What Is Topical Authority In SEO? The ONLY Clean Tactic To Grow Fast On Google

Topical authority: A Guaranteed method to outrank blog post competition [2023]

One of the fastest ways to rank a new blog is to build topical authority [AKA: Topical SEO] when writing blog posts. 

Topical authority is the level of expertise that you show to search engines with the amount of content coverage on a topic. 

This article will cover how you can build topical authority when writing blog posts in any niche. [Still deciding on your niche?]

Topical Authority SEO or Topical SEO

How topical authority helps outrank blog competitors

The main purpose of writing a blog post is to rank it on the SERPs.

But, you compete with other blog posts that are backed up by high domain authority, gazillion backlinks, & other metrics.

And, as a result these blog posts dominate the top 10 search results. 

The only way to beat them [Without black hat methods or intensive backlink building], is with topical authority. 

Topical authority is a high Google ranking factor. Most giant blogs don’t constrain their blog posts to a single topic.

Rather they blanket an entire niche, or multiple niches. 

For example, if you search for “How to start a blog“. One of the top results will be Blogstarter.com

Topical authority helps outrank sites with high domain authority [DA]

Blogstarter has a DA rating of 48/100. But, it outranks major sites like Neil Patel [DA: 89] and Hubspot [DA: 93].

Simply because Blogstarter focuses content only on blogs and blog posts.

And, is considered a stronger topical authority than Neil and Hubspot. [These were the rankings during the time of when this article was last updated].

Topical authority: The backend logic

For a single small topic, they’ll have very few articles covering it. And such few articles will only scratch the surface of that small topic.

They won’t go too deep into the topic. Because, the more specific you get in a topic, the lower the search volume there is.

Below shows how search volume reduces as you get more specific with your query [This is from Google keyword planner]

Search volume reduces the more specific a query is

So, major blogs don’t bother writing content to get little traffic.

So, writing more blog posts on that small topic makes you a better authority on that topic. And you’ll outrank them.

For example, If a giant blog has 20 articles on subtopic A.

If you write 50 articles on subtopic A, Google sees that you have better coverage on that specific topic.

And, Google shall deem you more worthy of ranking for the topic.

Keep in mind, writing more content means quality, not adding extra bluff to simply have more content.

If you completely cover that sub niche & answer every question there is, you’ll outrank them.

Increase your topical authority with blog posts

Follow these steps to build topical authority. Topical SEO will help you rank higher in the SERPs.

  1. Determine the niche you’ll write in.

    Find a niche you want to write in. Check out how you can find a blog niche [With 20 blog niche ideas to get you started].

  2. Select a particular topic within your niche (A subtopic/ sub niche).

    This is where you focus on a specific part of the niche you’re in. Just think about that sub topic. Ignore the rest.

  3. Find every question or query users have in that sub topic (Keyword research – more on this later)

    Use different methods to find questions that can be turned into blog post topics. [30+ Methods to find blog post topics].

  4. Find every concern users have in that sub topic (Keyword research)

    Use Google Search’s auto-suggest feature to take note of what users type into Google.

    Also, use LSI (Latent Semantic Index) keywords for more user intent keywords. 

    The LSI keywords are the related search links at the bottom of the search results page.

  5. Find every potential thing a user would want to read about in the subtopic (Keyword research – more on this later)

    Extensively search every keyword within that subtopic & create content around it.

  6. Start grouping the small topics based on how relative one is to another. 

    For example, blog post hosting is closely related to blog post domains.

    And blog post editing is closely associated with blog post writing. 

    This will help organize the content.

    As well, some of these topics won’t have enough content to write a blog post on, so it’s better to combine the topics as one blog post. 

    Grouped topics are far more accessible (AKA topic clusters – more on this later).

  7. Completely cover the subtopic.

    Cover the subtopic such that any information a user needs on that subtopic, they’ll find on your blog.

  8. Start writing the blog posts.

    While writing, focus on a single or a cluster of keywords. 

    Make sure to keep search intent in mind while creating the outline & overall article. 

    Plus, use ON Page SEO & OFF Page SEO to perfect the blog posts.

  9. Interlink all the content with internal links. [This is, a very important SEO step]

    Since the content is created around one subtopic & is highly related, you’ll have tons of opportunities to link several articles in each article. 

    This will create a serious web, which will help Google understand how everything is connected.

  10. Niche out

    Once a subtopic is deeply covered, expand & repeat the process with a related subtopic. AKA Niche UP (Go up the hierarchy)

  11. To explain the step above, imagine you have a topic A. Topic A has 3 subtopics: X, Y, & Z. 

    1. Subtopic Y has 2 subtopics: C & D. 

    2. You want to begin with subtopic D & cover everything in it. 

    3. Then move on to subtopic C. 

    4. Then subtopic Y. 

    5. Then subtopic X, then Z, & finally A. 

    6. Continue this process, and you’ll dominate topical authority. 

How small of a topic should you begin with? 

To figure out how small of a topic, to begin with, start with one subtopic you think is small enough, & start writing a blog post.

When you write, you’ll realize that you’re writing about different sub “subtopics” in that blog post. 

And, there can be multiple blog posts, each covering those sub “subtopics” separately. So then, focus your blog writing on that sub “subtopic”. 

When you write blog posts for that, you’ll find smaller topics that you should focus on.

Continue this, until the blog post subtopics you write about are small enough to be covered within that post. 

Note. Make sure to only niche down into smaller topics if they’re still directly relevant to your initial topic.

For example, suppose your blog post is on cars.

And, in one section you discuss how you find expensive cars in Dubai. Don’t niche down into the city of Dubai, and everything about Dubai.

Instead, niche down into “Cars of Dubai“.

Because your original topic was cars, so make sure your small topics are still directly relevant to cars.

How to niche down correctly

Topical authority starts with keyword research

To understand the depth & breadth of your niche, you must build an extensive list of keywords. 

What’s a keyword?

A keyword is a word, phrase, or question typed into Google search. Anything you type into Google search is considered a search query. All search queries are keywords. 

Keyword research can be done via two methods:

The goal is to create a list of as many keywords as possible. 

Once you have every keyword in your niche, group them to create keyword clusters or topic clusters. 

Creating blog post topic clusters

Topic clusters are sets of topics where one is considered the parent topic, & the rest are supporting subtopics. 

The parent topic will be based on the main keyword, & supporting subtopics will be based on related keywords. 

Such a structure will tell users, & Google, that you have expertise about the complete topic in depth. 

This is a simplified version of topical SEO. And, this is what most sites do. 

But, topical SEO is far more intense, where you cover anything & everything within a topic. 

Below is a strategy you can follow to build topical SEO.

Filling blog posts with internal links

Having strong internal linking throughout your content is crucial to building topical authority. Follow the steps below to build a strong internal link profile:

  1. Create 10 pieces of closely related blog posts.
  1. In each blog post, link to the other 9 blog posts by building proper relevancy & with proper anchor text. 
    • Building proper relevancy means, for example, you write about how to build a car transmission. Don’t randomly pop in a link for ‘How to place the transmission into the car, without building a proper connection between the two. Explain the process of building a car transmission, explain mistakes to avoid, and what parts to buy. And then get into how to place the transmission into the car. And then, put the link.
  1. Repeat the process.
  1. Return back to older pieces of content, & update the linking [Add more links or update previous links to increase relevancy]

E – A – T 

E – A – T stands for expertise, authoritativeness, & trustworthiness. 

Google measures the E – A – T of each page & site to determine how high to rank them in the SERPs. 

For example, when you search for something on Google & click on a result. 

How do you know that result isn’t providing you with false information? 

You don’t. If you take false information as advice, you’d be affected negatively.

Ultimately, you won’t trust the search results. And Google, would lose a user. This is known as a bad user satisfaction.

Therefore, Google always has its guard up against all sites, especially new ones. But, the best method to build E – A – T for your site is through topical authority. 

Topically authority makes you an expert in a particular niche. With expertise, you become an authority [Because of an increase in organic backlinks]. 

And, since you stick to one topic, & answer everything relating to it, a user will trust you much more over a site that has little content surrounding the desired niche.  [Find the right niche for yourself]

Building topical authority for a single blog post

Building topical authority as a whole is a separate process from showing it in a single blog post. 

Here is a list of factors to improve the E-A-T [Expertise – Authority – Trustworthiness] & the topical SEO of your blog post.

In-depth writing is a must for topical authority

The depth of your blog post depends on

  • Topic coverage > Did you explain the overall topic well?
  • Subtopic coverage > Did you discuss each subtopic?
  • Content detail depth > How in-depth did you discuss the topics & subtopics?
  • User questions [FAQs] > Did you answer user questions [Which can be obtained from the ‘People also ask’ section in Google search results]
  • Did you explain the small & simple things? 

Often, you’ll use a word, strategy, or concept, that you know of, but the user may not. 

So users will have to do an additional search on Google to find out what it means.

This is why internal links are helpful, as you can direct them to other blog posts that explain other topic areas well.

Remain relevant to the topic

Topical relevance is a more straightforward factor. It’s whether your blog post content is relevant.

For example, many blog posts discuss a certain topic but go off-topic without realizing it. 

And, some blog posts don’t even answer the original question. 

Suppose there’s a blog post on “How to find the keys in your house?”, it should cover methods to actually find keys in a house. 

Some writers only provide information like “What are keys” or “What’s a house”, which isn’t relevant & doesn’t match search intent. [Figure out search intent to rank higher on Google]

Those topics should be included in the content for SEO, but the blog post should still provide methods for finding keys in the house. 

If you don’t give users what they want, they’ll bounce off.

Add in practical tips

Tips are loved by all. 

Independent of what niche you’re in, providing practical tips within the blog post content, show you have hands-on experience. 

For example, suppose your blog post is on catching a salmon

Providing tips on using specific bait types or strings is considered an expert’s opinion on the topic. 

Quote experts [They’re topical authorities]

Writing content based on what experts have to say increases the authority of your article. 

Imagine reading two posts. 

One has just the opinion of a single writer, whereas the other has 5 – 6 expert comments backing it up. 

Which will you prefer?

This is why it’s important to link to external sources [even your competition] if they have data or expert opinions to back up your claims.

Doing so tells Google that you did your research to back up what you say.

Show real life examples

Real world examples make anything easy to consume & understand. 

For example, everything you learn in school is always reinforced with several real world examples. 

Because people can relate to real-world examples.

Provide facts

Use facts over opinions

Facts have data to back them up, whereas opinions are experience based. 

Therefore, opinions are only beneficial if they come from experts. So stick to the facts, unless you’re an expert

Avoid bluff & B.S just to increase blog post length

Increasing your blog post length doesn’t raise your ranking.

Unless the content you add is meaningful for a better understanding of the content. [Prepare an efficient plan for blog post topics]

Adding in unnecessary words/ sentences to bulk up the content will ruin the user experience [& ultimately, your rankings].

If blog post length concerns you, we did a case study on finding the ideal blog post length, where we break down everything you need to know about blog post length.

What is topical authority?

Topical authority, or topical SEO is the process of becoming an expert on a topic. 

Which means you have the answer to anything for the topic. 

The more questions you answer, the more of an expert you become. 

Google uses topical authority as a high-ranking factor

So, try covering everything within your topic to become an authority & your rank will get a serious boost. 

What if your competition is already an authority on the topic?

So, suppose your competition has 50 – 100 blog posts revolving around the topic. 

If you can write 100 – 200 blog posts on that very topic [By answering more questions & covering more subtopics], you’ll become a better authority, & Google will give you preference in ranking.

What contributes to topical authority?

  • The level of topic coverage
  • The amount of content produced
  • The level of internal links involved
  • Multimedia

What is page authority?

Page authority is the authority of an individual page. The authority of each page is considered in determining the overall authority of your site

What is domain authority?

The domain authority is the authority of your entire site. Domain authority is your grade out of 100.

Both domain authority & page authority are used along with topical authority as ranking factors by Google.

Plugins like Keywords Everywhere can show you the DA for all search results, as well as other helpful metrics

Domain Authority of a site [DA]

Why is topical authority important?

Topical authority is necessary for the following reasons:

Higher Google ranking

Topical authority means you have serious coverage of content on a particular topic. 

Google prefers showing such sites in search results because they can answer not only the original query of the user but any other relevant queries as well. 

So, topical authority leads to higher Google rankings.

Building E – A – T

As mentioned before, Google looks for E – A – T

Google prefers if sites are stuck to one topic. For example, there are sites that talk about everything there is. 

Which is not helpful for a single user. Sure, such sites can be great to get in a bunch of users. 

But, from a single user’s perspective, they’ll only find a single or couple of blog posts relating to their query, & the rest will be random. 

So, when a site sticks to creating content on a single topic, it’s far more helpful for each & every user. 

Which Google loves. And sticking to a single topic, & only creating content on it is considered building topical authority.

Increased traffic

Topical authority leads to higher Google rankings & Google also trusts you more. This will only result in more traffic. [Topical authority isn’t the only factor to rely on to gain more traffic]

Natural link building

When you write your blog posts, you check out search results for several queries & gather insights or leverage inspiration to improve your writing. 

And, you end up linking back to those sites. So, reversing this logic, if a site shows up high in search results, it will naturally get more backlinks. [Topical authority is ONE of the 8 quality backlink building strategies]

How can you tell if a website is authoritative?

A website is authoritative if it meets the following criterion:

Their pages are on page 1 of the search results

This is true for most sites. If you’re an authority on a certain topic, Google will rank you highly. 

But, some sites aren’t authorities on a topic but still rank high. 

Because, these sites are backed up with intense amounts of backlinks, have high domain authority, & are search engine optimized

So, don’t use just these criteria to determine if a site is an authority on a topic.

Topical authority is a sink for backlinks

As mentioned earlier, if you have a ton of backlinks, especially from other authoritative sites, Google sees that as a good enough reason to rank you high. 

[This is becoming less true with each new core update, which is focusing more on improving user experience]. 

Usually, sites link back to authority sites. So, if a site has a lot of backlinks, they are almost guaranteed to be a powerful authority. 

Topical authority results in a high DA score

A high DA score [A high Domain Authority Score], is obtained from having tons of backlinks, topical authority, & other SEO factors. 

It’s an overall score for your site. So, having a high DA is also another sign of being authoritative.

Strong social presence

Sites build a strong authority over time. A result of building such authority is an increase in social presence. 

So, by default, a great way to measure a site’s authority is to check out its social presence on social media.

Original data & research for surveys & reports

A site-building authority on a topic will go through the phase of gathering its own data to create surveys & publish data reports

A great example is Echelon insights. Using Google Consumer Surveys, Echelon insights understood the Republican Primary Electorate.

If you check out a website that has its own data, you’ll see them as an authority on the topic. So, find out if they do their own research to determine their authority.

You can build your own data through email or social media surveys and polls. You can easily build a survey with Google forms, and send it to your network. And use the data to create data visuals. [Learn how you can build data visuals that turn you into a dominant authority].

You can also gather unique data, that other blogs won’t readily have access to. And that’s using Google News. You can easily search for your keywords on Google news to find any relevant news.

News is always filled with fresh data. But, the news is constantly updated, so the news you see today will be gone in a day a two.

Which makes it hard to obtain since you have to constantly be on the lookout. But, if you put in the work, you’ll be the only one with unique data.

Not only will you be seen as an authority, but you will get an immense amount of backlinks as a result.

Indented SERPs

This is a solid method to know if a site is authoritative on a topic. 

Suppose they’re showing up multiple times in search results for a single search. 

Or, if they show up in a search result, but have additional indented results below. Google showcases such websites because of their authority on the topic. 

So, look for indented SERPs [Learn more about indented SERPs]

Indented SERPs

Topical authority is backed by Google updates

The Medic update

The Medic update affected the rankings of several medical websites. 

The concept of YMYL [Your Money Your Life] was established, where content that was relating to a user’s financial situation or health situation had to have a higher topical authority to keep its rankings

If not, they were heavily impacted negatively. By topical authority, I mean the update focused on the E – A – T of the content. 

Google mentioned: If you’re affected negatively, create better quality content to build topical authority.

The Hummingbird update

The Hummingbird update was a massive change in Google’s search algorithm. 

This was the update where the algorithm went from providing search results with keywords that matched those from the search query to providing search results that matched the topic in the search query

This update was more of a foundation for future updates that strengthen this. 

The overall concept was to provide the search results that a user is actually looking for, & not provide results that just look like they do.


How do you become a topical authority?

To become a topical authority, you need to focus on a single topic.

Cover everything about the topic and answer all relevant questions regarding it on your blog.

The more coverage on the topic, the more of a topical authority you become.

What is a topical domain?

A topical domain is a website focused solely on a single topic. A topical domain is otherwise known as a niche site.

What is topical expertise?

Topical expertise is the knowledge, and experience you have on a topic. Topical expertise is also built by the level of trust other blogs and websites have in you.

What is topical structure?

The topical structure in a blog post is the outline of topics based on hierarchy. A blog post will begin with the main topic and then dive into sub-relevant topics to establish a proper topical structure.

What is topical relevance?

Topical relevance determines how relevant topic A is to topic B. For example, car tires and car transmissions have high topical relevance.

What is topical depth?

Topical depth is how thoroughly you cover a topic. Or it’s how specific you got on the topic to elevate a reader’s understanding.

What is a topical backlink?

A topical backlink is an external link linking to you from another site in the same niche as you.