If you own a health-related website, whether it’s a massive blog about nutrition and how to eat healthy throughout the year, or you own an online veterinary compounding pharmacy where your store sells medications to veterinarians across the world, you will want to look not only knowledgeable and authoritative – you want to show up in Google.
Everywhere we look, whether we’re driving on the highway and pass by a larger than life billboard, watching the commercials and advertisements during the Super Bowl, or even watching a trending video on Youtube during our lunch break, we are bombarded by ad after ad after ad. We are constantly being sold to, and most of us – when the targeting isn’t done properly – hate it and are annoyed. We learn to distrust ads and products sold to us by influencers promoting these products, like the Kardashians.
If you own a health website, you need people to trust you. They don’t want to be sold to. And the number one place to do that is Google.
Why Google is Important for Medical Websites
The pandemic this year has led a lot of us to frantically and constantly search through the internet for helpful information about the coronavirus, and what we can do to protect ourselves and others, and also to track the progress of cases and infections in areas where we live.
Now, if you want information that’s reliable and informative about the COVID-19, it’s likely that you aren’t going onto social media to find this information (most of us don’t follow scientists and doctors with PHDs on social media). Relying on that random meme about how covid infections spread isn’t going to provide valuable or trustworthy information.
When you want information you can trust, you go to Google. To find information on any type of condition, we will often use Google to search our symptoms in order to find how to treat our condition, and Google’s algorithm will show users relevant information.
But how does Google do this, exactly? How does Google know how to show users information that won’t put their life at risk.
It’s called YMYL.
What in the World is YMYL?
In short, YMYL is a nifty acronym that stands for “Your Money Your Life.” What this means is that Google places greater importance, and a lot more guidelines, on content that can affect a user’s money, life, and happiness. This tends to focus on content that centers around financials like taxes and audits, medical information on conditions and illnesses, and other important industries that if the reader were to obtain incorrect information and used it, it could have a huge negative impact on their life.
Therefore, while you could write content that is completely optimized for the term “seasonal allergies,” you will see that the top ten is filled with search results from the Mayo Clinic, Kids Health, Healthline, and other reputable medical websites. These are all authoritative and trustworthy in the medical space, and it prevents websites that will try to sell products (that may or may not work) to cure seasonal allergies, from ranking in the top 10 will users will likely click.
How to Know When a Search Term is YMYL
The reason you need to know whether a topic falls under the category of “YMYL” is so important because if you spend a lot of time working on content and optimizing a piece to rank for a YMYL keyword… only to never go beyond the second or third page, you will have wasted a lot of time and effort.
Here’s an example. Let’s say that you run an eCommerce website that sells hemorrhoid cream, and other products dealing with hemorrhoids. Hemorrhoids are a delicate issue and are often treated by experienced physicians and proctologists. Someone searching for issues about hemorrhoids are in a lot of pain, and they need reliable information that will help them quickly.
If you’re using SEO to attract new users and customers to your website, you may decide to write on topics that involve common issues someone dealing with hemorrhoids might lookup. For example, if you were to search “hemorrhoid treatment,” you will find again that all of the search results are from authoritative medical websites.
These websites do not have a high Domain Authority alone but are the most reputable sources of medical information on the internet. All of the content is written by physicians, medical assistants, medical students, and anyone with a position or degree qualified enough to speak on the information. Google sees this and knows it can show it to readers. If you write content on hemorrhoid treatment on any ol’ regular website, and it’s not written by someone with the experience to know what they’re talking about, there is close to zero of a chance that you will rank in the top ten for this keyword. “Hemorrhoid treatment” is therefore a YMYL search term.
How to Rank For Medical and Health Search Terms
All of this information begs to answer the question then of whether or not it’s even possible to rank for medically related keywords? It is! But you need to check the search results to see whether or not you have a real opportunity of ranking.
Just because the search term “hemorrhoid treatment” only brought up medical-related websites, doesn’t mean that any search term dealing with hemorrhoids is off the table. For example, if you were to now search “hemorrhoids and coffee” which also has to deal with hemorrhoids, you will find that the website Medium has a post ranking in position 8.
Now, Medium is a website that anyone who’s anyone can write on, as long as they want to. It has a pretty high domain authority, but it isn’t just a medical website. The fact that this page can rank means that the search term is open to other websites who want to put in the effort to rank for that term.
What to Do When You’re Ready to Rank in Google
If you see Google as one of the best avenues of attracting new customers or audiences, be sure to read up on YMYL and EAT, and follow these important steps:
- Make sure your search term provides the opportunity to rank in the top 10
- Make sure your content is written and attributed to an author who is an expert in the field
- Include links to other authoritative medical and health websites where you got your information
- Make sure your content is reliable, so you won’t be penalized by Google for trying to write incorrect information on the internet