Google Judges Financial Websites Differently

While looking for information surrounding Google’s recent quality update, I stumbled upon this article from SearchEngineLand.com that explains how Google holds the quality of content on websites related to financial matters to a much higher standard than other topics.

The article reports on a copy of Google’s ‘Page Quality Rating Guidelines’ leaked in 2013, which advises it's Search Quality Raters (Google's human assessors) to hold websites that advise in financial matters, or health issues (dubbed 'Your Money or Your Life' pages), to a higher standard. 

The document states:

"There are some pages for which PQ is particularly important. We call these pages Your Money or Your Life (YMYL) pages. They are pages that can have an impact on your current or future well being (physical, financial, safety, etc.). YMYL pages should come from reputable websites and the content should be created with a high level of expertise and authority.”

SearchEngineLand report that the document then lists five examples of Your Money or Your Life pages:

  • Pages that solicit personal information, such as personal identification numbers, bank account numbers, drivers license numbers, etc., which could be used for identify theft.
  • Pages used for monetary transactions, on which users might give their credit account or bank account information; for example any page that allows you to buy something.
  • Pages that offer medical or health information that could impact your physical well being.
  • Pages offering advice on major life decisions, such as pages on parenting, purchasing a home, a vehicle, etc.
  • Pages offering advice on major life issues that could impact your future happiness and finances, such as pages giving legal or financial advice.

The lesson here is that to remember that Google is not only assessing your website from the perspective of an automated algorithm, but is also accounting for the human element - it is considering the reliability of your content, placing integrity, honesty and intent alongside keywords, social shares and inbound links.