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SEO Topic Clusters

Topical Authority Finally Explained (27 Questions Answered)

Search engines judge content for its quality and accessibility.

If your content is relevant to a user’s search intent and answers all queries, it is deemed trustworthy. 

The best articles on the web discuss topics in detail including relevant information that helps support any claim.

For this reason, it’s essential for businesses to create content that can showcase and validate their subject matter expertise consistently. 

And this practice helps achieve topical authority

This practice has become a necessity in SEO content marketing as it helps improve your search engine rankings and increase traffic. 

In this article, we’ll talk about topical authority, its benefits, and everything related to this subject so you can start building on your content today. 

What is topical authority?

Topical authority refers to a website’s credibility in a particular topic or subject as perceived by search engine bots.

It means that your website is an ideal source of information on a specific topic and is the go-to place to get the best updates.

And search engines always favor those websites that cover a broad topic in detail.

This shows that a website is an expert on the topic, especially when it provides additional sources on sub-topics and other smaller queries related to that subject. 

Websites that cover topics in-depth typically have a higher ranking on SERPs, especially for related search terms.

For instance, a comprehensive website on tablets that covers crucial information and the latest news about the most recent tablet models will rank better than a general tech blog with a few tablet reviews.  

Why Should You Care About Topical Authority?

To rank high on SERPs for search terms, you need to prove you’re a topical expert. 

When you craft extensive content on a particular subject, you demonstrate your knowledge and industry experience not just to the reader but also to Google. 

Additionally, it’s important to show that you have the expertise to expound on these subjects by publishing different types of content.

This could be in the form of a blog, eBook, email newsletter, resource guide, and more. 

As a result, building topical authority is necessary when you want to succeed on SERPs. 

Not only does it improve brand awareness online but also establishes your image to your target audience in the real world. 

Here’s why you should care about topical authority. 

Enhance brand awareness

Topical authority is an excellent way to promote your brand’s credibility.

Most SEO marketers utilize this strategy to build a reputable brand that publishes trustworthy, accurate, and high-quality content. 

Improve search engine ranking

Topical authority supports the concept of natural link building.

In fact, readers are more likely to share content that has quality backlinks.

As a result, this drives more traffic to your content pages and increases topical ranking. 

Increase conversion and revenue  

The more Google trusts your website as a viable source of information for a specific topic, the more traffic it’ll drive to your website.

As a result, topical authority has the potential to improve your conversion rates. 

Boost content trustworthiness

Topical authority builds trust between your brand and the search engine.

Since Google trusts the information you provide, it will rank your website for related search terms.

As a result, it prompts your target audience to visit the website often.  

How Does Topical Authority Work?

In an absolute sense, we don’t really know. 

But we do know that Google mainly showcases those websites that have built topical authority in their respective topics and industries. 

Topical authority is established when Google or any other search engine regards your website as an authority on a particular topic.

As topical authority increases, the more likely it is for Google to trust and showcase your content. 

The more trust you build with Google, the more keywords you’ll end up ranking for across the SERPs.

To achieve topical authority, you should create content that links to a larger or broader theme.

Additionally, you must link your main content to smaller content pieces so that readers can access this data on the spot.  

How Can I Build Topical Authority?

To establish topical authority, it’s important to craft relevant content that focuses on the search intent of your target audience.

Outlined below are key strategies for establishing topical expertise in content marketing. 

Finding a suitable topic that pertains to your industry

The secret to establishing topical authority is finding a suitable topic and covering as much information about it as possible.

But you can’t write about just anything! It’s also futile to repeat the same information in your content time and again. 

You need to write about subtopics that actually pertain to your target audience’s search intent and the best way to find this is through research.

You can use automated tools like thruuu SERP Analyzer to source for the right topics and sub-topics across SERPs. 

Sourcing all questions related to the main subject

This stage of research is usually the most critical as it allows you to understand your target audience better.

When looking for questions related to the main topic, you can do a competitor analysis or browse through articles on top SERPs. 

Another strategy we recommend is analyzing testimonials and reviews online so you can identify the consumer’s pain points.

Additionally, you can check comments on public forums to get a better idea about what you want to cover in your content. 

Creating and publishing tons of content on your website

Once you’ve selected the main topic and researched related questions, it’s time to create keyword and topic clusters.

The keyword and topic cluster model is an SEO technique that helps structure website content. 

To publish tons of content efficiently, you can group related sub topics and their keyword clusters together.

Additionally, you can segregate relevant content around the main theme into distinct sections that helps improve visibility. 

For instance, a brand that offers cold calling services or a sales workforce can divide its website’s content into different broad themes: lead generation services, sales agency benefits, account-based marketing, and other smaller fragments. 

Focusing on quality content with a consistent brand tone

All leading brands in the world demonstrate the quality of their content by maintaining a uniform and consistent brand tone.

In fact, they provide a broader context of their industry expertise by covering various sub topics in detail.

For this reason, when you’re developing content around various sub topics, it’s essential you maintain a consistent tone and brand voice.

This helps readers connect one content piece with another and also makes it easier to digest new material. 

All content marketers must research a range of sub topics to cover content across different stages of the buyer’s journey.

As a result, you build topical authority by delivering quality content that is consistent, reliable, and relevant. 

Publishing different types of content and media 

Topical authority is also achieved by exploring different types of content.

For instance, when you publish a resourceful blog that contains links to detailed guides.

To increase topical authority, you can create a media post (like on LinkedIn) and add a link of the blog to it.

By distributing your content on social media platforms, you increase the number of shares. As a result, you not only direct more users to your post but also to your website. 

What is the Link Between Topical Authority and Topic Clusters?

Topic clusters are groups of related articles that interlink to one another semantically.

You can create topic clusters by breaking down your niche subject into sub topics or sub niches based on your content marketing strategy. 

When you create content for these sub-niches and link the cluster page content with a pillar page or a content hub, you automatically improve topical authority.

In the end, the goal is to gain more authority over a parent topic or niche.

Topic clusters are an SEO strategy where webpages are organized around a singular, primary theme.

The more content you cover on topic cluster pages, the easier it becomes to gain topical authority over the main subject matter. 

Learn the Basics of a Topic Cluster Content Strategy

To become a proficient SEO and marketing expert and build outstanding topic clusters, it is crucial to understand the fundamental terms and their roles in the topic cluster model.

How Do I Create a Topical Map for SEO?

To create a topical map for SEO, you need to develop a hierarchy of topic and subtopics.

Start by using keyword clusters to define the pillar pages (main topics) and related content clusters (subtopics).    

Each main pillar page should be based on a particular keyword cluster and must link to sub topics or topic cluster pages.

You can use a variety of online resources to visualize what your topical map might look like.

For instance, you can use an SEO research tool like thruuu to create keyword clusters, conduct competitor analysis, and more to simplify your cluster strategy.

Other free tools include AnswerThePublic and AlsoAsked, which help create a topical map based on your keyword or search query

Is Topical Authority Related to Keywords?

Topical authority is heavily linked to a semantic keyword strategy.

Optimizing the content on a pillar page with keyword-rich anchors helps increase content visibility and keyword ranking. 

Additionally, when you’re opting for a keyword cluster strategy, you can add many long-tail keywords to your content.

Long tail keywords are highly specific phrases commonly used when a site visitor is ready to buy.

These search terms also make it easier for Google to source your content regarding a relatable query. 

How Can I Monitor and Maintain Topical Authority?

There’s no sure way to track topical authority. 

While you cannot monitor topical authority, you can analyze specific parameters to gauge your website’s content performance.

When Google constantly ranks your web pages for specific queries in top SERPs, you can assume that you’ve achieved topical authority. 

Additionally, you can use a keyword tracking tool or Google Search Console to monitor keyword coverage around a particular topic.

When your cluster pages show up on top SERPs for primary keywords, you can assume you’ve established topical authority.

To maintain topical authority, just research new ideas and generate fresh content about the main topic.

Identify new topics by monitoring social media content or researching keywords using a free tool.

You can also scour through competitor data with thruuu’s SERP analyzer. 

Is Topical Authority a Ranking Factor?

Topical authority is not a ranking factor. At least not directly.

Topical Authority primarily helps search engines identify and understand your content, ranking it higher for semantically related keywords.

It’s the measure of a website’s perceived credibility in a particular niche or topic.

In fact, the hallmark of quality content is having topical expertise over your main niche.

So, the more you know about your subject matter and create quality content, the more you influence its authority.

So indirectly topical authority becomes a ranking factor as it relies on the production of high-quality content about a specific topic.

What Role Does Backlink Quality Play in Topical Authority?

We’ve already established that backlinks are crucial to achieving topical authority.

But the backlink quality decides whether or not you achieve topical authority. To build topical credibility, you need to earn high-quality backlinks from authoritative sources.

When you produce a lot of high-quality content, you become a trustworthy source for information. As a result, you increase the chances of being mentioned by authoritative websites that have a high domain rating.

Getting a backlink from high-quality sources that are trusted by Google helps build topical authority faster.

Though there’s a constant debate over quantity versus quality, we recommend the latter as it also directs quality traffic to your pages.

How Long Does It Typically Take to Establish Topical Authority?

As we don’t know how the process works, there’s no definitive timeline. 

But we do know that topical authority is a progressive factor that relies heavily on consistency.

When you constantly deliver fresh content around your target audience’s search intent, the more relevance you bring to the table. 

You can also share your thoughts on social media to get more information.

Participating in PR events like a podcast or a live stream can also speed up your topical authority.

How Can Small Businesses Compete with Larger Sites in Topical Authority?

Even if you’re a small to medium-sized enterprise, you can still compete with larger sites to gain topical authority. 

Bigger enterprises employ larger teams or hire experts so they don’t directly interact with the customer or the client.

As a result, they aren’t aware of the problems their customers may be facing in real time.

In contrast, smaller businesses work with a focused workforce so their content marketing efforts are better directed. 

Small businesses also achieve topical authority by establishing a social media presence that’s focused and relevant to their niche. Other content marketing strategies include:

  • Testing marketing trends: Small businesses can outrank a larger website in a competitive digital landscape by identifying the latest trends related to their industry and delivering top-notch content about these topics. 
  • Collaborating with influencers: Small websites can leverage UGC to achieve topical authority by collaborating with influencers in their industry. This could be in the form of a podcast or posting case studies about their service. 
  • Investing in community outreach: Smaller websites can focus on marketing tactics to improve their brand awareness within a community. As more users become aware of your brand, the more likely they are to share your posts. 
  • Analyzing customer feedback: Smaller websites can conduct surveys to collect feedback from customers. This data makes them aware of the latest queries and you can address the same in your content to make an impact. 

What is the EEAT in the Context of Topical Authority?

EEAT stands for experience, expertise, authoritativeness, and trust. 

Though EEAT is not a direct ranking factor, it is still considered important in Google’s Search Quality Rater Guidelines.

This handbook helps the search engine evaluate the quality of its search results.

By developing content based on the EEAT strategy, you can improve the user’s trust, increase topical authority, and boost conversion rate. In the context of topical authority, EEAT focuses on:

  • Experience: Provide quality content can ensure a seamless browsing experience 
  • Expertise: Source, monitor, and deliver valuable content in your particular industry
  • Authoritativeness: Introduce quality backlinks from highly accredited sources 
  • Trust: Ensure accuracy and fact-check the information you pick up in research 

How Does Google Know You Are a REAL Expert?

Google uses a set of signals to identify if you are a real expert and not an AI-generated website.

One key aspect to determine your expertise is when you have a lot of positive mentions, testimonials, and reviews on third party websites or social media.

These positive mentions could be about your brand or about specific people working at your company.

For instance, it is a good practice to mention the authors’ names on your blog post and article and even to link to their social media profiles.

It indicates that these people are real and Google can associate the online presence and expertise of such individuals and connect it to your brand.

Can Social Media Marketing Influence Topical Authority?

Yes, social media marketing does influence topical authority in the form of user-generated content that you can leverage to your advantage. 

Any kind of activity or user engagement on a social media platform can impact your brand visibility and increase social outreach.

For instance, fresh and relevant content on a social media platform is shared more often than a regular post. 

The more the content gets shared, the more impressions the post will receive. Over time, your brand’s site and social media handle will become an authoritative source of information for users.

As a result, your topical authority will improve for a specific subject or theme.

Also, as we explained previously, it is also important that your founders and any other employees have a social media presence.

Their individual activities will influence how your brand is recognized and impact your expertise on a topic.

Can Video Content Enhance Topical Authority?

Video content is a great way to improve organic visibility. It helps build and demonstrate a brand’s topical expertise.

In fact, consumers are more likely to trust a video-based review over text, especially if it’s posted by a credible and reliable source. 

Visual content is easier to digest on mobile phones and tablets, especially when you can condense a 1500-word article into a short video that lasts about 10 minutes.

Video is also an ideal format for storytelling since it keeps users more engaged. 

What is the Role of User-Generated Content in Topical Authority?

User-generated content delivers more traffic to your web pages and boosts social media shares, which in turn enhances topical authority.

Here’s how:

  • Reviews and testimonials make it easier for users to gauge a website’s credibility
  • Social media interactions allow brands to identify and address customer queries 
  • Comments on forum posts provide search engines with more info to index 
  • Influencer marketing and sponsored content help with link-building 
  • Social media discussions are also a great way to generate new topic ideas

Can Collaborations and Guest Posting Help in Building Topical Authority?

Guest posting and collaborations have become the new trend for expanding social reach online and building topical authority.

When you collaborate with a popular influencer or subject matter expert in your industry, you can improve topical authority.

For instance, imagine hosting a podcast with a reputable influencer or industry expert who acknowledges your credibility. 

Even guest posts help validate your topical authority over a particular subject. 

This strategic practice usually involves a guest author/writer or contributor who writes and publishes content, often linking certain sections with your brand website.

The end goal is to direct the Google search bots and targeted users to your website. 

Guest bloggers usually post engaging, informative, and relevant content related to your brand’s industry or main area of expertise. 

But there are a few risks with these collaborations as sometimes your website may receive attention from the wrong audience. 

Additionally, in guest posting, the content is not in your hand, so you can’t determine its quality or control it. 

Is Topical Authority a Scam?

Topical authority is not a scam. It may have gotten some bad press when some SEO experts started to say that it is the best way to build a website.

It is still a good practice to produce a lot of content about a specific niche or theme to indicate your expertise in it.

However, you should always consider your business and the best way to grow it, instead of jumping on the first SEO or content marketing trend you encounter.

What is the Difference Between Domain Authority and Topical Authority?

Domain authority is a web metric that defines the authority of your domain based on several factors like the quantity of backlinks.

The more links you add to your website, the more authoritative it gets. 

Additionally, domain authority predicts how often a website is likely to rank on SERPs. You can read more about page rank score (a factor that demonstrates a website’s relevance) to understand domain authority. 

In contrast, topical authority is more about being an expert about a subject matter.

It doesn’t involve factors like page rank score. This means that you can have a low page rank score or domain authority but have a high topical authority.

What is Semantic SEO?

Semantic SEO is a content marketing approach that focuses on building valuable, in-depth content so that Google search crawlers can better understand the content. 

  • In 2013, the Google algorithm released the Hummingbird update, which reduced the emphasis on singular keywords. The update focused more on understanding the context behind a search query and providing relatable search results. 
  • In 2015, Google released RankBrain, the newly updated machine learning algorithm. This update focuses on content that revolves around search intent. 

With semantic SEO, you can achieve topical authority by combining keyword and topic cluster strategies and creating relevant, search intent-based content. 

For instance, when you create a pillar page around a theme like accessible tourism, you can interlink blogs or articles around sub-topics like wheelchair accessibility services, accessible cruises and flights, best companies for accessible tourism, and so on. 

The more information and update you provide about a larger topic, the more authority you build.

But when you interlink the content pieces to one another, then it makes sense to both the readers the search engine crawlers as it builds semantic relevance. 

What is the Link Between Topical Authority and Natural Language Processing?

Topical authority is a semantic SEO strategy so it’s no surprise that it gets influenced by NLP (Natural Language Processing).

This branch of AI focuses on understanding, interpreting, and processing human language, except now it’s even more advanced.

Google’s algorithm stresses on leveraging this machine learning technology as it helps search engines better understand and interpret the meaning behind user queries.

The more descriptive and relevant you get with suitable links in the content, the easier it is for Google to pick up your content piece for a related query. 

As a result, you gain topical authority as such content pages tend to rank higher than the rest. 

Is Creating an FAQ a Good Approach to Gain Topical Authority?

FAQs are a good approach to gaining topical authority. 

For instance, when you create an SEO content hub that consists of FAQs, you can link to sub topic pages to further support the main theme.

With quality link building, you not only improve topical authority but also improve a user’s navigational experience. 

Additionally, FAQs are a great way to answer a range of questions from the top to the bottom of the funnel, across all stages of the buyer’s journey.

This practice also increases your brand credibility and authority over a subject matter. 

Is There a Risk of Over-Optimization in Pursuing Topical Authority?

Yes, over-optimization can impact topical authority when: 

  • The writing quality is poor, lacks a consistent tone, and doesn’t provide detailed information about the main theme. If you don’t want your content to lack depth, then make sure your research is focused and strategic
  • Covering content about topics and sub topics that are not relevant to your business. To avoid this, you need to source new ideas and fresh concepts from various platforms online like social media posts, forums, and more. 
  • Adding low quality links and sources in your content (both internal and external). You can use a website authority checking tool to track the domain authority of an external source before adding it to your website’s content. 
  • Collaborating with influencers and guest bloggers who are not in your industry. To avoid this, you can organize a community outreach program to gather the best minds and the most accredited professionals in your industry.  

What If I Go Off-Topic, Will It Hurt My Authority?

While it’s good to diversify your content portfolio to achieve topical authority, it’s never good to exceed those boundaries. 

When you go off-topic, you risk losing valuable inputs from a potential target audience.

You may also start directing the wrong traffic to your website that won’t result in any kind of conversion.

As a result, CTR decreases, which further reduces page sessions and increases bounce rates. 

So, it’s best to focus on content that revolves around the pillar topic.

Your primary goal is to promote your brand service or product in the longer run so it’s important to strike a balance in content creation. 

How Can I Learn About Topical Authority?

Topical authority is a concept that’s ever-evolving. 

If you’re a beginner, it’s best to armor your strategy with all the information you can get.

You can do this by following the content published by industry leaders like Neil Patel, Moz, SEMRush, and more.

You can also study the educational resources on HubSpot, LinkedIn, and Search Engine Journal to learn more about topical authority. 

Those who are between intermediate and advanced should opt for practical solutions like using an effective tool to enhance content analytics.

For instance, you can use thruuu’s SERP Analyzer to scrape a lot of Google SERPs. You can also pick up a few tricks on gaining topical authority by studying the content on a competitor’s website. 

What are the Best Topical Authority and Mapping Services?

There are several SEO agencies specialized in building topical authority for your website such as Topical Maps, Leggiit or LeadSpring.

Their services revolve around:

  1. Analyzing your business.
  2. Gathering related keywords.
  3. Creating a Topical Map spreadsheet.
  4. Creating a Topical Mind Map.

With their services, you will have an exact blueprint of your website. You can then share the topical map with your team of writers to begin creating content.

What Tools Can I Use to Build Topical Authority on My Website?

Some of the most versatile tools you can use to build topical authority are Ahref and SEMRush, both of which can help marketers to identify, group together, and finalize keywords.

Such analytical tools come with automated features, helping marketers accelerate their research process. You can also use thruuu keyword clustering tool to optimize your keyword data. Additionally, you can use this SEO tool to organize content into topics.

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