Beneficial Purpose, EAT, & YMYL: What are Google’s Quality Standards?

Team TypeStack
Team TypeStack ...
Dec 07, 2022  . 8 min read
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You must be wondering what Google searches for when ranking web pages for users.

Here’s the answer.

The most popular search engine released the search quality evaluator guidelines way back in 2015. It is mentioned here that there are the following three aspects of web pages and content that Google observes and analyzes for differentiation-

  • YMYL
  • EAT
  • Beneficial Purpose

What is a Google EAT & YMYL?

These guidelines are referred to by the human search evaluators of Google. Human search evaluators are those people that give a rating to the work of Google’s Algorithm.

It is also considered one of the essential tools for knowing what Google explores in a high-quality web page.

The search quality evaluator guideline was first updated in July 2018, then in May 2019, and recently in October 2021. Some major core updates have taken place in all of these releases.

If you are unaware of the Google ranking factor, then this guide will provide you with an outline. Don’t consider it an exact answer.

Let’s start from the bottom

Beneficial purpose

This concept was introduced in the first update of the search quality evaluator guidelines. As the name suggests, what beneficial purpose does the webpage fulfill for its users?

In Section 2.2 it is clearly stated, What is the Purpose of a Webpage?

The first and foremost step is to find out the purpose of the page. Why was the page created in the first place? There are many reasons to create a web page, either to help users or make money or spread false information or harm people as well.

In case you are wondering, why is it important to highlight the purpose of the page quality rating? Here are the reasons-

  • To assign the rating first Google needs to understand whether the webpage can achieve its purpose or not. Along with the webpage sometimes the search engine also needs to study the website for better understandability.
  • After clearly knowing the purpose, Google will be better informed about the criteria to look for when analyzing the page.
  • The utmost important line in the guidelines is “Websites and pages should be created to help users”. Those web pages that receive the lowest page quality ratings are created to harm, deceive, and fraud users.

Some of the beneficial purposes but not limited to are

  • Provide information about a particular subject
  • Share photos and videos
  • Express your opinion
  • Sell your products and services
  • To let users interact via questions and answers and many more

“Beneficial purpose” was given importance in the Google Core June Update that happened in 2019. John Mueller also emphasized user-centered content, purpose, and experience for better rankings.

The web page just with the primary motive of making money with no intention of helping users provide any information comes under the category of the lowest quality page.

For Google, users are always the priority over any algorithm.

YMYL

Content that is expressed falsely with the intent to harm or deceive users, will directly impact the user’s finance, safety, and health. YMYL is an acronym for Your Money or Your Life in Google terminology.

YMYL pages need to be ultra cautious with the content they publish, if it expresses bad or false information, then there are high chances that the user's lives may go south.

In Section 2.3 of search quality evaluator guidelines, Your Money or Your Life Pages are mentioned briefly. Here are some of the YMYL topics-

  • News about international events, science & technology, business, politics, and other important areas. Sports, entertainment news, and more or less the same categories do not come under YMYL.
  • Topics related to judicial and legal systems like public voting, and social services. Other legal subjects like divorce, wills, adoption, custody, etc.
  • Financial advice to buy insurance and investments, plan retirement planning, pay taxes, and get updated with the banking system.
  • Information about products and services that relate to online purchases.
  • Pages that express health and safety measures, for example, hospitals, medicines, emergency actions, etc.
  • Other pages that provide information, important in taking life decisions, not included in the above-mentioned areas also come under the Your Money or Your Life.

Google takes its users' safety and security very seriously, that’s why their standard for page quality ratings for particularly YMYL pages is very high.

The Web is crowded with Your Money or Your Life topics, therefore, quality evaluators need to use their experience, expertise, and judgment for passing the content as YMYL content.

So, what is the EAT abbreviation?

E-A-T

EAT is an acronym for Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness. It is an important quality characteristic. There are two aspects of it, first one is, one of the factors in determining page quality and the second is, EAT is another name for Page quality.

After finding the beneficial purpose of a web page, EAT level is checked in terms of YMYL content.

What does EAT mean?

Expertise

It checks whether the content creator is an expert or not. Whether they have the possession of the credentials to prove if required at some point.

Google has made an exception for everyday expertise in the updated version of the search quality evaluator guidelines. Those experts share life experiences on particular topics. No specialized education and training is required for this expertise.

It is stated in Section 4.5, The standard for expertise depends on the topic of the page.

Authoritativeness

Google’s definition of authoritativeness is substantiated or supported by documentary evidence and accepted by most authorities in a field. An authority figure is a leader and expert in a particular field.

Users look up to the expert for the true source of information. Users find your teaching and sources trustworthy and informative.

Authoritativeness is a combination of creator, content, and website.

Trustworthiness

Trust is the factor that makes an expert an authoritative figure among the users. It means that users trust you to provide true and accurate information.

This feature not only attracts new audiences but retains old visitors also.

Here are some of the notes mentioned in the guidelines that demand high E-A-T -

  • Medical field
  • Journalism
  • Scientific research and analysis
  • Financial and legal consultancy
  • High stake topics like parenting and home remodeling
  • Hobbies that necessitate experts teaching

Low-quality content

Along with the advantages you also need to be aware of the disadvantages, similarly, with high-quality content, be familiar with low-quality content also.

As per Google’s definition, those web pages that are being deprived of any beneficial purpose and intention of helping users are the lowest quality web pages. Those pages are created to intentionally harm users, spread false information and hateful content, and deceive users.

Just like high-quality content scales up your position in search engine result pages, low-quality content scales you down.

To know whether your content is anyway near to the lowest quality, here are some guidelines provided by Google-

  • Expertise, Authoritative, and Trustworthiness level is very low.
  • Content is not of high quality.
  • The content size does not match the content purpose
  • Either a shocking or exaggerated title is given
  • There is no relation between secondary and primary content
  • Anonymity is created about the content creator
  • As per extensive reputation research, either the creator or the website’s reputation is negative

Now check your content to see whether it contains one or any of the above-mentioned factors and eliminate it.

After upgrading your content (if required), here are some pointers to improve the website’s EAT-

  • First, identify the authors with a bio
  • Make sure that your contact information can be easily extracted by the user
  • Either remove or improve your low-quality content to high-quality one.
  • Brand reputation must be positive among the users

Conclusion

To sum up the whole picture and know what is Google EAT & YMYL? That is to get ranked by Google you need to create high-quality content with a user-centric approach.

Users are the ultimate goal for whom content is created, products and services are marketed, and all the algorithms are triggered to provide them with the best quality and accurate information.

Don’t crawl around the web just follow these three aspects to be on top of the page-

  • There has to be a purpose for every web page and that purpose must be a good intention for the users. A page with no purpose does not find a spot in search engine ranking.
  • There has to be an expert on the content. YMYL pages are mostly expert based because users’ lives and livelihoods depend on them.
  • High E-A-T level is the requisition factor in YMYL pages. EAT is an abbreviation of expertise, authoritative, and trustworthiness. The content creator has to be an expert with authority over content and must be trusted by the audience.
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