EAT And YMYL SEO Guidelines: Everything You Want To Know

Google’s EAT and YMYL have been frequently on the lips and fingertips of most webmasters ever since. The days are gone when you could pop up on Google overnight. To rank on Google, you need to sustain your brand by building its expertise, authority and trustworthiness.

Many digital marketers are confused to understand whether E-A-T is a direct ranking factor?

Or it’s not a factor at all in Google’s ever-evolving algorithms?

Well, whether it is a direct ranking factor or not, it can help you rank. To understand that, it is crucial to know what E-A-T is and why it matters for On-Page SEO.

With continued search algorithm updates and guidelines, the SEO techniques become outdated quickly. It becomes hard to outsmart the Artificial Intelligence and machine learning deployed by Google.

If you want to make a website that is profitable in the future – you must keep yourself up to date about the upgrades taking place in the Google search algorithms.

E-A-T introduced in Google Quality Rater Guidelines since 2014, but it only becomes a buzzword online after the Medic Core Update 2018.

These guidelines include three main keys to how Google looks at web pages and differentiate high-quality content from low-quality:

  • Beneficial Purposes
  • E-A-T (Expertise, Authoritativeness, Trustworthiness)
  • YMYL (Your Money or Your Life)

This guide helps as an important tool for insights into what Google looks for in a high-quality web page. Let’s take a glance at what you would like to understand about each of them

Google Search Quality Evaluator Guidelines

Google’s Search Quality Rater Guidelines are a set of instructions that Google’s quality evaluators follow when manually evaluating the performance of Google’s algorithms.

For some SEOs, a glimpse at the Search Quality Rater’s Guidelines is similar to looking into the ranking algorithm. They help with some incredible insight into what Google views as quality and not-so quality, and the pages types they want to serve at the top of their search results.

Beneficial Purpose

The purpose of the page is the reason why the page was created. Google mentions in the guideline “websites or pages should be created to help users.”

Most pages are created to be beneficial for searchers, thus having a beneficial purpose. Several pages are created to make money or to cause harm to users.

The first step in evaluating a page is to figure out its purpose:

Why Is It important to determine the purpose for Page Quality (PQ) Rating?

It is described in Google SQEG: Websites and pages that are created with the intent to harm users, or make money with no attempt to help audience should receive the Lowest Quality Page Rating.

The page will be labelled as high standard when fulfils the user’s intent and serves them as a useful resource.

Some common beneficial page purposes described in SQEG are:

  • To share information about a topic.
  • To share social or personal information.
  • To share images, videos or other forms of media.
  • To express a point of view.
  • To sell products or services.
  • To entertain
  • To enable users to post questions for other users to answer.
  • To enable users to share files or to download software.

NoteNote

The first step of the Page Quality rating is to understand the true purpose of the web page. You can’t succeed in Google’s search rankings unless you have a user focus approach. Focus on delivering the best user experience.

The 2018 update to the guidelines

Google introduced a new algorithm update in August 2018 called Medic Update. After that evaluators would now be asked to review not only the site’s E-A-T but also the content creator E-A-T too.

In other words, the author of the page’s content is also considered, especially if the subject is related to YMYL. Who is the author? What are the credentials with regards to the subject matter? This means that you should now be building up author E-A-T as well as website E-A-T.

What Is E-A-T?

E-A-T is made up of three metrics that Google uses to quantify whether a website is a leader in its respective niche. It includes a set of on-page content guidelines that you, as an affiliate marketer, must stick to be ranked highly in Google SERPs. EAT stands for Expertise, Authoritativeness and Trustworthiness.

Google EAT

The following breakdown of these principles will give you a clearer idea of it.

Expertise

To be an expert is defined as being very knowledgeable about or skilful in a specific subject.

Is the creator or writer of the content on the page an expert on the topic? Do they have the required training and credentials to back up this information?

Visitors who browse through your site must feel that you are an expert and have quality content for various topics on your site.

For Your Money Your Life (YMYL) topics, it is about the formal expertise, education and qualifications of the content creator. For example, a doctor is more qualified to write about any disease precautions and home remedies than someone who reads a few posts and writes it.

eat and ymyl Demonstrating your expertise is important for YMYL niches like financial, medical, or legal advice.

Offering unhelpful, inaccurate, or outdated content is a recipe for SEO disaster.

For non-YMYL pages, it is about confirming appropriate life experience and “everyday expertise”.

Some topics need less formal expertise. Suppose the author has the type and amount of life experience to make him or her “expert” on the topic. In that case, the author will be valued as an everyday expert and the website or webpage will not penalize for not having formal “education”.

Google states that “everyday expertise” is enough for some YMYL sites. For instance, take a query like “what does it feel like to have a coronavirus”. Someone who suffered from this disease is better placed to answer this than a qualified doctor with years of experience.

It isn’t enough to have the information but also knowing what your audience wants and how best to deliver the information to them.

Whenever you search for the question “How can my website improve its ranking?

” The most common answer seems to be something like: “publish relevant, and great content that searchers love.” This may seem like an oversimple answer.

To create expert content, here are a few tips:

  • Find out what your audience is searching for, then meet and exceed their needs. This starts with keyword research.
  • Try to understand the searchers intent behind the terms you discover during that keyword research.

Authoritativeness

It is all about your online reputation among other experts and influencers in the industry. In simple words, when others see a website as the go-to source of information about a topic, that is authority.

Expertise is having specific knowledge or skills, whereas authoritativeness is when others recognize that expertise. That recognition can come in different ways such as links, mentions, reviews, shares or any other type of citation.

To evaluate authority, Google directs the quality raters to search the web for insights into the reliability of the website.

Use reputation research to find out what real users as well as experts, think about a website. Look for reviews, references, recommendations by experts, news articles & other credible information created or written by individuals about the website.

Google puts more importance on reputation research:

When searching for reputation information, try to obtain sources that were not written or created by the site, the company itself or individual.

Wikipedia is also a great source of information.

Wikipedia articles can help you learn about a company and may include information specific to reputation, like awards and other forms of recognition or also issues and controversies.

Note that authority depends on the nature of how your website is mentioned in similar industries. For example, Elon Musk is an authoritative source of information about electric vehicles; they have little to no authority when it comes to Search Engine Optimization.

Trustworthiness

It takes a ton of hard work to earn the trust of both the public and search engines. To build trust, your website and its content must be authorised, accurate and transparent.

You want the audience to trust in your business/brand and are willing to endorse or buy from you. However, YMYL pages need a high level of trust, ensuring transparency of information is vital. This includes:

  • Contact information
  • Information about who is liable for the website
  • Customer service information
  • Information about who created the content

Google explains the importance of this information:

Stores and websites that process financial transactions need a high level of user trust. If a store of financial transactions between websites has just an email address and physical address, it may be difficult to get help if there are problems with the transactions.

Therefore, for stores and websites that process transactions, the priority is to satisfy customer service information. Some other factors that can contribute to trustworthiness include endorsements, testimonials, awards, etc.

Here are some tips to promote trustworthiness on your website:

  • Associate the site with a physical location that is your office or store address.
  • Having a term of business or T&c, That is easily accessible to the user.
  • Make sure your site’s domain is secure. Implementing
  • HTTPS correctly is important to Google as it helps to ensure people that their money is safe and a nefarious 3rd party entity won’t intercept the data.
  • You should have clear refunds and return policies if you are accepting transactions.
  • Having a privacy policy is easily accessible to users.

What Is YMYL?

YMYL stands for Your Money, Your Life!

Google categorised all the websites as YMYL which sell products or provide information or services that impact the health, happiness, financial stability or safety of users.

Your Money Your Life

If your niche falls under YMYL, you have to make extra sure that the information that you provide does not adversely affect the readers.

The online shopping websites also fall under YMYL for ratings. Google Quality Raters ensures the sales process, whether it is secure or not. If a rater wouldn’t feel comfortable ordering from the site or submitting personal information to it, then it wouldn’t rate well.

Market areas of YMYL

Google indicates the following areas in YMYL categories:

  • Medical Information Pages

Webpages on health or websites that give medical advice or information on medical issues should be edited, written and run by authorised personnel. The information on pharmaceuticals or medical issues should be reviewed and updated frequently.

  • Financial Information pages

Opinions and complete information on issues like investments, taxes, retirement planning, property, insurance, etc., should be provided from reliable sources.

  • Shopping or financial transaction pages

There should be verified information about websites that sell services or products of any kind online. The website of eCommerce and banking portals which consist of transactions falls under this.

  • Legal information pages

Google considers all types of legal information web pages under YMYL, including things like notary, divorce, creating a will, child adoption rules, immigration etc.

  • News and Current Events

Web Pages that contain information about government services/policies, laws, disaster response, social services, politics, international events and much more fall under this.

  • Group Of People

The page under this includes content related to religions, races, colours, nationalities, gender etc. These pages must have professional, unbiased content. Poorly researched work and offensive content can be harmful.

  • Other

There are many other types of topics that can fall under YMYL that aren’t necessarily in any of the above categories. These are still things where having the wrong information can negatively impact the searcher’s health, wealth or happiness. For example, fitness and nutrition, job searches sites, child adoption, car safety etc.

If low-quality pages in these fields could potentially negatively effect users happiness, health or wealth, Google doesn’t want those pages to rank well.

EAT and YMYL SEO Guidelines: Why Is It Important?

Googles’ various guidelines are in place for a reason. The search engine is constantly trying to wow its users with more accurate, reliable, and intuitive results.

If you do everything outlined in Google’s EAT & YMYL guidelines, then you can easily compose informative, high-quality content that your audience wants. This will helps them accomplish a task (e.g., acquiring knowledge or buying a product).

The Myths About Google EAT

EAT has gone through many variations due to Google’s various updates in the past few years.

Sometimes with the exchange of ideas and discussions, quickly led to confusion, misunderstanding, and misconstruing of facts. That is the reason a lot of myths surrounding EAT sprung up to confuse about its true role in SEO.

The Myths About Google EAT

Here are some misconceptions and myths about Google EAT.

1) EAT is an algorithm

Most marketers believe that EAT is an algorithm itself, but it isn’t true.

According to Google’s resident webmaster Gary Illyes, “Google has a group of millions of tiny algorithms which work in unison to spit out a ranking score. Many of those baby algorithms look for signals in pages or content.”

2) EAT is a direct ranking factor

EAT is not a direct ranking factor. There are 200+ ranking factors that affect a website’s SEO, such as focus keyword, content, speed, HTTPS, and external links.

Its role in influencing the ranking is more indirect. It measures factors like transparency, credibility to affect a website’s SEO.

Google rates websites based on the content quality, credibility and reputation. It plays a role in getting Google to recognise the website’s reliability.

3) EAT works instantly

As EAT isn’t a direct ranking factor, it can take a long time before Google will finalise the website’s EAT quality. Improving the perceived trust of your site is a resource-intensive task which takes a significant investment of time and effort to complete.

EAT updates can improve experience as users feel more confident that they can trust your website, brand and your authors.

4) EAT – a top priority

Google stated in its Quality Guidelines that the level of EAT expected of a website depends on its niche & the extent to which its content is YMYL in nature.

For instance, “high EAT health care advice should be produced or written by people or organization with apt medical expertise.”

On the other hand, writing articles about hobbies like sports or photography needs less formal expertise and priority in terms of EAT analysis.

5) EAT Score

Another misconception is that Google’s EAT score exists. Gary Illyes said in an interview that there is no internal EAT or YMYL score.

How To Improve Your Website's EAT

When it comes to optimising your website, EAT serves as a reminder that credibility is of the most importance. Without a successful reputation, your brand may suffer from low-quality ratings. Thus making an effort to improve and better demonstrate your website EAT to Google is a wise move.

Try out these tips for establishing credibility:

  • Include Authors Bio & Byline

Google’s Guidelines demand that the piece of content be provided with known and authorised personnel. There are two places on a website where you can add this. The first is the author’s bio.

Author Bio

Moreover, you can do so on a separate bio page that contains the author’s past content, or you can add even at the bottom of the article.

About Author Page

The about us page should explain why your company is expert and authority in your industry. You can also link to relevant social media channels for both your company and the authors who write for you.

  • Contact Details

Contact information falls under the trustworthiness part of EAT. When visitors arrive on your website, it is easy to find your contact info on or details on how to get customer support.

Link to your Contact US page in either your main or footer navigation. Even if your website is just a blog, provide readers with a mail address of how they can get in touch with you.

  • Improve or Remove Low-Quality Content

A few low-quality pieces of content can drag your whole website down. If you have a content that is no longer useful or outdated that it is not worth the time investment to upgrade or improve it – then cutting out that content is an instant way to improve your EAT.

Removing content should be your last option. If it is possible to edit those pages to improve them, you must do. Some tips to increase E-A-T:

  • Make some simple edits to enhance the readability score, spelling, grammar, and structure.
  • Write a new and better title that includes focus keyword
  • Add visual appeals, such as charts, photos, screenshots.

The process of promoting content takes longer, but it will surely improve your website’s E-A-T and performance. For YMYL topics like financial advice or medical, keeping content update is very important.

  • Increase Quality Backlinks

Google loves backlinks. You know why?

Because

Google Mission

Backlinking tells Google your site is a well-used source for a particular topic making it an Authority on it. Also, more backlinks help increase E-A-T as they link similar content and thus increase user traffic and the visibility of the site.

  • Build a brand reputation

One of the best ways to do personal branding is to enhance the “About us” page. Display major achievements and give factual information to build the trust of the audience.

Small brands or startups may have websites that are not very popular. In such a case, smaller brands have to work towards gaining audience trust.

Conclusion

If your E-A-T score improves, it becomes easier to reap the rewards of professional SEO, and attain a better ranking in SERPs. In other words, when you provide a satisfying user experience and anything that is good for users, then it helps you rank in Google and drive the traffic.

However, Creating high EAT for your site won’t happen overnight, but if you build a strategy and work on these guidelines, you’ll have a good chance of improving your E-A-T.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What is low-quality content?

Those pages or websites that don’t have some sort of beneficial purpose. It also includes pages that are created with no attempt to help users or pages that spread hate, deceive or misinform users or cause harm.

Here are the aspects of a low-quality page:

  • The quality of the Main Content (MC) is low.
  • There is a dissatisfying amount of main content for the purpose of the webpage.
  • There is a dissatisfying amount of website information about the creator of the main content for the purpose of the page.

In short, bad content means low E-A-T.

2. What is the goal of page quality ranking?

The goal of page quality ranking is to evaluate how well the page achieves its purpose.

3. What are the YMYL websites?

According to guidelines, a website that contains content that could affect someone’s happiness, health, safety, or financial security is a YMYL website.

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