The Secrets of Google’s Quality Raters Guidelines and YMYL Site Rankings

The success of any given website can hinge on where it ranks in search engine results. One of the most important factors in how a given website is ranked has largely been established by Google’s Quality Raters Guidelines. This set of guidelines has had a huge impact on where and whether certain websites get seen in searches. The ratings produced by Google’s team of assessors directly affect how the search algorithm correspondingly ranks websites, which of those sites get seen, and which ones fade into the background of a search.

While the actual ranking guidelines were a well-kept secret for years, they only recently saw the light of day. Needless to say, they have proven to be an extremely valuable resource for anyone doing business or providing services on the internet.

YMYL Categories and How They Are Ranked

One of the most important things the industry learned from these guidelines is that Google rates specific types of websites much more stringently than others. Namely, sites that are categorized as “Your Money or Your Life” (YMYL) are considered a top priority for Quality Raters, as they “potentially impact the future happiness, health, or financial stability of users” (Google Quality Raters Guidelines).

What Kinds of Websites are Considered YMYL?

  • Financial pages: This includes any kind of retail or shopping sites. It also includes bill-pay sites, along with any other web page where users are doing financial transactions. Also included in this category are investments, taxes, and insurance.
  • Legal advice pages: Aside from law offices, this category also applies to any web pages providing legal advice on a wide range of topics, from divorce and citizenship to making a will.
  • Medical advice pages: This includes any web page that features information or advice about health, whether that be nutrition, substance abuse, mental health, or specific diseases or symptoms.
  • News/Public information pages: Aside from state and federal web pages, this category also includes pages pertaining to social services, local and international events, politics, business, science, and technology.

If your website fits into one of these categories, Google has likely categorized it as YMYL. If you are unsure, think about whether your product or service pertains to a topic that might be of high importance to a person’s life decisions (e.g., a child adoption site, car-seat consumer safety, etc.). If it is, then it’s also a YMYL site.

Understanding How E-A-T Affects YMYL Sites

The Google Quality Raters Guidelines also highlighted another major factor in their ratings besides YMYL and that’s how authoritative the site is. Google uses the acronym E-A-T for Experience, Authority, and Trustworthiness as a ranking measure.

RELATED ARTICLE: How Google’s E-A-T Rating Impacts YMYL Websites

Some of the factors considered by Google Quality Raters when considering their E-A-T ranking are:

  • Where the information is coming from. They look for high levels of expertise and documented evidence for information, ranging from medical and academic to business expertise and technical fields.
  • Is the information presented in a given web page one that concurs with most scientific evidence and other experts in that particular field? If your medical website supports something the established medical community doesn’t, it could affect your authority.
  • Demonstrable expertise. Even for pages on hobbies or crafts, the E-A-T qualifier figures prominently in the rating of a website. While academic degrees in any given area aren’t required, the website must demonstrate that it’s providing some kind of expert-level knowledge in the field in question.

RELATED ARTICLE: SEO for Growth During COVID-19: Why Now Is a Great Time to Plant Your Digital Seeds

Steps to Improve Your YMYL’s Ranking

In short, the E-A-T rating for your website is meant to be a ranking of public trustworthiness – the answer to #fakenews. There are many things you can do to improve your EAT rating, and most are pretty simple.

  • If you have degrees, credentials, certificates, awards, or any other external recognition, make sure to include it in your content.
  • Highlight experience in the field, whatever that may be. Whether you’ve been practicing in your field for 25 years or are a self-taught metalsmith, make sure to include your years of experience and expertise.
  • If you can include what other people say about your product or services on your web page, do so! This leads to increased consumer confidence and is a high-ranking category for Google.

One final piece of advice for ranking better with E-A-T in mind is not to be shy. Make sure your name (or someone’s name) and title are on your blogs or news section. The first step to proving your authority and expertise is claiming the content on the page. And Google’s crawlers are definitely looking to see who is contributing to these sites.

Need Help with Your YMYL Site? Ready to Get Started?

Need more insight on how your YMYL or medical website can survive the Medic Update? Or, are you ready to put your E-A-T to the test?

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Let’s get to work. Call (419) 540.4437 or email to get started today.

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Google’s job is to help users find trustworthy content. The more trustworthy you make your site, the better you will rank, especially if you are part of the YMYL world. If you’re looking for help with your YMYL site, call Toledo SEO for Growth at (419).540.4437 or email

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