Topical authority in SEO refers to the expertise and credibility a website holds in a specific subject area or niche. Establishing this authority positively impacts organic rankings, making it easier for your site to be found by users who are interested in the topics you cover.
If you’re finding it difficult to rank well for a specific set of keywords or subjects, it could be because Google doesn’t view your site as an authority in that area.
This could be causing you to lose valuable traffic and potential customers to competitors. Wouldn’t it be great if there was a way to gain Google’s trust and get that traffic flowing your way? That’s where topical authority comes in.
In this article, we’re exploring a question we keep hearing from business owners: What is topical authority in SEO and how do you build it?
What is Topical Authority in SEO?
Topical authority in SEO refers to the level of expertise and credibility a website or a piece of content holds in a particular subject area or niche.
It’s not just about having one or two well-performing articles – rather, it’s about consistently providing high-quality, informative content across a range of topics within your specific field. Search engines like Google assess this authority to determine how well your website should rank for relevant queries, leading to better visibility and more organic traffic.
Unlike traditional domain authority, which looks at the credibility of an entire website, topical authority delves deeper into how well you cover specific topics within your overall content strategy.
For example, a general health website may have high domain authority but may not have high topical authority in “mental health.” To achieve topical authority, you’ll need a comprehensive and interconnected web of content that fully covers your chosen topic, from basic introductory articles to deep dives.
Why is Topical Authority Important for SEO?
Topical authority is critical for SEO because it directly impacts your website’s visibility on search engines.
When you build topical authority, search engines recognize your expertise and are more likely to rank your website higher in search results for queries related to your topic. This, in turn, drives more organic traffic to your site, increasing the opportunities for user engagement and conversion.
High topical authority is essentially a seal of credibility and trustworthiness, which search engines use to offer the most reliable and relevant results to users.
Furthermore, as search engine algorithms become more sophisticated, topical authority is likely to become increasingly important. Algorithms are getting better at understanding the context and semantic meaning behind queries, and they’re more inclined to rank content that offers comprehensive and authoritative answers.
This makes it essential for websites to not just aim for keyword optimization but to focus on building expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness in their niche topics.
The Competitive Edge of Topical Authority
Building topical authority can give you a significant competitive edge in the crowded online space. With high topical authority, your website becomes the go-to resource for users and other industry professionals, enhancing your brand’s image and credibility.
This not only helps you rank higher in search engine results but also encourages more backlinks and social shares, which further boosts your SEO efforts.
The benefit extends beyond SEO as well. Being an authority in your niche can also lead to other opportunities like partnerships, guest blogging invitations, and even media coverage.
It sets you apart from competitors who are vying for the same audience but don’t offer the same depth of information or expertise. When consumers are looking to make a decision, whether it’s what article to read or what product to buy, they are more likely to choose the option that comes from a recognized authority in the subject matter.
How to Build Topical Authority
Building topical authority isn’t an overnight task. It requires a methodical approach starting with in-depth keyword research, followed by content creation and strategic linking, all while continually measuring your efforts. Let’s delve into the step-by-step process.
Here’s how to build topical authority step-by-step.
The first step in building topical authority is conducting thorough keyword research. Identify the key phrases that are pertinent to your niche and look for opportunities to create content around them.
Organize Keywords into Topic Clusters
Once you have a list of keywords, it’s time to organize them into topic clusters. A topic cluster is a group of interlinked web pages that are centered around a core topic. Using the “vegan recipes” example, a topic cluster might consist of a core page about vegan recipes and then have sub-pages or blog posts about “vegan breakfast recipes,” “vegan meals for kids,” and so on.
Creating topic clusters helps in two ways. Firstly, it aids SEO by creating a logical, organized structure that search engines favor. Secondly, it helps users find what they need easily, thereby increasing time spent on your website. Think of it as a tree, where the trunk is your main topic, and the branches are related subtopics.
Create A Topical Authority Map
A topical map essentially outlines how all of your content will fit together in a cohesive manner. It’s your roadmap for building topical authority. Using a tool like MindMeister or even a simple spreadsheet, map out how your core topics and subtopics interlink.
For example, you can create a topical map that starts with your core topic “vegan recipes” and then branches out to subtopics like “vegan breakfast,” “vegan lunch,” and so on. Under each subtopic, you can further list specific content ideas, such as “5 Quick Vegan Breakfast Ideas” or “How to Make Vegan Cheese.” This will serve as your content blueprint.
Create Your Content
With your blueprint in hand, begin creating high-quality, authoritative content. Each piece should offer value, be well-researched, and ideally, be long-form. Studies have shown that long-form content tends to rank higher on search engines. Don’t forget to include various types of content, like articles, videos, and infographics.
For example, if one of your topic clusters revolves around “vegan protein sources,” an article titled “10 Best Vegan Protein Sources” could be your main piece, supported by smaller pieces like “Benefits of Lentils” or “How to Cook Quinoa for Maximum Protein.” Each piece should link to the others, creating a comprehensive, interconnected web of authority on the subject.
Build Links (both internal and external)
Link-building is crucial for topical authority. Internal links between your content pieces make it easier for both search engines and users to navigate your website. External links, on the other hand, can significantly boost your site’s authority. Aim to get backlinks from reputable sites in your industry.
For example, if you’ve written an in-depth guide about “Vegan Nutrition,” reach out to dieticians, health bloggers, or even educational institutions to link to it. Meanwhile, don’t forget to interlink this guide with your related articles, like “Vegan Protein Sources” or “Plant-based Diet Myths Debunked.”
It’s important to keep tabs on how your efforts are paying off. Use tools like Google Analytics, SEMrush, or Ahrefs to track key performance indicators (KPIs) such as organic traffic, time spent on the page, and backlinks acquired. For example, if your organic traffic has increased by 20% since you started focusing on the topic cluster for “vegan desserts,” that’s a sign you’re gaining topical authority in that area.
Use these metrics to refine your strategy. If certain keywords or topics are not performing well, it might be time to reassess and pivot.
Hire An SEO Company for Help
If this process seems overwhelming, consider hiring an SEO company specialized in building topical authority. They can manage everything from keyword research to content creation and link building, allowing you to focus on other aspects of your business.
For example, an SEO company can run a comprehensive audit to identify gaps in your current strategy and fill them effectively. They can also regularly monitor your KPIs, providing you with monthly or quarterly reports that offer actionable insights.
Partner with Sachs Marketing Group
Looking to build topical authority in your niche? Sachs Marketing Group is here to help!
Sachs Marketing Group is a full-service digital marketing agency that specializes in both SEO strategy and content marketing services. From keyword research to content creation, we handle it all, ensuring you gain that coveted authority status in your field.
Start your journey to becoming the go-to resource for information in your industry through the development of topical authority today!
Topical authority is becoming increasingly important in SEO. By becoming an authority in a specific niche, you increase your chances of ranking higher in SERPs, receiving more backlinks, and ultimately, getting more organic traffic to your site. It’s a long-term investment, but one that can offer tremendous returns. Start building your topical authority now and set your website up for long-term success.