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A CMO’s Guide to “Your Money Your or Your Life”

As a fintech company, it is important to be aware of the potential legal risks associated with making claims in your content. This is especially true since most fintech startup marketing falls under Google’s “Your Money Your Life” (YMYL) category, which Google’s algorithm is very critical of.

What is YMYL Content?

YMYL content, or “Your Money Your Life” content, refers to any type of online content that could potentially affect a person’s money or life. Examples of YMYL content include medical advice, financial advice, and legal advice. Google has deemed this type of content as especially important and uses an algorithm to judge its accuracy and reliability.

Google won’t tell you if your website falls under the YMYL (Your Money Your Life) banner. But if you analyze their guidelines and apply it broadly, you can make an educated guess (and often be right).

Classic YMYL content

Page 21 of Google’s Quality Rater Guidelines

The pages of the newspaper that are associated with reporting facts are YMYL. The opinion blog post, not so much.

Newer YMYL content

Page 22 of Google’s Quality Rater Guidelines

The blog article about strollers probably doesn’t include user ratings, potential hazards, pricing. In fact, the article Google references here in their Quality Rater Guidelines focuses instead on the pros and cons of strollers, according to moms.

Ultimately YMYL content focuses on the website visitor. Are they going to enter in their credit card information? Are they going to take action that will impact the money they have (or the health they’re experiencing)? If so, Google will regard it with higher scrutiny to make sure it’s safe for their user– not just because they may input their card details, but because the page aims to help a user make a decision about where to spend their money. Sounds an awful lot like the educational content most Fintech startups want to create.

What to avoid when creating YMYL content

When creating content for your brand, you should avoid proscriptive language. Words like “should” or “will,” could open you up to liability if the customer feels that you are making a promise.

Types of legal liabilities to watch out for:

Breach of Contract: Using APR percentages, dollars off, discounts, or anything related to return on investment without qualifiers could constitute as an offer, which under contract law could mean you unintentionally created a contract you didn’t mean to if a person signs up. By not giving them what you promised, you could be in breach of contract.

To avoid – Use language like “up to ____ amount” or “between ____ and ____.” It also helps to use language like “could” or “in past experience” so you’re not unintentionally promising anything.

Negligent Misrepresentation: If you’re promising a result, or committing to do something in your copy, but don’t follow through on that (for whatever reason), you could be liable for misrepresentation.

To avoid – Have your lawyer check out any claims you make first. Then make sure you talk about case studies and customer experiences instead. Customer experiences are more powerful motivators, and way less legally risky.

A Guide to Strong “Your Money or Your Life” Pages

Step 1: Follow (E)EAT

  • Expertise – you want people who are well versed in your topic and can demonstrate in-depth knowledge. Licenses, employment, and degrees help here. Include formal qualifications or real-world experience in the About page, Author Bio, or throughout your website.
  • Experience – This is new. Google is now leaning into personal and professional experience of the authors of YMYL content.
  • Authoritativeness – Being cited and linked to by other experts helps to build an individual’s authority. Look for opportunities to write for publications, or provide a quote or resource for other writers.
  • Trustworthiness – Get reviews from real-life customers and clients. Share easy to access contact information, and make sure Google and other search engines can read your website content.

Step 2: Improve your content quality

  • High-quality content – Create content that is well written, thoroughly covers your topic, and cites sources. Don’t be afraid to link to other articles or publications.
  • A positive online and real-world reputation – Google looks at independent rating sites to understand what your reputation is like. Make sure data aggregators like FourSquare and have the correct information. Make sure to check your BBB profile.
  • Good resources including external links, FAQs, etc. – Like we said before – cite your sources. If you make a claim, have a primary source (scholarly article, interview quote, original data, etc.) instead of a secondary source (newspapers, other blogs, social media posts). And link out to those sources. That builds relevance and trustworthiness in Google’s algorithm.
  • A well-built website with a user-friendly design. – Intuitive design and a well maintained website experience helps search engines access your content, but also shows you are proactive in maintaining and refreshing your content.
  • Contact and customer service information prominently displayed. – Being accessible helps build trust in your brand.

Step 3: Keep your content up to date

The last thing you’ll want to do is have outdated information.

  • Make sure when you cite sources, the links don’t break, or the pages disappear.
  • Check in on your quoted authorities. Did they change jobs? Keep that up to date.
  • Has data you cited been updated? If so, edit and change your content accordingly.
  • Has any article not been updated in 6-12 months? Give it a refresh so it doesn’t get stale.

Kill two birds with one stone

Overall, by being aware of potential legal risks associated with making claims in your content and taking appropriate steps to mitigate them, you can help your fintech company grow quickly while avoiding liability.

Additionally, those same steps will help you better match Google’s high standards for YMYL content, and help make lead generation and SEO efforts much more effective.

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Picture of Jack Treseler

Jack Treseler

Jack is a serial entrepreneur with a decade of experience in marketing finance brands. Jack believes investing and business can be used for good, and loves helping fintech companies scale their business (and their revenue). He's also a fan of pineapple on pizza, but we won't hold that against him.