When Google made their Search Quality Evaluator guidelines public in 2015, SEO agencies were immediately breaking down the information in the hope of learning more about Google’s search algorithm. As part of this, terms such as EAT and YMYL became more widely known within the SEO community and helped to inform our understanding of search results and formed new digital marketing strategies.
YMYL stands for “Your Money or Your Life” and categorises groups of websites than affect crucial aspects of people’s lives such as finances and health. The guidelines provided by Google specify a wide range of industries including News, Government, Shopping, Medical and Finance as falling under the umbrella term YMYL. Google have created this unique categorisation to ensure much stricter measures are imposed on the information shared by these sites to raise quality and protect users.
EAT is the acronym for “Expertise, Authority and Trust” which are assessments made by Google when analysing page quality (among other things). EAT is now a relatively common phrase that’s used by SEO agencies, Google reps and even well-informed clients. Google’s aim is to provide the best recommendations for its users, so prioritises content written by experts that are an authority on the subject and are known to be trustworthy. These steps feel very logical and can be easily understood in real world terms – think of who you might recommend if someone were to ask you a question. Would you recommend someone who didn’t know about the topic well or wasn’t trustworthy? I didn’t think so.
EAT relates to YMYL because Google imposes a more rigorous analysis of these factors when determining rankings for these sites. As above, to protect users and ensure higher page quality for queries that matter most, Google is much harsher in its judgement of websites in sectors such as Finance, Law or Health. As a result, SEO strategies must adapt in these sectors to account for these tougher conditions. Again, linking these concepts to the real world can help you understand YMYL for SEO better. If someone were to ask you to recommend someone for something very important, you’d scrutinise your selection much more intensely – imagine if their life depended on it, like for a medical search query! You’d want to ensure you were making the best possible recommendation.
While Google’s guidelines and its algorithm change frequently, there’s a clear direction the search engine is headed. Developments in other areas like user experience point to Google’s ongoing goals. If you’re in a YMYL sector and need help with your SEO or would like to learn more about our services, please get in touch.