Your Money or Your Life (YMYL)

On August 1, 2018, Google updated its search algorithm which impacted how many websites rank in their search results. It affected finance and accounting sites tremendously; your site may have been affected positively, negatively, or not at all.

Finance and accounting sites impact a customer’s money situation and are classified as a site in the category of YMYL. YMYL sites, and that stands for “your money or your life,” can impact decisions people make about their money or health.  Google evaluates these sites more stringently because of the effect they can have on customers.

The August 2018 update, nicknamed the Medic update because of its impact on health sites, is believed by some to have been Google’s attempt at strengthening its ranking using EAT.  Another acronym, EAT, stands for Expertise, Authority, and Trust.

If a site’s authors and owners have high EAT, the site will rank higher. If a site’s authors and owners have low EAT, the site will rank lower.

How can you demonstrate high EAT to Google?  In their Search Quality Guidelines, Google says the following criteria contribute to high quality:

  • The page has a clear purpose of benefiting a user
  • The expertise of the creator of the main content in a page.
  • The authoritativeness of the creator of the main content in a page, the main content itself, and the website.
  • The trustworthiness of the creator of the main content in a page, the main content itself, and the website.

Quoting the guide, “High E-A-T financial advice, legal advice, tax advice, etc., should come from trustworthy sources and be maintained and updated regularly.”

To obtain a high level of quality, Google says “Formal expertise is important for topics such as medical, financial, or legal advice.” To me, this means a CPA, EA, professional bookkeeper designation, software certifications, years of experience, engagement in forums, comments and interaction from followers, and peer recognition and praise.

Many of you know that I have been vocal about getting you to stand out with your certifications, testimonials, memberships, conference attendance, solid contact information, privacy and other business policies, and anything else that demonstrates your credibility.  Now that Google is saying the same thing, I have a second voice confirming what I feel is important for your digital presence.

So if you have them, let us flaunt them! Send us any updates to these credibility builders, so that we can show Google your EAT.  And if you’ve been procrastinating on getting that certification or writing your privacy policy, here’s another reason to go after it.

Want to read Google’s document yourself? Here’s the link: