What is Topical Authority in SEO?

Topical authority is achieved by producing unique high-quality, comprehensive content that encompasses the subject in its entirety.

Most marketers think of link building when we talk about “authority” in search engine optimization (SEO) terms. Backlinks were formerly the most dominant influence in domain authority development, but that function has declined over time (so Google wants us to think) or at least will continue to decline as time progresses.

Historically, link building and resorting to black-hat strategies were the only ways to build a website’s authority. However, with topical authority and topical relevance, it is no longer required to establish a site’s authority. This is important as using topical authority and relevance to write content can be a more natural way to show authority.

The use of content to build topical authority and boost rankings for keywords and target phrases has become a hot topic. This is because the strategy allows website owners to increase the number of keywords that a site ranks for and it is completely under the control of the website owner.

We’re going to look at everything you need to know about topical authority in this post. We’ll explore what it means for creators, why it’s crucial, and how to attain it. Then, we’ll explore how search engines determine the authority of a website.

Let’s start with answering the question of what topical authority is.

Table of Contents

What is topical authority in SEO?

Topical authority is the built-up and demonstrated competency a website shows over a particular topic. The more high-quality, trustworthy, and informative content a website has covering a single topic, the more likely a site will be thought of as a leader or authority on a specific subject.

Your website must serve your user, provide comprehensive answers, and deliver top-notch material at every step of the buying process in order to be considered topically authoritative. Topical authority is a quantitative metric of how credible a website is. 

Unlike domain authority (DA), topical authority is completely controlled internally and doesn’t rely on external validation in the form of backlinks and citations. It is a metric that a website owner can influence and dictate through content development and using on-page SEO techniques. 

Whereas, topical authority is the demonstrated expertise a website creates over time by covering the depth of a singular topic, whereas DA focuses primarily on backlinks and the quantity of high-quality, relevant backlinks.

Some SEO experts believe that topical authority can be a significant ranking factor on Google. This is because Google values and rewards websites that have a robust understanding of a topic and provide high-quality content that covers every angle of it. 

We will discuss why SEO experts believe this in Google’s algorithm updates and topical authority section below. But first, let’s take a look at why building topical authority in SEO is important.

Why is building topical authority important?

The reason why topical authority is important is that as a content writer and SEO specialist, you have complete control over your rankings. Whereas, by proving to Google that you are an expert on your particular topic, Google will reward you with higher rankings. This means, that you don’t have to rely on building backlinks as much, or at all.

By not having to rely on third parties to link to your content, you can control your overall ranking by yourself. This means that you can boost trustworthiness, your website’s SEO rankings, and increase website traffic to your site. Moreover, this will have an indirect impact on the click through rate of your web pages, as well as the site’s overall conversion rate.

Finally, as Google continues to push for high-quality content in their algorithm updates, by building topical authority website owners can protect themselves against any updates that may impact sites using unnatural link-building schemes, or low-quality irrelevant content to garnish clicks (such as AI-generated and spun content).

An example of this would be Google’s recent ‘helpful content update’ as well as the Hummingbird and Medic algorithm updates. 

In the next section, we discuss just how these algorithm updates are impacting content, and pushing websites to take a topical authority SEO approach.

Google’s algorithm updates and topical authority

Google’s algorithm updates and topical authority

Historically Google has relied heavily on backlinks to determine the authority of a website. However, as many SEO experts have seen, this has become problematic. It has become more evident as the black hat methods to build backlinks have increased. Moreover, the overall practice of manipulating backlinks, through link-building schemes such as trading and buying, as well as comment spam and Private Blog Networks continues to grow. 

With search engines’ heavy reliance on external validation for websites (backlinks), it is no wonder that these black hat methods to falsely propagate the domain authority of a website have become so prominent.

The manipulation of backlinks has pushed Google into trying to value and rank content in a different way, by putting more weight on the overall quality and completeness of a website’s content over a singular topic. The valuation of the content as a whole is what has given rise to the concept of topical authority, and developing content this is topically relevant.

The change is Google’s algorithm to value highly relevant content, has become more evident with three algorithm updates throughout the years. The three Google algorithm updates we are going to focus on are:

  1. Hummingbird algorithm update 2013
  2. Medic algorithm update in 2018
  3. Google’s helpful content update in 2022

Let’s take a deeper look at each of these updates and what it meant for topical authority.

1.  Hummingbird algorithm update 2013

The Google Hummingbird update took place in August 2013 and was described by multiple Googlers as a total rewrite of the core algorithm. This is because the update allowed for Google’s search engine to move away from matching keywords, and their heavy reliance on backlinks, to a better understanding of search query and intent.

What this meant for topical authority is that the algorithm rewrite, favored in-depth and well-rounded content covering the search query. Whereas, for example, a writer that had a deep understanding of a topic would use more terminology and phrases – consciously and unconsciously – that were highly related to the topic. 

Moreover, it typically meant the writer was also producing auxiliary content focused on the same topic but from a different perspective. With topical experts producing more content around the same topic, a robust knowledge base was being formed and interlinked together to provide search users with an extensive web of information they could read on one website.

Now let’s look at the medic update.

2. Medic algorithm update in 2018

The Medic algorithm update focused on more of the same as the Hummingbird update. With a particular focus on the medical, health, and Your Money Your Life (YMYL) fields, the update drilled down on the importance of expertise, authority, and trustworthiness (E-A-T) of websites.

Focusing on the E-A-T of websites is another strong signal that Google is focusing on high-quality, robust, and highly-focused content on the web. The update was designed to encourage websites to publish content that was focused on particular topics and for the webmaster to publish content at length to cover the topic. This meant that there needed to be a push for topical authority in different niches, especially those niches that revolved around YMYL fields.

With the Medic update going a step further than the Hummingbird update, Google has consistently made strides in trying to focus on online businesses producing content that is authoritative and trustworthy. In other words, getting websites to develop authority in their niche.

The latest update came in 2022. Let’s take a look at Google’s Helpful Content update.

3. Google’s helpful content update in 2022

The most recent update that affects topical authority is Google’s Helpful Content update in August 2022. This update focuses on ensuring that the highest quality of content is being displayed to search engine users. This update has stemmed from the influx of AI-generated content being published on the web. With AI-spun content taking over much of the SERP results for specific niches, users have found a decline in the quality, authority, expertise, and trustworthiness of the content being presented to them.

This update pushes back on this type of content and reminds webmasters and content writers to publish unique, high-quality content in their specific niche. Moreover, it wants to ensure that websites are focusing on E-A-T content that builds upon the knowledge base the website has already created. 

Ultimately, the Helpful Content Update is trying to influence content production and encourage websites to once again produce content to develop their topical authority, and not use AI-generated content to meet specific ‘word counts’.

These three updates have vastly improved the quality of content, and the reliance Google has on backlinks. That being said, they haven’t completely removed the importance of building backlinks to increase the authority of a website. They have only made it easier for content creators to develop the topical authority of their websites in order to influence their rankings.

Now that we have looked at the Google algorithm updates that have paved the way for topically relevant content, let’s take a look at what Google has actually said about topical authority.

Google’s take on topical authority

Google rarely releases much information about its search engine algorithm or the updates they make to it. With good reason!

So how do we know that Google values topical authority?

Google, and specifically John Mueller, a Google search advocate, has made statements regarding the importance of topical authority. Below is a quote from Mueller, where he discusses topical coverage, topical authority, and topical expertise:

And for search engines, as well, it’s something where, if we can recognize that this website is really good for this broader topic area, then if someone is searching for that broader topic area, we can try to show that website, as well. We don’t have to purely focus on individual pages.

John Mueller, Google search advocate Feb 5 2021

The quote mentioned above is from Google’s SEO office-hours hangout from February 5, 2021:

How does topical authority help you rank higher?

Topical authority allows a website to rank better because it is developing content that covers every angle of a topic, and thus provides the best resource for a search engine user. Whereas, the website has developed an extensive web of knowledge, and is able to provide the user with the most exhaustive account of the topic. 

To Google and other search engines, this means that the website can provide information more in-depth, and throughout the buyer’s journey better than another source can. This idea of complete coverage of a topic can be related to an industry leader and thought. 

A good example of a source that has been able to develop topical authority over their topic is Backlinko and Ahrefs. Whereas, they have developed content for every question and topic imaginable related to SEO.

Their robust repository of information makes them a trusted source and someone to turn to when a query arises. This is true not only for search engine users but also for search engines themselves. And thus, is why they are typically ranking on the top of SERP results constantly.

An important distinction to make is that developing topical authority in a subject doesn’t mean that the source needs to only create one type of content. The source should engage in making topically relevant content in the following formats:

  • Written form (Blogs)
  • Audio (Podcasts)
  • Videos
  • Infographics 
  • PDFs, word documents, excel sheets, and PowerPoint
  • E-books 

By developing content across every format, Google will be able to evaluate every piece and determine if it is relevant, high-quality, and provides value to the user. This will be done by their algorithm as well as by evaluating social and user signals being sent back to Google.

To fully understand how topical authority helps websites achieve higher organic rankings, we need to also discuss the concepts of topical coverage, topical authority, topical expertise, and topical connections as mentioned in how Google views topical authority section above.

Let’s take a quick look at what these terms mean.

Understanding topical coverage, topical connections, and topical expertise:

Topical authority is the overarching idea behind producing unique high-quality, comprehensive content that encompasses the subject in its entirety. However, to achieve authority in a specific topic, webmasters need to also understand the elements that contribute to topical authority. These components include:

  1. Topical coverage
  2. Topical connections
  3. Topical expertise

These three components will help content writers and SEO experts develop topical authority in their niche. Let’s take a deeper look at each of these.

1. Topical coverage

Topical coverage is the metric that examines the level of competence a website has on its target topic. Whereas, by developing additional pieces of content a website is able to examine a topic from multiple angles and provide a well-rounded account of everything that pertains to the topic. 

The content produced (can be blogs, case studies, videos, podcasts, excel sheets, PDFs, infographics, etc.) then blankets the topic completely and shows that the website is an authority on the topic as it is assumed they have done the research to accurately depict the topic and produce high quality, trustworthy content.

At this point, the content needs to be internally linked and connected together to make a web of information that users as well as search engine crawlers can navigate through. This brings us to our next topic: Topical connections.

2. Topical connections

The idea of topical connections is that through the content being produced on a website, a network of highly related blogs, videos and infographics are being produced on a specific topic and being intertwined together to blanket the topic. In other words, a content network is being developed that makes it possible for a user to find every piece of information they are looking for regarding their search query. 

The key to topical connections is first mapping out the entire topic and subtopics as well as the keywords associated with them and understanding how to structure the vast amount of information in different content types. The second key to the content network idea is internal links – or the practice of connecting every piece of content together to form a web of information.

The last thing to mention about topical connections is that the content being produced builds up the base of information and expertise that is needed to compete for highly competitive keywords and topics. Whereas, it is important to build out your basic information to tackle more complex and difficult ideas in your niche.

Speaking of expertise, let’s have a look at what topical expertise entails.

3. Topical expertise

Topical expertise is an output of the previous two components. Whereas, if a website has ample topical coverage and connections, Google may deem that the website has expertise in the subject matter. Google is able to determine (although not 100 percent of the time) expertise because of Natural Language Processing (NLP) and with the help of their Bert algorithm update (DeepRank).

Simply put, the algorithm allows Google to understand search queries and content the same way humans do. Meaning that they are able to more accurately determine what is being asked, and what is being said. This results in their crawlers being able to evaluate the topical coverage, connections, and ultimately, expertise a website has over the subject matter.

Topical expertise means that Google is evaluating not only the connections between articles, but also on a word-to-word, sentence-to-sentence, paragraph-to-paragraph, and blog post-to-blog post level. Just as humans can understand how each is related to the other, and the added value each gives the other, so can Google’s algorithm. 

Let’s take a look at a prominent case study outlining the success of topical authority.

A topical authority case study:

Topical authority seems to be a term that was coined by SEO experts, and not necessarily Google itself. This makes it difficult to track and measure its effectiveness of it (more on measuring topical authority later).

That being said, SEO agencies have found success with implementing content strategies that focus on a single broad topic, to raise their authority on the subject. 

One of the best comprehensive case studies that look into how topical authority influences organic rankings that we found is by Koray Tuğberk GÜBÜR, titled: Importance of Topical Authority and Coverage: Topical-Contextual Authority with Hierarchy for SEO: From 0 to 128.000 in 123 Days and 12.000 Organic Clicks per Day.

Koray elaborates on his process and brings in valuable data from three different websites where he executed the strategy. Moreover, he dives into some of Google’s search engine patents to support his claims about the importance of building authority on a topic.

You can get an in-depth look at Koray’s case study by checking out the link to his case study above, or by watching his interview with Matt Diggity. I have included the video below:

Now that we have discussed the theoretical components of topical authority, you are probably wondering, how do you build topical authority? In the next section, we discuss the steps to achieve topical authority.

How do you build topical authority?

Building topical authority will require an extensive amount of content that focuses on a single idea or concept. Moreover, it will require different forms of content including, text, audio, video, and images. The content should then examine the topic and its subtopics from different angles and weave together a complete account of the subject.

In order to build topical authority, you will need to incorporate the three components listed above coverage, connections, and expertise, in order to build a significant base of knowledge and information to prove the authority of your website.

In order to do this, significant time will need to be devoted to building the content strategy, researching topics and subtopics, researching the keywords involved, writing content, and using on-page SEO techniques to optimize the content.

The eight steps and strategies a website can use to build topical authority on a subject are:

  1. Develop a content strategy
  2. Understand the user intent of the topic
  3. Research the topic
  4. Develop topic clusters
  5. Conduct keyword research
  6. Map keywords to pillar pages
  7. Make a content calendar
  8. Write high-quality content
  9. Follow on-page best practices

Let’s dive into each of the nine steps and walk through each in order to develop topical authority in SEO.

1. Choose a topic

This may go without saying but the first step to establishing the authority of a website is to determine which topic to cover. Although simple sounding, some thought needs to go into the decision-making process. Whereas, it is important to choose a topic that fits into the website’s niche. Typically this means choosing something related to your company, brand, or even URL.

Next, it is important to evaluate if it is reasonable for the content writer or team to choose the topic. In other words, does the company have ample experience in the topic and already have a deep understanding of what kind of content and information is required to effectively cover all aspects of the subject.

Finally, is the topic of interest to the company. Interest can mean two things here:

  • First, will you as the writer, or team writing about the topic have an interest in researching and developing content on the subject matter for a long period of time? This is essential as developing topical authority for SEO purposes will be a long term project.
  • Second, will cover the topic result in monetary gains, or other business-related benefits? If developing authority in the specific topic area does not benefit your overall business and SEO goals, it may not be a good idea to go after the topic. Therefore, make sure that there are plenty of transactional keywords and terms related to the topic before deciding if the topic is right for your business.

2. Research the topic

During this step of developing topical authority, you will want to completely research the topic. This means looking into related queries and subtopics. The easiest way to research the topic and examine related queries is by using a few different SEO tools, as well as an excel sheet to keep everything organized.

SEO tools to research the topic:

The two methods we use to research topics and gather information are by using Answer The Public, as well as Google itself.

Answer The Public: This is an amazing tool to look at all the related queries a topic has. It provides a diagram depicting how a topic can be broken down into different elements and used to generate a list of subtopics that can be covered. Whereas, Answer The Public uses the data from Google’s autocomplete function to provide an extensive list of useful phrases that are being searched for in relation to your specific keyword.

An example of what this may look like can be seen in the image below.

Topical Authority Research
Example of Spider graph for Topical Authority Research from Answer The Public

Although the tool does a good job providing relevant queries, not all of them will be stand-alone articles. This is where an understanding of the user intent, and how certain queries and keywords can be merged together to form a single piece of content. We discuss this in-depth in step 2.

But first, our second method of researching and gathering information for our topic.

Using Google: By using People also ask and the Related searches sections of Google’s search engine results pages (SERPs), you can uncover additional subtopics and queries being searched for by users. Focusing on these sections will provide you with more topics and areas to cover to increase your topical authority. 

In the images below, you can see what the People also ask and what the Related searches sections look like on Google’s SERPs.

People Also Ask Section on Google
How People also ask section looks on Google SERP results
Related Searches Section on Google
How Related searches section looks on Google SERP results

Additionally, these sections are important signals from Google, as they are telling you exactly what people are searching for, and what should be covered to ensure you have topical coverage. 

The last thing to note for the People also ask section is that you can utilize plugins as well as websites to export the different queries that pop up. This will help save time in examining every option as well as organizing them in your excel sheet. Our two favorite SEO tools to use for this are:

  • Alsoasked: A website that offers three free searches per month. The tool aggregates organize and displays “People Also Ask” data that appear in Google search results. 
  • SEO Minion: A Chrome plugin that goes through the different layers of the People also ask section and then presents the user with the information.

With Answer The Public and looking into the People also ask and the Related searches sections on Google, you will be able to acquire a large amount of highly related topics. The next thing to do is to include these in an excel sheet and begin clustering them together to develop content silos and articles. We will discuss how to cluster your keywords properly into content silos. But first, it is important to first evaluate the user intent of the topic and disregard any irrelevant information.

Let’s take a look at how we can understand the user intent of our topic and subtopics.

3. Understand the user intent of the topic

Building on ‘is the topic of interest to your business in monetary terms, the team will need to understand the overall search intent of the topic. Is the search intent of the topic purely informational? Or is there a transactional component to it as well?

To perform this step, the team will need to use the research conducted during step two, to map out all the related topics, sub-topics, and even auxiliary topics. This will allow the team to map out all the related terms for the different types of queries including: commercial, transactional, informational, and navigational.

Moreover, during this step, it will be important to start thinking about how a user may proceed through the entire buyer’s journey of the topic. Understanding how a person goes from gathering information, to being comfortable making a purchase, will help your team have a complete understanding of the user search intent behind each of your topics. Resulting in you being able to more accurately develop a topic cluster.

4. Develop topic clusters

At this step of the process, you have generated a list of topics and subtopics that cover a substantial portion (if not all) of the topic, and it is now time to organize them into related post clusters. This is important as it will begin to tell us how our content will be related and what types of topical connections we will have.

A content cluster is a group of different topics (supporting content) that focus on a broad topic or pillar content piece. Whereas, the entire cluster of information should be able to cover all the audience’s questions, concerns, and ideas. This means having a vast network of information that is interconnected and provides a one-stop shop for all the informational needs of a searcher. 

A cluster should have a pillar page and then multiple cluster pages or supporting information around it. Whereas, the pillar page should focus on the broader topic, and generic keywords, with the supporting evidence focusing on more long tail keywords (less competitive terms), as well as the specifics behind each of the broad topics.

How to use topic clusters for building topical authority in SEO
Using pillar pages and supporting cluster content can help websites build topical authority in SEO

After segregating your topics into specific clusters, make sure to double-check for any overlap or duplicate information. Finally, see if there is any room to combine some of the topics into a single page. 

Next, we will want to conduct keyword research to find the target terms for each of the pages we plan on making.

5. Conduct keyword research

This step is pretty straightforward and requires a basic understanding of keyword research techniques

You will want to conduct keyword research for each of your topics and find target keywords as well as semantic SEO keywords for each of the articles you will be writing. While conducting keyword research, make sure to keep track of both the monthly search volume as well as the keyword difficulty (KD).

By knowing the KD and monthly search volume, you will be able to further organize your topics in a hierarchical manner. This is important because at the beginning of your content strategy, you don’t want to cover the most searched queries for your topic as they won’t be able to garnish any visibility in search. This is because the website will not have any sort of topical authority or topical coverage for the subject.

Therefore, use your keyword research findings to organize keywords based on the search volume and difficulty. This will allow you to slowly build a knowledge base and authority in your niche.

In the next step, we discuss just how important it is to develop a content strategy to build authority in your niche.

6. Develop a content strategy

With your topics decided and the target keywords mapped to each, you will want to develop a content strategy for producing each article. Moreover, the strategy should define, when the articles will be written, the approximate length, as well as the internal links to be used to link together the articles. 

For this step, it is advised to develop a content calendar that depicts all of this information and keeps it easy to stay organized and on schedule. One of the most important aspects of developing topical authority for your website is to focus on writing content consistently over a specific period of time. This will allow you to systematically build your authority and knowledge base while showing Google that the website is producing additional content on a regular basis.

To stay organized, we recommend using the same excel sheet you used to develop your cluster topics with target keywords. We advise adding specific dates, as well as adding exact match anchor text to target in each article while linking to it. 

Moreover, the sheet should include the other cluster pages it will be interlinking to. The internal linking aspect of this approach is one of the most essential components of the entire practice. Therefore, while linking to other pages, make sure to consider the following guidelines while internal linking:

  • Internal links higher on the page, are viewed as being more valuable
  • Keep internal links on a page to a minimum. Depending on the length of the article, best practices advise using around five per page
  • Try to use exact anchor text for your links when possible
  • Use contextual links surrounded by high-quality and informative content

7. Write high-quality content

While developing authority in your niche, it is essential to write high-quality content. This means that you have conducted research and are able to provide an in-depth account of the topic. Moreover, this means that the content should use data and statistics from external sources by using external links.

It is imperative that the content is written for users and not for search engines only. With Google’s evolving algorithm and its ability to use natural language processing, it is able to detect how content is written, and if it is written in a natural way. Of course, writers should write content for SEO, but this doesn’t mean using black hat SEO methods while developing content, or other tactics to manipulate search engine rankings.

Finally, avoid using AI content writers. Although there have been many advancements in AI writing capabilities, it is still of lower quality and is only capable of spinning content. Meaning, that no new ideas or concepts will be introduced, lowering the overall benefits of the content for users.

8. Follow on-page best practices

The final step is to on-page SEO best practices. This means structuring content in the correct way with titles, headers, and subheadings. Additionally, the page should include elements such as images and videos to enhance the overall experience for the reader, and to add alt text, and captions to add context for search engine crawlers.

On-page SEO techniques are well documented and covered extensively all over the website. Therefore, we recommend taking a look at our on-page SEO for beginners guide to understanding all the important elements to ensure you are sending the correct signals to search engines.

Eight steps to build topical authority in SEO takeaways

The eight steps we highlighted will help your website build its topical authority for SEO. By developing a well-structured, well-connected, and highly informational website, a webmaster can demonstrate to Google that it is a thought leader in its industry and deserves to rank for competitive terms. 

Topical authority can be a powerful strategy for websites that have the resources and expertise to develop a strong content marketing strategy. Whereas, it allows the website to control its own success and removes much of the reliance it would have had on backlinks.

In addition to the steps above, in order to build topical authority, use these quick tips:

Quick tips for earning topical authority

  • Stay current with industry developments and trends for your topic
  • Spend extra time making sure that your clusters are well defined and develop a strong web of information
  • Revisit your topics to identify content gaps – Use SEO tools and conduct SERP analysis
  • Systematically develop your strategy, and make sure to record all data around your articles. It is important to document your efforts to identify fault points and opportunities 
  • Use external sources and links to validate your content and claims. External links add credibility to your content
  • Update content to make sure it stays relevant and fresh. This means updating with new findings, developments, and statistics.

How to measure Topical Authority

As mentioned above, the term topical authority seems to have been coined not by Google itself but by SEO experts. This in itself makes topical authority difficult to measure as it is not a concrete idea that can be tied directly to Google’s ranking factors.

That being said, and as seen in the case study above, online businesses have seen a great deal of success by implementing a topical authority strategy for their content development.

Topical authority is a long-term strategy that requires a significant amount of content development. Whereas, depending on the rate of content production, the site can take months to see drastic changes in its organic ranking. If you are looking to see results faster, it is important to front-load your content, and produce the bulk of it at the onslaught of your campaign.

Below, we offer two different attempts to measure topical authority by different SEO agencies. These approaches are of course incomplete and require more refinement and attention. However, they are steps in the right direction and can begin shaping our understanding of how to measure a website’s authority on a topic.

1. Using topic share to measure results

Topic share to measure topical authority is an idea coined by kevin-indig.com which uses all keywords and their volume related to a particular entity topic. The article states the following for how it suggests calculating topic share:

To calculate Topic Share, you basically calculate how much traffic you or your competitors get from keywords within a topic.

For example, you can do this in Ahrefs:

  1. Take an entity (head term) like “e-commerce” and enter it in Keyword Explorer
  2. Go to Matching Terms and filter for Volume = > 10
  3. Export all keywords and upload them again in Keyword Explorer
  4. Go to traffic share by domains
  5. Traffic Share = Topic Share = “Topical Authority”

2. Using topical authority ratio 

The next attempt made to measure the topical authority of a website comes from Minuttia and Georgios Chasiotis’ idea of topical authority ratio.

They define their method of measuring the authority a website has, with the following definition: 

‘The Topical Authority Ratio is the ratio at which a website has been associated with certain topics.’

Whereas, they use the following formula: 

Topical authority ratio = Number of topically associated search results in Google’s index / Total number of pages for a website in Google’s index

Measuring Topical Authority with the Ratio technique
The Topical authority ratio equation for measuring the authority of a website

By using this formula, you can extrapolate a percentage out of 100 to see how Google perceives your website’s content that they have indexed. The method does a good job of showing how your content is organized and interrelated in Google’s index. 

However, it is a time extensive task and leaves out the important component of how your content is ranking, or how that percentage affects the overall ranking of your pages covering the topic.

Measuring topical authority – How the methods stack up

There is still much to be desired when it comes to measuring the authority of a website on a topic, and evaluating how it affects organic rankings. SEO experts still need to dive into the topic further to come up with a scientific approach to measuring and evaluating the effectiveness of topical authority strategies.

It will be interesting moving forward to see how SEO specialists, as well as search engines, develop ways to measure authority outside of backlinks, and in terms of the quality of content on a website, or even on a single blog post.

Sadly, until search engines completely move away from the idea of PageRank, page authority and domain authority, the much-needed work on the strategies of topical coverage, expertise, connections, and authority may not gain the attention it needs.

Key takeaways: Topical authority in SEO

Topical authority is defined as a website’s depth of expertise for a broad topic. With a website being able to achieve it by consistently writing content that is high-quality, comprehensive, and covers the extent of the entire topic. 

Topical authority can be the perceived authority a website has over an entire niche or broad set of ideas, as opposed to authority over a singular idea or term. The idea is considered to be one of the ways that Google measures the quality of content to influence the page’s ranking.

Overall, using topical optimization as a topical SEO strategy, can be a great way to develop a robust network of relevant keywords during content creation. Moreover, the strategy will help with creating a content hub that will demonstrate a website’s expertise on a specific topic. This will help promote your brand as a thought leader in your industry with your audience, as well as demonstrate to Google that you should be considered a topical authority in your niche.

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