What are YMYL and E-E-A-T in SEO?

24 Aug 2023


Nick Boyle

Nick Boyle

Get in touch

Ranking highly in search engine results will require more than some strategically placed keywords. Creating high-quality content is an essential part of search engine optimisation (SEO), so if you want to increase your rankings, you need to put more thought into the content on your website.

This is especially true for what Google describes as YMYL content. Google’s quality raters, who evaluate the quality of search results to help improve user experience and the Google algorithm, are instructed to be particularly thorough when reviewing the E-E-A-T of YMYL web pages.

But what is YMYL, what does E-E-A-T stand for, and how does this all impact SEO? Let’s demystify these acronyms below.

What is YMYL?

YMYL stands for ‘Your Money or Your Life’. But Google isn’t trying to act like a highwayman – instead, Google is referring to a category of content that focuses on topics that have a significant impact on people’s life, health, wellbeing or finances.

In previous updates to their Quality Rater Guidelines, Google has made it clear that YMYL content must reach a higher quality standard to rank well. This is because YMYL topics can have a huge impact on people’s lives, and misinformation on these topics can be particularly harmful to the individual viewer or an entire community.

According to Google in section 2.3 of their 2019 Quality Rater Guidelines, “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.” 

YMYL topics could include:

  • News on current events like political unrest and violence
  • Healthcare advice and information on medication
  • Advice on making a large purchase such as a house or car
  • Evacuation information for natural disasters
  • First aid tutorials
  • Information on the law and court processes

The following don’t count as YMYL topics and content:

  • Music and film reviews
  • Local news about community events
  • Food recipes
  • …and so on.

What is E-E-A-T?

The framework that Google’s quality raters use to evaluate website content (and YMYL content in particular) is called ‘E-E-A-T’. Originally, the framework was just called ‘E-A-T’, but an extra E for ‘Experience’ was added in an update in December 2022.

E-E-A-T stands for:

  • Experience
  • Expertise
  • Authoritativeness
  • Trustworthiness

To be regarded as high quality, content must fulfil these four requirements according to Google’s quality raters, who assess web content with this framework in mind. Let’s look at each of these requirements in more detail:


Experience is the newest addition to the E-E-A-T framework. 

Experience refers to the level of first-hand experience demonstrated by the content creator. With this update to the Quality Rater Guidelines, Google made it clear that personal experience can add value and trustworthiness to certain topics. For example, with restaurant reviews, the content is of a higher quality if the writer has actually visited the establishment – you wouldn’t want to take the recommendation of someone who’s never actually eaten there! Google’s quality raters are looking for content that’s clearly informed by personal experience, as seen in the example below:

personal experience eeat content writing google algorithm ranking factor

Therefore, first-hand experience is very important in certain types of content, such as reviews. If you’re planning to rank well in the SERPs (search engine results pages) for this content, you need to write about what you know or hire writers with personal experience they can use.


For other types of content, expertise is extremely valuable. For example, with healthcare-focused content, Google wants to see that the writer is qualified to discuss the topic at hand. 

Expertise is very important for YMYL content because author accreditations will show that the writer has the necessary knowledge to write high-quality information on these topics. Quality raters can assess expertise by looking at the author’s bio or seeing if the website is fact-checked by professionals.

Another option is to include quotes from experts in the industry to reinforce your content, as seen in the example below:

experience eeat google algorithm ranking factor


Authoritativeness refers to the reputation of the author or website within their industry, especially among experts in their niche. Individuals or brands that are authoritative will be seen as highly knowledgeable voices in the industry, often due to the clear expertise shown in their content and their strong brand reputation.

Due to their authoritativeness, these websites will often earn a lot of backlinks from other websites citing their content. The more backlinks you get, the more authoritative your website will become (thus leading to even more backlinks as your reputation grows).


Google has stated in the past that trustworthiness is the most important E-E-A-T factor – if your page isn’t trustworthy, the author’s experience, expertise and authoritativeness won’t matter.

A trustworthy site is “accurate, honest, safe and reliable”, according to Google. Not only must the content be accurate, but the site itself must be safe for internet users. For example, any payments through the site must be secure, and users must be protected from malware and data breaches.

Sites may also show their accreditations and reviews to boost trustworthiness:

awards and accreditation google algorithm ranking factor

How do YMYL and E-E-A-T affect SEO?

So, what does all of this mean for SEO?

Although E-E-A-T isn’t a direct SEO ranking factor, it’s still important for your rankings and for user experience on your site. E-E-A-T is used by Google’s search quality raters to assess how well the search engine’s algorithm works when recommending content to users. Ideally, Google should recommend high-quality, trustworthy content that follows the E-E-A-T framework, as this will improve user experience and satisfaction. It’s even more essential that YMYL content follows this framework, as this content must be trustworthy since it can impact people’s health and finances.

Therefore, E-E-A-T can still help you achieve better rankings in the SERPs with your YMYL content, as high-quality content won’t be penalised and will be more likely to be recommended by Google. Plus, E-E-A-T encourages you to improve your copywriting, as high-quality content is essential for YMYL, and it therefore helps you earn backlinks from high domain authority websites (more on this below).

How to improve the E-E-A-T of YMYL content

As we’ve established, it’s extremely important that you improve the E-E-A-T score of your YMYL content because this can indirectly improve your website’s SEO rankings by encouraging you to write better content. But what are the exact steps you can take to improve your E-E-A-T? Here are some ideas you can implement on your website:

1. Create high-quality content

This point seems pretty obvious, but it’s worth emphasising the importance of accurate, thorough and trustworthy content marketing. Make sure you research all content so that it’s informed by both your Expertise and your Experience. If you don’t have the necessary qualifications yourself to write authoritative content on a YMYL topic, hire writers who can produce this content for you (or fact checkers who can verify what you write). 

You should also regularly audit your content to ensure that all pages on your site are up to scratch. This will also give you the opportunity to update any information that’s no longer correct.

person typing creating content

2. Earn backlinks

By writing informative, industry-leading content, other websites will link to your website as an authoritative source – especially if you include up-to-date statistics or quotes from professionals. Building your backlink profile is a fantastic way to improve the Authoritativeness of your site. 

3. Add author bios

To rate the Expertise, Experience and Trustworthiness of your YMYL content, Google’s quality raters will need to know more about who wrote your website’s content. Creating author bios is therefore a great way to show that your content is written by a real person with real qualifications, and not an AI chatbot. Another tip is to create an ‘About Us’ page to introduce your team and link to your author bios.

4. Complete your Google Business Profile

Any business can create a Google Business Profile that shows their location, opening hours, contact information and more. Having a complete profile will show users and quality raters that your business is legitimate and trustworthy.

Google Business Profile algorithm ranking factor social media icons

5. Link to trustworthy sources

In addition to becoming a trustworthy source yourself, you should also cite other authoritative websites when you use their information or statistics. This will show quality raters that you’ve fact checked your work to ensure accuracy. However, be careful not to link to low-quality, spammy websites, as this can negatively affect your rankings.

6. Incorporate user-generated content

By now, we all know the importance of producing high-quality website content for YMYL topics. But what about user-generated content?

Content produced by your customers, such as product reviews, product images and blog posts, can be used on your website to reinforce the Trustworthiness of your brand. These customer testimonials are viewed favourably by Google’s search quality raters, who can see that your site is safe and legitimate. 

If you’re a business in the YMYL space but you’re struggling with E-E-A-T, our friendly content specialists at TAL Agency can help. Get in touch with our SEO team to find out how to improve your content strategy, boost your rankings in the SERPs, and get more conversions. 

All Articles

We’d love to chat

The best ideas start with a good old conversation. Let’s have a chat about how we can help you.

Complete the form and one of the directors will be in touch.

Or just pick up the phone and call us, we’re on 01204 527518.

    Awards & Accreditations

    rar recommended
    Prolific North Finalist TAL Agency
    PRmoment awards finalist logo
    google analytics
    Google Shopping Logo
    google adwords
    bing partner
    manchester digital