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Your Money or Your Life (YMYL) – a Finance SEO Consideration

Your Money or Your Life (YMYL) – a Finance SEO Consideration

Your Money or Your Life (YMYL) is a term used in Google’s Rater document to describe websites that potentially impact “future happiness, health, financial stability, or safety of users”... so, in essence, that content which impacts upon "your money or your life" (the Rater Document is a document used by human Raters to assess the accuracy of Google's search engine).

The significance of websites that fall into the YMYL category is that they are deemed to adversely impact upon the quality of life of Internet users, so your website's SERP (Search Engine Results Page) position may be adversely affected. This article introduces YMYL, and the measures you can take to mitigate Google's content assumption.

Organic SEO and Social Success

Yabber Tag: yabber is designed to support a holistic marketing presence. That is, Yabber supports your entire digital footprint, from your website and one-click landing pages (and Facebook marketing), to relationship modules, social media, and content generation modules. It's this broad and automated focus that supports our very obvious assertion that the Yabber systems provide a more comprehensive digital experience, and far better lead generation results that any competing system ever made available to the finance industry (and we're a fraction of the cost). This digital focus includes various SEO modules designed to improve upon your search visibility in order to deliver organic traffic. However, to state the obvious, in order for paid or organic digital measures (on our website or anywhere else) to deliver prospects into our pipeline, we have to first introduce a user to our marketing resources... and if Google makes an active effort to 'punish' pages of a certain type then our ability to generate organic traffic will be compromised. However, Yabber's very funky SEO tools Tag: seo provided you with the digital weaponry necessary to create a website that won't suffer at the hands of Google's 'discrimination' in the same adverse way as your competition.

SEO is one of those areas where a business requires its own clear and very focused content generation strategy that demonstrates your personal and business expertise and authoritativeness in your field, and your online marketing assets are optimised via user-optimisation considerations to improve upon the user (on-page) experience.

This article introduces various expectations imposed upon finance businesses to achieve better rank in Google (or any other search engine), and we're going to show you exactly how Yabber supports this endgame. However, it's important to understand that ranking in search means you're making more of effort than others that share your space, and you don't shy away from the exception and need to provide a consistent and trustworthy source of industry information.

Every Page on Your Website is a Landing Page

At the risk of repeating myself - and possibly damaging my fragile brain as I bang it repeatedly against the office wall - it needs to be understood that every single page on your website is a potential organic entry point, therefore it's a type of landing page that is obligated to provide a conversion or funnel entry opportunity of some kind. Discussed here in more detail, every page should be crafted to first attract traffic (EAT), second to engage, and third to convert. It's the conversion features that are often overlooked by way of a marketing ecosystem that seemingly ignores the flood of organic traffic over paid promotion (and we say this despite providing the industry's leading advertising and Facebook experience).

There's a low-performing faction of the marketing industry that'll steer businesses to Lead Pages, Click Funnels, Kartra, and other similar services. Those that do so have objectively failed you. The notion that you'll send paid traffic to somebody else's traffic is utterly absurd, and the mixed messages promulgated by clueless representation suggesting that you don't need to apply efforts in the content generation space, are wrong (and we'd suggested professionally negligent).

The frustration we've expressed above is the reason we provide all our brokers with a complimentary full-features and conditional website (valued at over 10K). It includes all our SEO, conversion, and conditional features by default, and it fully integrates with all the features of Yabber Tag: yabber. The importance of SEO is why we've built in extensive SEO modules that automates your page markup, and we've crafted a number of modules designed to support your content creation programs (social, website, and video).

If you don't receive daily inquires from your website this is one article you need to take notice of; follow our advice and we assure you that you'll see triple-digit organic lead-flow to your pipeline every month that'll return (on average) between 70 and 100 million in volume.

This article is one of many that'll introduce you to SEO and Content Creation options supported by Yabber (although you don't need Yabber to see the same results).

Your Money or Your Life

Google states in their Rater document that they "... have very high Page Quality rating standards for YMYL pages because low quality YMYL pages could potentially negatively impact users’ happiness, health, financial stability, or safety". So, low quality YMYL pages will struggle in establish a good page rank, while higher quality pages will be less effected by their policy.

To mitigate the effects of what might potentially impact upon a positive SEO presence, we advocate a broad content strategy that introduces finance in a way that has a positive impact on our lives. This strategy includes limited use of our article distribution service (the linked article introduces the seriously adverse effect of continued duplicate content), an active video presence, and a content strategy that takes on a life outside the traditional boundaries of a finance-based business. Adopting our recommendations are an assured means of achieving improved SEO success.

First, we should establish that finance related website fall into the YMML category (copied directly from the Rater document, Section 2.3 - relevant sections are highlighted):

  • Shopping or financial transaction pages: webpages that allow users to make purchases, transfer money, pay bills, etc. online (such as online stores and online banking pages).
  • Financial information pages: webpages that provide advice or information about investments, taxes, retirement planning, home purchase, paying for college, buying insurance, etc.
  • Medical information pages: webpages that provide advice or information about health, drugs, specific diseases or conditions, mental health, nutrition, etc.
  • Legal information pages: webpages that provide legal advice or information on topics such as divorce, child custody, creating a will, becoming a citizen, etc.
  • News articles or public/official information pages important for having an informed citizenry: webpages that include information about local/state/national government processes, policies, people, and laws; disaster response services; government programs and social services; news about important topics such as international events, business, politics, science, and technology; etc. Please use your judgment and knowledge of your locale. Keep in mind that not all news articles are necessarily considered YMYL.
  • Other: there are many other topics that you may consider YMYL, such as child adoption, car safety information, etc. Please use your judgment.

As you can see, the YMYL policy well and truly applies to those working in the finance field. This places enormous pressure on you, as a content creator, to manufacture a diverse range of content that’ll balance the 'sterile' finance material.

Google goes on to say that they "... have very high Page Quality rating standards for YMYL pages because low quality YMYL pages could potentially negatively impact users’ happiness, health, financial stability, or safety".

Note: For the remainder of this section, large amounts of text were copied directly from the Rater document.

Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness (E-A-T)

Introduction

Google tells its ‘Rater team’ to consider the following when manually reviewing pages for overall Page Quality (PQ).

  • The Purpose of the Page
  • Expertise, Authoritativeness, Trustworthiness: This is an important quality characteristic.
  • Main Content (MC) Quality and Amount.
  • Website Information/information about who is responsible for the MC.
  • Website Reputation/reputation about who is responsible for the MC.

The attributes of Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trust, are the overarching pillars of Belief's Magic Lantern model, and the contribute towards our 'know, like, and trust' model.

Note: Main Content(MC) is any part of the page that directly helps the page achieve its purpose. Webmasters directly control the MC of the page (except for user-generated content). MC can be text, images, videos, page features (e.g., calculators, games), or it can be user-generated content such as videos, reviews, articles, etc. that users have added or uploaded to the page. Note that tabs on some pages lead to even more information (e.g., customer reviews) and can sometimes be considered part of the MC of the page. The MC also includes the title at the top of the page. Descriptive MC titles allow users to make informed decisions about what pages to visit (Rater Document, Section 2.4.1, Identifying Main Content).

So, in terms of evaluating EAT, Google wants to know who you are, how qualified you are, and how you’re represented elsewhere on the Internet. Now, think of the Rater team-member looking for you online (as a search engine would). Can they find your LinkedIn profile; does it portray you as a trusted, authoritative expert? Can the Rater find other social profiles such as Twitter? Are your social profiles active? Can Raters find you referenced in news media or industry journals? Have you demonstrated expertise via articles elsewhere on your website?

Do you post to your website as your company name or personal name (we’re looking for the latter)? If you’re already using a company name to post we’ll generally leave it for a short time before reverting to your full name as per best practice (we don’t want to upset search engines by altering it without appropriate notification).

So, EAT is an evaluation of you. One would expect search engines to operate in the same way. They’re looking for Expertise, Authoritativeness, Trustworthiness; does your online profile and content generation strategy support these character traits?

Our early content strategy is built upon building expertise around you and your staff via a broad and far-reaching web presence. We want you to appear and be recognised as the definitive expert in your field.

Section 3.2 of the Rate document goes on to say that “the first step of [Page Quality] PQ rating is to understand the true purpose of the page. Websites or pages without some sort of beneficial purpose, including pages that are created with no attempt to help users, or pages that potentially spread hate, cause harm, or misinform or deceive users, should receive the Lowest rating”.

So, ongoing commercial content that does little to inform, engage, entertain, or educate your users may be punished with a lower rating. Certainly, those pages that don’t effectively communicate your intended message, or appear to deceive, may be punished. Helpful and educational pages always tend to rank well and are often referred to as ‘Edutainment’ (this will form an early part of our content mission).

It’s worth reading our section on our automated article submission program to understand why we often recommend it isn’t used. It’s hard to demonstrate the principles of EAT when none of your article content was manufactured by you, and none of it is original. The use of article submission programs is one we’re happy to discuss with you one-on-one in more detail; they’re a valuable tool to supplement your presence if you have an existing content strategy in place… otherwise use may potentially damage your website reputation.

What Does Google Consider a High Quality Website?

So, what does it take to be a High EAT website? Various snippets are selectively included from Section 3.2 of the Rater Document below.

  • The expertise of the creator of the MC.
  • The authoritativeness of the creator of the MC, the MC itself, and the website.
  • The trustworthiness of the creator of the MC, the MC itself, and the website.
  • High E-A-T news articles should be produced with journalistic professionalism — they should contain factually accurate content presented in a way that helps users achieve a better understanding of events. High E-A-T news sources typically have published established editorial policies and robust review processes.
  • High E-A-T information pages on scientific topics should be produced by people or organizations with appropriate scientific expertise and represent well-established scientific consensus on issues where such consensus exists.
  • High E-A-T financial advice, legal advice, tax advice, etc., should come from trustworthy sources and be maintained and updated regularly.
  • High E-A-T advice pages on topics such as home remodeling (which can cost thousands of dollars and impact your living situation) or advice on parenting issues (which can impact the future happiness of a family) should also come from “expert” or experienced sources that users can trust.

What this list tells us is that we’ll get better ranking for pages when we demonstrate our expertise. As detailed above, how will Google know if you’re an expert unless you’ve gone to great lengths to establish your own personal online brand?

The “journalistic professionalism” comment comes into effect later when we talk about News SEO (and getting listed in Google News). However, there’s a difference between an editorial and opinion; one must generally possess expertise in order to be respected for the latter.

Of note is the advice suggesting Raters consider whether the advice offered on a website is “maintained and updated regularly”. Is your blog still showing irrelevant information?

One of the more interesting statements as it applies to mortgage brokers is that of events; do you share RBA updates on your website (in addition to email and SMS)?

What is a High Quality Page?

The following comes from Section 4.0 through 4.5 of the Rater document and details what it takes to be classified a ‘High Quality’ page.

High quality pages exist for almost any beneficial purpose, from giving information to making people laugh to expressing oneself artistically to purchasing products or services online.

What makes a High quality page? A High quality page should have a beneficial purpose and achieve that purpose well. In addition, High quality pages have the following characteristics:

  • High level of Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness (E-A-T).
  • A satisfying amount of high quality MC, including a descriptive or helpful title.
  • Satisfying website information and/or information about who is responsible for the website. If the page is primarily for shopping or includes financial transactions, then it should have satisfying customer service information.
  • Positive website reputation for a website that is responsible for the MC on the page. Positive reputation of the creator of the MC, if different from that of the website.
    The purpose of the page will help you determine what high quality content means for that page. For example, High quality information pages should be factually accurate, clearly written, and comprehensive. High quality humour or satire should be entertaining, while factual accuracy is not a requirement as long as the page would be understood as satire by users.
    The amount of content necessary for the page to be satisfying depends on the topic and purpose of the page. A High quality page on a broad topic with a lot of available information will have more content than a High quality page on a narrower topic.

The purpose of the page will help you determine what high quality content means for that page. For example, High quality information pages should be factually accurate, clearly written, and comprehensive. High quality humour or satire should be entertaining, while factual accuracy is not a requirement as long as the page would be understood as satire by users.

The amount of content necessary for the page to be satisfying depends on the topic and purpose of the page. A High quality page on a broad topic with a lot of available information will have more content than a High quality page on a narrower topic.

Custom Service & Contact Page

Understanding who is responsible for a website is a critical part of assessing E-A-T for most types of websites. High quality pages should have clear information about the website so that users feel comfortable trusting the site.

The amount of information needed for E-A-T assessment depends on the type of website. For example, YMYL websites demand a high degree of trust, so they generally need satisfying information about who is responsible for the content of the site. In addition, High quality stores and financial transaction websites also need clear and satisfying customer service information to help users resolve issues.

Brokers tend to be rather compliant in this area because the Australian Privacy Act (1988) and other governing legislation (including a Credit Licence) dictate its inclusion. A functional and 'details' contact form is also necessary.

While it may not always be ideal from a spam point-of-view, an email address should also be visible (if you’ve refrained from this because of fears it’ll be scraped by spammers we have some code that’ll obfuscate your email).

Reputation

Reputation is an important criterion when using the High rating, and informs the E-A-T of the page. While a page can merit the High rating with no reputation, the High rating cannot be used for any website that has a convincing negative reputation.

A High Level of Expertise/Authoritativeness/Trustworthiness (E-A-T)

High quality pages and websites need enough expertise to be authoritative and trustworthy on their topic. What kind of expertise is required for the page to achieve its purpose well? The standard for expertise depends on the topic of the page.

Highest Quality Pages

Highest quality pages are created to serve a beneficial purpose and achieve their purpose very well. The distinction between High and Highest is based on the quality and quantity of MC, as well as the level of reputation and E-A-T. What makes a page Highest quality? In addition to the attributes of a High quality page, a Highest quality page must have at least one of the following characteristics:

  • Very high level of Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness (E-A-T).
  • A very satisfying amount of high or highest quality MC.
  • Very positive website reputation for a website that is responsible for the MC on the page. Very positive reputation of the creator of the MC, if different from that of the website.

Now, just one of the characteristics need to be deemed necessary for High Quality classification. We focus on all three. They’re all intrinsically tied together and working on one area tends to rub off on other areas.

Very High Quality Main Content (MC)

Google will consider the MC of the page to be very high or highest quality when it is created with a high degree of time and effort, and in particular, expertise, talent, and skill—this may provide evidence for the E-A-T of the page. Very high quality MC may be created by experts, hobbyists, or even people with everyday expertise. Our standards depend on the purpose of the page and the type of content. However, for news articles and information pages on YMYL topics, there is a high standard for accuracy and well-established scientific/historical consensus where such consensus exists. The Highest rating may be justified for pages with a satisfying or comprehensive amount of very high quality MC.

Very Positive Reputation

Very positive reputation is often based on prestigious awards or recommendations from known experts or professional societies on the topic of the page. Wikipedia and other informational sources can be a good starting point for reputation research.

For some topics, such as humour or recipes, less formal expertise is OK. For these topics, popularity, user engagement, and user reviews can be considered evidence of reputation. For topics that need less formal expertise, websites can be considered to have a positive reputation if they are highly popular and well-loved for their topic or content type, and are focused on helping users.

Many of our brokers wear their awards on their website, email signatures, and anywhere else it fits to establish this very positive reputation with their clients. We use the same badges on websites to show Google and others of our reputation.

Do you have a Wikipedia page? Probably not… or not yet. Once we’ve won a few awards and we’ve made an appearance in high value news media we’ll assist you with building your WikiPedia page. This is just another way of telling Google that we can be trusted. The trustworthiness may rub off on our SERP position.

Very High Level of E-A-T

Highest quality pages and websites have a very high level of expertise or are highly authoritative or highly trustworthy. Formal expertise is important for topics such as medical, financial, or legal advice.

Low Quality E-A-T

A low quality Expertise/Authoritativeness/Trustworthiness is essentially the opposite of what is described above. You should refer to Section 6 of the Rater document for more details.
It should be noted that Google suggests Raters find online ratings of a business to determine its reputation (since it’s difficult to gauge). This points to the importance for finance businesses to have reviews of their services.

Your content page may not be enough to convince Google of your bona fides. It’s often important to have your domain name WHOIS information match that of the address, email, or phone number on your website.

Medium Quality Pages

Most websites in the finance space meet the medium quality criteria. The page achieves its purpose, however, it does not merit a High quality rating, nor is there anything to indicate that a Low quality rating is appropriate.

Most broker websites contain the same boring and generic information with what is normally no more than a few paragraphs of text. By making your pages spectacular (over time) we quickly establish your page authority as High Quality.

Duplicate Content

Google talks a lot about duplicate content in their Rater document. While the content may serve to the betterment of your commercial presence, it detracts from EAT and will have a negative impact upon your SERP position.

Why is YMYL Important?

The YMYL pages place a specific type of demand upon the website curators and contributors of financial websites to establish EAT (not necessarily required in other fields). This means that Google places a special microscope over your website before applying various ranking factors.

If we work at establishing or demonstrating Expertise/Authoritativeness/Trustworthiness it will have a flow-on effect to our website.

Conclusion

It doesn’t matter that Google scrutinises our EAT - it’s something we should work at regardless of what their search algorithm determines because it has an effect on our business in the real world, and it determines how we're received by clients and potential introducers and partners.

Have you ever noticed that some brokers get all the attention? While they may not necessarily have the greatest volume they repeatedly find their way onto TV interviews, they’re often referenced in media, and they have large social media followings? What are they doing differently (other than working with Belief, probably)?

Sadly, this article is already too long and won't support the answers to the above questions... but we'll answer them over a series of scheduled articles Tag: yabber. We'll show you exactly how and why our brokers routinely enjoy triple-digit organic leads, how they find themselves as experts on television networks, and how they're crafting amazing website content that is ranked well and shared by those that read it.

So, now you have an understanding of what's required of you as a financial practitioner (as dictated by YMYL), we'll soon Tag: yabber start to look at the specific goals you should set for yourself in order to achieve true organic success, and we'll show you exactly how Yabber will support you through the process.

Download our 650-page guide on Finance Marketing. We'll show you exactly how we generate Billions in volume for our clients.

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