Google is enigmatic and secretive about how it works and what changes with each update, and what that implies for search engine optimization (SEO) specialists. But to everyone’s surprise, Google released the complete version of their Search Quality Evaluator Guideline’s Handbook in November 2015.
What Does the Guideline Include?
According to Google, they make search results better by getting third-party search quality raters. Google said, “At Google, we are always working on ways we can improve your Search experience.” To understand how Google analyzes web pages and differentiates between low quality and high-quality content, there are three excellent ways:
- Beneficial Purpose
- E-A-T (Expertise, Authoritativeness, Trustworthiness)
- YMYL ( Your Money or Your Life)
Your quality content is tested by the quality raters of Google by E-A-T formula, i.e., Expertise, Authority and Trustworthiness. According to Google’s Search evaluator guidelines, the raters look for these three things in every content over the search engine. They don’t have time to look at each piece of information that goes out because there are roughly 7.5 million blogs and articles generated every day. They instead rely on E-A-T algorithms, which examine a variety of metrics and attributes of your page. Google’s algorithms can tell if the information is created by experts and is accurate.
In short, E-A-T and YMYL are the keys to understanding Google’s definition of quality content in search engines.
Let us understand both of them thoroughly.
What Is YMYL?
In Google’s Search Quality Evaluator Guidelines, it is stated, “Some types of pages or topics could potentially impact a person’s future happiness, health, financial stability or safety. We call such pages ‘Your Money or Your Life’ pages, or YMYL. We have very high Page Quality rating standards for YMYL pages because low-quality YMYL pages could potentially negatively impact a person’s happiness, health, financial stability or safety.”
In simple language, people use search engines to learn and find information about a wide range of issues in their daily lives. It could have real-world ramifications for them if the information they obtain on any issue is inaccurate, outdated, false or plainly incorrect. This type of information is defined as Your Money Your Life (YMYL) content by Google.
Some Examples of YMYL topics are:
- News and current events ( Excluding Sports, Entertainment, lifestyle topics)
- Civics, Government, and Law
- Health and Safety
- Groups of People
- Fitness and nutrition
This is by no means a full list of YMYL content categories. When deciding whether sites, pages or content are YMYL, Google asks search raters to use their best judgment.
The concept of YMYL pages was introduced by Google in the first version of its Search Quality Evaluator Guidelines to gain feedback from the third-party search quality raters. Now, this document is available to everyone.
Since its introduction, YMYL content has been essential for SEO and various content marketing strategies. YMYL content has totally changed the search concept today. If you want to bring your content to the top of the search engine results pages (SERPs), you need to know exactly what YMYL content is and how to leverage it for SEO.
What Is E-A-T?
E-A-T is short for Expertise, Authoritativeness and Trustworthiness. It is a concept by Google that describes its efforts to establish the legitimacy of your business, website and content. In its official public documents, Google emphasized the necessity of excellent E-A-T for YMYL sites. i.e., “How Google Fights Disinformation.” Google evaluates a page’s expertise, authoritativeness and trustworthiness while ranking the YMYL page.
- Expertise: Was the page’s main content written by an expert in the particular field? Do they have any qualifications or material that can be found on the internet to “prove” their knowledge?
- Authoritativeness: Is the information from an author, a brand or a website regarded as an expert or a leader in that industry by others?
- Trustworthiness: Will the author, brand or website provide the users accurate, factual and correct information? Is the information from a credible and trustworthy source?
Reading the Search Quality Evaluator Guidelines (Section – 3.2) will help you measure how well your content performs in terms of E-A-T and identify areas for improvement. Many features of E-A-T that can be analyzed are clearly described in these guidelines.
Considering Google’s principles in respect of E-A-T for your pages will help you prioritize your efforts to improve the quality of your web page. The requirement of E-A-T will depend on the topic to topic. Some topics will need higher E-A-T than others based on several factors. But for YMYL pages, high E-A-T is an absolute requirement as YMYL content is based on real-world consequences. Using this approach, Google can ensure that only high-quality and original content appears at the top of the SERPs.
How Can You Improve E-A-T for Your YMYL Pages/YMYL Content?
Taking in the concept of E-A-T, people focus on adding expert authors, creating their bios, profiles, etc. But this method is not necessary for all types of content and pages. The profiles of the author can be useful to users in that they show the competence of the content creator. What matters generally is the E-A-T of the content and its creator.
There’s a lot you can do to boost your E-A-T score. Let us understand and summarize what Google has to say through its guidelines for improving the quality of the pages:
1. Mention the byline of the author: According to Google’s guideline, articles or any content should be written with “journalistic professionalism.” This implies that the author’s name should appear next to every piece of content that is published. Content with a particular name rather than “Admin” is more trusted by the visitors and they find the content with a byline more amazing.
You can also highlight the bio of the content creator for every content on your page. If the author is a well-known specialist in your subject, make a point of mentioning it.
Including a bio page with some essential elements like full name, title, contact information, detailed bio, etc. is also a good idea.
The above-mentioned things will help your audiences to know the content creator and will also help Google evaluate the E-A-T properly.
2. Make it simple to find your contact information: Keep in mind that E-A-T evaluates your entire website. The simplest way is to link to your About Us and Contact Us pages to your main or footer navigation. The visitors on your landing page should be able to readily access your contact information. Also, they should be able to get to customer support fast.
3. Remove low-quality content: Removing the low-quality content or improving the old content may help you get a higher rank. One way to improve your E-A-T is by taking down the old content instead of improving or updating it if that content is not valuable enough to invest your time and effort. The process of elevating your content is vital for YMYL pages as it improves the website’s E-A-T and performance.
4. Make separate sites for YMYL and non-YMYL content: Separating your YMYL and non-YMYL content into different sites is a great idea so the non-YMYL content on that site does not have to fulfill specified E-A-T criteria. Google’s algorithm can struggle to figure out how to rank your website if your site has a mixture of two opposite types of content.
5. Maintain unique content methodology: Google considers your content high-quality if it demonstrates expertise, authoritativeness and trustworthiness. Also, your website climb up the rankings if you can produce all of your YMYL content with this E-A-T technique. Some of the ways to improve your content strategy:
- Get your content written by experts.
- Verify your sources.
- Provide in-depth details in your content.
- Collect the feedback and make the necessary changes.
- Write user-specific content.
- Use powerful headlines.
- Refrain from keyword stuffing.
- Make use of multimedia.
When it comes to YMYL pages, Google is precise in ranking pages and prioritizes the most authoritative, valuable, helpful and quality content. If you follow Google’s E-A-T guidelines to the point, you produce informative, helpful and high-quality content that your audience wants while also providing a pleasant user experience. This, together with robust SEO services, will contribute to increased search rankings, site traffic and conversion.