How Topical Authority Beats Blog Popularity

topical authority

Updated on April 16, 2024

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.

Do you want to listen to this article? Here’s the podcast episode:

About the Author

Jennifer Rogina is the Co-Founder & Lead Marketer of ClearPath Online, a DIY SEO tool for entrepreneurs to grow their own website traffic. Jennifer has been a digital marketing specialist since 2008. In that time she has focused on search engine optimization, digital analytics, and conversion optimization.



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