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This entry is part 2 of 21 in the series Topical Authority

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

In short, topical authority is important for SEO because Google is taking us there, and they still make the rules for Internet search.

The phrase refers to the measure of the expertise and depth of knowledge on a specific topic, for a writer, for a website, and for a brand. And as Google focuses more on brands that last one is particularly important.

When Google decides that a website has become known for authoritative content, it starts to rank higher.

The significance of topical authority

As a content creator, it helps shift your focus to creating content for readers, not for search engine robots.

As mentioned above, improved ranking

Once Google perceives that a certain website is authoritative for a certain topic, it starts to rank higher.

Of course, “authoritative” is a relative concept and topical authority is not in and of itself a ranking factor, so as someone who is trying to improve the ranking of a website, you need to keep an eye on the sites that outrank you.

They may be more authoritative, or they may have SEO advantages of being a larger site, an older site, or a site that is updated more frequently.

So authoritative content is not enough, but it’s where everyone now has to start.

Expertise and trust

Google has been pushing EAT (expertise, authority, and trust) for years, and they recently expanded it to EEAT (experience).

EEAT itself is not a ranking factor, but but like the concept of topical authority, is very important. If for whatever reason you DON’T know what you’re talking about, why should you rank?

Content quality

Google hires human quality raters to help them determine what quality content looks like. Whether content quality is or is not a direct ranking factor is the subject of debate, but it is however related to EEAT and topical authority. So even thought it might not be a direct ranking factor, it matters.

SEO rankings boost

This is what we want, and topical authority is a strategy for achieving it. When your website is known to be authoritative for the topic or topics you cover, your goal of higher SEO rankings is underway.

How do you build topical authority?

In short, create a well structured website with a lot of high quality content on a specific topic. This does take time and generally involves the following:

Quality content

We sometimes see the phrase “user centric” content. No matter what you call it, the main thing is to write for PEOPLE, with appropriate references, illustrations, etc, as needed to help users.

These references are external or outbound links, but specifically what are called attribution links, which are external links that act as a citation. They provide support for a claim that is made, or provide further information about an idea that was mentioned.

Having said that, search engine robots do need to be able to “read” the content, but it’s not written for them.

Topic clusters

This is a series of articles on posts on various aspects of a topic (sub-topics of sorts) where the various posts in the series link to each other as appropriate. You’ll notice that THIS article series is formatted as a topic cluster.

Internal linking

Internal linking is nothing more than articles or blog posts on the same website that link to each other. This post links to the lead or head post in this topic cluster, as well as to the previous and next posts.

This is partly to make it easy for the user to click from post to post or to jump to a sub-post they are especially interested in, and partly because links signal to Google that things are related.

In closing

You want your content, your website, and your brand to be seen having “topical authority” because Google says that’s what matter, but I think the thing to focus on is WHY it matters, which is that keeping that perspective in mind helps us create content for users, which IS after all, who we SHOULD be writing for.

And Google is now nudging us through their algorithm to do so.

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Kevin Carney
Kevin Carney

Like many people, Kevin "fell into" SEO by accident, back in 2009. Over time, he developed a keen interest in the concept of a "digital marketing divide" where brands with big budgets have significant advantages over small businesses. This led to the development of a SaaS platform to help "newbies" grow their topical authority, for both writers and websites. https://organicgrowth.biz.

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