YMYL Sites and EAT Ranking Factors – What is it and How to Work With it

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An SEO specialist, a marketer, a copywriter, and a website owner should know concepts such as “YMYL and EAT.” The success of SEO promotion depends on this. If you have a YMYL site, it must be in line with the EAT criteria. Otherwise, it will be difficult to break into the TOP search engines.

In the article, we will tell you how the abbreviations “YMYL and EAT” are deciphered, which sites fall under these concepts, and how to advance in the search if your resource belongs to YMYL.

YMYL sites and EAT ranking factors – definition and analysis of concepts

YMYL translates from English as “Your Money or Your Life” – “Your money or your life.” Or even more straightforward – “Trick or Treat.” This abbreviation refers to sites whose content may affect users’ life, health, and well-being.

Examples of YMYL Sites

  • News portals;
  • Service sites;
  • Medical sites: descriptions of medicines, diseases, Treatment tactics, medical manipulations, and sites with the author’s healing methods;
  • Legal websites;
  • Everything related to finance: sites about loans, banks, investments, pension savings, taxes, insurance, financial literacy. Especially those on which transactions are carried out;
  • Sites related to the selection and purchase of goods: reviews, reviews, online stores, aggregators of discounts, and price pages;
  • State portals;
  • Educational sites;
  • Scientific and near-scientific sites;
  • Sites of social orientation, which touch upon the topic of religion, nationality, orientation, age, gender, and gender identity;
  • Portals of charitable organizations;
  • Sites of military subjects;
  • Sports resources: fitness, exercise;
  • Sites of political orientation (for example, a blog of a political scientist);
  • Websites of public organizations;
  • The resource on which the challenge and flashmob are promoted;

These categories have many branches. To understand if your site is YMYL, ask yourself the question: can the information on it affect the life, health, and well-being of your readers?

The same applies to goods and services that are sold through the site.

If the answer is “Yes,” you should understand that such sites are more difficult to promote in search engines.

As algorithms have evolved, search engines have begun to impose increased requirements on YMYL sites when evaluating their content. First Google, and then other search engines. 

Which is logical. Imagine that you are searching the Internet for an ointment to cure a skin rash, and at the TOP of Google, there is a pseudo-medical site where they suggest rubbing the skin with hogweed as a solution to the problem. Or you want to watch the news in the morning and find the Fake News aggregator first on the list. Or even worse – you are looking for a remote work vacancy, and on the first page, flaunt the resources of scammers or the site of a financial pyramid.

To evaluate YMYL sites, the concept of “EAT criteria” was introduced. Your resource must meet these criteria to achieve higher rankings in search results. User intent also affects SEO (more on that below).

What is EAT?

EAT is an abbreviation that stands for three criteria for evaluating content on a YMYL site:

E (Expertise) – Expertise

The content author must be an expert in the field he writes about. His knowledge can be confirmed by documents, experience, and successful cases.

Ideally, you should create a separate page for each author on the site with a description of his experience. And also, indicate the author at the beginning or end of the article.

The material itself should reveal the topic as much as possible and provide answers to readers’ questions. Don’t leave more questions after reading.

The Child in Sports portal is an example of matching the criterion for a YMYL site. It discusses the problems parents of children (and children themselves) face when playing sports.

Adult athletes, coaches, methodologists, and psychologists should answer questions and write articles.

An example of a section with experts on the same site. Each expert has a page with a description of their experience and contacts.

In more loyal topics, expertise in the eyes of search engines can be confirmed by personal experience, for example, on sites with reviews and reviews. Having a diploma in cosmetology is not necessary to express your opinion about the purchased cream.

An (Authoritativeness) – Authority

The credibility of the authors and the site is evaluated. If the site has reviews, comments, and links to the site, the author of the content is quoted and mentioned in other sources – this is a plus.

T (Trustworthiness) – Reliability

The information on the site must be accurate. If the article contains facts, quotes, and laws, it will not hurt to indicate the source. For example, if the author of a medical article mentions a scientific discovery or a critical study, we put a link to it.

The primary source is not required if these are well-known facts that do not need additional verification. User comments on articles and positive reviews can also indirectly indicate the reliability of the information.

EAT is the main but not the only criterion. The complete list depends on the direction of the site. For medical and legal portals, keeping the specified information up to date is essential. If a lawyer refers an article to a law canceled after a while, you need to rewrite the article considering the changes.

P.S. Already on the first criterion (expertise), it is clear that search engine algorithms are not yet so tough in their verification. For most copywriting agencies (or advertising agencies), it is considered the norm to give the same copywriter, without appropriate education, articles on a legal, medical, or construction topic. The primary motivation is the desire to save money on experts. In an attempt to write a text uniquely, without sufficient competence, the authors have to rewrite what has already been rewritten 100 times.

You can guess what quality the reader reaches the end user and whether such an article can be an expert. The fact that customers set such tasks for authors does not mean this is the norm. Perhaps the search engine algorithms will be improved, so it’s better to start bringing the site in line with the EAT criteria now.

You can work with fact-checkers on severe topics if you can’t afford to hire experts to write articles. These specialists can check the article and confirm or refute the information. A fact checker can be listed as a co-author of an article.

Let’s say you gave a copywriter with no legal education and experience the task of writing a text for a lawyer portal. Then you should show the material to an honest lawyer and only then publish it on the site. If the customer of the article is an expert, then even better. He can verify the accuracy of the information.

The EAT score is not the only ranking factor for YMYL sites. The algorithms also evaluate other criteria for other sites, such as behavioral factors, citation index, page load speed, adaptability, and commercial factors.

What is Intent?

The user intent is the intent of the search. The user writes a search query to obtain specific information. For the site to be promoted well, the content of the pages should be as relevant as possible to queries. Request types can be informational, commercial, or navigational.

This criterion is essential for any site, not just YMYL. But in relation to YMYL, search engines evaluate this parameter especially carefully.

How to Write Content For YMYL Sites – A Checklist

Let’s summarize how to bring content into line with EAT:

Write in The Articles Only Reliable Information

If necessary, indicate the source and references to laws. If there are many references to primary sources, you can list them at the end of the article. You also need to monitor the relevance of information and update outdated data promptly.

Write Articles Relevant

To the search queries for which these articles will be promoted. The article’s content should reveal the topic as much as possible and solve the user’s problem.

Specify The Authors of The Articles

You can create a separate profile for each author, to which his articles will be linked.

Collaborate With Experts

The author may be an expert. Fact-checkers are indicated as co-authors. The experts must be conscientious since search engines evaluate the parameters “expertise” and “authority” on the site they are looking for and outside it.

If, for example, the author or fact-checker is described on other sites as a scammer or there are a lot of negative reviews about him, this can negatively affect your site.

Work to Improve The Authority of The Site

This is where backlinks to high-quality resources on your subject matter come into play.

Build Trust in The Eyes of Visitors And Search Engines

This is especially true for commercial sites. For example, the site of an online store should contain contacts, information about the company, delivery, ordering methods, return methods, and legal data.

Regularly Monitor Behavioral Factors

They will help to understand whether the article corresponds to the user’s intent. If the page has a lot of bounces or a low completion rate, it might be worth rewriting the material.

The problem could also be technical errors on the site, slow page loading speed, or many ads.

Structure Pages

Instead of a solid text canvas, use subheadings, bulleted lists, and media files. This is useful not only for EAT but for promotion in general.


Compliance with the EAT criteria is essential for YMYL sites and any web resource in general. Search engine algorithms are evolving to improve user experience and preference for user-friendly sites.

The better the site is user-oriented, the easier it will be to advance in search engines.

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