Once upon a time, the best way to boost your SEO on Google was to write a long content post, vary up your formatting a bit, and add plenty of keywords. Even after Google began to penalize keyword stuffing, you could still sprinkle them in naturally and have a great, optimized post. Today, however, it’s not enough for your post to be relevant to your audience; it must also be authoritative.
The new metric by which Google measures SEO posts is EEAT:
This is why you’ll notice that many of the best-performing pieces of content marketing seem to focus on their authority of the subject in order to become a topical authority. In this blog, let’s break down what topical authority means and how you can use it in your content marketing.
Topical authority refers to a content marketer’s attempt to be the popular authority on a topic relevant to their brand. For instance, a roofing company may want its blog to be the go-to source for information about energy-efficient roofing. And, of course, if the blog becomes the go-to authority, then the roofer might become the go-to roofer for energy-efficient roofing in their area.
Topical authority plays into all of the elements of EEAT. In order to become a topical authority, you must prove your authoritativeness and expertise. You can do this with examples of your experience. Establishing this foundation can help to build trustworthiness.
Websites or blogs with high topical authority tend to rank high in keywords or searches related to that topic. There are a few reasons for this. One is Google’s search algorithm, which ranks authoritative posts more highly than those without. The other is that the more users rely on your authority in a topic, the more traffic your website will receive. Google notices this, too, and prioritizes those search results that seem more popular than others.
So what do you need to have high topical authority? The obvious answer might seem like “the experience and knowledge to speak on that topic with authority.” However, more importantly, you need to be able to communicate your authority. There are a few things Google looks for, as do Google users.
- Choose a seed keyword. Don’t just throw in any keyword you can possibly think of. Instead, search for keywords relevant to the topic. You may begin with a seed keyword: in the case of the above example, “energy efficient roofing.” From there, run a search and research the keywords that crop up alongside or relate to your seed keyword. Use these as your basis for keywords.
- Research your topic thoroughly. It’s easy to look up the first few Google results and call it “research.” But if you want to be a topical authority, you should put in a bit more work. Search for studies on the topic, statistics, or academic papers written on the topic. Even if those papers are blocked behind a paywall, you may be able to reach out to the author to get a copy of their paper for free.
- Break your topic into clusters. You don’t just want to write one or two posts about that topic. If you’re aiming for high topical authority, this should be something you talk about often. Once your research is done, break up your information into clusters, with each cluster serving as a new piece of content within a series. This will also help you determine which keywords are relevant for which posts.
- Go in-depth with content. Rather than writing up another listicle or promotional blog, consider a deep dive into the topic on which you want to become an authority. Explore the niches and nuances of that topic that may come up within your brand’s business. Write an informative blog or script for a video that seeks to educate users fully on the topic. Or take it a step further and consider writing an ebook or whitepaper on the topic. This can boost your authority and help you generate leads.
- Build authoritative backlinks. If there’s a discussion about your topic of choice on the internet, you want to attempt to get it linked back to you. There are a few ways you can do this: consider guest blogging for someone else in a wider area of that topic. Add quotes from industry experts into your content or reach out to industry experts for an interview.