. Make sure that these reviews are organic and legitimate, though! 

  1. Refrain from using clickbait headlines

Ensure that your headline represents your content and not just to get your viewers to click on your website.

YMYL pages and engine crawlers

Engine crawlers evaluate YMYL pages, especially with topics that can significantly impact people’s lives. They scrutinize these pages since we are talking about users’ wellness here.

To conclude, the main goal of creating a website is ensuring that your contents are honest and trustworthy, rooted in the best intentions. Know your purpose and authentically work to deliver that!

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jay kang

Jay Kang, entrepreneur and SEO expert, is the driving force behind innovative platforms like linkilo.co and seorankserp.com. His latest creation, ProductReview.Tools, provides affiliate marketers with a powerful WordPress plugin for crafting high-converting reviews. Committed to empowering marketers, Jay continues to make a positive impact in the digital marketing space.

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