What are YMYL websites? How does Google evaluate these?

SEO is all about trying to rank high on search engine result pages. However, not every website is treated equally by Google. Sites focusing on topics impacting people’s lives and finances have a higher standard to meet. Welcome to the world of YMYL, where improving content goes beyond regular SEO techniques. In this article, we’ll explore what YMYL sites are and how Google holds these to a higher standard.

Table of contents

What is YMYL?

YMYL, an acronym for “Your Money or Your Life,” refers to sites writing about topics that significantly impact users’ financial stability, well-being, and overall quality of life. These pages cover various subjects, including finance, health, safety, legal advice, etc. YMYL content often revolves around areas where accurate information and expert advice are crucial for making informed decisions.

Search engines like Google hold YMYL content to a higher standard than other web pages. This is because the information on YMYL pages can directly impact users’ lives. It makes the integrity and accuracy of these pages extremely important. Search engines strive to ensure that YMYL content is reliable, trustworthy, and expert-backed.

Examples of YMYL topics

Examples of YMYL topics include:

  • Financial advice: Sites publishing information and advice related to investments, taxes, retirement planning, mortgages, insurance, and other financial matters fall under YMYL.
  • Health and medical information: Websites with guidance on medical conditions, treatments, medications, nutrition, mental health, and fitness, as they significantly affect the well-being of individuals.
  • Safety and emergency information: Pages with crucial safety instructions, disaster guidelines, and emergency services information fall in this category. These pages play a pivotal role in protecting lives and ensuring public safety.
  • Legal advice: Websites offering legal information, explanations of regulations, and guidance on legal matters. Proper legal advice can be critical in crucial situations, determining the outcomes of legal disputes or guiding users through complex legal processes.
  • News and current affairs: News websites reporting on current events, politics, business, science, technology, and other areas can also be classified as YMYL. These sites provide accurate and unbiased information that influences public opinion and decision-making.

Understanding the scope and significance of YMYL content is essential for optimizing these pages effectively. You must ensure that users receive reliable, trustworthy, and accurate information when they need it most.

The importance of YMYL

YMYL content holds significant importance in the eyes of search engines and website visitors alike. Due to the potential impact on users’ lives, search engines prioritize YMYL pages and set higher standards for their quality and credibility. Understanding the importance of YMYL and its role in SEO is crucial if you create content in this space.

Why do search engines focus on YMYL content?

Search engines, like Google, focus on YMYL content because they see how these topics can influence users’ lives and financial health. Search engines aim to provide users with the most trustworthy information possible. Regarding YMYL topics, the stakes are higher. Search engines want to ensure users receive information they can rely on when making important decisions.

By looking at YMYL content more critically, search engines aim to uncover good sources from lesser ones. This ensures users see pages with reliable guidance, expert insights, and accurate information. Prioritizing YMYL content ultimately improves the overall quality of search results. It helps build user trust in search engines as a good source of information.

Building user trust

YMYL content plays a crucial role in building user trust. Users seek guidance they can trust when searching for financial, health, or legal information. By publishing high-quality and trustworthy content, site owners can establish themselves as authoritative sources within their respective industries.

Building user trust begins with providing accurate and reliable information backed by experts and credible sources. Demonstrating experience, expertise, authority, and trustworthiness (E-E-A-T) is crucial for YMYL content creators. This includes making sure the information is up-to-date, fact-checked, and sourced. Including credentials, expert reviewers, author biographies, and external references can further enhance the YMYL content.

When users see a YMYL website as trustworthy and credible, they are likely to visit it often, share the content with others, and become loyal customers or clients. Search engines also consider user trust signals, such as engagement metrics and positive reviews, when checking the quality of YMYL content.

YMYL site Investopedia has every article reviewed and fact-checked by domain experts

YMYL and the Google Quality Raters’ Guidelines

Google’s Quality Raters’ Guidelines play a pivotal role in assessing the quality and relevance of web pages, especially YMYL content. These guidelines provide insights into how Google evaluates the E-E-A-T of sites, which is essential for optimizing YMYL pages well.

Insights into Google’s guidelines for YMYL pages

The Google Quality Raters’ Guidelines outline specific criteria for evaluating YMYL content. These guidelines help Google validate that its algorithm understands and ranks web pages appropriately. Some critical factors considered within the guidelines include:

  • Experience: For YMYL topics such as finance or health, having experience could mean that the content creator has worked as a financial advisor, a healthcare professional, or has a background in a specific field. This experience provides credibility and expertise that can be valuable when creating YMYL content.
  • Expertise: Google expects YMYL content to be created by individuals or organizations with a demonstrable level of expertise in the field. You can show this expertise through qualifications, experience, industry recognition, and contributions to reputable publications.
  • Authoritativeness: Google gives weight to YMYL content from authoritative sources. This can include sites that have established credibility in the respective industry, are recognized by experts or organizations, or have a strong reputation for publishing accurate and reliable information.
  • Trustworthiness: Trustworthiness is crucial for YMYL content. Google evaluates factors such as transparency, accuracy of information, and transparent disclosure of potential biases. Websites with a history of complaints, misinformation, or malicious intent are likely to be seen as less trustworthy.
  • Content quality: Google expects high-quality YMYL content to provide comprehensive and insightful information. The guidelines emphasize the importance of avoiding shallow content. YMYL pages should satisfy user intent by addressing the main concerns and questions related to the topic.
Making your publishing known to the world can help build E-E-A-T

How Quality Raters assess E-E-A-T

Evaluating E-E-A-T factors by Google’s quality raters checks various factors to determine content creators’ or website owners’ experience, expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness.

While the exact details of the process are unknown, quality raters consider vital elements when checking the experience of individuals or organizations. These aspects help determine the level of expertise and authority.

Key factors

Here are some factors they look at:

  • Qualifications and credentials: Quality raters examine the qualifications and credentials of content creators, such as formal education, certifications, and professional qualifications directly related to the topic. These indicators show a commitment to learning, acquiring knowledge, and advancing within the field, adding credibility to their expertise.
  • Professional experience: The practical experience of content creators or website owners within the industry is an important aspect evaluated by quality raters. This can include previous work experience, industry involvement, or practical expertise gained through specific projects or research. Raters assess the depth of experience to determine the level of knowledge.
  • Demonstrated knowledge and authority: Raters assess content to determine the creators’ depth of knowledge and authority. This can be evaluated through comprehensive and detailed explanations, referencing reputable sources, and providing unique insights or perspectives. The ability to offer valuable information and display up-to-date expertise in the field is crucial in establishing the perceived authority.
  • Industry recognition: Quality raters consider any industry recognition or acknowledgment received by the content creators or website owners. This can involve awards, honors, invitations to speak at conferences or inclusion in expert lists or directories. Such recognition highlights the expertise and authority within the industry, further solidifying their credibility.
  • User feedback and engagement: User feedback, reviews, and testimonials may also be considered by raters in evaluating experience. Positive feedback, active engagement with the audience, and a history of providing valuable and helpful information indicate an experience that resonates with users and builds trust.

Refining algorithms

It is significant to note that quality raters provide feedback to Google, which uses this information to refine algorithms and improve search results. While quality raters do not directly influence rankings, their assessments are crucial in helping Google understand if everything works as intended.

Yoast SEO, E-E-A-T, YMYL and site policies

Yoast SEO Premium enhances your website’s E-E-A-T. As we’ve seen in this article, Google considers multiple factors to evaluate the quality of YMYL sites. To help Google understand your site, Yoast SEO Premium offers various options to direct it to the proper sources. Publishing principles and site policies play a vital role in this process, providing valuable insights for Google. In Yoast SEO Premium, we can incorporate these pages in your structured data.

Publishing principles and site policies are guidelines that govern content creation and dissemination. These principles ensure that your content upholds accuracy, integrity, relevance, transparency, engagement, privacy, accessibility, continuous improvement, and legal compliance. Adhering to these principles results in high-quality content users can trust.

Yoast SEO Premium includes the publishingPrinciples schema to assist with this, making it recognizable and valuable to search engines. Head to the Site basics settings in Yoast SEO and navigate to the Site policies section.

Here, you’ll find different options for publishing principles, such as general publishing principles, funding information, corrections policy, ethics policy, diversity policy, and more. Select the appropriate pages from the fields provided, and you’re all set. If you still need to set up these policies, now is a great time to start crafting them to enhance your website’s credibility and SEO performance.

Enhancing E-E-A-T for YMYL sites with site policies in Yoast SEO Premium


Unlocking the power of YMYL for SEO success is a multi-faceted endeavor. By aligning with Google’s guidelines, establishing E-E-A-T, and using effective optimization techniques, you can drive organic traffic to your YMYL website, establish trust with your audience, and position yourself as a leader in your industry.

Coming up next!

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