How Google’s YMYL Affects Your Healthcare Practice

November 2, 2023

You don’t want your finances or your health to be threatened by anything–and it might surprise you to hear that Google agrees with you 100 percent!

In fact, Google feels so strongly about this that in September 2019, they rolled out an algorithm update that seriously affects healthcare businesses. It’s called “Your Money or Your Life,” referred to as YMYL, or the “medic update.”

What Is YMYL?

YMYL, or Your Money or Your Life, is a Google algorithm that scrutinizes pages that can affect users’ future health, happiness, or finances to ensure they’re trustworthy and accurate. Google holds medical pages to a high standard using this algorithm, and if you’re not aware of it, your site ratings may tank without you knowing why.

When a healthcare website doesn’t meet Google’s YMYL standards, it’ll no longer be found at the top of the search engine results page.

YMYL prioritizes showing websites that contain credible, high-quality content. It is designed to protect people from incorrect information that can be detrimental to their health or life.

Who Does YMYL Apply To In Healthcare?

If you’re in healthcare, you might be wondering whether YMYL can affect your website. Those influenced by this algorithm include

  • Chiropractors
  • Functional medicine practitioners
  • Mental health practitioners
  • Nutritionists and nutritional therapists
  • Osteopaths
  • Naturopaths
  • Herbalists
  • Acupuncturists
  • Integrative medicine practitioners

The bottom line: if you’re in the medical, health, or wellness spaces, then you’re affected by YMYL.

How the YMYL algorithm works

The YMYL algorithm detects which websites contain healthcare-related information. Then, it checks whether the content on the site is high-quality by judging the level of experience, expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness (or E-E-A-T) it has. It places sites with high-quality content higher on the search engine results page, and sites with lower quality content — like those with incorrect or outdated information, for example — lower on the search engine results page.

That’s the case even for someone who might have plenty of backlinks, or has a huge social media following!

The YMYL Practices That Help Your Ranking

What can you do to make sure you’re working with YMYL, and not against it? Plenty!

  • Post engaging, longer-form blog posts
  • Refer only to trusted sources
  • Work to have a positive online reputation
  • Have information that users are looking for easily available on your site

These are just a few general guidelines you can follow to help your site rank higher. If you’re looking for help, book a free discovery call with us!