What Is YMYL And Why Is Understanding It So Important For SEO?

When it comes to search engines, Google wants to return the most relevant pages for its users so that those users are getting the most relevant and accurate answers to their queries. This is especially apparent when it comes to YMYL and in this blog we are going to be discussing the concept of YMYL and why it is important that webmasters understand it for SEO purposes.

What is YMYL?

YMYL stands for “Your Money or Your Life” and it refers to web pages that cover any topics that have the potential to impact a user’s future happiness, health, financial stability or safety. Google introduced the YMYL category in 2014 to indicate how seriously it takes the importance of factual correctness on websites which have the ability to impact a person’s life.

Source: Search Quality Evaluator Guidelines

YMYL is extremely important when it comes to SEO because Google holds these websites to a higher standard when reviewing their quality. Optimising your YMYL content and making sure that it is accurate and up to date, in addition to backing it up with external linking, showcasing authoring and generally demonstrating the expertise of the article, will all help to ensure that you’re giving off the right signals to Google. As a result, Google may look more favourably on your website for matching user intent and purpose, therefore helping it to perform better in the search results. 

People are often using Google to research information on a wide range of topics including health queries and financial questions. It is important that the information they are finding on the SERP is accurate and up to date because if it is not then it could have extreme consequences for the user. This is why Google finds it so important to ensure these YMYL pages are of high quality.

Examples of YMYL pages: 

  • ➡️Finance pages – eg. investing or banking pages 
  • ➡️News and current events pages
  • ➡️Health and safety pages 
  • ➡️Legal pages
  • ➡️Shopping pages that allow users to make online purchases 

How to know if your web page is a YMYL topic

Many topics do not come under the YMYL bracket but it is important to know whether the content on your website is a YMYL topic because if it is, Google will hold your website to a higher standard so that it is fully meeting the users needs and not causing any harm to their wellbeing. It is therefore important that you understand what YMYL topics are, to see if you are discussing them on your webpage. 

Google will not explicitly tell you if they are viewing your web page as a YMYL page so it is important that you ascertain whether or not it falls within any of the YMYL categories. 

When determining whether your website covers a YMYL topic, you need to think about whether you are creating content that can directly impact a person’s health, financial stability, or safety or the welfare or well-being of society.

Source: Search Quality Evaluator Guidelines

If your web page contains YMYL topics, then it is important that your content will help and inform the user and, you need to ensure that there is no content on your web page that could cause the user any harm. 

Within the Quality Rater Guidelines, Google also gives us some clear examples of what does and doesn’t fall into the YMYL category, so if you aren’t sure it’s worth checking out the QRGs as they can give some helpful insight!

YMYL Guidelines

When it comes to YMYL content, it is ranked differently to content that is not YMYL. Google explained this in their ‘How Google Fights Disinformation’ blog: “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.”

In 2022, the YMYL guidance was updated by Google in order to give clarity on what they are looking for when it comes to quality on YMYL web pages:

  • ➡️Content – the main content of the webpage is extremely important if you fall into the YMYL category, it is important that your webpage has a good amount of high quality content 
  • ➡️E-E-A-T (Experience, Expertise, Authoritativeness and Trust) signals – enhancing E-E-A-T signals for YMYL pages is especially important because the information needs to be completely accurate because any misinformation on these pages could potentially cause harm to the users.  
  • ➡️Keep the user in mind – Google wants to ensure that you are creating a website that has the best intentions for the user, so that they are gaining the best user experience.

Best SEO practices for YMYL content 

Due to the fact that Google ranks YMYL pages differently, it is important that you understand the best SEO practices to take for your YMYL web pages:

  1. Create user-focused content 

As we have seen, content is one of the most important factors for Google when they are ranking YMYL web pages and Google will often look at your content to make sure that it is accurate information and that it is of high quality. 

In order to rank well for YMYL content:

  • ➡️Make sure that your content is always up to date
  • ➡️Ensure the content is useful for the user
  • ➡️Have organised content that is easy for the user to understand 
  • ➡️Make sure there is enough content so that the web page fully covers the topic and satisfies the user intent

Content is extremely important for YMYL pages, you need to make sure that your content is fundamentally benefiting the users and not giving them any information that could have consequences for their future. 

When you are creating content, making sure that it is user-centred is of the utmost importance but this will also benefit you when ranking because Google wants content that is helpful to the user – matching user intent and purpose plays a key role across YMYL websites – and this doesn’t always mean adding large amounts of content either – make sure that you review the way that your website answers the user’s queries. 

  1. Optimise your E-E-A-T signals 

As we have seen from Google, E-E-A-T plays an important role when Google is ranking YMYL web pages. 

Experience, Expertise, Authority & Trust are key signals for Google, especially when they are examining the quality of YMYL websites. Below, we will discuss the concepts of E-E-A-T and the diagram above also shows what each concept means. 

Experience – when it comes to experience, it is important to showcase that the author of the content has firsthand or real life experience for the topic and subject that they are discussing. 

Expertise – expertise refers to the amount of knowledge that exists behind the content and behind your website as a whole. Particularly for YMYL websites, Google wants to ensure that whoever is creating the content for your website is an expert in the field, so you need to ensure that you are showcasing this on your website. 

Authority – this focuses on making sure that your website is seen as an authoritative source, so instead of proving yourself to be an expert, authoritativeness focuses on others showcasing you as an expert. This can be done through gaining high quality backlinks and where Digital PR will be extremely valuable. 

Trust – according to Google, trust is the most important aspect of E-E-A-T: “Of these aspects, trust is most important.” Providing trust signals across your whole website is imperative so that Google can know that your website and the content that you are providing to users is trustworthy and it will be providing factual information to users. 

When optimising your YMYL web page, optimising all four aspects of E-E-A-T is highly important to prove to Google that your content is valuable to users and that it is providing accurate information that will not have the potential to harm users. 

You can optimise your E-E-A-T signals for YMYL pages by:

  • ➡️Including the author’s basic information and credentials 
  • ➡️Adding an About Us page on your website including information about the people behind the website, including achievements etc… – this also helps to provide “clear and satisfying information” that Google looks for on YMYL websites, mainly focusing on the About Us page and also the information that is available on a Contact Us page
  • ➡️Including a reviews page from real customers 
  • ➡️Gaining high quality backlinks from other credible websites linking to your webpage
  1.  Add external links to your content 

Including external links to your content is very important, a link is a clickable object on your webpage that leads from one page to another, they can appear as text, images or buttons and they will link from your website to a different website. When including external links, ensure that they appear naturally throughout your website and make sure that they are going to another high quality, authoritative web page so that Google knows your resources are trusted and will give users the correct information. 

You should add in external links whenever you are quoting someone, using information from another website or making a big statement. When linking to a credible source, you are showing Google that your information is accurate and it will also back up your level of topical expertise.

  1. Make sure your website is well built with a user-friendly design

It is important to make sure that your YMYL website has a user-friendly design, this includes optimising the page speed, making sure there are no broken links and making sure it is optimised well for both mobile and desktop browsers. This will show Google that you are keeping your website well maintained and making the site easy to use for your users. 

Using Google’s Page Speed Insights and other free online tools can help you to keep an eye on your page speed and see where improvements need to be made, it’s also worth being aware of Core Web Vitals and the impact this can have – so definitely two things to be keeping an eye on from a YMYL perspective.


YMYL refers to any topics on a website that can have real word effects for the user. When it comes to SEO, it is extremely important to understand what YMYL is because if you have content on your website that falls in to a YMYL category, Google will hold your website to a higher standard, therefore meaning that it will be harder to rank on the SERP and that you need to make sure that the quality of your website is extremely high. 

Google holds YMYL web pages to a higher standard because of the potential impact that they can have on a user’s life. If you have a website that sits within the YMYL category, as you will be held to a higher standard, it is highly important to optimise your website for SEO by following the above steps so that you can increase your visibility within the SERPs and ultimately increase conversions and sales to your website. 

If you have got YMYL content within your website then it is important that you optimise your content for SEO and hopefully this blog has helped you with ways in which you can optimise your website for YMYL. If you want any additional support when optimising your YMYL website for SEO, get in touch with us today and we can help!