YMYL: Your Money Your Life

Posted On : November 27th, 2013   By : Diptimayee Mohanty   To : Google Update

YMYL, a new term SEO industry heard last week. Google has included YMYL option in its latest “Search Quality Ratings Guidelines” for the search quality raters who are considered to be the task force behind Google’s results quality checking team. These quality raters are individuals who are neither the employee of Google nor directly associated with Google, but they are very much involved in providing different quality ratings to Google’s search results from users’ perspective which Google Engineers usually analyze for better understanding of the nature of their search results & implement necessary changes as new signals or factors in the algorithm to provide better search results for various queries to users.

What’s YMYL:

YMYL stands for “Your Money Or Your Life”. What does it mean? This has been added as a new section by Google in the “Search Quality Ratings Guidelines”. In this section the quality raters have to evaluate the page quality of search results based on how the pages may affect the life & money of human beings or how much a user feels safe to share any financial information with such pages or would like to believe the health tips in those pages so as to apply the same for himself. The exact description added in the guidelines:

There are some pages for which PQ is particularly important. We call these pages Your Money or Your Life (YMYL) pages. They are pages that can have an impact on your current or future well being (physical, financial, safety, etc.). YMYL pages should come from reputable websites and the content should be created with a high level of expertise and authority.

Few examples of YMYL pages are provided by Google to its quality raters in the guidelines:

  • Pages that solicit personal information, such as personal identification numbers, bank account numbers, drivers license numbers, etc., which could be used for identify theft.
  • Pages used for monetary transactions, on which users might give their credit account or bank account information; for example any page that allows you to buy something.
  • Pages that offer medical or health information that could impact your physical well being.
  • Pages offering advice on major life decisions, such as pages on parenting, purchasing a home, a vehicle, etc.
  • Pages offering advice on major life issues that could impact your future happiness and finances, such as pages giving legal or financial advice.

Why This YMYL Is In The New Guidelines:

It’s quite clear that Google is trying to add new signals or factors in its search algorithm or want to change the weightage of current factors, according to the quality raters report so as to give quality results for search queries. And for this they think those sites where people would feel comfortable to share financial information or would love to take advice regarding health related issues which can affect their financial or health status. Why Google gives special attention to financial & health issues for quality assessment? Answer is simple; these are the two critical things for which people would not dare to take risk. So Google will consider those pages as authenticate ones where the quality raters will give positive rating on YMYL basis.

Is YMYL Concept New?

No. Even if it sounds to be new for everyone but I would say that the same pattern of thinking of Google was reflected quite clearly in the article More guidance on building high quality sites by Amit Singhal during initial Panda updates in April & May 2011.  The lines with red star mark in the snapshot have been added in YMYL now.
Search Quality Snapshot

How Google Will Implement It on Its Search Algorithm?

SEO industry is very anxious to know about how Google will implement the quality raters’ report in its search algorithm. Matt Cutts has clarified in one of Webmaster Central Help video last year that the ratings by quality raters didn’t influence the rankings or algorithm directly.

But certainly Google must have drawn conclusions from such ratings to implement some changes in its rank algorithm. For this Google will either have to add some new signals in its algorithm or will have to make changes in weightage for existing signals or factors. To achieve this, for example, Google has already added two factors in its algorithm; social signal & Google authorship. So Google will have to give more weightage to these two signals in future to achieve its goal or to implement YMYL in its algorithm. Strong social authority or Google authorship in any niche can’t be achieved in short period, so it’ll be very difficult to manipulate Google search results when the YMYL will be implemented completely in the algorithm.

What Is in It for SEOs & Webmasters

It’s an alarm signal for webmasters as well as SEO persons who have been in practice to manipulate Google ranking by mere play of certain spam links or low quality content marketing strategy. To be in the market, you have to adopt new SEO strategy that would consist of clean & quality approach; fully users’ oriented strategy. With steps like Hummingbird update & this YMYL, Google has cleared its intention regarding its search results. With every update in its algorithm, it wants to clear its SERP from spam and low quality results. The message is clear; be unique, authoritative & be sincere in providing quality content that users would believe, like & love to share with others. Forget about spam or duplicate content; even with low quality and sallow content, you will be doomed. Users believe & love quality content from real person. So, develop your profile and your site with same intention.

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