Google Terminology And SEO – YMYL

“Your Money Or Your Life” – What YMYL means for dental SEO

YMYL and SEOGoogle is constantly changing and evolving, using new methods and technologies to evaluate and rank website pages. There is now more reliance on AI – artificial intelligence, than ever before and as SEO specialists, we need to try to interpret what is going on so we can exploit it to best effect for the benefit of our clients.

A couple of key features Google introduced over the last few years are “EAT” and “YMYL”. We’ve looked at EAT (expertise, authority, trust) and how it relates to a website elsewhere in our blog, so today we’ll take a closer look at “YMYL” and how any web publisher needs to be aware of it when optimising website pages for best effect in Google’s search results.

What is YMYL?

YMYL is short for “Your Money Or Your Life” and it’s a set of conditions laid down by Google as part of how it evaluates the quality of a website page. More specifically if a web page is trustworthy and hence warrants a good ranking position. Google uses its artificial intelligence to check a web page to see whether the content is likely to impinge in a good, or bad way on the user in terms of their health, happiness, safety and financial well-being.

Of course we don’t know how Google determines this as all elements of their search algorithms are kept very secret, but we do know that they are making such evaluations increasingly important as their technology becomes more adept at interpreting website pages. As we’ve said before, optimising for Google is now far more sophisticated than the days of simple keyword addition and tweaking a few meta tags.

Quality Rating Guidelines

Google uses a “quality raters” team which carries out comprehensive manual checks on websites. This process then feeds back into the search algorithms to validate and refine them. Effectively, Google’s system is learning and becoming increasingly more accurate, checked all the time by this quality rating process. As you might expect, there is a comprehensive set of guidelines Google provides to the manual checking team to help keep everything aligned. This document is in the public domain and allows us to see exactly what Google is aiming for when it’s algorithms evaluate dental website content.

For YMYL pages, here is what the rating guidelines actually say:

For these “YMYL” pages, we assume that users expect us to operate with our strictest standards of trustworthiness and safety. As such, where our algorithms detect that a user’s query relates to a “YMYL” topic, we will give more weight in our ranking systems to factors like our understanding of the authoritativeness, expertise, or trustworthiness of the pages we present in response“.

Here we can see that any web content or blog post which could be considered to have YMYL content, will be considered very closely by Google and then further evaluated in terms of its expertise, authority and trustworthiness – those “EAT” parameters we mentioned earlier and which are covered elsewhere in our blog.

How does YMYL impact on dental website or blog content?

Hopefully this is relatively straightforward to see. Where a dentist writes about a treatment on a web page or blog post, particularly if it could be deemed to be “life changing”, then YMYL and EAT can easily come into play. Indeed for any medical treatment, we know that Google looks extremely closely at the content. We have also seen this in more recent algorithm updates, for example the “Medic” update which demoted websites which were offering products and services which only had tenuous benefits, for example homeopathy, essential oils etc.

For sure Google is not treating this half-heartedly and it’s likely they will only tighten up further in future.

How do we stay on the right side of YMYL and use it to our advantage in the dental SEO context?

For any web content we write where we believe YMYL and EAT come into play, we need to consider the following:

  • get your facts right – this is essential and can be cross-checked, even algorithmically
  • use your experts to contribute – use your clinical staff to write about their areas of expertise or as a minimum, validate what is written by others
  • include author bios and link out to other websites where their clinical qualifications are registered
  • check any user generated content e.g. blog comments. This could compromise you and also contravene Google’s EAT criteria

If you stick to the above, you will be well on the way to satisfying the criteria and ensuring that your website or blog page won’t be adversely affected by Google. This alone doesn’t mean it will rank well; others factors come into play there, but at least you’re over one of the major hurdles.

If you use a website content writer or blogger, please also ensure that they know about these requirements and incorporate the necessary elements within their work.

Wrapping up

So now you know a little but more about YMYL web content and how it affects SEO, particularly in the dental context. So what happens next?

First of all you need to audit your existing website and blog to make sure it complies. Where it doesn’t make changes to incorporate the types of information noted above. Also make sure that any new content is written with YMYL and EAT firmly in mind.

Making sure that you web content sends all of the right signals to Google is extremely important if you’re serious about SEO. If you need help to check that yours actually does, why not get in touch with the Dental Media team content team on 01332 672548 for a no-obligation check? We’ll be pleased to take a look through what you already have published and make recommendations to improve.