How to Build Topical Authority: A Guide to Drive Organic Traffic  

How to Build Topical Authority: A Guide to Drive Organic Traffic  

Search engines constantly evolve and change how content is ranked and displayed. So, how do you stay on top and ensure your website ranks well for search results in your...

Search engines constantly evolve and change how content is ranked and displayed. So, how do you stay on top and ensure your website ranks well for search results in your niche? Topical authority is a key player in rankings. Although it’s not an official ranking factor, authority informs many of Google’s ranking factors, making it critical for a robust SEO Strategy

Here’s what we’ll discuss: 

Ready? Let’s get started. 

What is topical authority? 

Topical Authority is the credibility and expertise a website demonstrates in a niche or subject. It tells users and search engines that a website is a reliable source of information. 

Building topical authority requires publishing high-quality content targeted at a specific topic. To become a credible source, you must holistically cover the topic by creating content that addresses all subtopics and user questions.  

Topical Authority vs. Domain Authority: Key Differences 

A website’s authoritativeness is measured by both topical authority and domain authority. 

So, what’s the difference? 

Domain authority refers to how strong a website is in terms of its backlink profile and organic rankings. A website with a high DA will have many high-quality websites linking to it. It will also rank highly in search queries related to its niche and gain a lot of organic traffic.

Topical authority refers to how established a website is as an expert in a particular niche. To have high authority, you must prove to be a credible source by creating high-quality content that provides value to the user. 

Why Topical Authority Is Important 

Topical authority helps build trust with your audience. Users will to return to your site if they know you always provide high-quality content that answers their questions. However, topical authority does not only relate to the user’s experience.

Search engines want to provide users with the most helpful, relevant content. If Google knows that your website consistently has the information users are looking for, your website will rank high for search results in your niche. 

A website with high authority will naturally receive more organic traffic. Google will display your website in search results if you consistently provide reliable information on your topics. An increase in traffic leads to more conversions and sales for your business. 

Topical authority also helps you receive more backlinks. If other websites know that you are a reliable source, they will naturally include links to your website in their own content. 

How do you get topical authority on Google?

Although the E-E-A-T principles are not a direct ranking factor, Google’s algorithm is built with these principles in mind. Many of the ranking factors are related to E-E-A-T. 

Experience: First-hand experience with topics within your niche

Expertise: Extensive knowledge and understanding of your topics 

Authority: How reputable and well-recognized you are as an expert in your niche  

Trust: How reliable the information on your site is

Topical authority and the E-E-A-T principles are related. However, they are not the same. The E-E-A-T principles specifically refer to how Google rates content. Topical authority is how established you are as an expert in your niche. Google’s algorithm favors content that has topical authority and follows the E-E-A-T principles. At the same time, you can improve your topical authority by creating content that adheres to these principles. 

4 Steps to Build Topical Authority

1. Perform keyword research for topics in your niche. 

If you want to improve your topical authority, the first step is to perform keyword research on topics related to your niche or industry. Find topics with a relatively high search volume but a low keyword difficulty. Choosing keywords related to a more specific topic rather than a general topic with many competitors is better. It is much easier to establish yourself as an expert on a specific topic rather than a broad genre. To gain topical authority, you must extensively cover all the topics within your niche. 

To hone in on a specific topic, focus on long-tail keywords. This will help target your content toward a particular search query. Short-tail keywords, while they do have a higher search volume, tend to be more general, so they won’t help you create targeted content.

2. Create Topic Clusters 

Now that you have done some keyword research, it’s time to start thinking about organizing your topics. Your most comprehensive page will be your pillar page, and all the pages related to that page will be cluster pages. 

When you create your content, you should include internal links to the pillar page for that topic. This helps Google relate all the pages on your website to each other and passes authority from one page to another. 

3. Write well-crafted, targeted content.

After you create a list of topic clusters, you will begin creating content that addresses each topic. You’ll want to ensure your content is informational, relevant, and genuinely helpful to the user. If users consistently find the information on your website beneficial, you will establish yourself as an expert for both Google and your audience. 

When you begin drafting your content, consider any questions the user may have about your topic. You can refer back to your keyword research to find these questions. It’s also helpful to check the “People also ask” section on Google for your target keyword. Each question should be targeted with an H2 tag. This will help Google and the user to find the information easily. 

In this NoGood article about Answer Engine Optimization, we targeted the search query “What is AEO?” We added the question to an H2 tag and wrote a concise paragraph answering it. 

4. Build Relevant Backlinks

Backlinks help transfer authority from one website to another. If you receive a backlink from a website with more domain authority, your domain rating will improve.

There are two types of backlinks: internal and external.

Internal Links 

You can also create internal backlinks by linking to related pages that are already on your site. As you create content, look for ideas within your blog posts that are related to topics you have already written about. If you find yourself writing about one of these topics, you can reference the published article and connect the two by creating an internal link

External Links 

External links allow other websites to pass authority to your website. If a website with high topical authority links to your website, Google will also consider it more authoritative. 

So, how do you receive external links? 

The best way to increase your backlink profile is to contact websites in your niche with more authority. Choose one of your relevant blog posts and explain why your content will add value to their website. 

As you build authority, other websites will naturally link to your website, boosting your topical authority even further. 

How to Measure Topical Authority 

Since topical authority isn’t officially defined by Google, there’s no concrete metric. However, there are some tools you can use to get a sense of your authority level. 

Ahrefs Site Explorer 

Ahrefs Site Explorer allows you to check your referring domains and the number of backlinks which will give you insights into how many other websites are referencing your site.   

Ahrefs Traffic Share 

Ahrefs also has a key feature called “Traffic Share” which gives insights into the sites receiving search traffic for your target keywords. 

First, add your target keywords to the keyword explorer and hit search. Then, go to the left panel and click the option Traffic Share. Filter by domain, and Ahrefs will present you with all the domains currently receiving traffic for the keywords you entered. 

SEMRush Position Tracking

Google favors sites with topical authority when ranking in SERPS. So, tracking your rankings is a great way to ensure your authority-building efforts are working. SEMRush will give you metrics for your site’s top keywords as well as keywords that you have gained or lost traffic for. This data will help inform your content planning, creation, and optimization efforts. 

Final Thoughts

Topical authority does not come seamlessly. Establishing yourself as an authoritative source requires strategic content planning and link-building. Don’t rush it; establishing your authority takes time, but the result is high organic traffic and increased conversions for your business. 


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