What Is Topical Authority? Build Trust with Expert Content

Have you ever been to a dinner party and found yourself stuck talking to a “know-it-all”? They can prattle on about anything and everything, yet when you really listen, it’s clear they’re making it up on the fly.

In the world of SEO and content marketing, being seen as a credible expert, or having topical authority, is where the magic happens. Focusing on topical authority helps sharpen your content strategy, ensuring you’re seen as not just any voice, but as the voice in your niche.

While the SEO jury is still out on whether topical authority is a direct ranking factor, there are undeniable benefits of content that is viewed as a valuable, trusted resource. Visitors will regard your site as both knowledgeable and reliable. 

This approach keeps you focused and positions you as a specialist, avoiding the common trap of becoming a jack of all trades and master of none.

Get more leads with less effort.

If you want a steady flow of targeted leads, we’ve got a proven process for driving organic traffic and converting it into qualified leads.

Why Does Topical Authority Matter for SEO?

Why fuss over topical authority if it’s not a confirmed ranking factor? 

It’s true – Google hasn’t confirmed topical authority as a ranking factor. But it has stressed the importance of E-E-A-T (Experience, Expertise, Authoritativeness, Trustworthiness) in its search quality evaluator guidelines. 

So building topical authority aligns perfectly with Google’s emphasis on E-E-A-T. Sites seen as topical authorities often have:

  • Higher engagement rates
  • Lower bounce rates
  • Longer session durations 

These signals can indirectly influence rankings by demonstrating to search engines that users find the content valuable, helpful, and trustworthy.

The more positive signals your site and content get, the more chance you have of gaining the favor of Google’s algorithms. This, in turn, will help with the success of your SEO campaign.

Topical Expertise vs. Domain Authority: What’s the Difference?

Imagine if your website had a credit score.

That’s kind of what Domain Authority (DA) is like – a fabricated metric from third-party tools suggesting how well your site is likely to rank.

  • Domain Rating (Ahrefs)
  • Authority Score (Semrush)
  • Domain Authority (Moz)

While these aren’t part of Google’s official playbook, they are a helpful gauge to help guide you and compare your website to competitors.

They’re more like horoscopes – vague enough to seem spot-on but should be taken with a grain (or whole shaker) of salt.

The Role of Content in Establishing Topical Authority

To carve out your niche, your content needs to do more than just fill space. 

Educating and entertaining your audience is how you become recognized as an authority. This goes beyond generating topical keywords. It involves producing creative content that answers the deep, sometimes not-so-obvious, questions your audience might have. 

Enhance your topical relevance by incorporating a variety of content formats, such as:

  • Long-form articles
  • How-to guides
  • Detailed whitepapers
  • Engaging instructional videos

All of the above can contribute to establishing your expertise. By addressing a topic from multiple angles and formats, you provide comprehensive coverage that educates your audience and solidifies your authority.

This approach not only boosts your topical relevance but can also make your content indispensable for the right people.

How to Measure Your Site’s Topical Authority

How do you know if you’re really nailing topical authority? Well, it’s tricky. Since there’s no magical topical authority metric you can look at, you can start by gauging how many people visit your site – your traffic.

Tools like Semrush and Ahrefs are great for analyzing your site’s content quality and relevance to specific topics. These tools provide detailed insights into how well your content matches your audience’s informational needs and the share of traffic you’re getting.

Semrush tool Keyword Manager showing results for keyword mutton meat

To effectively measure topical authority, conduct regular audits using these tools to track improvements and identify gaps. 

Analyze the performance of individual pieces of content and overall topic clusters to ensure they align with user search intent and exhibit subject matter expertise.

The Impact of Backlinks on Topical Authority

Backlinks are like nods of approval from other sites, suggesting that your content is worth referencing and authoritative enough to be cited. 

However, without solid content, backlinks are just like having supportive friends who hype you up without much substance. For true topical authority, you need both – great content on topics related to your niche and backlinks that reinforce this perception to search engines.

Study by Semrush into how backlinks factors correlated with search engine rankings
Study by Semrush

Quality backlinks from reputable sites within your niche can significantly enhance your topical authority. They signal to search engines that your content is relevant and trusted by other domain experts. 

Prioritize earning backlinks through high-quality content and strategic outreach to enhance both your topical and domain authority.

How to Build Topical Authority

Building topical authority is like tending a garden – it requires patience, care, and a bit of know-how.

Here’s how you can grow your site into a lush landscape of expertise.

Refine Your Keyword Research

Start by digging into keywords that define your niche. These are the seeds you’ll use to create your content. This research will help you to identify and target the specific topics your audience cares about and is actively typing into search queries.

Build Effective Backlinks

Cultivate relationships for backlinks that enhance and affirm your site’s topical relevance. Focus on earning links from high-authority sites within your topic area, which can significantly bolster your perceived expertise.

Craft In-Depth Content

Develop various forms of content that cover your topics from all angles. This can involve creating detailed articles, engaging videos, case studies, and helpful guides that comprehensively address your audience’s needs and questions.

In addition, keep your site up to date by refreshing its content. When visitors to your site always have the most relevant information, you help establish yourself as a trusted resource. 

Tip: Blogging consistently is another way to build reliability and trust in your audience.

Optimize Your Content

Organic SEO helps the right people find your content at the right time. Use structured data, proper alt and meta tags, and meta descriptions to improve visibility and attract more targeted traffic.

If you want to take things a step further, you can check your product schema markup to ensure any products listed on your site are clearly described and easy to find.

Review Analytics

Use analytics tools to monitor your site’s performance. Review your traffic, engagement, and conversion metrics regularly to understand how well your content resonates with your audience and where improvements can be made.

Tip: Keep an eye out for any sudden drops in traffic. Numerous factors can cause this, but it’s always a good idea to stay ahead of the curve and nip any issues in the bud.

Leveraging Social Media and Forums for Topical Expertise

Engage actively on platforms where your audience hangs out. Participate in discussions on social media, forums, and other online communities related to your niche. This will not only boost your visibility but also reinforce your expertise.

Seize Your Authority

Topical authority isn’t just about being seen as an expert – it’s about becoming the go-to resource in your field. Building credibility enhances your SEO and visibility. 

Ready to elevate your strategy and solidify your topical authority? Contact us today for a consultation, and let’s drive your success forward.

Suzanne Robb Avatar

Get more leads with less effort.

If you want a steady flow of targeted leads, we’ve got a proven process for driving organic traffic and converting it into qualified leads.