Google Search has training guidelines for people who evaluate legal help websites and results. These are called Search Quality Evaluator Guidelines.
And one of the central principles they teach people rating websites is YMYL, or Your Money or Your Life. Concerns and sites that concern high-YMYL matters. YMYL is framed around financial stability, health, safety, and welfare.
Here is a sample rubric from the search guidelines, copyright Google 2022.
For clear YMYL topics, the search engine has higher standards about quality. This is for fear of possible harms a person or a community may experience because of low quality results.
In our legal domain, we see most justice needs as being clearly YMYL topics, deserving of this special treatment. These high-YMYL topics include:
- Facing an eviction, or dealing with poor quality rental housing
- Dealing with debt from loans, hospital bills, auto purchases, and other bills
- Seeking protection from domestic violence or harassment
- Considering how to navigate a divorce, child custody, and financial support
- Figuring out how to respond to wage theft or discrimination at work
- Getting a traffic ticket, to avoid its steep financial and criminal consequences
- Trying to get guardianship for a child whose parents aren’t able to take care of them
- Figuring out how to deal with a housing contractor who seems to have scammed you out of money — especially after a natural disaster
Our hope is that we can work with Internet platforms to get higher attention & improved product offerings for YMYL-legal queries — so people can better avoid harms and get helpful information during a crisis.