Last Updated on September 29, 2023 by Jan Barley
SEO experts tell us it’s impossible to rank your website if you don’t have quality backlinks. Subsequently, I’ve always believed that off-page, link-building strategies were as important as on-page SEO.
However, recently, I’ve changed my mind and tapped into the power of writing SEO content that targets topical authority principles.
For some years, Google has reiterated the importance of publishing quality content that provides value to its readers. The introduction of E-E-A-T (Experience, Expertise, Authority and Trustworthiness) in 2022 created a level playing field for writing quality content.
What is Topical Authority?
Topical authority is an SEO concept that refers to how well a website covers a specific topic and ranks for related keywords. It helps search engines understand website content because it covers all the relevant aspects of the subject.
For example, if you want to rank for the topic of a protein powder, you need to write content that answers questions like:
- What is protein, and why do we need it?
- How does protein powder work, and what are its benefits?
- What are the different types of protein powder, and how to choose the best one?
- How to use protein powder effectively and safely?
- How to store protein powder, and how long does it last?
- How to use protein powder for specific goals like weight loss or muscle gain?
By creating comprehensive and informative content around these subtopics, you can build strong topical authority for the main topic of protein powder. It can help you rank better for keywords related to that topic, even if your website has a low Domain Authority (DA) or Domain Rating (DR).
If you want to improve your website’s topical authority, focus on creating more and better content around your target topic.
One way to determine if your website has established authority for a specific topic is to use Ahrefs’ Website Authority Checker tool. This tool shows you your website’s DR score and how it compares to other websites in your niche. Ahref has several free SEO tools.
You can also use Ahrefs’ Site Explorer tool to analyse your website’s organic traffic, keywords, and backlinks for any topic.
Moz’s Domain Authority free tool shows the chances of your website ranking, spam score, number of backlinks and more.
Building topical authority is not a one-time project. It’s an ongoing process requiring constant research, analysis, and optimisation. It goes a long way towards building the E-E-A-T content that Google requires, and it shows your potential customers that you are the go-to resource for information they seek in your specific genre.
In 2022, I set out an SEO content strategy for a company whose website was not indexed. They had a poorly designed, clunky WordPress site, a poor technical SEO score, no domain authority (DA) and zero content.
Within eight months, I’d published 70+ articles underpinned by E-E-A-T principles with low-difficulty keywords, volume and low competition. As a result, the website gained 290+ organic ranking keywords (many on page one), 12,000 weekly impressions, a 1.5 CTR and a DA of 54.
I wrote value content demonstrating the company’s experience, expertise, authority, and trustworthiness and using a simple keyword strategy.
I recently started using a topical authority strategy for a website I’d neglected due to a lack of interest. I’d put the site up for sale on Flippa but started publishing topical content during the month it was for sale. The website had zero engagement, no backlinks, and a DA of 1.
Within a few weeks, the site achieved 17 new organic keywords. Somewhat shocked at how easy that was, I’m planning to work on it again.
It’s worth reading Google’s Search Quality Rating Guidelines (SQR). It’s a bit heavy going, but strip out the core principles, and it can take your SEO content to the next level.
Topical authority is not a magic bullet that can guarantee high rankings without other SEO efforts. It’s still necessary to consider other factors like search intent, user experience, technical SEO, and link building. However, topical authority can give you an edge over more general or less thorough websites that may have higher DR scores but lack topical relevance.
Conduct deep research by checking sites like Neil Patel’s Answer the Public, assessing top-ranking sites in your business genre, and digging deep into “people also ask” on Google searches.
You might also find the SEO Minion Chrome extension helpful.
I am an SEO Coach and writer helping heart-led small business owners learn how to rank on Google.
What Is Topical Authority In SEO?
Topical authority in SEO is related to a website’s expertise and authority on a specific subject or topic. It means that a website consistently produces high-quality content related to a particular niche, making it a trusted and authoritative source of information.
Topical authority is essential for SEO because it helps search engines understand the relevance and expertise of your content. Websites with strong topical authority are more likely to rank higher in search results for keywords related to their niche, attracting targeted organic traffic.
How Can I Measure My Website’s Topical Authority?
You can measure topical authority by analysing various factors, such as: –
- Content Performance
- User Engagement
- Quality and Number of Backlinks
- Organic Rankings for Specific Keywords
Is Topical Authority A One-Time Effort, Or Does It Require Ongoing Maintenance?
Topical authority is an ongoing effort that requires continuous content creation, optimisation, and updates. In addition, to maintain topical authority, adapt your content to stay current with industry trends.
Can A New Website Quickly Establish Topical Authority?
While it may take time to build significant authority on a topic, a new website can progress quickly by consistently producing high-quality, relevant content, earning backlinks, and engaging with its audience.
The timeline for achieving topical authority depends on the competitiveness of the niche.