In simple terms, topical authority refers to the mastery of a niche or an entire area of knowledge and not just a singular idea. To illustrate this with an example, let’s consider two websites: one with a flawless page about blue widgets on a website pertaining to blue items and another with a similarly excellent page but on a website about all varieties of widgets.
On the assumption that the reader hence Google is looking for information on widgets, the second website is said to be a topical authority in the subject area while the fine page on a blue items website isn’t considered a topical authority on widgets but rather things of the color blue.
And that’s topical authority in a nutshell.
Is Topical Authority Important?
Well, if your aim is to scale up the SEO ranking mountain, then yes it is very important as it forms a great part of what Google’s search engine algorithms consider when ranking websites. Some of its other advantages include:
- You will be among the first considerations when it comes to social shares, links to and references.
- Users will remain on your site for answers to auxiliary questions as they will not have to look elsewhere.
- You will provide the answers to Google’s questions most of the time which is a good thing.
- For extra information, Google will also turn to you to meet users’ needs.
A few Pointers on Building Topical Authority
The more content you have on a certain subject matter, then the more you are considered to be an authority on that area. The quality of the content you provide is also essential and it is measured by the amount of relevant information you provide to users seeking answers.
To help build your topical authority, try out the following:
- Use a preferred tool to focus on keyword data
- Find out from your support and sales team the most frequently asked questions from experience
- Talk to your clients directly to find out what they want. You could also visit subreddits or other important communities to see what questions are often asked there.
There are a lot of sources you could use, the more the better.
Warning: Content is Not All You Need
Google has been revising its algorithm every now and again and merely writing a piece stuffed with keywords will not get you into the good books anymore. Rather you must be able to give answers to users as well as anticipate any follow-up questions and provide answers to those as well.
What about Links?
Top quality and authoritative content is a magnet for links but sometimes you have to go out looking for authoritative and/or topical websites yourself. Try to find links to sites that rank high up and also consider sites that connects numerous competitors. The sites should not just specialize on a single term but should also be helpful in the “How to” kind of way.
The Downside of Topical Authority
There are always two sides to any coin and with topical authority, the major shortcoming is that it is a band-aid solution. Once Google has what they need, they will no longer have to drive traffic to your website. In fact, in recent times Google has provided answers to users on the results search page which has curtailed the necessity for a user to click on through to your website. With time, topical authority is bound to fade away into oblivion.
In the End
At the moment though, it is a power tool and you need not worry about its longevity as many SEO signals are bound to become ineffective with time as well and they will be replaced by new ones. But before we get to that dreaded bridge, do not be afraid to work your way towards topical authority.
To beat your competitors and most importantly Google, be sure to use long lists that can’t fully appear on the results page. Also, keep track of layout changes and provide answers in enthralling fashion- using images and videos- so as to ensure a high click-through rate.
The future might not be so bright for topical authority but at the moment it is brimming with blistering potential so be sure to make hay while the sun still shines.