What is “YMYL” (and How Can it Hurt Your Website)?

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Your Money or Your Life (YMYL)

There are two topics Google takes VERY seriously when it comes to judging the quality of a page: your health and your wealth. Google has a special set of standards in place for these kind of pages (known as “Your Money or Your Life” (YMYL) pages). Any detected possibility for a breach of trust or distribution of dishonest information can get you red-An example of "your money" in Google's YMYL Search Quality Ratingsflagged by Google as an untrustworthy site. YMYL pages may cover topics such as:

  • Medical Information
  • Financial Information
  • Legal Information
  • Shopping/Transaction Information
  • Safety Information
  • Information Influencing Your Current/Future Well-being

So how do you market your honest YMYL site without accidentally being red-flagged? Let’s find out:

Know What Qualifies as YMYL

You may be thinking “my site doesn’t involve healthcare or financial information so I should be off the hook, right?” Wrong. “Financial information” means any financial transaction, big or small – from buying a t-shirt to paying your bills. That covers a lot. What if the comment section of your blog veers off track? As soon as the users of your site begin giving advice to each other, you may be at risk for YMYL red-flagging.

Know the Questions They’re AskingAn example of "your life" in Google's YMYL Search Quality Ratings

Google lists some of the questions addressed in ranking a YMYL site, including:

  • How often is the site updated/maintained?
  • Is there accurate, easy-to-find contact information?
  • Can anything be perceived as deceptive (are the title tag/meta descriptions misleading)?
  • Who is responsible for the content and structure of the site?
  • Is the content reputable and authoritative?

Know How to Address These Questions

There are several steps you can take to reduce the risk of being red-flagged. Even if you’re unsure whether you’re at risk, many of these steps are considered best practices for any website.

Establish Authority & Trust

Who’s writing your content? Are they an expert in the field? If not, make sure that they’re pulling from (and citing) quality sources when writing your web copy. You’d rather get information on cancer treatment from the Mayo Clinic website than from a medical forum where opinions fly around willy-nilly, right? You will also want to establish your website as a source of authority. Listing professional affiliations, partnerships, awards, and endorsements can signal to Google that you know what you’re doing.

Update Your InformationA padlock, symbolizing the authority and trust needed in Google's YMYL Search Quality Ratings

If your website says you’re at one address and your Google Business page shows you at another, you may be at risk of being red-flagged. Taking 15 minutes out of each quarter to do a quick scan of your site to ensure that t’s are dotted and i’s are crossed is typically a safe route.

Maintain Quality Web Design

Your website should look visually as trustworthy as its contents. If your site contains information that affects the current/future well-being of your users, a certain degree of competency is required in its design. This doesn’t mean that you need all the bells and whistles, but difficulties in navigation and compatibility may put you at risk.

The Takeaway

As long as it’s clearly not fraudulent, your site should be fine. The real issue arises when businesses invest time and money in SEO/PPC services without knowing they’re at a disadvantage. If you think your site may be at risk for being red-flagged, taking these very basic precautions might pay off in a major way. Not up for going it alone? Contact Realnets today for the help you need!

For more information on Google’s YMYL standards, click here.

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