Google updates its algorithm multiple times a year. While some of these updates are relatively minor, some can drastically change the way content is ranked by the search engine.
E-A-T, YMYL, and Beneficial Purpose are major changes that can make an impact on your site’s content. These principles help Google determine how it should display search results to its users.
If you want to be successful at getting your content found by search engines, you need to stay up to date on relevant SEO tips and search engine updates. So let’s dive into three of the biggest updates that may affect your content.
How Do Search Engines Rank Content?
Search engines want to ensure they are recommending the best content to users. In order to do that, they create algorithms that use different principles to quantify the quality of the content. They can then use this to rank each piece of content.
Search engines use beneficial purpose to rank content. Google also uses E-A-T and YMYL as guiding principles to rank content.
Google keeps a tight lid on exactly how they use the search ranking algorithm and the specifics behind it. However, SEO experts can use released information, such as search engine quality evaluator guidelines to get a good sense of what content creators should be aiming for.
What is YMYL?
Google YMYL stands for “Your Money or Your Life.” Google wants content to do no harm and not spread inaccurate information. They take it especially seriously if the content is about the user’s happiness, health, safety, or finances, hence the “Your Money or Your Life” moniker.
YMYL topics can include:
- News and current events
- civics, government, law-related topics
- Financial advice and information
- Health and safety
- Shopping information and services
- Information about groups of people
If your content falls within one of these topics or related topics, you’ll want to pay special attention to YMYL. Any advice you give must not cause harm and needs to be accurate and truthful. Google will penalize the content if it is untruthful.
What is E-A-T?
Google E-A-T is one of the five most important factors in page quality ratings from Google. It stands for expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness. E-A-T ratings are more rigorous for pages in YMYL categories in an effort to provide high-quality content.
Expertise – Google wants the author to have strong knowledge about the content they are producing. For YMYL content, they do want writers to have traditional expertise, including credentials and education.
This doesn’t mean they are only interested in content from subject matter experts for other topics. They do consider life experience as well. For example, a mom writing about childcare has plenty of real-world experience that gives her credible expertise.
Authoritativeness – The search engine also tries to measure the credibility of the author, content, and overall website. Google wants to see some evidence that you are a reliable information source for this topic.
Trustworthiness – This part goes along with authoritativeness. Google wants to make sure users can trust you to be honest and accurate. So they will look for evidence that you are a trustworthy source.
What is Beneficial Purpose?
In 2018 and 2019, Google updated its search engine rating guidelines. In these updates, they placed a stronger emphasis on the idea that websites are supposed to help people. Google beneficial purpose is meant to ensure the user is the top priority of a website.
Beneficial purposes can include sharing information and opinions, entertainment, selling products or services, or posting questions. Google rewards content that is user-centered and can benefit readers. It considers this as high-quality.
Websites or pages that are clearly only meant to make money without helping users are considered low quality. Sites that intend to harm or deceive users are ranked extremely low because of these guidelines.
SEO Tips for E-A-T, YMYL, and Beneficial Purpose
One of the best ways to ensure you are doing well at SEO is to create high-quality content that is helpful and user-centered. You should perform a content audit to see what will meet these ranking guidelines.
Then you can remove or improve any low-quality content on the site. You can also make sure that titles on your website are helpful and descriptive, as this will clue search engines in on your intent. An expert can help you through the audit and in improving your content.
Building your authority in your industry is also a key step to take. Include bylines and author bios on your site, as this will help improve your E-A-T. This is especially important for YMYL content.
All of this has the added benefit of improving your site as a whole.
If you produce high-quality content centered around what your users want to read, it makes them more likely to return. In this way, what is good for SEO is good in general.
Get Better SEO Results
Google E-A-T, YMYL, and Beneficial Purpose are just some of the ways new algorithm updates can affect your content. Staying up to date on these changes is key to creating successful content.
You should also pay attention to SEO tips that can help you create high-quality content that your users will love and be able to find. Trying to navigate everything involved with SEO can become difficult.