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YMYL: How To Optimize For SEO

Want some help with your YMYL SEO? Reach out to our experienced SEOs to find out more

If you’re working with a site that is in the YMYL category, then be prepared for the strictest guidelines possible.

This means that not only will you need the highest quality content, but several extra features to make your website trustworthy.

Having worked in SEO for more than a decade we’ve been around long enough to see this unfold.

Fortunately, this means we have a load of first-experience of working with and ranking YMYL websites.

To find out what we’ve learned then continue reading this post.

If you’re looking for some help with optimizing your YMYL website, then contact our experienced team to see what we could do for you.

What is YMYL?

YMYL content refers to pages or topics that have the potential to significantly influence important aspects of someone’s life.

This includes information on:

  • Health concerns
  • Financial advice
  • Legal matters
  • News stories
  • And similar industries

Essentially, any content that could potentially shape a person’s well-being falls under the YMYL category.

Google introduced the concept of YMYL content in its Search Quality Evaluator Guidelines (SQEG), which were designed to help improve its ranking algorithm and deliver more relevant search results.

As a result, optimizing your content for YMYL is crucial for search engine optimization (SEO).

It requires creating high-quality articles and sections that provide accurate and up-to-date information on topics within the YMYL realm.

By incorporating trustworthy sources, citing reputable studies or experts in the field, and ensuring that the information provided is reliable and valuable to users’ lives, you can optimize your content for better visibility in search engine rankings.

The way that search engines evaluate this is through E-E-A-T.

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Matthew Barby, Senior Director of Acquisition at HubSpot

"Whenever I have companies ask me if there are any great agencies in Australia, I always point them to Prosperity Media. James and team are always pushing out incredibly impactful work, and their depth of knowledge around SEO and content marketing is up there with the best in the world."

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What is E-E-A-T?

Ensure that your website establishes trust and credibility by following the E-E-A-T principles:  experience, expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness.

Google will asses all content, but particularly YMYL content, primarily against these principles. 

E-E-A-T

Experience, expertise and authoritativeness all help to establish trust. 

Experience

Google wants to know that you’re writing with some kind of experience; first-hand, professional, or life experience. 

Wherever your experience is coming from it should result in unique content. 

Expertise

Different topics require different levels of expertise in order to be classified as trustworthy. 

This is the example in the SQEG. 

Which would you trust: home electrical rewiring advice from a skilled electrician or from an antique homes enthusiast who has no knowledge of electrical wiring? 

Matching the content to the expertise of the content creator is what Google is looking for here. 

Authority

How reliable and trustworthy is your website for the topic that you’re discussing?

Google understands that not every website is going to be the definitive source for a topic. 

But, the more topical expertise and industry standing your site and content creators have, the more it will be seen as an authority. 

This likely has at least some correlation to domain authority so it’s something that you can improve upon over time. 

In our experience, acquiring backlinks and mentions from established, trusted sources can speed up this process. 

Trust

This is what E-E-A-T comes down to; can your content and website be trusted?

By adhering to the expertise, experience and authority principles mentioned above, your website can build its trust in the eyes of Google. 

Both the content matter and the content itself should be of the highest quality.

To create high-quality YMYL content, there are a few best practices that you need to follow. 

YMYL SEO Best Practices

While Google states that YMYL is not a direct ranking factor it does give an insight into what they class as ‘good’ content. 

This means that you will want to optimize your content so that Google sees it as high-quality. 

Even though they might not admit that it’s a ranking factor, you can be sure that they’re doing everything to avoid showing untrustworthy content. 

These best practices should go hand in hand with your search engine optimization strategy to give you the best chance of ranking. 

Expert Content Writers and Reviewers

To get the best quality content possible you should have it written by relevant experts or professionals. 

These experts possess the necessary expertise and knowledge to provide accurate and reliable information to your audience. 

Not only does this help establish trust with your readers, but it also demonstrates to search engines like Google that you’re producing authoritative content.

If your team doesn’t have the time or resources to have an expert write the content, hire an experienced writer and use an expert to review it. 

That way the expert can receive a finished article to add their experience and fact check. 

With YMYL content it’s also important to display information about your content creators. 

Each page should have the details of the writer, expert and editor, where applicable, displayed in a bio. 

The bio can highlight the experience and qualifications that the content writers have. 

This level of transparency not only shows accountability for the production of the content but also establishes topic expertise.

About Us & Contact Us Pages

These pages are crucial for establishing trust and credibility with your audience and algorithms. 

They provide vital information about your brand and allow customers to reach out for assistance.

When visitors land on your website, they should easily find your About Us and Contact Us pages. 

This will allow them to access your contact information and customer support options. 

Make sure to include clear links to these pages in either your main navigation or footer. 

This way, visitors can quickly locate them regardless of where they are on your site.

Optimizing your About Us page is essential for enhancing the E-E-A-T of your website. 

Use this page to tell the story of your brand, highlighting key achievements, credentials, and values of your team and content creators. 

The same can be done for the Contact Us page. 

Ensure that all necessary contact details such as phone numbers, email addresses, and social media handles are prominently displayed. 

Consider including a contact form or live chat option for convenience.

All of these are trust factors that establish the legitimacy of your business. 

High-Quality Backlinks

To truly establish your website as a trusted source in your industry, securing high-quality backlinks from reputable websites is vital. 

These backlinks act as endorsements from other experts in the field, showing that your content is valuable and trustworthy.

When other websites are willing to cite you as a source and associate their brand with yours, it boosts the authority of your own site. 

This has a two-fold benefit. It doesn’t just make your website seem more authoritative but it also helps your content to rank better. 

When our agency works with a YMYL site, we’ll create a digital PR campaign to acquire high-quality links. 

We’ll work with the brand to create a content marketing asset for their website. Something that their audience will find interesting or useful. 

Our team handles the creation of the asset and will then start an outreach campaign to acquire the authoritative links. 

YMYL Link Building Example

This is one of the best methods to build links for YMYL sites.

As you can see above, this website in the medical niche secured 46 links from the campaign.

If you want some help with link-building digital PR, or with other YMYL SEO tactics like this, you can send our team a message.

However, it’s important to remember that you should be selective in who you outreach.

While good-quality links can help your site, lots of low-quality or spammy links can harm it.

Continually manage your backlink profile to avoid this.

Citations

Citations are external links to authoritative sites that provide additional information and support to your content.

These external links not only add value and context to your writing but also help search engines determine the reliability and relevance of your content.

This is especially important for any content that is providing advice or factual information.

By linking to reputable sources, you show readers and search engines that you’ve done thorough research on the topic at hand.

To optimize your content effectively, be sure to include citations from authoritative websites related to your industry or niche.

Look for well-established sources that have a strong reputation for providing accurate information and expertise in their respective fields.

Also, when selecting external links, consider the relevance of the information provided by those sources to ensure they contribute meaningfully to the topic you’re discussing.

By adding external links from reputable sources, you not only enhance the credibility of your own website but also provide valuable resources for readers seeking additional information.

Schema Markup

Schema markup provides search engines with specific information about the content on your web pages.

This can help them to understand the context of your content and display it in a more appealing way on the search engine results pages (SERP).

One of the key benefits of using schema markup is that it helps Google identify important elements within your website, such as organisation details, site links search box, breadcrumb navigation, and frequently asked questions (FAQs).

This enhanced understanding not only improves Google’s ability to index and rank your web pages but also increases the chances of displaying rich search results that catch users’ attention.

By utilizing article schema in your content, you can unlock advanced features like carousels, visual stories, and richer result features on SERPs.

These visually appealing elements not only make your content stand out but also increase the likelihood of attracting clicks from potential users.

Implementing schema requires you to add code from schema.org to your website.

If you’re not comfortable with that, reach out to our team here and our SEOs can help you out.

Regularly Updated Content

Content that’s not refreshed can quickly become outdated, losing its effectiveness and impact.

By regularly updating your content, you ensure that it remains aligned with current trends, industry best practices, and user expectations.

Regularly updated content also allows you to optimize your website for search engines.

It’s highly likely that search engines prioritise fresh, relevant content when determining search rankings.

By consistently refreshing your content, you signal to search engines that your website is actively maintained and provides valuable information to users.

This is particularly true for YMYL content where industries tend to change more rapidly than others.

A portion of your content marketing should be dedicated to reviewing old content.

Every three to six months you should have someone review old content to make sure that it’s still factually correct and up to date with the latest industry practices.

For evergreen, informational content this is less important.

But it’s a good idea to display the date the content was last reviewed even if no changes have been made.

How to Write Good YMYL Content

Now that you know the main features of YMYL SEO content.

We’re going to share how we direct writers to write content that has consistently performed well in search engines for us and for our clients.

Create Descriptive Page Titles

Your page title is often the first thing that users see in search engine results, so it needs to be compelling and informative.

A well-crafted descriptive page title not only entices users to click on your website but also helps search engines understand what your content is about.

By optimizing your content with relevant keywords in the page title, you can improve its visibility in search engine rankings.

To create an effective descriptive page title, start by understanding the intent of your target audience.

Conduct keyword research to identify the most relevant and popular terms related to your content.

Incorporate these keywords naturally into your page title, ensuring that it accurately describes what users can expect from clicking on your link.

Remember, search engines rely heavily on titles when determining the relevance of a webpage, so make sure yours stands out.

Optimizing your content with a descriptive page title plays a vital role in improving user engagement and boosting visibility on search engines.

Google’s SQEGs remind creators to not use page titles that are “extremely misleading, shocking, or exaggerated”.

The following examples of low-quality tiles are given:

YMYL Title Best Practices

Get Straight to the Point

When users are searching for the answer to a question your content should provide the answer.

If a user clicks on your page and there are several paragraphs of ‘fluff’ content that provide no real answer, they’ll probably click away.

Not only is this losing you potential customers, but it’s sending signals to Google that your page doesn’t have the answer to that search query.

When you get straight to the point in your writing style, readers are more likely to engage and stay on your page longer.

Remember that YMYL topics require accuracy and reliability; therefore, being straightforward with factual data helps establish credibility.

Provide Examples

By illustrating concepts through relatable stories or case studies, you not only engage your audience but also showcase the practical application of the information you’re sharing.

For example, if you’re writing about personal finance advice, instead of simply stating generic tips, you could provide specific examples of individuals who followed those tips and what happened.

This approach adds credibility to your content and allows readers to visualize how they can apply the advice to their own lives.

Google quality raters play an important role in evaluating websites based on their experience,  expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness.

According to Google’s Quality Rater Guidelines, quality raters are instructed to look for concrete examples that support claims made on YMYL topics such as health, finance, or legal matters.

This can positively influence how search engine algorithms perceive your page’s quality and potentially boost its visibility in search results.

Balanced Point of View

When it comes to optimizing your content for YMYL pages, one important aspect to consider is presenting a balanced point of view.

This means providing information from multiple sources and viewpoints, allowing your audience to make their own informed decisions.

To ensure a balanced point of view, it’s crucial to conduct thorough research and gather data from reputable sources.

Take into account various expert opinions and studies that contribute to the understanding of the topic.

Incorporating statistics, case studies, and real-life examples will further enhance the persuasiveness of your content.

By presenting both sides of an argument or different approaches to a problem, you enable your audience to weigh the pros and cons themselves.

This not only helps them make better-informed decisions but also establishes your page quality in the eyes of quality raters who assess the reliability and usefulness of web content.

Ensure that any claims made are backed by reliable sources and avoid promoting misinformation or biased views.

Strive for transparency by clearly stating any potential conflicts of interest or affiliations with brands mentioned in your content.

Positive User Experience

A positive user experience is crucial for optimizing your content and ensuring that visitors stay on your page longer.

Provide a well-structured layout with clear navigation, such as utilising a table of contents for long pieces of content.

Allow users to easily find the information they’re looking for and jump to sections that are important to them.

This not only enhances their overall satisfaction but also increases the likelihood of them staying on your website.

Pop-ups that cover the main content and can’t be closed without taking an action that benefits the site will be classed as low-quality content.

Instead of bombarding users with intrusive advertisements, ads need to be placed in designated areas on the page that don’t interfere with the content.

This ensures that users can focus on consuming your valuable content without any distractions or annoyances.

YMYL Examples

To illustrate some of the points that we’ve been talking about we’ll share some examples from Google’s SQEGs.

They go into detail on what makes these pages high or low-quality pages.

This can help you to understand the way in which websites are assessed.

High-Quality Page

This is an example of a page that received a high-quality rating.

YMYL Content Example

Click here to see an image of the full page.

Although it’s not a YMYL page specifically, it satisfies Google’s expectations for content.

It does this by having “very satisfying” main content that achieves the purpose of the page very well.

If you take a look at the full page it answers the searcher’s question straight away.

YMYL Good Content Example

Even though the page uses display ads they are kept below this so the page still receives the highest quality rating.

In their assessment, Google also pointed to the website having a very high reputation, E-E-A-T, and unique content.

This can be seen as the website is a well-known fact-checking and debunking website that covers urban legends, Internet rumours, and other stories of unknown or questionable origin.

The contents of this article are in keeping with the content of the whole website, this gives the article a higher rating because the site has built expertise in the niche.

Low-Quality Page

This article is a YMYL page because it relates to financial advice.

YMYL Finance Content Example

It’s seen as low-quality as it has low levels of E-E-A-T.

The amount of main content on the page is seen as superficial and doesn’t provide anything that isn’t commonly known about this subject.

However, the biggest factor for the low rating is that this is a YMYL topic and there’s no evidence of financial expertise.

This only further highlights the fact that you not only need to be using expert-created content for YMYL topics, but you also need to display that you are.

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Some common questions and answers our team receives from people looking for help with YMYL: How To Optimize For SEO.

These questions noted below may assist with picking the right YMYL: How To Optimize For SEO services provider.

How does YMYL content impact search engine rankings?

YMYL content significantly impacts search engine rankings. By providing valuable and trustworthy information, it improves user experience. High-quality YMYL content is more likely to rank higher in search results, boosting your website’s visibility and authority.

What are some examples of YMYL topics or niches?

Some examples of YMYL topics or niches include health and medical information, financial advice, legal guidance, and news articles. These areas require expertise and accuracy to ensure the safety and trustworthiness of the content.

Are there any specific guidelines or regulations to follow when creating YMYL content?

When creating YMYL content, it’s important to follow the Search Engine Quality guidelines by Google as well as any specific industry regulations. These rules help ensure the accuracy, reliability, and safety of your content. Also, ensure that you are following any guidelines from your specific industry.

How can I establish expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness for my YMYL website?

To establish expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness on your YMYL website, start by thoroughly researching and verifying the information you provide. Present your content in a knowledgeable, persuasive, data-driven style to gain credibility with your audience.

Does YMYL content require a higher level of fact-checking and research compared to other types of content?

Yes, YMYL content does require a higher level of fact-checking and research compared to other types of content. This is because YMYL topics can have a significant impact on a person’s health, finances, or safety. Ensuring accuracy and reliability is crucial for building trust with your audience.