If your organization operates in the healthcare, finance or legal industries or your content covers one of one of these three areas you are held to a higher standard of SEO. E-A-T and YMYL important guidelines when writing content around any of these three topics. To avoid the risk of penalties and to improve your SEO rankings, make sure you are up to date on the latest policies.
E-A-T stands for Expertise, Authoritativeness and Trustworthiness. E-A-T began gaining momentum after a 2018 core algorithm launch aimed to make content more relevant and useful to users searching online. These come directly from Search Quality Raters. Their task is to check the quality of the search results following any changes the team of computer science engineers in the Search Engine and Algorithm engineering team may make.
So what specifically do Expertise, Authoritativeness and Trustworthiness mean for SEO and content?
Expertise: Simply put, are you an expert in your field? This is less relevant to more opinion-based websites but crucial for YMYL websites, which we will cover next. Content on websites that deal with financial, medical or legal information must come from a qualified expert in that field. You can represent this by writing content that is truthful and useful and listing some background on the author and why they are qualified to write the content.
Authoritativeness: You must show authoritativeness for your content by using credible sources to back up your statements. Testimonials and reviews that demonstrate real-life experiences are important as well.
Trustworthiness: You need to prove to users that they can trust your website. Ask yourself, is your website secure? Would a user feel that their personal or financial information is safe if they used your site? This can be especially important for e-commerce websites where users are entering payment information. Make sure your website includes an SSL certificate and clearly states in the privacy and cookies policies how user information is used and protected. Additionally, 70% of first page results are using SSL so it plays a significant role in Google’s considerations for rankings.
To reiterate, these aren’t as vital to opinionated websites such as gossip or humor sites. However, healthcare and finance companies are considered producers of YMYL content. For more information on how to maximize E-A-T you can check out this article by Search Engine Journal, 5 Things You Can Do Right Now To Improve Your Google E-A-T Rating.text]
YMYL stands for Your Money, Your Life. These are any pages or content that could potentially impact the future happiness, health, financial stability, or safety of users. The information that follows is taken directly from Search Quality Evaluators Guidelines Section 2.3
“The following are examples of YMYL pages:
- Shopping or financial transaction pages: webpages that allow users to make purchases, transfer money, pay bills, etc. online (such as online stores and online banking pages).
- Financial information pages: webpages that provide advice or information about investments, taxes, retirement planning, home purchase, paying for college, buying insurance, etc.
- Medical information pages: webpages that provide advice or information about health, drugs, specific diseases or conditions, mental health, nutrition, etc.
- Legal information pages: webpages that provide legal advice or information on topics such as divorce, child custody, creating a will, becoming a citizen, etc.
- News articles or public/official information pages important for having an informed citizenry: webpages that include information about local/state/national government processes, policies, people, and laws; disaster response services; government programs and social services; news about important topics such as international events, business, politics, science, and technology; etc. Please use your judgment and knowledge of your locale. Keep in mind that not all news articles are necessarily considered YMYL.
- Other: there are many other topics that you may consider YMYL, such as child adoption, car safety information, etc. Please use your judgment.”
YMYL websites are held to a higher standard when it comes to the 2019 Periodic Table of SEO Rankings factors, especially in relation to E-A-T. Do you write for a healthcare organization? We would love to hear your feedback in the comments below as well as how you and your team navigate E-A-T and YMYL policies. If you have questions on how to best structure your content to improve rankings or avoid a penalty hit leave them in the comments below!