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In search engine optimization (SEO) terms, your money or your life (YMYL) is Google’s definition of content that deals with significant lifestyle elements. In particular, focusing on health, lifestyle, and finances.
As a marketer, these are understandably attractive topics to target. They are, after all, essential elements of everyone’s lives. However, it’s important to recognize that utilizing YMYL content as part of an SEO campaign requires deeper consideration to be successful.
Let’s take a closer look at what SEO marketers should know about Google’s YMYL topics.
Firstly, it’s important to understand what YMYL content is beyond the simple acronym definition. This gives you the power to recognize whether and how your brand is able to utilize it. Moreover, you can start to establish onward strategies to ensure you’re taking advantage of it to its full extent.
YMYL refers to not just the fact that content is focused on subjects related to health, well-being, happiness, and finances. Crucially, it is content produced by brands that have a credible background in the field. Google’s algorithm in this area demands content must be intrinsically connected to experts.
This brings us to what is not YMYL content. A brand can’t really hope to simply tap into the YMYL algorithm if they have no tangible connection to the field. Perhaps the key element to understand here is relevance. A homewares e-commerce brand creating a one-off blog about how their products support a healthy lifestyle isn’t likely to function as YMYL content. As such, if there’s no genuine connection, it’s not usually worth exploring this area further.
One of the key tenets of making the most of YMYL SEO is maintaining a high level of quality. This should come as no surprise, as all SEO-optimized content tends to perform better when there is a clear focus on maintaining solid standards. However, in order to key into Google’s algorithm related to YMYL, it’s important to ensure that any materials consistently meet the search engine’s definition of quality.
Google has often made it clear it is dedicated to rewarding brands committed to high-quality content. Particularly in YMYL fields, this is vital because it in turn helps to maintain Google’s credibility for producing reliable results for users. Not to mention that Google maintains strict rein over YMYL content because it tends to influence users on topics that could seriously affect lives.
So, how can you ensure your YMYL content meets high standards? Firstly, make certain the language used is as clear as possible. If necessary, utilize assessment software to identify sections that are too complex for most readers. It’s also vital to thoroughly check the sources of any facts and figures you use. The quality element also isn’t limited to the initial creation and upload of your content, either. You need to review the facts periodically and update posts with any changes.
Another key element of YMYL is that all content you create under this definition must be authentic. Consumers must be able to rely on the fact that your content comes from authentic knowledge, expertise, and intentions.
Among your main duties here is to mitigate the potential for misinformation in your content. This must include taking steps to ensure the sources that drive or inform your content are authentic. Particularly when it comes to health news and advice you need to be able to spot when sites are spreading misinformation presented as fact. One of the more obvious signs here is the use of inflammatory language to play on emotions rather than simply offer information. Indeed, excessively positive proclamations of offering cures are usually red flags, too. In all instances, however, it’s important to review the credibility of the source. Go off-site to look into the author’s background and previous publications.
Above all else, your YMYL content should be driven by experts. If you have relevant qualifications and experience in the field, it’s certainly fine to create it yourself. However, the more reliable and recognized the professionals you use, the more powerful an SEO impact it can have. If the content is written or created by experts, this is great. You can also include interviews or quotes from experts with links to their academic, professional, or government web pages to cite their data.
The above-mentioned authenticity is in some ways an offshoot of the next important factor in YMYL: responsible behavior. Your content strategy must be built on solid ethical foundations. As Google highlighted in their YMYL guidelines, this content might not just affect individuals. It could also impact other people and social groups that are influenced by the person viewing the content. Therefore, it’s not enough to simply have a superficial commitment to linking to credible sources, you need to take responsibility in all actions related to your content.
One of the key areas to focus on here is in not simply producing YMYL content for the express purpose of promoting products or gaining views. It needs to be driven by a clear desire to help people. Google already insists that all website content should have a beneficial purpose. Consumers should be informed by what you create and understand what action they need to take to move forward.
This responsibility also extends to your behavior in delivering the content. Utilizing consumer data to personalize their experience and recommend relevant YMYL content can be a positive tactic. However, any personalization also has to be balanced with responsible data handling and use practices. Some consumers may also be unsettled by the unexpected use of private information on sensitive subjects like health and finances. As such, you should be open with your users about how data is collected, stored, and used. Reassure them by anonymizing information wherever possible. This also helps users gain trust in your content.
When you’re planning and creating your content, it can be wise to be cognizant of how Google’s expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness (EAT) standards fit into your creation. On the most basic level, it makes the product SEO friendly. But it also helps ensure you meet the principles of good YMYL content.
Ensure your content is created by a relevant expert on the topic. This extends to both the author of the piece and the brand hosting it. Be sure to vet any external experts you utilize for their credibility.
The need for authority extends to the author, website, and the content itself. The author and site must be recognized as an authority in the field by industry peers. Any statements or claims in the content must be backed up by authoritative sources.
The person viewing your content must be able to trust the creator, brand, and content. They should immediately recognize that you provide accurate information at all times. Any issues with credibility in the past must also be clearly and transparently addressed.
YMYL topics can be a valuable SEO tool, but you need to proceed mindfully. Both the standards Google sets to promote YMYL content and your ethical duties demand you act responsibly. Ensure a high level of quality at all times and take care to produce authentic actionable information. When in doubt, utilize Google’s EAT structure as a guideline and build from there. When you take the time to understand how YMYL works, you can create positive content for your campaigns and consumers alike.