- The updated guidance Your money or life (YMYL), provides more information about what Google is looking to find in its quality rater guidelines.
- It is important to focus on the reputation of both the person who created the content and the website hosting it.
- Trust in YMYL is not just built on-site. Off-site digital PR, link acquisition and link building can also play a crucial role in building trust
- Google also clarified which websites and content might be included in the YMYL categories, and how that is done
- E-A-T continues its important role in the overall system, as well as matching user intent and purpose, and creating high-quality, trusted content for users
Google’s Page Quality Rater Guidelines were updated in July. Google updates its Page Quality Rater Guidelines from time to time in order to strengthen the core principles it uses to evaluate a page’s quality. Google has always kept the notion of authority, trust, and expertise at the core of its guidelines. However, one of the most significant updates or changes was to the definition of “Your Money or Your Life”. This information was useful for those working in these industries who want to understand how Google rates websites.
Google’s very high Page Quality guidelines for websites ‘Your Money or Your Life (YMYL), is not a new concept. However, the definition of what qualifies as this category has changed. The definition of pages (which) could impact the future happiness of health, financial stability or safety of users was previously defined. However, the updated definition now includes “pages which have a high likelihood of harm because content related to these topics could significantly affect the health, safety, financial stability or welfare of people or the welfare and well-being of the society.” This covers a wider range of websites that could have an even greater impact.
This means that many SEOs will need to re-examine the guidelines in order to make sure their websites are up for scrutiny.
What are the new guidelines?
These guidelines go beyond the above definition update. These guidelines go into great detail about how a topic can or cannot be included in the YMYL classification. Google even created a table to help us understand it better:
Source Google Search Quality Evaluation Guidelines
Not only YMYL categories have been updated, but also many elements that are used to rate YMYL pages. We can see updates to key E-A–T definitions, and what Google is looking to find. Also, key updates to sections that are focused on low-quality pages or what to avoid. We have never had as much information about Google’s requirements for quality websites as marketers. Google will likely be taking serious measures to improve its Page Quality Rater Guidelines, and SEOs should follow suit.
Content is just as important as ever
Google’s “Helpful Content”, an update to the YMYL guidance, has already begun rolling out. This will ensure that content is at the forefront for many SEO minds. The YMYL guidance updates have shown that the content on your site is a major contributor to how pages are assessed for quality, expertise, and authority.
Section 4.2 of Google’s Page Quality Rating guide explains that “quality of MC” is one of the most important criteria. This is especially true if your website falls under the YMYL category. This is why it is important to have a good amount of quality main content. But, so are the page’s features and functionality. You don’t have to be great at content creation. Also, make sure that all features such as checkouts, calculators and interactivity, are created to a high standard.
Content falling under YMYL categories is held to a higher standard. Google provides an example of how high E-A-T information or advice should be written in a professional style. It should also be reviewed, edited, and updated on a regular basis.
You will be able to play a part in ensuring that your content is up-to-date if you are in a YMYL group.
Enhancing key EA-T signals
While it might seem trivial for most businesses, refreshing the ‘About Us page may be the most important task. However, if you want to give your users trust and security, tell them who you are and showcase your expertise. Google highlights in section 2.5.3 that this is an area where raters can find information about the owner of the website. This can be a crucial element to establishing a good reputation.
Reviews also fall under this category. This includes reviews from your website as well as reviews from external sources. The guidelines mention the word “reviews” 66 times. Although reviews on your website are very important and should be promoted, I learned a tip from the guidelines (section 2.6.4) to perform a quick reputation search. This will allow you to determine if any reputation signals or reviews are available on other websites. This can be done by using a negative search, i.e. For Google, you would use [google-site:google.com] to search for “Google” on any site other than google.com. This can be used to help you understand how other people may see your reputation.
Two of the five most important aspects in Page Quality Rating are reputation and information. This is because authoring and author profiles have become more important. As the guidelines shift to the reputation of both websites and authors, this is an important aspect of showcasing your authority and expertise.
Sections 2.6 and 2.6.1 in the updated guidelines discuss Google’s reputation research about both the user as well as the website that provided the main content. It also discusses the types of reputation information available and how it applies to certain industries. For example, product reviews in finance would be applicable to the financial sector. This clearly shows that a strong reputation that is relevant to your industry/brand would be a valuable asset.
Google states that websites with a smaller reputation or a less visible one should not be considered low quality if they don’t have much.
Trust can be built both on-site and off-site
Authority and trust are two key elements that go into rating a page’s content quality. These are essential for great YMYL. This doesn’t only concern content on the site. It also includes what’s available off-site. As a way to build authority backlinks and improve a website’s image, digital PR has experienced unprecedented growth in recent times.
No matter if they are looking for key information about your brand or reputation, the largest place people search is on websites other than yours. Digital PR can make a huge difference in improving your authority, reputation, and expertise. By sharing thought leadership and data expertise, digital PR can help build your website. This is a great way for you to increase these core YMYL elements while also getting great coverage for your brand.
Keeping user in mind
No matter if you’re looking for a digital PR strategy or to improve your site content, the changes to the guideline updates and the YMYL changes will make it clear that Google wants to know and understand your website’s reputation and the content creators.
These elements and the user will ensure you create a great user experience. It will show authority, trust and other signals that Google seeks. This will be even more important as Google updates and improves its guidelines.
Amanda Walls, the Director and founder of Cedarwood Digital is an award-winning Digital Marketing agency that specializes in SEO, PPC and Digital PR.
Amanda has 12 years of digital marketing experience and founded the company six years ago. She was recently named the UK Small Ecommerce Agency Of The Year in 2021.
Amanda is a digital marketing expert who has been a trainer at Google’s Digital Garage North West. She has provided digital marketing training to thousands across the region.
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Search Engine Watch’s first post, The new YMYL guidelines for marketers, appeared first on Search Engine Watch.
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