Your Money or Your Life Content and Authorship

Your Money or Your Life Content
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Written by Simon

Last Updated 06/01/2024

Your Money or Your Life Content

In this article, we will cover Your Money or Your Life Content and Authorship. Read ahead or watch the video below to pick up some top tips on YMYL content.

Webinar for Student Minds, focusing on Your Money or Your Life Content and Authorship

In this session we are going to cover:

  • What is YMYL content 
  • How does YMYL apply to Student Minds?
  • The importance of including authorship 
  • Content Maintenance

For this article, we compare Student Space and the Student Minds website as well as other charities operating in the mental health sector. However, all the recommendations can be applied to any site that handles Your Money or Your Life Content.

Recommended Reading: What is Search Engine Optimisation?

What is Your Money or Your Life Content?

YMYL stands for Your Money or Your Life Content. YMYL is content that Google deems, could impact:

…the future happiness, health, financial stability, or safety of users

Google

Have you ever searched on Google about a cough you just can’t shake and ended up down a spiral of misinformation? Or do you want to invest in stocks in your favourite luxury designer brand? Consider both examples as YMYL (Your Money or Your Life) content. The first example could impact your health, while the second, involving investing in shares, could impact your financial security.

Google wants to ensure you have the best possible advice when searching online and creates much stricter guidelines on this type of content as a result. 

Googles Guidence on YMYL Content

A YMYL page is serious stuff, and Google doesn’t play around with content that could impact the future happiness, health, financial stability, or safety of users

Google has a 300-page guidance document that outlines content standards to help sites rank well. This document bridges the gap between user intent and search result accuracy which influences SEO ranking factors. All this culminates in YMYL content being harder to rank in the SERP.

A lot of acronyms already I know…let me break it down for you. 

In 2018 Google released The Google Medic update which impacted how YMYL content is reviewed by Google algorithms. This update affected a lot of industries, with “over 42% of the sites affected were in the medical, health, fitness, or healthy lifestyle space”

Your Money or Your Life Content - google medic update pie chart
Image source: www.bluecorona.com/

Previous YMYL content was hard to rank, and it just became even harder.

Recommended Reading: Keyword Optimisation

But when we think about this content and the potential impact it can have on people, I very much welcome this update. It ensures that the sites you are viewing, have the authority and expertise to talk about this niche of content. Sites that don’t, simply appear less frequently on the SERP.

Mixed YMYL and Non-YMYL Content

So what happens to sites that have YMYL and also non-YMYL content?

Well, this question was put to John Mueller Software Architect who works with Google’s SEO algorithms. In an interview, John said mixing YMYL and non-YMYL is

… always going to be challenging for Google’s algorithms to figure out how to deal with that website

John Mueller

Huh…not the definitive answer content creators were looking for.

So you’re probably thinking, we’ve gone back and forth and ended up right back where we started, and I’m none the wiser…So what does that mean, and what can we do?

EAT Content

When Google approaches YMYL content like the psychoeducational content that is on Student Space, it ranks the content on the EAT Principle.

Remember, EAT stands for:

  • Expertise
  • Authoritativeness
  • Trustworthiness

This is one of the Key factors from Google for assessing the quality of a web page. To rank YMYL content we need to demonstrate EAT in our content.

Below is a quote straight from Google’s 300-page guideline document. This section refers to the EAT Principle.

3.2 Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthyness (E-A-T)

The amount of expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness (E-A-T) is very important. Please consider:

  • The expertise of the creator of the MC.
  • The authoritativeness of the MC, the MC itself, and the website
  • The trustworthiness of the MC, the MC itself, and the website
Google

When approaching EAT we must consider:

  • The expertise of the creator of the main content
  • The authoritativeness of the creator of the main content, the main content itself, and the website
  • The trustworthiness of the creator of the main content, the content itself, and the website

The better we can communicate this to Google and our users, the more they will trust our content and the higher we will rank.

Tips on Creating EAT content

Some tips on how to create EAT content:

1. Create High-Quality Content – this is the most important. Google doubled down on this in the “Helpful Content Update” released in August 2022. The focus of the update is to ensure content is:

  • Original
  • Helpful to users
  • Written by people, for people 

I can see the use of AI and Google’s ranking features becoming the hot topic of 2023 as systems like Chat GPT become more influential in the content creation process.

2. Provide Author Info & Transparency – Have subject matter experts review your writers’ content. This will help you establish credibility and avoid any mistakes or misinformation. This is already happening with CAG! And keep this in mind as we move into authorship later

3. Use Credible Sources – Just like references in essays you wrote at Uni, articles need to reference claims to other authoritative sites, and we will look at this later in the backlinking workshop

4. Create a Positive Organisation Reputation – Your organisation’s reputation can impact the trustworthiness of your content and site overall.

5. Monitor and leverage User-Generated ContentUser-generated content is any type of content created by consumers or website users rather than the organisation itself. 

Below is a great example from the Student Space article “Coming Back to Reality”. This includes a speech bubble quote from volunteers. 

screenshot of a blog quote from a student

To sum up, as long as writers of Your Money or Your Life Content are diligent in their research, review process, and content creation our EAT score should increase over time.

Recommended Reading: Structuring Content Using Title Tags

Content Authorship 

Content Authorship refers to two key areas:

  1. Content creator authorship 
  2. Website or organisation authorship

When writing YMYL content we must consider if both of these authorship groups have the expertise to write or host the content. This needs to be communicated to Google and most importantly, the readers.

Take a closer look at how Content creator authorship is currently communicated in Student Space.

Screenshot of a credible author on the student space website

As you can see from the screenshot above, a snippet of Gareth’s bio appears above the article’s body and gives an overview of his expertise. This sends positive signals to Google and highlights the trustworthiness of the content they have written.

As content creators, we should always be reviewing our content and looking to improve it. This could be the content itself, any context or references, and its structure or the way it’s presented. An improvement to the above screenshot would be to create a more detailed bio page for clinical writers that snippets like this could link to. This would give readers (and Google) more space to read and understand the depths of the authors’ expertise. 

In 2022 Student Minds had its content reviewed by an award-winning SEO agency called FOUND. They put forward several recommendations, these are the main points relating to YMYL content.

  1. “All articles should contain authorship information similar to the Gareth Hughes example…
  2. Authorship information should link through to more in-depth author bio pages hosted on the site.”

Organisation Authorship

Now let’s look at the second category in authorship – Website or organisation authorship. This includes both the reputation of the site, but also the organisation associated with it. 

The relationship between Student Space and Student Minds is communicated through their About Us page. As Student Minds is a registered charity with over a decade of experience supporting students with their mental health, their EAT score will be high. By creating an association between these two sites will positively impact Student Spaces SEO score.

Student Space also creates its content following strict criteria and bringing experts, review panels and students. However, they don’t communicate this clearly on their website. Detailed information on this process would be of interest to the user and also demonstrate EAT.

Creating Your Money or Your Life Content

Maintaining YMYL content is important as our users (and Google) want to ensure that this highly sensitive content is up-to-date and relevant.

As creators of YMYL content, we want to ensure we are creating AND maintaining every piece of content so it is the highest quality it can be. Too much YMYL content on a site can be damaging if the organisation doesn’t have the capacity or resources to maintain it.

When you begin to discuss introducing new YMYL content, ask yourself:

  • Do we have the authority to write about this content?
  • Is my team able to maintain this way into the future?
  • Is this content timely and might it need a retirement plan?
  • Does this content replace or update an existing piece of content?

Maintaining Your Money or Your Life Content

Imagine you’re in a supermarket and looking to buy high-risk food like raw meat or fish. You pick up the packet and it only has the date it was packed on it. Would you risk it? YMYL content is the same, we shouldn’t expect our users to trust the quality of it if they can’t determine when this content is due to expire or next be reviewed.

Any page that includes YMYL content should include a publishing date and a “Next Review” as standard. This transparency and accountability for managing our content and communicates to readers and Google that due diligence is happening.

An early YMYL content review can be triggered as a response to events or external factors in the world, but all should have a default next review date. Below is an example of how Mind is effectively demonstrating this.

Screenshot of Minds content review commitment

Google doesn’t provide clear guidance on when articles like this should be reviewed. However, the content team can gather feedback from content experts and decide on a suitable review schedule, taking into account the organization’s resources and the sensitivity of the content.

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