Medical websites are held to the highest of standards for one major reason, they have a direct effect on their user’s personal health, safety, and wellbeing. In other words, Google takes content on medical sites very, very seriously and the stakes are high for this type of content to be educational and truthful.
What is a YMYL site?
Yesterday we wrote about E.A.T. (Expertise, Authority, and Trust) which are the three factors Google relies on to measure the trust it should place in a website or brand. We talked about the importance of building a website and content in a way that best displays these factors and the positive effect it can have on your Google search ranking.
Today we’ll dig into why it’s so critical for medical websites in particular to follow this formula for every single word they write. Medical sites fall under the umbrella of a YMYL (Your Money or Your Life) website, which means that it can affect a user’s financial standing (Your Money) or health/wellbeing (Your Life).
These sites are held to particularly high standards by Google because if YMYL content is presented inaccurately, untruthfully, or deceptively, it could directly impact the user’s happiness, health, safety, or financial stability and have potentially devastating effects.
Simply put, experts with relevant expertise needed to write YMYL content. With that being said, it’s important to follow a few simple guidelines when writing content on your medical website.
Your To-Do (and Don’t) List
- DO display your E.A.T.
- DO write to educate
- DO check your facts
- DON’T write to sell
- DON’T keyword stuff
- DON’T provide false or misleading information
How does Google evaluate your writing?
Google isn’t stupid. In fact, most can argue it’s one of the most complex systems with some of the most advanced algorithms on the planet. Humans created those systems so it’s safe to assume that they’re pretty sharp too. On top of Google’s algorithms, there are roughly 10,000 human search quality raters around the world who evaluate search results to ensure that their users are finding the info they’re looking for online and the top results yield the absolute highest quality information.
These search results raters are given searches to perform in which they report back on the quality of the results that are yielded. More specifically, they focus their efforts on the quality of the top pages in the result set. The higher the quality, the more likely it is that the Google search results display the pages that users expect to see.
When the quality raters come across a YMYL site, they’ll evaluate it against a stricter set of standards than other pages because of the potential impact. So if you have a medical website that you want to rank, you’ll need to do more than simply optimizing it for the Google search algorithm. You’ll need to create authentic and superb content to make sure that Google’s quality raters really love it too.
If Google’s algorithm and search quality raters determine that you’re valuing sales or SEO over genuine, trustworthy content, this will have a negative impact on your overall search ranking. Both Google and your potential patients can see right through content that’s been written to sell, for SEO only, or with false or misleading information. So if you have a YMYL website, don’t forget to E.A.T.