Anyone who claims to have all the answers about how to get your site to the top of Google’s organic search result rankings is, at best, exaggerating, because the evaluation criteria change all the time. As the trolls keep getting wiser, Google continuously looks for new ways to evaluate websites so that it can stop the misinformation from ranking above the reliable sites. It especially places a value on so-called “YMYL” sites, ones where misleading content could cause users to suffer serious physical or financial harm.
What Are YMML Sites?
Not to be confused with YMMV (“your mileage may vary,” common on discussion boards where non-experts trade advice) or YOLO (“you only live once,” popularized by a song by Drake and Lil Wayne and then repeated ad nauseam in the captions of photos posted on social media), YMYL stands for “Your Money or Your Life,” as in “don’t gamble with your money or your life. Google classifies as YMYL sites any website that asks users to enter identifying information that would put users at risk of identity theft, such as bank account numbers or PINs. By extension, any website that allows users to make financial transactions is a YYL site, so that includes ecommerce sites. Finally, websites that give customers advice about health-related or financial decisions are YMYL sites. Since engaging the services of a lawyer is a major financial decision, your law firm’s website automatically counts as a YMYL site.
In order to determine a site’s rankings on Google searches, Google has a team of human evaluators rate each site for credibility and relevance to search engine queries, in addition to its automated ways of ranking sites. The acronym YMYL became known outside of website evaluator circles in 2012, when someone publicly shared an internal memo from Google establishing guidelines for ranking YMYL sites.
How to Make Your Law Firm’s Site Meet Google’s Standards for YMYL Sites
Because your law firm’s website is a YMYL site, on which people rely to help them make important decisions, ranking on the first page of search results requires more than just dazzling the search engine ranking bots by putting all the right keywords in all the right places. Here are some factors that make the human evaluators who rate YMYL sites consider your site credible.
· Contact information – Your site should include a physical address, a phone number, and the names of the lawyers. YMYL sites that are transparent about their connection to the offline world are more credible.
· Frequent updates- Frequently updating your site, such as by posting on a blog, shows that its content is up-to-date. (By contrast, a website that gives legal advice but doesn’t give you anyone to contact with further questions and doesn’t provide any updates is the legal advice equivalent of leaving a paper bag full of dog doo on someone’s doorstep.)
· Reputation – Building a good reputation for your law firm online and offline will help its Google search rankings.
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