Website content is critical to search engine optimization (SEO), but according to Search Engine Journal (SEJ), when it comes to ranking content related to health, finance, and other YMYL (your money or your life) topics, John Mueller – a Search Advocate over there at Google – shares that the most important factors are expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness (E-A-T). These so-called YMYL sites are held to higher standards, and if you count yourself among them, you should maintain a laser-like focus on ensuring that your content is steeped in expert authority that inspires your users’ confidence and trust.

Ranking YMYL Sites

Generally, YMYL sites include those that fall into all of the following categories:

  • Civics, Government, and Law
  • Finance
  • Health and Safety
  • News and Current Events
  • Shopping
  • Groups of People (including those based on age, disability, ethnic origin, gender, or gender identity, nationality, race, religion, sexual orientation, and veteran status)

When it comes to ranking YMYL sites in relation to SEO tactics, Mueller points out some important basic themes.

Follow Best Practices

Running a solid website is all about following best practices, and there’s no other magic bullet that is going to automatically garner heavy traffic from search. When it comes to YMYL sites, however, getting noticed (especially in relation to E-A-T factors) is the goal, so emphasizing everything related to your content’s authoritative and trustworthy expertise is critical.

Keep Things Professional

If your site focuses on a YMYL topic, you need to hold it to a higher standard when it comes to organization, content quality, relevance, and more. Slapdash efforts don’t fly when the goal is marketing authoritative information and guidance. While your tone doesn’t have to be stuffy, your offerings should reflect your unwavering commitment to providing useful, informative content that inspires user confidence. It’s not only about looking legit, however, it’s also about offering legitimately expert, authoritative, and trustworthy content – and ensuring that it looks the part in the process.

Look at the Big Picture

It’s easy to say focus on E-A-T, but putting this into practice is far less so. In the end, it’s a matter of balancing all the elements that go into creating a top-notch YMYL site, and this includes giving some thought to Google’s guidelines for Quality Raters and how your site is likely to be ranked on a manual review by one of these real-life raters. While the Quality Raters themselves don’t set Google’s algorithms, Google does take their input very seriously, which means that better acquainting yourself with the guidelines can prove invaluable.

It can’t be emphasized enough that – for YMYL sites – your rank will hinge on the level of authority, expertise, and trustworthiness you establish, and there’s no way to fake your status. If your YMYL niche is health care, for instance, your content should be written by medical professionals who are excellent communicators and who have their fingers on the pulse of the current body of medical knowledge.

Quality Rater Guidelines

Quality Raters are real people who test-drive websites for Google from their own unique perspectives (there are more than 10,000 of them sprinkled all around the globe), and this is something of a twist for Google (a company that isn’t well known for its human qualities). From Google’s Quality Rater Guidelines, we glean solid information about what’s going on with those algorithms. Let’s take a closer look.

Needs Met

Are the needs of those who land on your website being met? This is a Quality Rater guideline that’s all about intent. Your visitors are there for a reason – their intent – and whether or not their intentions are satisfied matters. An important note to make here is that the factors of Needs Met and Page Quality are inextricably intertwined. Even if your users’ basic needs are met, the users are unlikely to be highly satisfied if there is any question regarding the quality of your YMYL content.


Interpretation is a subfactor that falls within Needs Met, and it relates to how common the interpretation being used for the search word in question is. A classic example is Apple, which is a computer company in the vast majority of searches, is a fruit in a decent number of searches, and is a person’s name or the name of a town in very few searches. Quality Raters are instructed to weight sites based on higher-scoring interpretations. This helps to ensure that an enthralling piece of content about a young girl named Apple doesn’t earn top billing within apple searches. Google is trying to satisfy the needs of the masses, and this means that those exploring niche markets have to search a bit more carefully.

Page Quality

Page quality relates to a world of information that is seamlessly interconnected, but the meat of the matter relates to E-A-T (especially for YMYL sites), the site’s ease of access, and the extent and value of the site’s primary content.

Who Wrote that Content?

Muller offers some inside information regarding how to improve your site’s E-A-T, and paying attention is advised. The following gems are included:

  • Let your reader know who wrote your content. Is the author an authority on the topic? If so, it’s a good idea not to be shy and to point it out.
  • Having your content reviewed by an authority in the field can also help bolster credibility. Let your readers see that your content is backed up by those in the know.
  • Let whatever it is that resonates with you regarding E-A-T help guide you. After all, you’re a patron of the web, and you’re looking for quality content that inspires your confidence (just like your prospective visitors are).

A Digital Marketing Professional Can Help You Stay focused on Your Site’s E-A-T

People land on your site for its compelling content. The more authoritative and trustworthy the expertise therein is, the higher you’re going to rank, and we don’t have to tell you how important that is. If you’re ready to take your E-A-T to the next level, the digital marketing pros at The Web Guys have the knowledge and know-how to help. All you need to do is connect with or give us a call at (317) 805-4933 today.