Demystifying SEO for lawyers

Redbrick SolutionsBy Legal Futures’ Associates Redbrick Solutions

As of October 2020, Google has received more than three trillion searches, meaning that optimising your site to be in line with Google’s guidelines is more important than before. EAT and YMYL are both relatively recent updates to Google’s SEO algorithm. In the early days of search engine optimization, websites could simply stuff keywords onto pages and blog posts and expect to rank high. The old days are gone, and Google has become more and more sophisticated.

To put it simply, EAT and YMYL both focus on the quality of content. In this blog post, we’ll take you through Google EAT and YMYL guidelines and our top tips on how you can get your site optimised.

What Does EAT Stand for in SEO?

EAT stands for Expertise, Authoritativeness and Trustworthiness, and using EAT for SEO means creating credible content. Google first introduced EAT as part of its updated Search Quality Guidelines in 2014, and has continually been updated for manual content reviewers to spot trustworthy sites.

Google is continually trying to improve the experience for its users, and to do so, they need to make sure ranking content aligns as closely as possible to search queries. False, low-quality or unhelpful content is negative for Google and its users. Google uses EAT to make sure the content that shows up is trustworthy and comes from the most credible standpoint. By prioritizing EAT content, Google can make sure that users are getting the best results.

Imagine if you searched for medical advice for treating migraines and the first page that came up was a dodgy, spammy website that gave questionable advice on home remedies that weren’t based on scientific evidence. Whilst frustrating for the user, if Google did not implement EAT in its guidelines, there are users that may see this information as truth and may potentially be harmful.

What is YMYL?

YMYL stands for Your Money Your Life. Google uses this classification for content that would affect your financial livelihood or overall wellbeing. Just like our previous example about searching for medical information, false content in this realm can end up harming users.

It’s important to think of EAT and YMYL together because Google focuses the most on EAT for YMYL articles or websites. If you own a website that discusses medical or financial advice, it’s essential to speak from a place of authority and truth.

The combination of EAT and YMYL is why educational institutions and credible organizations rank high. These types of sites have a high domain authority because it’s clear that they’re delivering expert information.

How Does Google Factor EAT and YMYL?

You can think of YMYL as a category of websites that determines how essential EAT needs to be. The more YMYL content a website includes, the more Google will scrutinize whether the content upholds EAT.

The bottom line is that Google wants to prioritize websites that serve a beneficial purpose. Google will rank sites very low if their main purpose is misleading or harmful to users.

Technically, EAT SEO for Google factors into a manual content review process rather than one of Google’s algorithms. While Google doesn’t disclose its specific ranking process, the Search Quality Guidelines give us a solid idea of what’s prioritized.

Examples of EAT and YMYL Content

YMYL content can apply to full sites or individual pieces of content. Some sites that Google would consider as YMYL are:

  • WebMD
  • The Mayo Clinic
  • Business Insider
  • Nerd Wallet
  • WikiHow

These sites all offer different types of advice, whether it’s medical-based, financial or more general. Even if you don’t own a site as big as these examples, your content may still include YMYL aspects.

Examples of EAT content include anything written by subject matter experts or peer-reviewed studies. SME content is the greatest example of EAT, though you can still create EAT content without hiring experts.

EAT content doesn’t have to apply to YMYL, so you can create EAT articles for a variety of topics. If you’re a local business, one of the best ways to integrate EAT within your website is through reviews, testimonials and case studies. User-generated pieces of content help signal to Google and other users that you’re a credible source.

You can also boost your website’s credibility through a backlinking strategy. Backlinks are any links to your site from other websites. The more links you have from high-authority sites, the more it boosts your domain authority and rankings. Consider asking other websites or publications to reference your content and guides.

How to Incorporate EAT and YMYL

How you incorporate EAT and YMYL into your website will depend on your products, services and information. If you’re a service provider, you likely already have an expert point of view in your industry. Creating EAT content is as easy as writing based on your expertise.

If you aren’t a firsthand expert on the topics you want to write about, consider hiring subject matter experts. Especially if you’re incorporating YMYL content, don’t limit your writing to keyword research. Your content should answer users’ questions truthfully and as helpful as possible.

Staying on Top of EAT SEO, YMYL and More

If you weren’t already familiar with EAT SEO, YMYL and other Google ranking factors, we recommend staying on top of Google’s changes. Google is constantly adapting to user search behaviour and updating its search engine. With every change, Google is aiming to become faster, more efficient and more helpful.

As a business owner or marketer, your goal is to work in tandem with Google as much as possible. Google has its users at top of mind – not your website. To stay competitive, keep your audience as your priority to develop content that’s reliable and helpful.

To learn more join our informative webinar, ’Demystifying SEO for lawyers’ with Anthony Barone, founder and general manager of Studiohawk on the 25th May at 11am


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