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3 SEO Considerations For Professionals in Google’s YMYL Designated Industries

In today’s increasingly crowded and competitive market, creating marketing content that gets your audience’s attention can be a formidable task. Raising brand awareness and capturing new customers often depends highly on your digital content’s Google rankings. If your company doesn’t appear on the first few pages of a Google search, chances are you’re not going to win your target audience’s business.

But getting a prime position on a search engine results page (SERP) doesn’t just happen. You have to earn it, and that can be more difficult in some industries than in others. In recent years, for instance, Google has updated its content quality assessment processes to better protect end users from false, misleading, or fraudulent content.

One of the most significant of these updates has been the institution of the Your Money or Your Life (YMYL) model. The YMYL framework addresses content that can have a substantial impact on viewers’ health, finances, or quality of life. The YMYL framework is enforced with particular rigor in industries that have significant power to inflict physical, financial, or emotional harm on end users.

Included in Google’s YMYL-designated industries are the fields of medicine and health, law, banking and finance, and e-commerce. And what that means is that if you are a marketer working in any of these fields, there are some things you need to know about thriving in the YMYL space.

1. Prioritize Transparency and Credibility

The core mission of the YMYL is to ensure that online content is both credible and transparent. Webmasters want to ensure that content developers can back up their claims and that any products or services promoted on those pages are legitimate.

So what that means for you as a marketer is that you will need to be absolutely transparent regarding the origins, purposes, and trustworthiness of any content you post. This would include embedding links to highly authoritative sources to help validate any and all claims.

But, of course, to do this, you must first develop your own expertise in differentiating between reliable and unreliable sources. Misinformation, for instance, is particularly prevalent in the arenas of health and medicine. The good news, though, is that it is not difficult to detect health misinformation if you know what to look for.

Inflammatory language, outlandish promises, and unsubstantiated claims are the most telling indicators of unreliable content. Remember that your content is only ever as strong as its weakest source, so you must take care to identify and avoid any sources that even hint at being unreliable if you want to meet Google’s stringent YMYL standards.

In addition, keep in mind that your specific industry may have additional legal requirements. For example, there are healthcare industry laws that govern what type of information can be shared about patients; in addition to HIPAA, providers and marketers must also abide by state and hospital requirements to protect patient privacy.

If your site and database get hacked, it can harm your credibility and thereby your SEO. That’s why it’s incredibly important to follow strict cybersecurity measures, keep all data backed up in multiple locations, and learn how to prevent incidents like ransomware attacks, which accounted for 25% of breaches in 2021.

2. Develop a Strong Keyword Strategy

Even though the YMYL paradigm requires more than a simple keyword algorithm to enforce, that does not mean that you should abandon your use of keywords in formulating robust SEO-driven marketing content.

The key, though, is to perform a pretty hefty keyword analysis of your own in order to more effectively identify the terms and phrases your target audience is most likely to use when researching products and services such as those offered by your company.

Once you have a clear understanding of the language your target audience will most likely use when they’re looking for businesses like yours, you can then begin developing your digital marketing content accordingly. However, if you throw in irrelevant keywords, then sooner or later you’re going to get dinged by Google. Your SERP rankings will plummet and you may even be delisted.

So always be very careful to integrate your keywords organically into your digital content. Ensure that they are clearly and directly relevant to the subject matter and not just inserted for the sake of a keyword algorithm.

3. Aim for High-Quality, User-Centered Content

Creating high-quality content is a must-do for any industry, it is absolutely essential for YMYL topics. This is because, as touched on previously in this article, YMYL content is subject to additional scrutiny because of its ability to directly impact an end user’s quality of life. In order to make your content stand out while meeting these industry-specific guidelines, there are several steps that you can take:

  • Recognize the importance of on-page SEO: in addition to creating content that will rank for specific keywords and earn you backlinks, having good on-page SEO can help create a better user experience.
  • Link to authoritative sources: While it is unlikely that your content will be able to directly compete with news sources, government agencies, and industry-specific journals, linking to these sites can boost your page’s credibility while also demonstrating your commitment to accurate information.
  • Adhere to the E-E-A-T principles: Following these guidelines, in addition to any considerations for your niche that are subject to YMYL, is a good way to increase your content’s chances of ranking higher.

You should also consider how you are creating your content. For instance, artificial intelligence is transforming a variety of industries and making waves in the job market. OpenAI’s natural language processors, including ChatGPT, have made it easier for skilled workers to be productive, as these tools can significantly decrease the time it takes for an employee to create content.

However, it is important to keep in mind that these language models can hallucinate and provide incorrect or misleading content – which is problematic for YMYL topics.  If you are looking to integrate artificial intelligence-driven tools into your content workflow, it is best to use them for processes like outlining or providing inspiration, as opposed to crafting your content from the ground up. 

The Takeaway

Developing effective marketing strategies in a YMYL-designated industry is not easy. However, by prioritizing content quality, your marketing campaigns can thrive in the YMYL environment.

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