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What is YMYL in SEO? (+How to Optimize YMYL Content)

What is YMYL in SEO?

YMYL in SEO stands for “Your Money Your Life.” It pertains to content that impacts a reader’s health, financial stability, safety, or well-being.

On this page, we’re diving into the definition of YMYL content and its impact on your search engine optimization (SEO) efforts. So keep reading!

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What is YMYL in SEO?

YMYL in SEO stands for “Your Money Your Life.” It’s any type of content online that has the potential to cause harm to the reader in some form. In Google Quality Rater Guidelines, Google defines YMYL content as “Topics [that] could significantly impact the health, financial stability, or safety of people, or the welfare or well-being of society.”

YMYL content topics

Now that you know the YMYL content definition, let’s explore YMYL content in more detail. Here are the different types of YMYL content topics:


YMYL shopping content includes any website with an option to accept payment. Examples include Target, Amazon, and Nike.

Target YMYL shopping content


Financial YMYL content includes any website or page offering financial services or advice. Examples include Mint, Turbo Tax, and Credit Karma.

Minto homepage financial YMYL content


This type of YMYL content includes sites that offer legal advice or promote legal services. Some examples of legal YMYL sites include government agencies, law firms, and civic organizations.

PA government homepage legal YMYL content

Health and safety

YMYL health content includes sites providing medical advice or promoting any information that would affect one’s physical, mental and/or emotional health. Some examples include the CDC, WebMD, and Mayo Clinic.

WebMD homepage health YMYL content


This type of YMYL content topic involves sites reporting on current events, like the New York Times, Daily Mail, and The Guardian.

New York Times homepage news YMYL content

Understanding how E-A-T can impact YMYL content rankings

In order to fully understand YMYL and how it can impact your rankings, we must first understand E-A-T and Google Quality Rater Guidelines.

The criteria that they utilize is called E-A-T, which stands for Expertise, Authority, and Trustworthiness.

  • Expertise: The expertise of the creator of the content.
  • Authority: The authoritativeness of the creator of the content, the content itself, and the website.
  • Trustworthiness: The trustworthiness of the creator of the content, the content itself, and the website.

E-A-T is important for YMYL sites because misinformation with YMYL topics can cause physical, emotional or financial harm to its readers. If you don’t follow E-A-T best practices for YMYL topics, you will likely miss out on higher rankings for your website.

Are E-A-T and YMYL ranking factors?

E-A-T and YMYL aren’t direct ranking factors. However, they are important to consider when creating high-value, quality content, which Google considers to be extremely important.

So while E-A-T and YMYL won’t directly impact your rankings, it’s important to follow best practices for optimizing your content since E-A-T and YMYL can impact content quality, which goes hand-in-hand with SEO.

How to optimize your YMYL content for SEO: E-A-T best practices for YMYL topics

Now that you know what E-A-T is and its importance to your site’s success, how do you optimize your YMYL content in order to rank as high as possible and follow E-A-T best practices?

There are many areas of your site’s YMYL content that should be optimized with E-A-T in mind. From your site’s user experience (UX) to linking to other pages on your website, E-A-T touches many areas of your content!

For each component of E-A-T, we’ve listed questions to ask when going through your site as well as optimization ideas to increase your site’s expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness.


The expertise portion of E-A-T is focused on the level of expertise of the author of content on your site and providing credentials as well as information about who is creating your site’s content.

Questions to ask

Ask yourself these questions when considering the expertise of your YMYL content:

  • Is the author an expert?
  • Does the author have any credentials, awards, certifications, or qualifications?

Optimization ideas

Here are a few ideas to help you improve your website’s expertise:

  • Add credentials to blog or authorship
  • Make sure your writer is an expert in their field
  • Link to original research whenever possible
  • Include original publish date and the date when it was updated
  • Ensure each blog has an author
  • Add about the Author pages to the site and ensure each Author has their own page


Much of authoritativeness regards the content of your site itself, as well as its creator and the website. Ensuring your site’s health is in its best shape and that the content creator is building enriched content is essential for this piece of E-A-T.

Questions to ask

Here are a few questions to ask yourself when considering the authority of your content:

  • What kind of reputation do you have in your industry that is visible online?
  • What authorities in your industry link to your content because it provides value?
  • Is your site a good source of industry information?

Optimization Ideas

Focus on the right content topics and answer search intent by:

  • Ensuring blogs aren’t using keyword stuffing
  • Identifying your audience clearly
  • Testing the reading level of your content – make sure that you aren’t using confusing industry jargon
  • Making sure you are using the right keyword intent

You can also improve the authority of your website by removing content that is not helpful or relevant. You can remove non-helpful content by:

  • Removing auto-generated content
  • Removing meaningless SEO content that’s written for search engines instead of people
  • Removing low-quality local landing pages
  • Focusing your content on your brand’s mission, rather than what your products or services do
  • Removing any low-quality content or blog content under 300 words
  • Unlinking blog tags that are off brand

Organizing your content can also help improve your website’s authority. Consider the following tips:

  • Structure content so the important information is prominently displayed
  • Set up categories and tags properly so that readers can easily search for topics
  • Create an “about us” page if not done already

Sometimes too many calls to action (CTAs) or overly salesy content can make your site seem spammy. Reduce the “salesy” focus in your YMYL content by removing:

  • Guilt-tripping CTAs
  • Overwhelming ads or CTAs
  • Content that sounds too salesy

You can also improve your site’s authority by practicing link building. Building links involves getting other websites to link to your website. It sends signals to Google that other people find your content trustworthy and valuable.

Here are few link building strategies you can follow:

  • Focus on quality, not the quantity of external links
  • Remove any spammy backlinks
  • Create content that is of high quality so that it receives natural external links
  • Stop any paid link campaigns
  • Use the nofollow tag for any sources that don’t have a lot of authority


Building up trust signals on your YMYL content, increasing site security, and beefing up your customer support and third-party signals will all power your trustworthiness signal to Google quality raters.

Questions to ask

Ask yourself these questions when considering the trustworthiness of your site:

  • Are you transparent about who wrote your content?
  • Do you edit for accuracy?
  • Are you citing sources?
  • Are you avoiding paywalls and hiding content behind ads?
  • Does your checkout page have a secure connection?
  • Is your site secure?

Optimization ideas

Now let’s dive into how you can optimize your YMYL content to improve your site’s trustworthiness.

One of the first things to consider when making your website more trustworthy, you’ll need to improve its security. You can improve your site’s security by:

  • Eliminating low-quality comments
  • Adding more customer support
  • Addressing bad reviews or Q&As
  • Using a spam filter for your blog
  • Ensuring your site is using HTTPS

You can also take advantage of third-party support to improve your site’s trustworthiness. Here are a few ways you can gain more third-party support:

You can also help your audience trust your brand more by providing helpful customer support. Here are a few tips for improving your customer support and making it easier for your audience to get help when they need it:

  • Add more customer support opportunities such as live chat
  • Make sure that the about us, contact us, and customer support are linked in the header or footer of your website

Repercussions of not optimizing for E-A-T for YMYL content

There are many opportunities and best practices that your site should comply with if you fall under the YMYL content topics. If your site is utilizing practices that are not recommended under the E-A-T guidelines, you may receive penalties from Google that can negatively impact your site’s indexation and performance.

If your site has some E-A-T signals but isn’t keeping up with all best practices, you may not be maxing out your website’s potential to achieve higher rankings in the search results.

It’s best to seek professional SEO help to ensure that your site is following E-A-T best practices for your YMYL content from an experienced SEO agency like WebFX.

The future of YMYL & E-A-T

As Google continues to optimize for the best user experience possible, YMYL content will only expand, and E-A-T will become even more necessary for websites. Start your optimization process now and be ahead of the curve when it comes to E-A-T so that you can reap the rewards of a quality content experience!

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