Whenever the nature of the topic can negatively impact a person’s happiness, health, safety, or financial stability, its quality rating guidelines are stricter. These websites and webpages are deemed YMYL, which stands for Your Money or Your Life.
What are Your Money, Your Life (YMYL) topics?
Search Quality Evaluator Guidelines list what they consider YMYL topics in section 2.3. Note, however, that these are just general tips, as other pages may also come into this category. The Raters use their judgment to decide whether a page qualifies as YMYL or not.
Let’s go through the definitions to help you identify YMYL pages. This article may also help you understand why Google treats these topics the way it does.
Shopping or financial transaction pages
Online stores and websites that provide shopping information to research purchases belong to the YMYL category. If your page allows users to:
- make purchases,
- transfer money,
- pay bills,
- buy subscriptions, or
- involves any money exchange,
you need to pay close attention to guidelines targeted at YMYL sites.
Tip: If you haven’t yet, make sure your connection is secure and switch to HTTPS.
Financial information pages
This subject matter includes pages with advice on investments, taxes, retirement funds, equity purchase, insurance, loans, and pages that allow you to transfer money or make a purchase online.
Tip: When creating content of a financial nature, stay neutral or clearly mark your ads.
Medical information pages
YMYL topics also include information about health and safety, medications, drugs, diseases and disorders, nutrition, and hospitals.
Many forums and blogs may come into this category, especially if they contain accounts of experiences with a particular condition, pregnancy, or other medical advice.
Tip: Make sure third-party sources back up your information.
Legal information pages
Legal advice and information on child custody, testaments, citizenship, divorce, and the like are also included in the YMYL category.
Tip: Make sure your information is written in a professional style by an expert in the field.
News and current events pages
Any website that delivers information on current events can be considered YMYL. News articles on topics like politics, science, business, or technology may come under stricter scrutiny.
Tip: Make sure to update your site as often as possible.
Public and official information pages
This category includes information on local, state, and national government processes and other civics-related issues. If you post articles about voting, government bodies, policies, or laws, you can be sure your page is treated as YMYL.
Tip: Make sure all your information is factual and up-to-date.
Groups of people
The YMYL category includes pages with information about groups of people based on their:
- Sexual orientation,
- Gender identity and expression,
- Immigration status,
- Veteran status.
Moreover, YMYL includes information about victims of major violent events and any other claims associated with discrimination or marginalization. Spreading misinformation on such topics can get a page de-indexed.
These subjects are highly sensitive, so shocking or discriminating information or opinions can damage your page’s quality rating.
Tip: If you have user-provided content, make sure you can remove any posts that don’t adhere to your guidelines.
Use your judgment to decide what other pages might fall into the YMYL category. This might include topics like fitness and nutrition, choosing a college, or finding a job. If your site can influence a person’s happiness, health, safety, or financial stability, Quality Raters will likely consider it a YMYL page.
The quality rating process
How does the algorithm figure out which pages adhere to the guidelines? We don’t know that. We know that Google employs about 10,000 Search Quality Raters worldwide who make sure this system works.
They perform searches and report on the quality of pages in the top results.
So they don’t actually influence what appears in the top positions, right? Wrong. Their findings are fed into Google’s algorithm updates to make sure the system works better and better.
Now, they perform all kinds of tests on all kinds of searches. But when the searches pertain to YMYL pages, the requirements are stricter. Most importantly, the E-A-T factors are a lot more important.
What E-A-T factors are there?
E-A-T stands for expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness.
YMYL pages were impacted the most when E-A-T ranking factors were added to the algorithm, starting with the Medic update. Those pages need to reflect the highest levels of E-A-T. What does that mean?
In short, the articles should be written by experts who are authoritative on the subjects, and the whole site needs to be trustworthy.
This doesn’t mean that all your writers and contributors need to be doctors or scientists. Google’s guidelines clearly state that everyday expertise is a perfectly viable form of proof for a person’s authority.
Google says that every page should strive for a good E-A-T rating.
When making a post, recognize the purpose of the page. To make high-quality content, all information should be beneficial to the user, never misleading or untruthful. YMYL content especially should always attempt to help users.
Google wants to give searchers the best user experience and information out there. Keep that in mind, and the quality of your page won’t be an issue.