You’ve probably heard about the latest buzzword going around SEO “topical authority”.
This is how you can get your website ranking in the search engines for thousands of keywords.
What is topical authority?
Topical authority is all about creating content and having a website that delivers to its audience.
It can be on any topic but you need to dive deep and cover multiple topics. If you’ve got an eCommerce store and let’s say you’re selling gym equipment.
If you just put up a website with the products you sell, even with optimised pages, you’ll struggle to rank.
Because Google wants more than that.
If you’re a website with a domain rating of 90, then you’ll find you’ll be able to rank for practically all keywords but what about if your domain rating is 5 and you’ve not to go the cash to splash on backlink outreach?
This is where topical authority comes in. We’ve spoken to clients in the past who’ve said “Oh if was that easy we’d have done it”…
But here’s the thing, most people who are running an eCommerce website, even if it’s their job, have no idea about how to generate organically in large volumes.
They think by just having the products to sell and a little text on the page then the traffic will come.
And guess what, the traffic doesn’t arrive.
Help Google semantically associate your website with your niche.
If your website doesn’t have content, then there’s going to be less traffic.
If you have a little bit of traffic then you can see some success, now imagine if you had 100 pages on your website, all with great content and interlinking between the pages.
To be honest, if you were the search engines, which would you rank higher?
The website that offers more information to its audience, if you’re all about sales with no regard to how the user experiences the customer journey, then you’ll fail to grow traffic.
Building topical authority VS backlinks
We all know how difficult it is to get backlinks.
For smaller websites it can seem impossible to do however, building topical authority for your website can help lessen the burden of acquiring backlinks.
Yes, backlinks are important, in our opinion not as important as a lot of people think but they do play a vital role in SEO.
If you start creating content and not only just basic stuff, you want to create some pretty epic pages then you’re going to have;
- better content for your audience
- more chance of keeping them on the page longer
- more likely to acquire backlinks naturally
- start ranking for higher-volume keywords
Building topical authority is perhaps the biggest guarantee in SEO
There’s nothing certain about SEO. You can be ranked number one today then number twenty-one in the morning.
Getting hit by a search engine algorithm update is never fun but that can be more likely to happen if you’re reliant on getting backlinks to boost your SEO, rather than creating high-quality content.
Think about it.
What’s going to rank better in the long run?
Let’s say there are two URLs on the top page, one is a domain rating of 75 and the other is 20.
If they are both in the top three, let’s say second and third respectively, then if more people click on the third link which has domain authority of 20, that’s likely to get to the top of search results.
This is one reason why we tell people SEO isn’t impossible.
The key to SEO isn’t backlinks, it’s not trying to fool the user with clickbait, SEO is ALL about the content and the experience you provide to the user
What is E-E-A-T and what does it mean for SEO?
Google updated its algorithm in 2018 to include E-A-T. In our opinion, this is one of the best algorithm updates that have been introduced.
It’s one of the best ways to separate the lower quality from the higher quality websites that have more to offer the user.
At the end of the day, the Google experience is all about finding the results that the user wants, not the one with the most amount of backlinks.
Using content to build topical authority
The blurry line for most website owners is the fact they think they are making high-quality content when in fact it’s not.
A lot of blog posts consist of company updates and things that no one cares about, they’re certainly not using Google to search for them.
How to start building topical authority
- Find your keywords
- Create your clusters in a topical map
- Create content outlines
- Create the content
- Make graphics
- Do some link outreach
Finding the right keywords
Let’s say for us, we do SEO which is one of the most competitive industries on the internet.
To build topical authority in our niche we would have to write a lot of content about SEO.
The content isn’t random, you can find content ideas by using keyword research tools to find the keywords your audience is using to find websites like yours.
When we use the seed keyword like SEO, it brings up a whole variety of different topics that are associated with SEO.
- Potential SEO articles we could write include
- What are the benefits of SEO?
- How to create a great SEO team?
- How long does SEO take to see results?
- What is topical authority?
You get the picture. You can use the following tools to help you find more keywords to be targeting;
- Sem Rush
- Google Keyword Planner
- Surfer SEO content mapping
- Answer the Public
- Also Asked
Keywords into clusters
The next step is to start a group in your keywords into clusters and arrange how they’ll work together.
If you’re an eCommerce company, one of the most popular ways to start a cluster is with the following types of content
- How to do something
- What is
Our favourite is the guides. Producing high-quality, long-form guides is one of the best ways to start ranking for more keywords.
Ideally, you don’t want the guide to answer every single question on the topic, but you want to at least explore it.
Each guide page you have should be linking out to between five to ten other supporting articles, perhaps more if there’s the content to write more plus it’s incredibly competitive but SEO isn’t just about keeping up the pace.
Building topical authority means you’re setting the pace.
You’re not just creating content because others are, you’re creating content because you know that’s what you need to do and is perhaps one of the easiest ways to grow organic traffic and increase website visibility to a local and a national market.
Before you create the content, outline.
The content outline is an incredibly important step when creating content. You don’t want to just start writing and see what happens.
A lot of businesses are put off by creating 3,000-word blog posts, forget about creating 100 of them but they are much easier to do than you think.
About half the time is spent researching the topic, for example, let’s say you’ve got a deep fat fryer guide that talks about everything deep frying.
By doing research, seeing what else is ranking and creating a content outline, it can be much easier to tackle.
- 1 H1 tag – 50 words under the title
- 5 H2 tags – 150 words under each h2 tag
- 10 H3 tags – 300 words under each h3 tag
A simple content outline like this makes it much easier to create snappy content that will engage the viewer and you’ve got 3800 words of content.
And remember, it’s not about who creates the longest content, it’s about who creates the best.
Make the content
Creating the content is now simple with your content outline. It’s best to do it in stages we find, either do it block by block or sweep through once then again to add and edit.
The content needs to show that you’re an authority on the subject and that you know what you’re talking about.
The best thing about having a lot of content is that you can utilise internal linking to help the search engines and the user find the pages they need.
The supporting pages are just as important as the main pillar pages.
As we said before about creating guide pages, on their own they won’t do too much, but as a group of more pages collectively working together to provide the user with as much information as possible will help you to build topical authority.
Create graphics for the content
This is one part that often gets the least attention. If you’ve not got a graphic designer it can be difficult to make pages that stand out and are more engaging.
The use of graphics can make the content look more appealing, increase user engagement and keep the user on the page longer.
If you’re struggling to find images to use, there are websites like Canva where you can make some pretty epic images.
There’s a free plan which is OK, but the paid plan is only £10.99 per month and includes a load of features.
Build some backlinks
Yes, we said there’s less reliance on backlinks but you’re still going to be building some but just with less emphasis on it.
You don’t want to buy backlinks, but creating high-quality content makes it much easier to attract them naturally when you’re reaching out to potential link sources.
Need some help with your topical mapping?
If you need some help with the direction of your SEO plan and you want our help, our topical mapping service is perfect to start building topical authority for your website.