What is YMYL Page and its Benefits for SEO

In SEO, the terms EAT, YMYL and Beneficial Purpose, are nothing new. This is the part that Google then focuses on through the BERT algorithm . If you are new to the world of SEO, this article is very important to understand. In order for the optimization process to be done, it is always on the right track.

This article, will explain what is the definition of EAT, what is YMYL. Which includes the acronym's abbreviations and their specific meanings.

Let's get straight to it.

The acronym EAT is an abbreviation of the words "Expertise, Authoritativeness, Trustworthiness". Meanwhile, YMYL stands for "Your Money or Your Life".

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Everyone who claims to be an SEO expert or is identified as an SEO Expert, are actually people who focus on studying Google's algorithmic patterns. And in fact, all the knowledge circulating out there are predictions or assumptions that are learned based on their respective experiences.

So, maybe some theories look similar. Some may be the opposite. However, there are some "signals" that Google raises, regarding their search engine ranking factors.

And if you're wondering about how to decipher how Google's ranking algorithm work, you're not alone.

From the past, until now, Google remains a mystery. They are tight-lipped about how it works and what changes after every new algorithm update . Every time that happens, the SEO world will go wild and start guessing.

Business people who are in this industry, will spend time and energy researching and saving site page rankings from sinking. Naturally, being on page 1 of Google, that means high website traffic. This is money!

Google does often make "itching" hearts, SEO actors. They throw ideas randomly in the form of algorithms. And it has a serious impact on the business income of many people in the world.

In 2015, I last saw it, updated on October 14, 2020, Google released the Search Quality Assessor Guide . This is entirely in response to the various versions of wild assumptions circulating on the internet.

And the important point, the guide contains three golden keys, about how Google views web pages. And how do they define high quality content and low quality content.

3 Important Points In Content Quality Standards:

  • Beneficial Purpose
  • EAT / Expertise, Authoritativeness, Trustworthiness (Skill, Authority, Trust), or Page Quality
  • YMYL (Your Money or Your Life)

Technically, the guidelines and these three important factors, serve as a reference in human judges in the search process on the Google search engine. In other words, people judge how well Google's algorithm does its job, by this standard.

What does this mean for SEO practitioners? These standards can also be the basis or guide in building websites for search engines and humans. This guide, serves as an essential tool for knowing; what Google searches they mean high quality web pages, that is.

Google has a big responsibility for how information circulates on the internet. If they come up with the wrong web page, when answering user questions based on certain keywords, their credibility is at stake.

Most people already have full trust in Google. And when they bring up the wrong page, when people search for something, it can be fatal.

EAT, YMYL, and useful goals, are the basic ideas in determining quality content. The question is, what is EAT, YMYL and its useful purpose. And how to apply it to a content.

Let's go over what you need to know about each of those terms.

Beneficial Purpose, EAT, and YMYL: The Key To Understanding Quality Content On A Website According To Google's Definition

Google is always updating their quality standards. And along with that, Google is also fairly frequent to update its algorithm.

Meanwhile, the Search Quality Assessment Guide has also been updated several times. Among them are, on July 20 2018, May 16, 2019, and October 14, 2020.

Updated guide to quality content standards: Beneficial Purpose, EAT, and YMYL

Whereas algorithm updates have occurred between now and the original release date, too, including the June Google Core Update .

As a side note, the Search Quality Evaluator Guide (SQEG) only provides clues, so it's not a definitive answer, about Google's ranking factors. So this is only limited to analysis and assumptions in concluding what it all means.

This guide is based on the latest updated references and incorporates them into how to understand EAT and YMYL. However, understanding this has been able to bring us as one of the SEO service providers to the current point.

This is the definition;

Beneficial Purpose: All Websites Must Have This

SQEG was updated once in 2018 and again in 2019. From the first update, one of the most significant changes was the new emphasis on a concept called profitable goals.

Google provides an overview for reference what is a useful purpose in the updated text, in section 2.2: What is the Purpose of a Web Page?

What is Beneficial Purpose?

“A page on a website should be created to help users.”

Specifically, the page should fulfill its intended purpose, but that goal should also be user-centric (whether it's to entertain readers, sell them something, inform them, or educate etc.).

Commonly beneficial page objectives include (but are not limited to):

  • To share information about a topic.
  • To share personal or social information.
  • To share images, videos or other forms of media.
  • To express an opinion or point of view.
  • To cheer up.
  • To sell a product or service.
  • To allow users to post questions for other users to answer.
  • To allow users to share files or download software.

On the other hand, pages created with the intention of making money “without any effort to help users” are considered the lowest quality pages.

  • “Useful goals” are referenced again in section 3.2, and cited as the first step in assessing page quality. 
  • “Remember that the first step of Page Quality ranking is understanding the true purpose of the page.”

The June 2019 Google Core update also emphasized the Beneficial Purpose factor. Google spokespeople (specifically John Mueller and Danny Sullivan) hinted that the downgraded site had "nothing to fix" and that the update had a wider scope.

Respectfully, never telling us anything means people guess. Some will be right and some will be wrong. Much better when Google would give us a breadcrumb of where to start looking because if you lost 50%+ traffic in a day (which many have reported) there is something you can do.

- Kristine Schachinger (@schachin) August 1, 2018

In particular, John Mueller re-linked the 2011 Webmaster Center Blog post. It is about providing the “best user experience” on the site to rank better; This means that there is no other way but to build a quality-based strategy. Where to please Google users or your own audience.

It's about your users. The important point lies in the user experience. That means your site and content must have user-focused goals that benefit them in some way.

Let's move on.

What is YMYL: Your Money or Your Life

According to Google, a site with any page with content that impacts or affects human health, happiness, security or financial stability is a YMYL page.

So, if your website offers business tips such as stocks, then the page that lists the tips is included as a YMYL page.

If you run a blog about moms sharing tips on parenting, that means your blog contains a YMYL page.

Or, if you're building a website with content about disease diagnosis based on symptoms, that's definitely a YMYL page.

Simply put, any site that can have an impact on one's 'fate', is a YMYL page.

Officially Google mention several features of YMYL pages, including:

  • Shopping or financial transaction sites: web pages that allow users to make purchases, transfer money, pay bills, etc. Online (such as online shops and online banking pages).
  • Pages with financial information content: Sites that publish advice or information about investing, taxes, retirement planning, buying a home, paying for college, buying insurance, etc.
  • Medical information pages: web pages that provide advice or information about health, medications, certain diseases or conditions, mental health, nutrition, etc.
  • Legal information pages: web pages that provide legal advice or information on topics such as divorce, child custody, creating a will, becoming a citizen, etc.
  • Important news articles or public/official information pages to have an informed citizen: web pages that include information about local/state/national government processes, policies, people, and laws; disaster response services; government programs and social services; news on important topics such as international events, business, politics, science and technology; etc. Please use your judgment and knowledge of your place. Keep in mind that not all news articles are considered YMYL.
  • Others: From the examples above, there are many other topics you can consider as a YMYL page, such as child adoption, car safety information, gambling etc. Use your logic in this.

So, what is the YMYL topic? Google provides an overview in section 2.3:

What is YMYL

Google Medical Algorithm Update part of the YMYL page concept

Due to one of  Google's latest updates  – dubbed the “medical” update – the YMYL page standard seems to be the standard that is the main focus.

Although, Google claims that, the update is “broad core”, however, since this time, there are so many business sites affected by the downgrade.

Obviously, it was the health and wellness industry that experienced the most significant impact, followed by Yess.. you can guess the YMYL site.

As usual, Google's description, tends not to give specific explanations.

YMYL affected sites
Google Medic Algorithm update impacts YMYL site Image source: ignitevisibility.com

Furthermore, Google again continued their mission of improving their quality standards. They re-launched an update known as the Core Update, on June 30, 2020. This again affects sites that are categorized as YMYL.

So, how to get YMYL site back up to Google standards?

Let's see.

Google Quality Assessor Guide

Returning to what was discussed earlier, Google has a responsibility for how information is distributed to users. Around the world.

Your Money or Your Life (YMYL) is a type of information that, if presented inaccurately, incorrectly or deceptively, can directly affect the happiness, health, safety or financial stability of their users.

M = more than just money

This is crucial! Both in ethics and morality.

In other words, the stakes are high for this type of content. If you create a YMYL page with bad advice or bad information, it can affect you financially, physically or emotionally. In fact, the safety of the people.

So, Google takes this content very, very seriously!

Only Experts with relevant expertise, are eligible to write YMYL content.

Remember, Google assesses the quality of web pages with the help of human search quality raters.

Who are these search quality raters and what do they do?

In short, they consist of more than 10,000 people around the world, tasked with evaluating search results. The idea is to ensure that, users of the Google search engine, find the information they are looking for online. And it must be from a credible and responsible source. Must, correct information!

The assessment team is given the actual search results to be assessed. Then, they make a report on the quality standards of their work.

Specifically, they rate the quality of a set of pages in the top search results. The higher the quality, the more likely it is that Google search results will show the user the type of page given.

In the process, the team analyzed the YMYL page, they assessed the extent of the quality provided. Then, they evaluate it against a more stringent set of standards than they would use for other pages. Because of the potential impact.

So if you want pages that fall into this category, you'll need to do more than just optimize them for Google's search algorithms. You must ensure that your site passes Google's quality assessment team.

John | Author

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