Topical Authority SEO: How to Outrank Your Competitors in 2024

Did you know that 90% of all clicks go to the first page of Google search results? If you want to get free traffic from Google, you need to rank in the top 10 organic results.

The reason authority websites and big brands often rank on the first page of Google for most queries is that they have topical authority. Websites with high topical authority are 10 times more likely to rank on the first page of Google than websites with low topical authority.

  • The quality and quantity of your content
  • The number and quality of backlinks from other websites
  • The relevance of your website’s content and more

So, what is topical authority, and how do you build it? Let’s find out in this post.

What is Topical Authority? 7 Tips for Becoming a Topical Authority in Your Industry

What is Topical Authority?

Topical authority refers to a website’s authority that is earned through high-quality content. It is essentially a measure of a website’s expertise on a particular topic. The higher the quality and quantity of your content on a topic, the stronger your topical authority will be.

Topical Authority SEO: How to Outrank Your Competitors in 2024

Here are some examples of websites with strong topical authority:

  • Wikipedia is the go-to website for information on many informative topics
  • WebMD is a trusted source of information on health and medical topics
  • The New York Times is an award-winning newspaper that is known for its high-quality journalism

These websites have stronger topical authority on most topics because they consistently produce informative and up-to-date content, demonstrating their expertise in various areas. This consistent dedication to high-quality content is the cornerstone of building topical authority.

My blog, BloggersPassion, serves as an excellent example of a website with strong topical authority in the realms of SEO and blogging. For over a decade, we’ve been meticulously crafting content on these topics, establishing ourselves as a trusted source of information.

This established expertise in SEO and blogging translates into the ability to publish new content on guest posting sites that quickly ranks well and outranks established articles on sites with less content or less frequent coverage of digital marketing topics. This is a testament to the power of topical authority in influencing search engine rankings.

Here’s an example of our site ranking #1 for one of such topics:

Topical Authority SEO: How to Outrank Your Competitors in 2024

When you publish authoritative content on ONE particular topic regularly, Google considers your website a trusted source of information, which ultimately helps with higher search rankings.

So, how do you build topic authority for your website to boost your search rankings in Google? Let’s find out.

Build Topic Clusters

You must build topic clusters to improve your website’s topical authority.

A topic cluster is a group of related pages that ALL focus on a specific topic. Topic clusters show Google that your website has many helpful articles relevant to a specific topic. 

To build a topic cluster, identify the MAIN topic that you want to target. Then, brainstorm a list of related subtopics. 

For each subtopic, create a page that provides in-depth information on that topic. Be sure to link between the pages in your topic cluster so that Google can understand they are all related to each other.

Topical Authority SEO: How to Outrank Your Competitors in 2024

Here is an example of how you can use topic clusters to build topic authority:

Let’s say your target topic is “SEO.” You could create a cluster of pages on your website that are all related to SEO, such as:

  • What is SEO?
  • How to do keyword research
  • How to optimize your website for search engines
  • How to use SEO to improve your site’s rankings
  • SEO mistakes to avoid

By creating a cluster of pages on your website that are all related to SEO (or any ONE topic), you are showing Google that your website is an authoritative source of information on that topic.

Let’s find out how you can create topic clusters using the 3-step approach explained below. 

Follow the 3-step approach

Here’s an easy-to-implement 3-step approach for building and improving your website’s topical authority.

  1. Identify two to three problems that your target audience has
  2. Group these problems into broad topic areas
  3. Use keyword research to identify subtopics within each broad topic 

Let’s briefly talk about these simple steps so you can understand better.

Let’s say you want to build topical authority on “WordPress SEO.”

Step 1: Identify the main problems that your target audience has with WordPress SEO

Some common problems that WordPress users may have include:

  • Not getting enough traffic to their website
  • Not converting visitors into customers
  • Not understanding how to optimize their website for SEO
  • Managing plugins and themes

Step 2: Group the problems into broad topic areas

For example, you could have topic areas like:

  • Keyword research
  • On-page SEO
  • Off-page SEO
  • Technical SEO
  • Content marketing

Step 3: Build out each topic area with subtopics using keyword research

Use keyword research to identify subtopics within each broad topic area. For example, under the topic area of “keyword research,” you could have subtopics like:

  • How to do keyword research
  • Types of keywords
  • Long-tail keywords vs. short-tail keywords

Once you have identified the core problems, topic areas, and subtopics, you can start to create content to build topical authority.

The more you create helpful content on ONE topic, the easier it becomes for you to establish yourself as an expert in that topic, which can ultimately lead to more search traffic and sales. 

Create content that meets search intent

The #1 ingredient in building your topical authority is your CONTENT.

If your content is mediocre, it will NOT rank, no matter what tactics you use.

Spend quality time creating high-quality content that’s useful to your target audience. 

There are a few things you need to remember while creating engaging content;

  • Expertise 
  • Relevance 
  • Accuracy 
  • Completeness

The key here is to link to different relevant topics on your website internally. Interlinking is what helps you club together all the relevant pages on your website. That’s how you tell Google that all the linked pages are relevant to each other, which ultimately builds topical authority. 

Here are some useful tips for creating intent-based content:

  • Analyze the top 5 results for the topic you want to rank for. Find out what type of content is ranking (an article, video, or something else?). Create content accordingly based on the top search results for your desired keyword. 
  • Use a variety of content formats. Most website owners stick to publishing only blog posts. Yes, they work like a charm. But to make your content more informative and reach a wider audience, you can include infographics, videos, and ebooks in your topic clusters.  
  • Consider your target audience and what types of content they prefer before you create topic clusters. For example, if your target audience is running businesses, they may prefer textual content such as blog posts and ebooks. If your target audience is mostly consumers, they may prefer to consume visual content such as infographics and videos.

Get quality backlinks 

Yes, creating a lot of informative and authoritative content on a specific topic can improve the thematic authority of your site.

But you also need links. lots of them. You especially need to build links from other high-quality websites.

Why? Because backlinks are signals to Google that your website is authoritative and trustworthy. The more backlinks you have from high-quality websites, the higher your website will rank for your target topics.

The best ways to build backlinks to your website are;

  • Guest blogging: Guest posting on other websites is an evergreen link building tactic. Yes, it became difficult to find guest posting sites, but it’s worth your effort. If people are not accepting guest posts, you can also try sponsored content to build links (where you pay the website owners for publishing your article along with links to your site).
  • Use Quora: You can write answers on Quora and link to your pillar pages. Yes, these are nofollow links. But remember, many Quora answers appear on the first-page search results, which is what makes Quora links so powerful.
  • Competitor analysis: Find your top 10 competitor websites in your industry. They’re getting huge traffic from Google because of their backlinks. Use tools like Semrush to find their backlink sources. Then, use different ways like email outreach, influencer marketing, broken link building, etc to build those links.
  • Build a network: You need to connect with other industry bloggers and website owners. It can help you link out to each other (only if the content is of high quality and relevant). Whenever you publish something EPIC, reach out to other website owners who’ve already linked to similar content.

A Quick Checklist on Building Topical Authority

If you’re new to topical authority and looking for a handy checklist, this section is for you. In a nutshell, here’s everything you need to know about building topical authority.

  • Start with finding the BROAD terms or seed keywords that are relevant to your website, products, or services.
  • Identify the relevant subtopics and cluster them together. These are also called “topic clusters.”
  • Research the relevant keywords and search intent for each subtopic.
  • Create comprehensive and informative content that covers each topic thoroughly.
  • Interlink your content to all the relevant pages on your site. Interlinking helps search engines understand your content’s relevance.
  • Build backlinks from other high-quality websites in your industry.
  • Update your PILLAR content regularly. Google ALWAYS likes fresh content. Keep your content fresh and up-to-date by adding new information and removing outdated information. 

FAQs on topical content

Here are some frequently asked questions on topical content.

What is topical content?

Topical content is content that is focused on a specific topic. It is often well-researched, HIGHLY informative, and relevant to your website’s target audience. Topical content doesn’t have to be only blog posts, as it can be in any format, including eBooks, videos, and podcasts.

What is topical authority?

Topical authority is a website’s expertise on a particular topic. Topical authority is built through consistently creating high-quality content on that topic. You’ll also need relevant links from other sites to be able to rank higher for the keywords related to those topics.

How do you know if your website has topical content?

You can easily determine your site’s topical authority by tracking your keyword rankings. If your website ranks in search results for many keywords related to your topic, then it has topical authority in that particular topic. You can easily get first-page rankings by creating more new blog posts (or any content) on that topic.

How do I create topical authority for my website?

The best way to build topical authority is to create in-depth content that covers all aspects of your topic.

Is topical authority a ranking factor?

Although Google does NOT mention any of its ranking factors, it considers topical authority while ranking pages for ANY topic or keyword.


Final thoughts on topical relevance

Topical authority improves your keyword rankings, helps establish you as an expert in your field, and sends you high-quality visitors from Google.

When you have topic authority, Google sees you as an expert on your chosen topic. It takes a lot of time to build topical authority, but it’s worth it in the long run.

So, what are your thoughts on topic based writing? do you have any more questions? Tell us in the comments.

My name is Megha, A computer science student with a passion for digital marketing and SEO, enjoys helping beginners build impressive WordPress websites.

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