YMYL SEO: How To Make SEO Work For You in the YMYL Space

Date published: June 04, 2024
Last updated: June 4, 2024

YMYL, standing for “Your Money Your Life,” is a key aspect of SEO for those industries that fall in the space. The acronym references online content that has an important, real-world impact on its users.

As the term implies, the most obvious YMYL category would either be health and finance. However, the categorization can also apply to things like legal advice, news and politics, parenting and child development, personal safety, real estate, and even education and employment.

If you’re creating YMYL content, it’s important to be thoughtful about every piece you develop. Google search uses YMYL SEO guidelines as part of its standard for how it ranks content quality to ensure that these important pages never sacrifice accuracy for SEO.

This makes it hard for YMYL websites, but if you have genuine, high-value YMYL content, you can (and should) ensure that Google Search can find it and present it to your target audience. Below are seven tips to help you address YMYL SEO optimization in an honest, transparent, and effective manner for your content marketing.

1. Always Be Helpful

YMYL content is inherently helpful. When addressing something important like mental health or financial welfare, you should always seek to provide genuine value to your readers. Be helpful to humans first and optimized for search engines second.

The good news here is that Google’s Helpful Content Update has raised the bar for all content across the internet. Everything needs to be helpful now, and the more value you offer your readers, the higher you’re likely to rank in the SERPs.

2. Use Quality Links to Enhance Value

Link building is a common SEO strategy. Backlinks come from third-party sites. Internal links interconnect your own owned content. External links point outward from your site to third-party resources. That last option is a particularly effective way to enhance YMYL SEO.

As you source external links, look for high-authority websites with quality information. Often, sites with .edu or .gov URLs are considered high quality. Major news sites like Forbes and Deadline or health sites like Cleveland Clinic and Mayo Clinic are also typically safe. By using quality links, you connect your YMYL site to reputable sources capable of furthering the conversation. This sends the signal that you’re invested in creating honest and transparent solutions for those with real-world problems.

3. Follow E-E-A-T Standards

E-E-A-T (often simplified to EEAT) is a set of Google content quality standards that stands for Experience, Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness. These are all traits that you want to exhibit in all content—but especially YMYL resources.

YMYL topics naturally address important concerns. As such, you want to ensure that you are bringing an appropriate degree of quality that can pass the E-E-A-T filter. Expertise and experience are particularly important here, as you want to speak from a position of knowledge and understanding as you help people answer important questions in their lives. The result is better engagement, which can positively impact your SEO.

4. Emphasize Contributors

Subject matter experts (SMEs) are important contributors to YMYL content. This type of content creator has specific knowledge and experience in the areas of business, health, and any other YMYL subjects or categories. 

As far as SEO is concerned, you want to publicize and emphasize SME contributions. Whenever possible, have an article bylined by a credentialed professional. If you can’t do that, at least have it reviewed by a qualified SME and then indicate that in the piece. Once again, this sends the message that you’re doing your YMYL homework and ensuring your content is genuinely helpful.

5. Get Rid of Low-Quality Content

Low-quality content is never helpful for any optimization. With YMYL content, in particular, it can be an search engine optimization killer. In the past, Google has stated (via Forbes), “We have very high Page Quality rating standards for YMYL pages because low-quality YMYL pages could potentially negatively impact a person’s happiness, health, financial stability, or safety.” 

The use of YMYL pages is important enough to justify these stringent standards. As such, it’s wise to proactively review and either optimize or eliminate your low-quality content. Consider performing a content audit every 6 or so months to prioritize high-quality content.

6. Improve Your Brand’s Reputation

A strong brand is a key aspect of the ongoing health of YMYL content. If you can support each piece with a recognizable brand name, image, and reputation, that can develop trust with both consumers and search engines.

With this in mind, consider investing in digital PR to get positive press alongside your SEO efforts. These two marketing tactics can have a synergistic effect when used together and provide digital marketing momentum for your YMYL content.

7. Utilize Social Media, Too

Along with digital PR, use social media marketing to enhance your brand reputation surrounding your YMYL content. Engage with consumers, stoke conversations, help answer questions, and generally spread brand awareness through socials.

By incorporating consistent social media content into your marketing activity, you can build further momentum for your brand. As is the case with digital PR, this can translate to greater SEO impact, even for something as sensitive as YMYL content.

Building SEO Momentum for YMYL SEO

YMYL topics thrive on quality content. They also are notorious for their strict standards and resistance to SEO-focused promotional activity. The better the content, the more likely quality raters will appreciate and reward the site.

However, focusing on SEO tactics that go hand-in-hand with quality content creation can enhance your YMYL SEO while also serving your target audience. If you’re struggling to identify and optimize your YMYL content, our team of content strategy experts at Relevance can help!

As you look for ways to optimize your YMYL pages, remember the golden rule: always put people first and search engines second. If you can do that, the search engine results will speak for themselves.

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