I work with many different life science and healthcare brands to create content marketing strategies and improve their SEO. Yet there is an important aspect that many of these brands are unaware of – EAT and YMYL.
In this article, we are going to investigate what these acronyms even stand for, why they are important and how to incorporate them into a life science digital marketing strategy.
What is EAT & YMYL?
These two acronyms were introduced by Google and stand for ‘expertise, authority and trustworthiness’ and ‘your money, your life’ respectively.
Both of these acronyms come from Googles search quality rating guidelines – Search Quality Rating Guidelines – and guide human search assessors on how to rank content in the SERPs (search engine result pages).
Although they are not strictly classed as SEO ranking factors, they are useful to understand how Google ‘rates’ content, and they are likely to be of more impact as the SERPs become more competitive.
Let’s look at them in more detail.
When Google published the original guidelines, they were done so to help human evaluators give feedback based on Google updates and experiments.
But EAT isn’t necessarily important for all search queries, but on a case-by-case basis, depending on the search query.
For example, if you are searching for images of lab equipment then EAT principles are probably not at play. But on the other hand, searching Google for chemical suppliers is likely going to rely heavily on EAT.
The real difference between the two searches is how ‘important’ they are, and what the potential impact could be if for misinformation.
Here’s a breakdown of each of the concepts, and how they relate to science, health or medical queries.
Expertise relates to the knowledge or skill you have about a particular topic. Rather simply, you need to know about science, health or medical if you are going to write about them.
These topics are examples of YMYL topics (more later on in this article).
If your website is producing scientific content, it is important that you have a writer that has expertise in science, such as having the necessary qualifications and/or experience in the industry,
For example, you should get an analytical chemist to write about HPLC troubleshooting, an astrophysicist to write about black holes, or a doctor to write about prescription drugs.
When we talk about authority, this relates to reputation within the industry. Authority isn’t just about the individual that produces the content, but the authority of the website that it is published.
If a scientist is producing scientific content, it makes much more sense and adds more authority, if it is published on a scientific website, rather than a news site for example.
But how do you demonstrate authority?
This can be as simple as using an author bio with qualifications and publications. But referencing other reputable content and citations will go a long way to ensuring yourself as an authoritative source
Trust comes from how your readers view your legitimacy and accuracy of content.
With expertise and authority demonstrated, you also need to provide users with a reason to trust your content. This can be as simple as providing content that is timely and up to date, with citations and the relevant expertise and experience.
If you’ve got this far in the article, what is making you trust me as an individual talking about science AND SEO at the same time?
Maybe it’s because you’ve seen my other blog posts, read my about page, or viewed external articles I’ve written in relation to both topics.
Examples of EAT in Action
Unsurprisingly, finding examples of EAT in action is quite difficult. However, the following examples should give you an idea of the principles of EAT in action:
LabX is on online marketplace for science and laboratory products, and regularly publishes new content.
In this example, you can see the use of author name and credentials, clearly listed at the top of the article:
Phenomenex is a global leader focusing on the analytical chemistry industry, solving separation and purification challenges for a range of different researchers.
As shown in this blog post, the article is written by a relevant guest author who has knowledge of the topic at hand:
Merck is a global science company offering solutions to the toughest problems in life science.
They have a wealth of information that they publish on their site, with this great EAT in action with the author list present:
Your Money, Your Life relates to any content that can directly influence your personal finances or your health.
‘Your Money’ mostly refers to financial well-being, such as personal investments or lifestyle decisions, with ‘Your Life’ referring to your health and well-being.
For life science, medical and healthcare brands, ‘Your Life’ is the most likely candidate here.
If you are producing content that is related to science, health or medical, then any information that can be consumed by the reader has the potential to impact their health.
Therefore, when producing these type of contents, you should follow the EAT guidelines – mentioned above – as important guidelines.
This ensures that the content you are producing is from an expert with authority, and gives the necessary credentials to be trusted, directly related to YMYL.
Finding YMYL examples is a lot harder, especially as there are so few life science brands that you can consider to directly impact human health. However, here are some good examples with reasoning.
UK readers will be well aware of the NHS (National Health Service), the body that offers public health to the residents of Great Britain.
They have many useful pages, especially around different medicines and health procedures.
You will find that many pages like this one are well structured, highlights warnings where necessary, links to other internal pages and covers common questions and useful resources.
A feature I like is that they include the ‘page last reviewed’ date as well as the ‘next review date’ for information.
This example borders on just good EAT principles, but due to the health and safety aspect, it may well be considered YMYL content.
In this article – Handling and Storing Chemicals – there are elements of safety and personal protection, which will definitely impact your life.
And although there is little more than a name and link to author profile, the resulting profile is detailed and clearly demonstrates some expertise, relevant to the above YMYL subject.
How can I ensure I cover EAT & YMYL Principles on My Site?
By now, you should have a good idea what needs to be included to demonstrate the requirements for EAT and YMYL.
Whilst there is no set requirements of definitions to include, making sure you include content, links, citations, profiles – anything that helps demonstrate to readers that your content is the best content out there.
Typically, this means finding the correct writers to produce content for you and publishing in their own names. And even then, you need to ensure that you have the right authority and trust as a brand and a website.
Because there is no checklist or audit that can tell you if you meet EAT or YMYL principles, it can be hard to understand how you fare. The way around this would be to ask a neutral party to go through your site and offer honest insights.
With a background in SEO, I can audit your site; providing insights, recommendations and actions you should take.
And if you need a writer to add expertise and authority to your written scientific content, why not get in touch and enquire about my scientific writing services?