This AI generated picture of a sloth having turned itself green (which they can do) to be harder to see in the rainforest canopy, was created to accompany a blog post titled "As regards SEO, what is topical relevance?".
This entry is part 18 of 44 in the series Topical Authority

The lead post in this series is Mastering Topical Authority: A Comprehensive Guide to Boost Your SEO.

As topical authority is an increasingly important aspect of obtaining high SEO rankings for your website, and topical authority requires external validation in the form of “topically relevant” links from trustworthy websites with good reputations, I’m thinking it makes sense to define what “topical relevance” is.

So, what is topical relevance?

Simply put, it means the blog post, article, or paragraph the link appears in, and the blog post or article the link is so, are about related/relevant topics.

The key idea here is to link out to webpages that are topically relevant, and to avoid linking to pages that are not.

And there are many ways to do so.

Specific examples are below.

What are different types of topically relevant links?

While there are some similarities between the various types of topically relevant links listed below, the differences are sufficiently large to justify (in my opinion) classifying them as different types of links that carry topical relevance.

Attribution links

In the world of SEO, this refers to a link that provides topically relevant support for some claim that is made.

Here is an example (that sadly is not well known).

Commercial banks create money every time they fund a loan for a customer.

The link above is to Bank of England Working Paper No. 529, which describes how commercial banks create money every time they fund a loan.

Resource page links

These links take the reader to where they can read more on the topic. They are somewhat similar to attribution links, but their topically relevant focus is different.

Here you’re not trying to substantiate a claim you made, but rather provide a source for further reading.

Here is an example:

Sloths spend their lives in trees, and as they are slow moving and look like dinner to some big cats, some eagles, and some large snakes, sloths have developed camouflage abilities.

The link above is to a page about sloth morphology and anatomy, and jumps to text on the page that describes how sloths fur contains micro-cracks which trap moisture for over 80 different kids of algae and fungi, which allows them to turn themselves green, which is good camouflage against the rainforest canopy.

Related niche links

These links are for nuances on a theme, and are similar to resource page link, but the topical relevance is more direct.

For example:

When you’re finally able to stand up on the surfboard, the last thing you want is for your feet to slip. This is why surfboard wax matters. To learn more about surfboard waxes, clicking the link in the previous sentence.

Editorial links

Editorial links are similar to attribution links, but are for topically relevant opinions, not facts.

Here is an example:

After reading up quite of bit on the history of economics, money, banking, etc, it seems as if “economic equilibrium” as promoted by some classical economists from the 18th and 19th centuries, and widely accepted by some modern economists, is in fact not a thing and never was.

Consider this article by Richard Murphy and this paper by Nicholas Kaldor.

Is “economic equilibrium” a valid concept? The prevailing wisdom is that it is, but there are some people putting forth what seem like sound arguments as to why it isn’t.

So to me, this is an “opinion link”, not an “attribute link”.

Will this opinion be consider a fact in the future? Maybe. But for now, it’s a minority opinion.

Geographic links

These links are useful for local organizations who serve the same groups of people. Examples would be home service providers, local governments, zoos, schools, etc.

Handyman businesses, plumbers, electricians, painters, yard care businesses, etc, all serve the same set of homeowners, and when you need such a site to link to for whatever reason, it can make sense to find one that’s local to you, as in regards to these types of businesses, keeping it local happens for obvious reasons.

The same is true of anything type of business or organization that is tied to a specific geography. Parks, city governments, zoo’s, schools, etc.

Relationship links

Relationship links are not about relationships between ideas, but rather between people.

In an article about astrophysics, if you mention Brian May, who was the lead guitarist of Queen AND has a PhD in astrophysics, you can slip in a reference to Queen and or Freddie Mercury.

Why would you do this? It’s something called a “pattern interrupt”. It’s a diversion from the main topic, it’s still topically relevant, and when you choose a good example, it’s interesting.

In closing

There are a lot of types of links that “carry” topical relevance, and doing so should, and can, enhance the experience for your reader in the various ways

Series Navigation<< What is the difference between backlinks and topical authority?How do you create topical authority in SEO? >>

Kevin Carney
Kevin Carney

Kevin "fell into" SEO by accident, like many others. The SaaS platform to help writers boost their topical authority came years later after various SEOs said it was something they would like to see.

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