Money or Your Life Content and Authorship

In this session we are going to cover:

  • What is YMYL content 
  • How does YMYL apply to Student Minds
  • The importance of including authorship 
  • Content Maintenance

I’ve had a quick scan of Student Space and pulled up some items for review and compared it to other charities operating in the mental health sector. 

What is YMYL content?

YMYL well it stands for Your Money or Your Life Content. Pay attention to this acronym as it appears 28 times in this presentation and is a real tongue twister. Play along at home and count how many times I say it wrong…Here we go.

YMYL is content that: Google deems, could impact “the future happiness, health, financial stability, or safety of users” – Google

Have you ever searched on Google about a cough you just can’t shake and started reading health articles on this…OR Say you have just found out your favourite luxury designer brand has just launched its very own stylish ensembles for your furry friend. 

Yes, this is a real product Gucci has launched! 

Seeing these kitted canine crew tops has left you clambering hand over fist to invest your money in stocks for this highly meme-able product. As a result, you’re frantically searching online for financial advice on how to buy shares in Gucci. 

Both these examples are considered YMYL content as the first could impact your health and the second – investing in shares could impact your financial security. 

Google wants to ensure you have the best possible advice when searching online and creates much stricter guidelines on this type of content as a result. 

A YMYL page is serious stuff, and Google doesn’t play around with content that could impact the future happiness, health, financial stability, or safety of users

Google has a 300-page guidance document that outlines content standards to help sites rank well. This document bridges the gap between user intent and search result accuracy which influences SEO ranking factors. 

Obviously, I wouldn’t expect you to read such a lengthy document. These mini-series will skim over the main points.

All this culminates in YMYL content being harder to rank in the SERP.

A lot of acronyms already I know…let me break it down for you. 

In 2018 Google released The Google Medic update which impacted how YMYL content is reviewed by Google algorithms. This update affected a lot of industries, with “over 42% of the sites affected were in the medical, health, fitness, or healthy lifestyle space”

Previous YMYL content was hard to rank, and it just became even harder.

But when we think about this content and the potential impact it can have on people, I very much welcome this update. It ensures that the sites you are viewing, have the authority and expertise to talk about this niche of content. Sites that don’t, simply appear less frequently on the SERP.

So what happens to sites that has YMYL and also non-YMYL content? This is the position we will be in post web merger on the primary Student Minds website.

Well, this question was put to John Mueller Software Architect who works with Google’s SEO algorithms. In an interview, John said mixing YMYL and non-YMYL is “… always going to be challenging for Google’s algorithms to figure out how to deal with that website”

Huh…not the definitive answer content creators were looking for.

This is why in the previous workshop we noted SEO is like an art and science of persuasion 

So you’re probably thinking, we’ve gone back and forth and ended up right back where we started, and I’m non the wiser…So what does that mean, and what can we do?

How does YMYL apply to Student Minds?

When Google approaches YMYL content like the psychoeducational content that is on Student Space, it ranks the content on the EAT Principle.

Remember, EAT stands for:

  • Expertise
  • Authoritativeness
  • Trustworthiness

This is one of the Key factors from Google for assessing the quality of a web page.

So what have we learnt so far…

To rank YMYL content we need to demonstrate EAT in our content.

So how do we do that?

Here is a screenshot straight from Google’s 300-page guideline document I referenced earlier. This section refers to the EAT Principle.

When approaching EAT we must consider:

  • The expertise of the creator of the main content
  • The authoritativeness of the creator of the main content, the main content itself, and the website
  • The trustworthiness of the creator of the main content, the content itself, and the website

The better we can communicate this to Google and our users, the more they will trust our content and the higher we will rank.

Some tips on how to create EAT content:

1. Create High-Quality Content – this is the most important 

Google doubled down on this in the “Helpful Content Update” released in August 2022. 

The focus of the update is to ensure content is:

  • Original
  • Helpful to users
  • Written by people, for people 

I can see the use of AI and Google’s ranking features becoming the hot topic of 2023 as systems like Chat GPT become more influential in the content creation process.

2. Provide Author Info & Transparency

Pro tip: Have subject matter experts review your writers’ content. This will help you establish credibility and avoid any mistakes or misinformation.

This is already happening with CAG! And keep this in mind as we move into authorship later

3. Use Credible Sources

Just like references in essays you wrote at Uni, articles need to reference claims to other authoritative sites, and we will look at this later in the backlinking workshop

4. Create a Positive Organisation Reputation

Your organisation’s reputation can impact the trustworthiness of your content and site overall.

5. Monitor & Leverage User-Generated Content

User-generated content is any type of content created by consumers or website users rather than the organisation itself. 

We are starting to see this happen with some of the work Abi is leading on. Linking blog post quotes from our volunteers and embedding them into Student Space content. 

Perhaps this is an area we can continue to ideate and develop.

To sum up, as long as we are diligent in our research, review process, and content creation our EAT score should increase over time.

Let’s look at how to put that into practice.

Content Authorship 

Content Authorship refers to two key areas:

  1. Content creator authorship 
  2. Website or organisation authorship

When writing YMYL content we must consider if both of these authorship groups have the expertise to write or host the content.

But how do we communicate this to Google and most importantly, our users?

Let’s look at Content creator authorship in more detail and how this is currently being communicated in Student Space.

As you can see from the screenshot, a snippet of Gareth’s bio appears above the article’s body and gives an overview of his expertise. 

This sends positive signals to Google and highlights the trustworthiness of the content they have written.

As content creators, we should always be reviewing our content and looking to improve it. This could be the content itself, any context or references, and its structure or the way it’s presented. 

An improvement that would require minimal investment and could positively impact the contents EAT score is creating a more detailed bio page for our clinical writers that snippets like this could link to. 

This would give users (and Google) more space to read and understand the depths of the authors’ expertise. 

But don’t take my word for it, 

in 2022 Student Minds had its content reviewed by an award-winning SEO agency called FOUND. They put forward several recommendations, these are the main points relating to YMYL content.

  1. “All articles should contain authorship information similar to the Gareth Hughes


  1. Authorship information should link through to more in-depth author bio pages

hosted on the site.”

I would highly recommend reading their findings as we progress through this SEO workshop series.

Now let’s look at the second category in authorship – Website or organisation authorship

This includes both the reputation of the site, but also the organisation associated with it. 

I had a look over the site for some ‘quick wins’ and found a couple of areas for improvement that could help demonstrate EAT in site authorship. These guidelines can be applied to any of the Student Minds platforms. 

The way the Student Space team is creating its content demonstrates a high EAT-ability…if such a word exists. But I struggled to find any detailed information on this process, CAG or how Student Space creates its clinical content on the site. 

Better communicating this process may improve the EAT score of our YMYL content.

In fact, the Student Space About Us page might need to be reviewed, as it is quite modest.

We can also see on this page that there are connections between Student Minds and its funders. As these are credible links, this goes a long way for EAT. 

There is a good use of back-linking here. Unfortunately, it isn’t consistently appearing across the site with areas in the footer highlighted in yellow that should have hyperlinks attached to them.

If you click on the Student Minds link it sends the user to the Student Minds home page, and I wonder if there could be a better place to send people to communicate this relationship. 

Here is another example of backlinking and authoritativeness 

Again we can see on the evaluation page that there are some links are missing highlighted in yellow and these are missed opportunities for Google to create authoritative connections.

The “Read the Evaluation” links to a report page on the Centre for Mental Health site. I wonder if the Student Minds hyperlinks should send users to a page on its site that explains this relationship between itself and Student Space more clearly.

Maintaining content

Maintaining YMYL content is really important as our users (and Google) want to ensure that this highly sensitive content is up-to-date and relevant.

As creators of YMYL content, we want to ensure we are creating and maintaining every piece of content so it is the highest quality it can be. 

Too much YMYL content on a site can be damaging if the organisation doesn’t have the capacity or resources to maintain it.

When you begin to discuss introducing new YMYL content, ask yourself:

  • Do we have the authority to write about this content?
  • Is my team able to maintain this way into the future?
  • Is this content timely and might it need a retirement plan?
  • Does this content replace or update an existing piece of content?

I know the team has some fantastic content management spreadsheets, and with the pending website merger, these processes are under review on how we approach it moving forward.

So the logistics are covered, big tick…well done!

Now we need to communicate this to our users and Google. 

As we can see from the screenshot, we have a “Last Reviewed” at the bottom of every article. Fantastic! But this is only half of the story.

Imagine you’re in a supermarket and looking to buy high-risk food like raw meat or fish. You pick up the packet and it only has the date it was packed on it. Would you risk it?

YMYL content is the same, we shouldn’t expect our users to trust the quality of it if they can’t determine when this content is due to expire or next be reviewed.

Any page that includes YMYL content should also be including “Next Review” as standard. This holds us accountable for managing our content but also communicates to our users and Google that the due diligence is happening.

An early YMYL content review can be triggered as a response to events or external factors in the world, but all should have a default next review date.

Here is an example of how Mind is effectively demonstrating this.

As you can see, minor tweaks that can potentially have a big impact on our EAT score.

There isn’t clear guidance from Google on when articles like this should be reviewed. The content team should take feedback from the content experts and determine what is suitable given the organisation’s resources and the sensitivity of the content. 

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