If your website takes payments, collects personal details, or offers advice that could affect the visitor’s well being, then the latest Google quality guidelines could affect you. It’s not just banks or healthcare organisations that need to make sure their pages meet the highest quality standards. Any ecommerce website, or website that provides information that impacts a visitors’s current or future well being (physical, financial, safety, etc) could fail to meet Google’s rating guidelines.
Let’s take a look at how Google search quality ratings assess particular page types, and how you can show that these sorts of pages on your site are high quality.
What are Google search quality ratings?
Google relies on people around the world to rate web pages in terms of their usefulness to searchers. Raters assess from the perspective of the average user in a specific area and language, so that they can give the most useful feedback.
Ratings are not used to directly change the rankings of web pages. Instead, they help Google to measure how effective their search results are, and come up with better ways of ranking pages.
Google produces guidelines so that pages can be rated based on particular aspects of their quality. In its latest guidelines, it gives advice on rating some of the most important pages, referred to as “Your Money or Your Life” (YMYL) pages. You can see a copy of the 43 pages of guidelines by clicking here.
What are “Your Money or Your Life” pages?
So, what are YMYL pages? They are pages that could have an impact on the wellbeing of visitors in a number of ways. They involve one or more of the following:
• Taking personal information, such as bank details and driving license numbers
• Financial transactions
• Offering medical advice
• Giving advice on major life issues or decisions
Pages like these have the potential for negative impacts on visitors, such as leading to harmful health choices or identity theft.
How do Google’s guidelines affect YMYL pages?
The search engine has made it clear that Google search quality ratings don’t have a direct effect on web page rankings. Instead, the guidelines are important as they indicate the things Google is most concerned with.
The fact that YMYL pages feature in the guidelines suggests that they are, or could become, a focus of the algorithm Google uses to return search results. So, to help important pages like these to rank well (and make your visitors happy), you should ensure they are top quality.
How can you make sure YMYL pages are up to scratch?
Google gives its raters specific things to look for when rating YMYL pages. To make sure you’re producing high quality pages, you should focus on these areas:
The main content on YMYL pages should be written by an author who is an expert on the topic. Pages offering advice about things like medical conditions and parenting could cause great harm if they contain information that isn’t correct.
Providing accurate contact details shows you are accountable for your content. When giving serious advice or taking personal details, it’s important for visitors to the page to be able to ask questions.
Certain kinds of websites need to be able to show they are trusted by official bodies. For example, a website offering medical information could signal that it is endorsed by an authoritative medical association.
Present certifications and endorsements you’ve received in your website’s footer to make it clear that you have a good reputation within your industry.
YMYL pages should be reviewed regularly to make sure they contain up-to-date information. Content about topics like law and medicine will need to reflect developments that take place due to research and legislation.
The Google search quality rating guidelines ask raters to check that the homepage of a website is consistent with the internal page they are looking at. This means the internal page being relevant to the website’s purpose, as set out in the homepage.
High quality content needs to be accompanied by sophisticated site design. So, you need to look at things like making sure your site is organised well and easy to navigate. Take a look at this article for tips on great website design.
YMYL pages might be more common than you think. It’s not just banks or healthcare organisations that need to make sure their pages meet these high quality standards. Any ecommerce website, or website that offers high-impact information, could be rated more strictly by Google.
If you would like advice on how to make sure your web pages meet high standards, we’d be happy to help. You can contact us on 0115 948 0123, or use our contact form.