To rank well on search engines, you must establish topical authority. When search engines recognize you and your blog as subject matter experts, your blog pages can achieve higher rankings than those of more popular, but less focused, blogs. We’ll discuss effective tactics for harnessing the power of topical authority and demonstrate how topical authority beats blog popularity.

Sites such as the Huffington Post have leveraged this tactic for exponential growth. Instead of being a generic News site they introduced verticals such as HuffPost Politics, HuffPost Entertainment, and HuffPost Lifestyle to cater to specific interests within their audience. This allowed them to become a topical authority on these niche subjects and consequently their website was able to thrive.

Others have now followed in their footsteps. When BuzzFeed first launched it was a generic entertainment and news site. But around 2012 they made a shift and introduced verticals to create topical authority to grow into the powerhouse they desired. They launched several verticals including BuzzFeed Food, BuzzFeed News, and BuzzFeed Animals. And just like with the Huffington Post, that allowed them to niche down and become a topical authority.

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What is Topical Authority?

Let’s go back to the very beginning and define topical authority. Topical authority is the concept where a website strives to become an expert in a specific subject area. The content has a clear focus and is written by individuals knowledgeable about the topic.

How Topical Authority Impacts SEO

Building topical authority for your website helps search engines better understand the subject matter of your site. If search engines clearly perceive your website’s focus, your site is more likely to rank well for keywords related to that topic. And higher rankings lead to increased organic traffic, greater visibility, and improved credibility within a niche.

How to Build Topical Authority

The most effective way to build topical authority is by consistently creating content related to a specific subject. Choose the topic you want to focus on and build all of the content you can to support it. Keep in mind that this process takes time. Establish a posting schedule and consistently publish content relevant to your chosen topic. The more high-quality content you have about the subject on your site, the higher your topical authority will rise.

Use Long-Tail Keywords

Keywords can be categorized into two types: long-tail and short-tail (or broad) keywords. Long-tail keywords are specific and focused, while short-tail keywords cover broader subject areas. To improve your topical authority, prioritize content creation for long-tail keywords. So, instead of creating an article about “camping,” consider creating one about “trailer camping in Yosemite.”

On-page Optimizations

Another tactic for boosting your topical authority is to optimize your content for SEO. As we’ve mentioned earlier, creating content related to your topic is crucial. However, it’s equally important to ensure that search engines can easily rank your content. We have an on-page optimization guide you can follow to increase the likelihood of your content ranking well.

Topical Authority vs. Niche Authority

Now that we understand how to build topical authority, you might wonder if it’s essentially the same as niche authority? While these two concepts share many similarities and overlap, there is a distinction. Niche authority pertains to expertise in a very specific and narrowly defined subject, while topical authority can encompass a broader area of expertise. Nevertheless, if you want to speed up the process of increasing your topical authority, selecting a niche within your topic can accelerate your path to becoming an authority.

Topical Authority vs. Domain Authority

Now let’s differentiate between topical authority and domain authority. As previously discussed, topical authority revolves around a website’s specialization in a particular subject. It signifies that the website is an expert in a specific area.

Domain authority, on the other hand, is a metric created by Moz. It’s a numerical ranking that ranges from 1 to 100, with 100 being the highest. Domain authority provides an overall assessment of a website’s trustworthiness and strength. Unlike topical authority, it doesn’t focus on a specific topic but rather evaluates the overall popularity and trustworthiness of a website.

Increasing your topical authority is a valuable strategy for surpassing pages on websites with high domain authority. Just because a website has a high domain authority doesn’t necessarily mean it possesses superior knowledge in your specific area of focus. This is where building topical authority and clearly defining your website’s specialization can help smaller blogs outrank larger, more generalized sites.

In Summary

To outperform popular blogs, maintaining a clear focus is essential. A clear focus improves your topical authority, making it easier for search engines to recognize your website as an expert in your chosen subject matter. When people conduct searches related to your topic, search engines are more likely to provide results from authoritative websites in that area, increasing your chances of outranking otherwise popular blogs.

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An authentic brand can create loyal customers who keep coming back. Customers who spread your story for you and build your community. Customers who refer you to their friends every time the topic comes up. But what makes a brand authentic?

It Starts with a Story

Before you can build an authentic brand, you need to understand your brand story. You need to know why you’re doing what you’re doing, and how you got there. Then, you need to build it into a story that you can share.

When you share your mission as a story, people will remember. You share the ups, the downs, and the full journey of how you became the ideal guide for their own hero’s journey.

Be Consistent and Unique

So, you need to not only have a brand story, you need to use it consistently. This message should appear on your website, your social media accounts, and your emails.

You want your mission to be clear and memorable. If you have a team, make sure your team members understand the mission so they can use it to guide decisions as well.

When you stay true to your mission and focus all of your efforts on the underlying reason why you do what you do, it makes any decision simple. Decisions should align with your company mission.

For example, the mission of ClearPath Online is to instill confidence in entrepreneurs who want to grow their own website traffic. We want to give digital marketing confidence to business owners who have no experience with it.

Our mission is not to get people to sign up for our DIY SEO tool. That is simply the main way we are able to fulfill our mission of providing confidence in online marketing. But, our mission doesn’t end there. Our social media content, our podcast content, and our email newsletters all try to support our mission. Before we create content we ask, does this help entrepreneurs become more confident in digital marketing? Will this help people grow their website traffic? If the answer is yes, we know it makes sense for our brand to build it.

If you want a clear framework on how to build out a story for your brand, I’d recommend reading Building a StoryBrand by Donald Miller. It provides an actionable framework that you can use to create a compelling brand story.

Keep People First in Mind

To have an authentic brand, you need to remember that everything needs to be about the people you want to help, not about yourself. It’s okay to talk about yourself on social media, but make sure you tie in why your ideal customer should care. How does this relate to them?

Challenge yourself to always think of your customers, your target audience, and the community you are building. For example, if you receive an industry award, that is a big deal and something that should be shared. You might put a banner on your website, a post on your social media accounts, and send out an email to your list. Those are all great ideas, but don’t focus only on yourself. Use that moment to acknowledge all of the members in your community that helped you reach that achievement. Show gratitude.

Your brand has to be about more than yourself. It needs to be about your community.

No Black Hat Tactics

Do things the right way. If you want to be an authentic brand, don’t try and cheat the system.

Black hat tactics are tricks that people sometimes use to get quick SEO wins. If they work at all, the benefits normally don’t last long because the search engines catch on quickly. Then they adjust the algorithm so people can’t take advantage of that loophole again.

It’s not worth it. They are normally time consuming hacks that provide at most a short-term gain. They don’t help your community and they can even cause irreparable harm to your website.

Trying to trick the system will make you lose credibility and trust and won’t provide long-term results.

Be Honest

Lastly, be honest. Transparency goes a long way. The most authentic brands are completely honest and transparent.

Show people that they can trust you by providing accurate information, delivering on promises, and communicating constantly.

That’s it! Follow those guidelines and you will have built an authentic brand.

What do you think is the most important aspect of an authentic brand? Please share it with us in the comments!

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