Topical authority – why is it worth caring about?

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Google – and other search engines – have been improving their search algorithms for years to present the best possible answer to the question they are asked. We have already dealt with several aspects of this issue, and today we will look at another one, called topical authority.

What is topical authority?

Topical authority is a term used to refer to the perceived expertise and trustworthiness of a website, individual, or source in a specific subject or topic area. This is determined by search engines and users based on the quality and relevance of a website’s content.

Topical authority is extremely important for the positioning process because it is a measure of how specialized a website is.

It is estimated that 3.5 billion searches are performed on Google every day. This does not mean, of course, that each of them leads to a separate page. The answers to most questions related to a given issue are probably found on several websites that present a comprehensive overview of a specific topic. Such websites are characterized by high thematic authority.

What builds thematic authority?

Let’s consider topical authority based on two situations.

Example

Let’s assume that you are looking for information about car catalytic converters. There are two sites on the Internet where this key phrase appears – one dedicated to car parts, the other to reviews of everything starting with the letter “K.” Let’s even assume that the description on the second page is more comprehensive than the one on the first one – despite this, Google will still be more willing to give us the first one as the default search result.

Why is this happening? The reason is simple – the website about car parts contains much more related information that you could refer to for further reading. If, after reading the article about catalysts, you want to expand your knowledge or look for an explanation of a specific definition, there is a good chance that you will find it all on the same page – which will make it much easier.

You will gain authority in a given topic if your website is entirely devoted to a given thematic niche.

How to gain topical authority?

Writing a single text, no matter how cross-sectional and in-depth, will not achieve much. For an answer to a question related to catalytic converters, readers will rather go to a mechanic than to a person who has memorized all the entries in the encyclopedia starting with the letter “C”. Why? Because a mechanic, as a specialist in his industry, has general knowledge on a given topic, not just a fragment of it.

So if you want the search engine to perceive you – to continue with the above-mentioned  metaphor – as a mechanic and not as an encyclopedic autodidact, you need to prove to it your knowledge in a given topic. How? By appropriately expanding the website content.

Below I present some steps you can take that will bring the desired results.

Identify your niche

First of all, if we want to build a website entirely devoted to a given issue, we need to know it thoroughly. Find the most popular keywords and their long-tail versions; try to discover frequently asked questions and popular searches that are thematically related to this topic. Thanks to this, you will get a representative cross-section of it and have a range of topics for future content.

Start creating around-theme contents

With a solid and extensive set of keywords, you can start proving that you are a specialist in a given topic. Each phrase deserves its own page – of course, they must be professionally prepared, meeting all the standards of a reliable SEO article. Subpages worth 1,500 characters with stuffed keywords are more likely to be considered thin content than content that can be trusted.

You don’t have to limit yourself to just one type of content – you can create lists, reviews, guides and much more. By using the formats used to create evergreen content, you can additionally ensure your content has long-term, stable traffic from search engines.

Additionally, saturate your content with words from related semantic fields – this is another way that will help the search engine understand the content of your website.

Take care of linking

By this I mean both internal and external linking.

The former is a way to internally organize the website – the reader can easily obtain more information, and the algorithms will see that you present a cross-sectional thematic overview.

The latter is one of the important factors influencing positioning. Find and reach sites that rank high for related keywords and try to get them to link back to your site (e.g. through guest sponsored texts). A rich link profile is a powerful argument for the website’s credibility, so it is definitely worth paying due attention to it.

Summary

  • I hope that the tips presented above will help you improve the content of your website and, consequently, gain thematic authority for your industry.
  • Google continues to improve its algorithms, so content marketers should continue to improve their websites.
  • Topical authority will certainly allow you to get better SEO results.

Lordson Okpetu

I'm many things rolled into one; I'm an ex-journalist, a content strategist, digital marketer and 'rockstar' direct response copywriter. I've written tons of copies to sell thousands of products and services across diverse industries in Nigeria. In my occasional spare time, I play chess or spend time with my family. I am the Chief Operating Officer of Content Writer, Nigeria.

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