March has just started and Pubcon Florida 2019 is well underway in sunny Fort Lauderdale. Team Tandem was sure to attend, including our founder Joe Laratro, who moderated Google’s Gary Illyes keynote address.
These are some of the rumblings we’ve heard – Google is planning another major shake-up that will affect the rankings of “Your Money or Your Life” (YMYL) pages. Those significant changes might start launching by next week.
What We Already Know
As of now, we don’t have much information about this upcoming update, but we can look back at previous Google algorithm updates that have already impacted YMYL page rankings. First, what exactly are “Your Money or Your Life” pages? Google defines them as such:
“There are some pages for which Page Quality (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.”
“Your Money or Your Life” Google Update in August 2018
On August 1, Google confirmed a broad update to its algorithm dubbed the “Medic Update”. After some time, it became clear that the sites most impacted by the change were YMYL sites. Many sites (particularly sites in the diet, nutrition, and medical device niches) saw a drop in their rankings and traffic, while others experienced a boost.
Officializing the change, Google’s search quality guidelines, outlined in the Quality Raters’ Guidelines were also updated. It showed that Google set higher standards for YMYL sites to meet, with a strong focus on a site’s demonstrated expertise, authority, and trustworthiness (E-A-T). Sites that highlighted their qualifications on their pages and had strong links were able to regain their traffic.1
Google Algorithm Now Adjusts Rankings for YMYL Queries
Then last month, Google announced that they updated their algorithms again to better respond to YMYL queries from their users. In a 30-page white paper where they discussed fighting against disinformation,2 Google pointed out how the algorithm would now detect a query related to a YMYL topic and adjust the search results rankings accordingly.
“For these YMYL pages, we assume that users expect us to operate with our strictest standards of trustworthiness and safety. As such, where our algorithms detect that a user’s query relates to a YMYL topic, we will give more weight in our ranking systems to factors like our understanding of the authoritativeness, expertise, or trustworthiness of the pages we present in response.”
At Google, the focus is always on providing what the user needs. With that in mind, it’s easy to see why there are higher quality standards for YMYL content. The information on YMYL sites pose a higher risk to users compared to more typical content.
Like almost all other updates to its algorithm, Google aimed to deliver an improved user-focused experience when launching these previous updates. So, it can be assumed that any upcoming update will have a similar purpose.
Our Fort Lauderdale digital marketing agency is proud to be one of the sponsors of Pubcon Florida 2019, giving you early insights such as these and so much more! Want to find out what we’ve been learning at this year’s search engine marketing conference? Check out our blog!
- Matt McGee, Search Engine Land – In Quality Raters’ Handbook, Google Adds Higher Standards For “Your Money Or Your Life” Websites
- Kristie Canegallo, Google – Fighting disinformation across our products