In the online marketplace, SEO is one of the most important tools available. SEO, or search engine optimization, refers to a set of practices and strategies that helps a website reach the top page of Google and other search engines. Many companies in Colorado will even hire a Denver SEO firm to help them climb the search engine ladder. But why, in digital marketing, is this so important?
If you want to reach potential customers online, your website needs to be visible. Visibility, in the digital world, means ranking well on search engines. The higher you rank, the more chance you’ll have of reaching web users. According to a 2014 study by Moz, just over 70 percent of all organic clicks landed on page one search results. Even just ranking on page two of Google, it seems, could bury your site.
To rank well, your site and content need to align with what search engine algorithms consider “high-quality” content. There are many factors involved in ranking well with these algorithms, but one of the most valuable is authority and trustworthiness. Those in the SEO world have developed two acronyms, EAT and YMYL, to guide writers in developing trustworthy content. Here, we take a closer look at YMYL SEO and why it’s critical for ranking well and making your website more visible.
WHAT IS E-A-T IN SEO?
While not exactly the same, YMYL is closely related to the EAT concept that’s been so helpful to writers in SEO. EAT stands for expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness. In terms of content production, this means making your content more trustworthy so that users feel safe, confident, and know they can trust what they’re reading. This, of course, is so important to Google and other search engines because we all know how much fake and low-quality information is out there on the web. Here’s a closer look at each letter in this important SEO acronym.
1. Expertise (E).
An expert, as we all know, is someone with considerable knowledge or skill within a certain subject or specialized field. This comes with years of experience, hard work and training, and is often credentialed through trusted institutions. Essentially, these are the types of people that Google wants authoring web content.
“Expert” content, however, doesn’t need to always come from medical doctors or professors. Expert content also fulfills a user’s search intent by quickly, clearly, and effectively answering their questions. Knowing what your users are looking for and how they express this intent (through keyword research) is essential in developing high-quality content.
2. Authoritativeness (A).
If you’re an expert in your field, you’ve already gained a lot of authority, which should come through in your writing and content. But what if you’re not an expert? You can still develop authority by citing experts and providing external links to trusted sources and websites.
3. Trustworthiness (T).
Can a user trust what you’re saying? Can they trust your brand? These are critical questions for Google as they work to match users with high-quality and reliable information. Brand reputation is another key aspect of SEO, and in a world where anyone can post almost any information instantly, this can be more challenging than first meets the eye. Accurate and reliable content is one way to develop a trustworthy site and brand, but you also want to manage online reviews (on sites like Yelp or Facebook) to ensure people are posting accurate information.
WHAT IS YMYL SEO?
Any website that can affect the wellness, livelihood, or financial security of a web user is held to the highest standards on Google. This is because information on these websites could have a serious impact on someone’s life or livelihood. Imagine the fallout that could occur if trusted medical websites started posting inaccurate information. This is a scenario that Google and other search engines do everything they can to avoid.
These websites are referred to as YMYL, which stands for “your money or your life.” Any website that affects your health or finances, such as ecommerce, news, government, or healthcare sites, fall under this category. While Google values authoritativeness and expertise for every website, it values this most on YMYL sites.
With the rise of “fake news” and misinformation in recent years, EAT and YMYL have only become more important for Google and other search engines. Deliberately falsified information can have potentially dangerous effects, and in many ways, becomes the dark side of search engines and the vast amount of information they provide. While search engines are in no position (nor do they want to) censor information, they do try to link users with accurate, reliable, and trustworthy information and services.
HOW TO OPTIMIZE YOUR SITE FOR YMYL
We can agree that YMYL SEO is important, but what does this actually look like for your site? Here are a few practical guidelines for optimizing your site according to YMYL and EAT standards:
- Ensure factual accuracy in your content.
- Moderate user-generated content (posts, comments, replies, etc.)
- Only link to trusted and reputable sites.
- Use data, evidence, and quotes to support your claims.
- Create author bios for any experts contributing content.
CONCLUSION – WHAT IS YMYL SEO?
The purpose of Google and other search engines is relatively simple: connect users with the information and services they want. For most web users, this means information that is reliable, authoritative, and trustworthy. Having content written by an expert in the field or subject certainly doesn’t hurt either.
By following EAT and understanding the importance of YMYL, you can develop high-quality content that will be trusted and valued by users and help you rank even higher on search engines. Expert content increases on-page time, lowers bounce and exit rates, and leads to more clicks throughout your website.
No matter where you are located, if you’re interested in ways to develop authoritative, high-quality content for your site, consider reaching out to a Denver SEO expert. These experts can improve your content (and the rest of your site) to help you land on the most valuable real estate in the digital world: page one of Google.