Topical authority sounds like a simple concept, right? You may even consider your business to be an authority in your industry. But being an authority and showcasing it in a way that Google can understand are two different things.
Here’s what you need to know about what topical authority means for search engine optimization (SEO), how it’s measured, and how to capitalize on your knowledge, all while highlighting your expertise through content creation.
What Is Topical Authority?
Topical authority refers to how much expertise and trustworthiness a website or web page has in a specific topic or subject area. It’s measured by several factors, including the quality and relevance of the content on a website, the number and quality of backlinks pointing to that website, the reputation and expertise of the web page’s author or publisher, and engagement and feedback from users. The more topical authority a website has, the more likely it is to appear when someone searches for information related to that topic.
For example, at Victorious, our blog posts cover different elements of SEO. Our subject matter experts weigh in on everything from structured data to referring domains. By discussing different aspects of each topic, we’re able to build topical authority in our field (SEO) and share our knowledge.
How Is Topical Authority Measured?
Google uses both qualitative and quantitative metrics to measure topic authority.
Qualitative metrics include factors like the value of the content and the reputation of the author or publisher, while quantitative metrics include factors like the number and quality of links pointing to the website and how long visitors stay on the page. Search engines like Google use a combination of these metrics to determine a website’s topical authority and rank it accordingly in search results.
Is Topical Authority a Google Ranking Factor?
Yes, topical authority is a Google ranking factor. Google’s algorithm is designed to prioritize high-quality, relevant, and trustworthy content in search results, and websites with high topical authority are more likely to meet these criteria. However, it’s worth noting that topical authority is just one of many ranking factors that Google considers. As a result, it’s important to focus on all aspects of SEO to improve your website’s search visibility.
How To Improve Your Site’s Topical Authority
To demonstrate your team’s high-level expertise in a given area, capitalize on the power of Google’s Experience, Expertise, Authoritativeness and Trustworthiness (E-E-A-T) guidelines. Utilizing our helpful tips will position you as an authority with unbeatable trustworthiness.
1. Use Keyword Research To Uncover Relevant Topics
Conducting effective keyword research is the first step in building topical authority on your website. Keyword research can help you identify the topics and search queries relevant to your audience. Thorough research can also inform your content creation and optimization strategies.
Start with broad search terms related to your industry.
When conducting keyword research, start with broad search terms related to your industry or niche. Doing so will help you identify the main topics and themes relevant to your audience. From there, you can use keyword research tools to identify more specific and targeted keywords related to those topics.
For example, if you run a fitness blog, you might start with broad search terms like “health and wellness” or “fitness tips,” and then narrow your focus to more specific keywords like “yoga poses for beginners” or “strength training exercises for women.”
Look for long-tail keywords.
Long-tail keywords are longer, more specific search terms that are less competitive than shorter, more generic keywords. These keywords can help you better target your audience and can be easier to rank for in search results.
When conducting keyword research, identify relevant long-tail keywords specific to your industry or niche. For example, instead of targeting the generic keyword “fitness tips,” you might target the more specific long-tail keyword “fitness tips for busy moms” or “fitness tips for seniors.”
Analyze your competitors’ keywords and content to find gaps and opportunities.
Analyzing your competitors’ keywords and content can help you identify keywords you haven’t targeted or new content ideas.
Start by identifying the main competitors in your industry or niche, and then use keyword research tools to analyze their content. Are there keywords you aren’t targeting that you should be? Are there gaps in their content that your content could help fill?
For example, if your main competitor in the fitness industry is not creating content focused on a particular type of exercise, such as kickboxing, there could be an opportunity for you to fill that gap and target that keyword. Or maybe they’re covering kickboxing and having great success, but you don’t have any content on that topic yet. Engage that audience by creating content that fills that gap so you can, ideally, steal that traffic from your competitor.
Use keyword research to inform your content creation.
Once you have identified the most relevant and targeted keywords for your industry or niche, it’s important to use them strategically in your content creation and optimization strategies. Be sure to incorporate these keywords into your website’s title tags, meta descriptions, headers, and content. That said, be careful not to overdo it or use them in an unnatural or spammy way, as this can negatively impact your search rankings. Focus on creating high-quality, informative content that provides value to your audience, and use keywords strategically to help search engines understand the focus and relevance of your content.
2. Cluster Content Around Pillar Pages
Creating long-form, informative articles that provide value to your audience is a critical part of building topical authority. By building pillar pages and clustering them with supporting content, you can illustrate the depth of your knowledge while creating content for different parts of the customer journey.
A pillar page is a long-form piece of content that covers a broad topic in depth. It serves as the main page that other pages on your website link back to. A content cluster is a group of related content that supports and links back to the pillar page. Think of a pillar page as the main hub of information on a particular topic and content clusters as the supporting cast. Together, they create a more comprehensive and trustworthy resource for your audience. Similarly, you can use the hub and content model to structure your site content.
By creating a more interconnected network of content on a particular topic, you establish your website as a trusted source of information and improve your search engine visibility.
3. Create Author Pages Showcasing Experience & Expertise
Author pages are a great way to showcase your expertise and build topical authority on your website. By creating an author page for each of your content creators, you can link to their bios, previous work, and social media profiles.
Author pages make it clear that the content creators on your site know what they’re talking about because they have direct experience with the topic or are experts in their fields. These E-E-A-T factors help lend authority to your content.
4. Add Internal Links To Make Connections Clear
Internal links are a crucial component of your website’s architecture that make it easier for users to find related content and navigate your website. They also make your website easier for search bots to crawl.
By using internal links effectively, you can guide search engines and your audience to the most important and authoritative pages on your site. When you link from one page on your website to another, you’re signaling to search engines that these pages are related and contain valuable information on a particular topic.
When it comes to internal links, there are a few key strategies to keep in mind. First, be sure to link to your most important pages, such as your pillar pages or other cornerstone content. This helps establish these pages as the main hubs of information on a particular topic.
Second, use descriptive anchor text when linking from one page to another. Doing so helps search engines and your audience understand the relationship between the two pages and can improve the relevance and topicality of the linked page.
Finally, use internal links to create content clusters around your pillar pages. By linking related content, you create a more comprehensive resource on a particular topic, which can help boost your website’s topical authority and improve your search visibility.
Topical Authority FAQs
What’s the difference between topical authority and domain authority?
Topical authority and domain authority are two related but distinct concepts in SEO. Topical authority refers to the level of expertise you have on a particular topic, while domain authority refers to the overall authority and credibility of your website as a whole. To improve your topical authority, you need to focus on creating comprehensive and authoritative content on a particular topic. To improve your domain authority, you need to focus on building high-quality backlinks and improving your website’s overall reputation.
How long does it take to build topical authority?
Building topical authority is a long-term strategy that requires ongoing effort and investment. There’s no set timeframe for how long it takes to build topical authority, as it depends on various factors, such as the level of competition in your niche, the quality and depth of your content, and the effectiveness of your SEO strategy.
Generally, you should expect to see results in the form of improved search rankings and traffic within three to 12 months of consistently creating high-quality, comprehensive content fueled by keyword research.
What’s the fastest way to build topical authority?
There’s no quick solution to building topical authority. However, investing in SEO content creation will help you build topical authority and increase organic traffic to your website.
Remember, though, that while fast results are always desired, the journey to improving topical authority is a marathon — not a sprint.
Can I improve my topical authority for multiple topics?
Yes, it’s possible to improve your topical authority for multiple topics. However, it’s generally more effective to focus on a few key topics and build deep topical authority for those topics rather than spreading yourself too thin.
The subjects you focus on should be related to your business. For example, on our blog, we focus primarily on SEO. Sometimes we cover adjacent topics like digital marketing, but we always do so in a way that relates to SEO.
Can you lose topical authority?
Yes, it’s possible to lose topical authority if you stop investing in creating high-quality and comprehensive content on a particular topic. Search engines are constantly updating their algorithms and evaluating the relevance and authority of content. As a result, it’s important to stay up-to-date and continuously invest in your content strategy to maintain your topical authority.
How do you measure topical authority?
No single metric or tool can measure topical authority, but you can assess the level of topical authority you have on a particular topic. To do this, track your search engine rankings and traffic for targeted keywords and phrases related to a particular topic. When you gain more rankings and climb higher on SERPs, that’s generally a good indication your topical authority is increasing.
How do content quality and depth affect topical authority?
The quality and depth of your content are key factors in building topical authority. To establish yourself as a reliable source on a particular topic, you need to create comprehensive and detailed content that provides value to your audience. This can include in-depth guides, tutorials, case studies, and other long-form content demonstrating your expertise and knowledge on a particular subject.
Can guest blogging help build topical authority?
While guest blogging on authoritative websites in your niche can help establish your credibility and expertise in your industry, it doesn’t necessarily help improve the topical authority of your website. Focus instead on publishing relevant content on your website.
Can topical authority help with local SEO?
Yes, building topical authority can help with local SEO as it can help you establish your credibility and expertise in your local market. By creating comprehensive and credible content on topics related to your industry and local area, you can attract more targeted traffic and establish yourself as a go-to resource for local information.
Build Topical Authority With SEO Content Creation
Building topical authority on your website takes time and effort, but it’s essential for improving your search visibility and attracting the right audience. If you’re ready to improve the topical authority of your website, download our SEO content ebook.
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