First, let’s define what are E-A-T and YMYL sites? How these abbreviations are deciphered and what they mean. E-A-T – “Expertise, Authoritativeness, Trustworthiness” – competence, credibility, reliability. YMYL – “Your Money Your Life” – your money, your life.
Often, Google doesn’t cover changes in ranking algorithms after updates. However, this is key information for SEOs and marketers. Interestingly, in 2015, Google released the full Search Quality Evaluator Guidelines after insider ranking information leaked to the web. In the document, the company gave three “golden keys” to how Google sees web pages and how to distinguish high-quality content from low:
- Useful purpose of the page
- E-A-T (Competence, Authority, Credibility), or page quality
- YMYL “Your money, your life”
In 2018 and 2019, this guide was updated – interestingly, there was a root update of search algorithms in the latest version. Today, based on this data, we can analyze our content for compliance with standards. Let’s go through each point.
Useful Purpose: A Need for Every Site
Initially, this metric was key, and in the latest version of the guide, Google almost immediately refers to the useful purpose of the page. Quote from the guide:
- The purpose of assessing the quality of a web page is to identify how well the page meets its purpose. To assign a rating, you must understand the purpose of not only the web page but sometimes the entire site.
- Having determined the purpose of the page, you will better understand what criteria are important to consider when assessing its quality.
- Sites and pages need to be created to be useful. Websites and pages created to harm users, deceive them, or making money from them should receive a very low-quality rating.
At the same time, pages useful to visitors can be created with the following goals (but are not limited to them):
- Share information on a topic;
- Share personal or socially significant information;
- Share images, videos, and other forms of media.
- Express your opinion or point of view;
- Sell a product or service;
- Post a question and get answers from other users;
- Share files or give a software download.
On the other hand, a page created to make money without the intention of helping users is considered a low-quality page. After the 2019 release, Google representatives hinted that there may be no errors on sites with failed rankings and that the algorithm update covers broader characteristics. After all, by default, the direct task of the site is to provide the “best possible user experience” to improve its position in search. That is, first of all, the algorithm cares about the users.
YMYL content is a type of information presented inaccurately, falsely, or with deception, which can directly affect the happiness, health, safety, or financial stability of readers. In other words, the stakes for this kind of content are high: if you create a page that contains bad advice or harmful information, it can take a toll on people’s lives and well-being.
Google takes such pages very seriously. YMYL – content should be written by experts with appropriate training. So, what is meant by the YMYL theme? Google provides a shortlist of topics. There are many other YMYL topics, but Google says that quality assessors need to use common sense first.
Quote from the guide:
Some web pages can potentially affect the future well-being, health, financial stability, or safety of users. We call these pages “Wallet or life? »:
- News and Current Events: Keep in mind that not all news articles belong to the “Wallet or Life” category.
- Civil affairs, authorities, and legislation: information important for maintaining citizens’ awareness, such as information about voting, public bodies, public institutions, social services, and legal issues.
- Financial matters: Tips or information about investments, taxes, retirement planning, loans, banking or insurance, and especially web pages that allow people to make purchases or transfer money online.
- Purchase of goods: Information or services related to the search or purchase of goods and services, in particular web pages that allow people to make purchases online.
- Health and Safety: Tips or information about health problems, medications, hospitals, emergencies, hazardous activities, etc.
- Groups of people: Information or statements related to groups of people, including but not limited to groups of people based on race or ethnic origin, religion, disability, age, nationality, combatant status, sexual orientation, gender, or gender identity.
- Miscellaneous: There are many other topics related to important decisions or aspects of people’s lives that can be categorized as “Wallet or Life,” such as fitness and nutrition, housing information, college choices, job search, etc. Make a decision informed. For this kind of page, we use very high standards of quality assessment, since low-quality pages can adversely affect the well-being, health, financial stability, or safety of users.
E-A-T: Competence, Authority, Credibility or Quality of the Page
The next term is the abbreviation E-A-T. It stands for “competence, credibility, and credibility.” The 2019 guidelines slightly changed the interpretation of the importance of E-A-T: now it is the only factor determining the quality of the page, or synonymous with the term Page Quality (page quality).
“Authority” means the possession of universally recognized authority. People know about you and your education and consider you a leader in their business. “Credibility” refers to the creator of the main content of the page, its content, and the site as a whole. If you are trustworthy as an expert or source, people will know that you provide honest, truthful, and accurate information.
Specific E-A-T criteria
Note! The guide has a few specific comments on topics that require a high E-A-T – does the project fall under one of the points? Pages containing the following content should be based on expertise:
- Medical counselling
- News and articles of journalists
- Scientific Information Pages
- Financial advice, assistance on legal and tax issues
- Recommendation pages for important topics
- Pages about hobbies that require special knowledge
High-quality content is competent, user-oriented material
To create quality content that will be highly rated by Google, you need to remember the three secrets of their Guide, which we described above. Small summary:
- Each page should have its purpose, correlated with the good of the user.
- Each page should be based on competence. Due to the specific subject matter, some pages require a higher E-A-T score than others. For pages with a low YMYL or not belonging to this category at all, competence can be assessed by the content itself.
- YMYL – Pages need the highest E-A-T score as they can have a direct impact on the lives, well-being, and happiness of readers.
In conclusion, remember that Google’s standards are constantly changing, because users’ search expectations don’t stand still either, so Google should always be up to date. And so do you.