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Search engine optimization (SEO) constantly evolving and getting consistent results can be tricky. With around 252,000 new websites created daily, it’s important for you to keep up with the evolving trends to make sure you don’t fall behind competition. For this, you must continuously look to figure out ways to rank higher on search engines and beat competition.
Ranking pages on Page 1 of Google SERPs is not easy, several factors play a critical role in earning the first-page ranking. Topical authority is among the top aspects that you must consider while trying to rank on Page 1.
SEO today has shifted from keyword optimization to topical optimization. Due to this, to thrive in the highly competitive SEO environment, you must focus enough on gaining authority on the entire topic instead of just focusing on keywords.
This post will discuss how you can establish topical authority in your niche with your blog posts.
Let’s start with the basics first.
What is Topical Authority?
Topical authority is the measure used by search engines to analyze your expertise in a particular niche.
High topical authority signals search engines that you have in-depth expertise in your subject matter and can be trusted.
So, what is Keyword optimization, then?
Keyword optimization (keyword research) is the process of researching, analyzing, and choosing the right keywords that can drive traffic to your website and rank it high enough so that the targeted traffic can find it easily.
However, today, keyword optimization has grown to become topical optimization. But why? Because previously, websites could get into the top half of the SERPs even for keywords outside their niche. Just by optimizing for the chosen keywords and building backlinks to the posts. But today, you need to be an expert in your entire topical landscape to rank higher on the SERPs.
SEO isn’t just about keywords and backlinks anymore; you must focus on building topical authority over your entire niche.
How Google determines Topical Authority
Google constantly strives to provide optimum customer experience to its users. So, their algorithm has evolved to rank more relevant content higher.
With the release of Google’s Hummingbird update in 2013, the algorithms have started to see that people aren’t searching for keywords anymore. But they were searching for answers to their queries. Therefore, the algorithm started considering semantics and context as well.
Therefore, you must show Google how holistically you’re covering a topic as an expert.
So, how do you gain Topical Authority for your Blog post?
Initially, it might look like a big undertaking, but you can win with some correct strategic planning and modern SEO tools like ALPS.ai. Here are a few key areas you must focus on in your content to build authority.
Figure out Content Opportunities
The first stage of any winning SEO program is discovering optimal content opportunities. It holds true for establishing Topical Authority as well. This necessitates a research phase that – if done correctly – will give you high traffic results.
You can find out your blog content opportunities by answering these three questions:
Question 1: Are you ignoring the first step of your keyword research?
Today, Google treats search queries like questions. Therefore, this is highly important to consider while moving forward.
The missing first step you should focus on before diving right into a Keyword Research tool is to find out what queries your target audience is asking around your topic over the internet.
Therefore, if you miss this first step, you’ve got a big gap to fill.
The best way to do this is to list the questions your audience is asking about your main topic.
If you still need help figuring out the questions, find FAQs, relevant forums, and check the People Also Ask sections on the SERPs to find relevant questions within a niche in which you’re trying to gain topical authority and go from there.
Now, when you’ve got your questions, you can:
- Either create new blog content that answers those queries
- Or keep your list of questions in hand to update the existing content
Question 2: Are you improving your existing content?
Take inventories of your website’s content to see what’s missing or hitting the mark. For driving better opportunities, you would also want to find out what pages you can improve upon.
Firstly, figure out how you want your blog content to perform. And while you’re maintaining inventory, try to find out what you can do to improve it. Then you can optimize the pages you want to improve upon.
Also, you must make sure you interlink your existing content with the new content around the same or similar topic. This allows your users to navigate through your website quickly and indicates to Google the optimum site experience you’re offering to the users.
If you would want to improve your content manually, here’s what you need to focus on:
However, if you want to do this more efficiently, you can leverage the ALPS.ai Content Brief tool to find content improvement suggestions and create outlines.
Question 3: Are you analyzing your competitors?
An excellent way to find content improvement opportunities is by monitoring your competition.
If your competitors create a particular type of blog content and rank well for it, you can try to better that. You can use 10X content on your target topic so that Google can see you as an authority around that topic.
Also, can a look at your competitor’s weaknesses. They might have gaps in their content; you can take advantage of these gaps and beat them with your own content minus the gaps.
It is recommended to create content around the keywords your competitors are ranking for. But only use them if they are relevant to your business and audience.
Focus on Long-tail Keywords
Always remember that long-tail queries are always low volume and high-converting queries from Google’s users.
Most of these users have a specific set of questions in mind and are going after exactly what they want.
When you use long-tail keywords, you can quickly start ranking higher. This upward movement in traffic will build better topical authority when you pair it with the next section.
But how do you find long-tail keywords?
The simplest way to figure out long tail keywords is by using Google itself. Start by typing in one of your target keywords and see what Google auto-fills. Mostly, it’ll be various long-tail keywords waiting for you to take advantage of.
Also, if you scroll down to the bottom of SERPs, you’ll see a “Related searches” list that will also give you your long-tail keywords. You can create or update your content with this list around these long-tail keywords.
You can also make use of these long-tail keywords to rank your “Spoke articles” (Hub and Spoke content detailed in the next section). The higher you rank these articles, the better will be your topical authority.
Use the Hub & Spoke content strategy
Till now, we’ve discussed some of the individual key points to build your topical authority.
Now, let’s discuss speak about a solid blog strategy to put the big picture together.
As SEO professionals, we might tend to think that we just need to publish a bunch of blog posts around our topic.
Also, as per the queries-answers methodology, this can’t be ignored.
Yes, you can use the list of questions mentioned above and write your long-form articles for each. But the truth is, it’s just half the battle.
To build topical authority around your topic, you must show search engines enough signals to demonstrate a general environment around the target keyword you want to rank for. You can also write on numerous subtopics, but it works best only to create content about things with search volume and ensure you do everything in your power to avoid a terrible bounce rate.
This is critical because the part of what determines your Topical Authority is your “bounce rate.” This is precisely where the Hub and Spoke content strategy comes in.
So, what is Hub & Spoke content strategy?
Simply put, the Hub and Spoke content strategy is like the 90s music of content marketing. It’s classic. But sadly, sometimes people forget about it.
Today, in the world of SEO, topical authority is more relevant than ever.
The Hub and Spoke content strategy consists of two essential parts:
Hub are long-form content that gives a breakdown of a big topic. You can use your focus keywords to decide on these.
Once you decide on your primary focus keywords, you can then create pillar posts. These are your hubs.
While the hub gives that topical breakdown, it also introduces subtopics, known as the “spokes.”
Spoke act as a support for the Hub. They are the supporting articles that dive into deeper detail of the specifics mentioned in the Hub.
The Hub is long-form content that interlinks to multiple spokes to drive traffic to them.
This minimizes your overall bounce rate and increases your website’s perceived relevance. Also, it gives Google the impression of your expertise on your niche or topic, thereby helping you build your topical authority.
Focus on Strategic Planning
Once you have mapped out the hub and spoke for your blogs and the overall content, you can get into crafting the articles. This will:
- Improve the number of internal links
- Decrease your bounce rate
- Boost the relevancy of your keywords
- Improve your topical authority
Though Hub and Spokes content won’t alter how you write your posts, it will only change how you strategize your blog content.
This is how you can have a cohesive blog posting strategy designed to impress the Google algorithm and engage your audiences under a single umbrella topic.
The SEO landscape is evolving every day. Therefore, as an SEO expert, you must keep track of the current trends to stay on top of your SEO game.
One way to do that is by consistently creating and publishing high-quality content around your niche.
Though the concept of Topical Authority is for a long-term win, Google still gives importance to the posts that answer the queries of their users.
So, if you publish a bunch of blog posts while ensuring you establish topical authority, you will always be a winner. If you want to know more about improving topical authority for your blog posts, sign up for a free demo here.