YMYL and EAT Guidelines: How Marketers Can Prove Their SEO Authority to Google

Kayla Hammersmith Senior Content Marketing Manager, DialogTech

Way back in the year 2013, Google first introduced the concept of YMYL. No, this wasn’t their attempt at crafting a hip acronym like YOLO. Google coined YMYL to categorize a certain type of website.

YMYL, or “Your Money Your Life,” refers to websites that could impact the future happiness, health, or wealth of users. This category applies to any website in the medical, healthcare, financial, and legal industries, as well as any website that accepts online transactions or requests any kind of personal information.  

In other words, YMYL sites include any websites with information that would directly impact a user’s money or life. So why did Google come up with its own acronym? Simple. Since 2013, Google has asserted that YMYL sites with good quality content are ranked more highly than sites with poor quality content. 

According to the search giant itself, “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.” 

It’s important to note that the industries that fall under the YMYL umbrella — medical, healthcare, financial, and legal — also happen to be industries that receive a lot of consumer phone calls.

For example:

  • 80% of healthcare patients still call a provider to schedule appointments
  • 86% of dental patients call a provider after a search
  • 70% of senior care customers will call during the consumer journey
  • 78% of insurance consumers make a call after a search
  • 48% of financial services customers call a business from search to schedule an appointment
  • 74% of prospects who search for a law firm online end up calling

If you know you’re a YMYL site that drives consumer calls, it’s important to follow Google’s best practices for success: the EAT guidelines. Learn more about the EAT guidelines, why following these best practices will prove your website’s authority to Google, and how good SEO will help increase your calls and leads.

What Are the EAT Guidelines?

Okay, so you have the lowdown on YMYL. Where does EAT come in? 

In early 2019, Google published a white paper expanding on why optimizing for YMYL is important and can help boost your rankings. When Google’s algorithm determines that a search query falls into the YMYL category, it will choose to rank websites that demonstrate expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness (or, in Google’s acronym world, E-A-T) more favorably. 

According to Google, EAT is one of the top three factors for gauging page quality. YMYL sites should take heed of the EAT guidelines, since following these best practices will help increase rankings, traffic, and conversions. 

Here’s the breakdown of what each area means.

Expertise: Google wants to see that a website demonstrates expertise in your field. This is especially pertinent to the medical, financial, and legal industries. You can establish expertise by providing clear, accurate information and citing reputable sources in your content.

Authoritativeness: Show off your authority. This can be demonstrated through credentials, positive reviews, and customer testimonials. You can highlight this information throughout your website. 

Trustworthiness: Make sure users feel safe on your site. It’s important to have an HTTPS site and an SSL certificate, especially if you accept any monetary transactions online. Studies show that Google ranks secure domains and sites with SSL certificates more highly. 75% of first-page Google results have an SSL certificate. 

How Do You Ensure Your Website Is Following Quality EAT Standards?

In addition to ensuring your website includes accurate information, reviews, testimonials, and an SSL certificate, you can follow these best practices:

  • Include author bios if you have a blog and be sure to mention any credentials that demonstrate the author’s expertise
  • Go after high-quality backlinks and disavow spammy backlinks
  • Make sure your website has accurate information on your About, Contact, and Customer Service pages
  • Guarantee that all content directly related to YMYL (think financial advice or medical information) is written by qualified experts
  • Cut or edit low-quality EAT content
  • Regularly review and update your site to follow quality EAT standards

Why Do YMYL and EAT Matter?

YMYL, EAT, and SEO are all connected. Google created EAT guidelines to help websites create valuable, quality content. When a YMYL website follows EAT standards, the site will be seen as more trustworthy in Google’s eyes. This helps get your site higher in the search engine results page (SERP), get in front of the right audiences, gain more traffic, and garner more conversions. 

Remember that if your business qualifies as a YMYL site, you likely receive a lot of customer calls. When you boost traffic from organic, you can increase site visitors and leads while focusing your marketing budget on other channels like paid search, display, and social. Even when your website is running paid search ads, a strong organic presence is a great way to increase your visibility on the SERP. 

Following EAT guidelines and becoming a reputable YMYL website is definitely worth your while.

P.S: Your inbound calls shouldn’t be shrouded in mystery. Whether you receive calls from organic searches, paid search ads, or wherever else your audience finds you, a call tracking and analytics platform provides you with valuable insights. 

Learn more about the 10 call analytics reports that will seriously change your marketing strategy. 

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