It is well documented that Google uses two important concepts, EAT (Expertise, Authoritativeness, Trustworthiness) and YMYL (Your Money or Your Life), to evaluate and rank web content in its search results. While they share some similarities, they serve different purposes and are applied differently in the search engine’s algorithms.
EAT (Expertise, Authoritativeness, Trustworthiness):
Google assesses the expertise of the content’s creator or source. For example, if you’re providing medical advice, Google expects the author to have relevant qualifications or experience in the medical field. When describing this Expertise fact is sometimes coupled with an extra, distinct “Experience” factor. This factor focuses specifically on the longevity behind the expertise.
This factor evaluates the authority or reputation of the content, author, or website within its respective niche. High-quality backlinks from reputable sources can boost authority.
Trustworthiness gauges how reliable and accurate the content is. Sites that have a history of providing accurate and trustworthy information are favored.
It has long been known that this EAT concept is particularly important for content related to health, finance, legal matters, and other fields where misinformation can have significant consequences. Websites that demonstrate strong EAT are more likely to rank higher in search results.
YMYL (Your Money or Your Life):
YMYL stands for “Your Money or Your Life,” and it refers to a concept used by Google and web content evaluators to assess the quality and reliability of certain types of web content.
As Google Themselves say “We have very high Page Quality rating standards for YMYL pages because low-quality YMYL pages could potentially negatively impact a person’s happiness, health, financial stability, or safety”
Google places a high emphasis on ensuring that YMOYL content is accurate, reliable, and comes from authoritative sources. This is because misinformation or low-quality content in these categories can have serious consequences for individuals, potentially affecting their financial decisions, health, and overall well-being. Websites and content creators that offer YMOYL information are expected to demonstrate expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness (EAT) to a greater degree than content in other categories. Google’s algorithms evaluate YMOYL content rigorously to prioritise high-quality sources in search results, helping users access reliable information that can impact their lives directly.
While EAT and YMYL are related in that they both emphasise the importance of quality and trustworthiness, YMYL is a subset of EAT. Not all content falls into the YMYL category, but all content, regardless of its nature, is evaluated for EAT factors. YMYL content is held to a higher standard because it has a more direct impact on users’ lives and well-being.
In summary, Google differentiates between EAT and YMYL by considering EAT factors for all content but applying a more stringent evaluation, with a focus on expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness, to YMYL content that can directly affect users’ financial or personal lives. Both concepts are integral to Google’s efforts to provide reliable and accurate information to people looking for information and services in the legal sector. When you consider the following it is not surprising.
Accuracy and Legitimacy
Legal matters often involve complex and intricate issues. Inaccurate or unverified legal information can lead to serious consequences, including legal disputes, financial losses, or adverse legal actions. EAT content ensures that the information provided is accurate, reliable, and legally sound.
Trust and Credibility
Trust is paramount in the legal field. Clients and individuals seeking legal advice need to have confidence in the sources they consult. EAT content helps establish trust by showcasing the qualifications and expertise of legal professionals or organizations. This, in turn, helps build credibility and fosters trust between legal service providers and clients.
Legal content, whether it pertains to laws, regulations, or legal procedures, must be compliant with current legislation and standards. EAT content ensures that legal information aligns with the latest legal developments, minimising the risk of misinformation or non-compliance.
When individuals search for legal information online, they may encounter a wide range of sources, from reputable law firms to unverified blogs. EAT content helps users distinguish between trustworthy legal sources and potentially unreliable or biased information, enhancing their confidence in the information they find.
Search Engine Ranking
Google and other search engines prioritise EAT content to ensure that users receive reliable and authoritative information in response to legal queries. Websites and pages that demonstrate high EAT are more likely to rank well in search results, making it easier for individuals to access reliable legal resources.
This is why a site comprising boilerplate content, pages that stay static for long periods and that re-post content from other sites are, rightly, going to struggle to find visibility in a niche like this. With sites in the legal sector extra care has to be taken to focus on high quality, up to date, long-form content highlighting the active, engaged, expertise of those behind the site. This applies whether it is the law firm themselves creating the content or a legal digital marketing agency. Perhaps even more so when it comes to the latter. It is very difficult to cut corners and that is why a strategic approach must be taken. Content has to be written to highlight each and every area the legal practice wishes to be visible for. It is not up to Google to fill in the blanks and give sites the benefit of the doubt. The bar is high and it needs to be.