Topical authority is one of the most critical SEO factors for ranking high in search engine results pages (SERPs), and it’s necessary for enterprises to dominate their industry or niche.

In simple words, if you want your website to rank higher than your competitors, then you need to focus on building topical authority in your domain.

In this article, we’ll look into how building topical authority helps you rank higher in SERPs. We cover what topical authority is, why it’s essential, and how to build and measure it.

What Is Topical Authority?

First things first, there is no single, consistent definition of topical authority.

The main reason for that is because it is an intangible concept.

However, there is a more straightforward way to define topical authority and explain how it impacts your chances of ranking.

The best way to describe topical authority is as an SEO strategy where a website is perceived authoritative over a particular topic, niche, or broad idea set.

It is accomplished when a website contains content covering a topic as a whole instead of only focusing on a single or a few keywords.

Building topical authority is a way to showcase to Google your expertise over a particular topic across multiple pieces of content, each related to the rest.

When Google sees your website as an authoritative website on a particular topic or entity, it is likely to crawl your content to answer users’ queries about that topic or entity.

This is so influential because precise search queries are requests for information about entities. Google can index and categorize these queries into what, when, where, who or how type questions about the topics and entities included in the query.

Where Has Topical Authority Come From?

Topical authority dates to Google’s 2013 Hummingbird update and E-A-T conceptualization in 2018.


In the year 2013, Google released its Hummingbird update. The update significantly shifted into understanding the context of the overall search query and the intent behind all searches. 

In earlier years, Google viewed the words as distinct entities and delivered outcomes that may have missed the real search intent of the user and provided irrelevant results in the SERP.

The 2103 Hummingbird update utilized long-tailed keywords for the first time in the search to provide the users with an answer that considered the actual context of the search query.


The full of EAT is Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness.

Google presented the idea of E-A-T to its Raters team in 2018 to evaluate websites and make sure Google’s algorithm is delivering the most precise and helpful results to its users.

If you’re an owner or a webmaster of a website, you must be aware of E-A-T, specifically if you are in the Your Money Your Life (YMYL) sector. 

As the name implies, YMYL refers to content that can influence a significant decision related to a person’s money or life.

This includes websites offering information, guidance, and advice on medical, legal, or finance topics.

Google is extremely strict with YMYL sites because low-quality YMYL pages might negatively affect a person’s happiness, health, safety, or financial stability. 

If the page is highly unauthoritative, inexpert, or untrustworthy, it fails to achieve its objective and, therefore, shouldn’t be ranked higher.

Thus, having a solid E-A-T is critical if you’re trying to build topical authority and rank in the SERPs.

Why is Topical Authority Important?

As we already know, Google considers topical authority a crucial ranking factor that can even help a weaker website rank higher on the SERPs.

Once you establish your perceived authority, you can be Google’s natural preference for answering users’ queries.

Topical authority is currently one of the powerful ideas in search.

Therefore, working towards establishing topical authority can present a broader set of keywords, creating huge volumes of quality content around a particular topic, and providing near-perfect scenarios:

  • When users are looking for places to reference/link to/socially share, you’ll be found
  • When users seek answers to their supplemental queries, they will remain at your website and not be forced to find their answers elsewhere
  • When Google looks for an answer to a query, you’ll be found
  • When Google determines if you have added information to meet other user intents – you’ll have that covered, as well

Thus, it does all the things you aim for. You’ll have more web pages capturing more keywords, covering more search queries, attracting more links, and improving rankings.

What Contributes to Topical Authority?

You can gain topical authority by the type and structure of the content you produce. It presents a strategic framework for exhibiting expertise in one or more niches of your industry.

For instance, suppose you want to develop your blog page’s authority on SEO. You’d need content on how search engines work and specifics for how crawlers communicate with your site. 

Moreover, you’d want to emphasize how search engines audit information on your website, how to structure your website’s metadata to rank higher, and how to understand search intent.

To build topical authority, you must display your knowledge to the search engines across every minute aspect of your chosen topic.

Topical authority is one of the methods search engines measure “quality” as a ranking factor, along with page and domain authority. The three factors combined inform search engines how well you’ve developed your content around a particular topic or niche.

  • Domain Authority: This is defined as the strength of your entire domain. This is measured not just by a specific topic or area of expertise but by a signal for the quality of your site as a whole.
  • Page Authority: This is defined by the strength of individual web pages on your site. Every page has its individual authority ranking that contributes or detracts from your overall topical authority.

Topical authority, domain authority, and page authority come together to enable search engines to form a clear picture of the kind of content you generate. 

For example, one of your web pages ranks well for its target keyword, contributing to its overall page authority. 

When you have multiple web pages ranking well for relevant long-tail keywords related to your target topic or niche, that increases your overall domain authority. The more domain authority you have, the more straightforward it becomes to build topical authority around your niche.

And all this together helps you earn better backlinks, another significant indicator of overall content quality for search engines and target audiences.

It’s all interlinked. Topical authority gives you an alternate way to strategize how you create content on your site. It’s a strategic lens to build a comprehensive resource list on the topic you want to own in the SERP and the market.

How Topical Authority Helps You Rank Higher?

Establishing topical authority helps you rank better for several related articles, but it necessarily won’t correlate to an immediate increase in page or domain rank.

When you showcase to search engines that your site is a complete resource for a given area or niche of search interest, they’ll be more inclined towards increasing your ranks across the board.

As you build your topical content, search engines will see audiences engaging with your domain as a go-to resource for your chosen topic or niche.

This improves your potential to rank better for target keywords and capture more Google SERP features.

By growing the number of ranking keywords across your domain, you can climb ranks faster and connect your website with “quality content.”

That improved authority makes it more straightforward to increase rankings for every piece of content related to that topic.

How to Build Topical Authority for your Website?

Establishing your website’s topical authority can be compared to laying building blocks. It is not an immediate process where you just switch on a button, and everything gets set up. But what you can do is lay one block at a time.

You can create one content piece at a time, and the more content you produce around a topic, the stronger your topical authority gets.

Also, one more aspect that makes or breaks your Topical Authority is the longer time you have been in the industry, the stronger your topical authority will be.

However, if you want to concentrate intensely on a single topic, you can quickly build your topical authority without waiting forever.

Here are a few aspects to take care of to build topical authority:

Use Right Link Structures

The structure of your website is an integral part of signaling search engines about your website’s topical authority. By following proper SEO frameworks, such as the hub-and-spoke or topic cluster model, you can construct a more intentional structure that’s easy for search engines and readers to understand.

Maintain On-page and Off-page Best Practices

On-page and off-page SEO support your website’s overall structure by ensuring that every piece of content you produce is customized for search queries on your topic. 

This starts with understanding how your readers think and talk about the topic. 

Once you have acquired this knowledge, it’s more straightforward for you to create content that speaks directly to their needs.

There are a few ways to utilize on- and off-page SEO to establish topical authority, like:

  • Use meta tags that mirror the language readers use to talk about your topic
  • Use intentional content structure on every page like H1, H2, and H3 tags to highlight long-tail keyword varieties and subtopics
  • Include relevant keywords in your image alt text
  • Ensure to optimize your site for every browser
  • Encourage social sharing for every post

Gain quality backlinks

One way search engines gauge authority is by the number of quality links present to your website content.

Think as if you’re building a network of readers and websites that support your claims of topical authority.

However, linking high-quality backlinks is not everyone’s preferred task, but it is essential.

Initially, you need links to drive your content to the top of the SERPs and get people to visit your website.

But, when your website starts receiving more traction from search engines and people come to know your website as an authority around a specific niche or topic, the higher your chances of gaining more natural links.

As an authority around a topic or niche, natural links will start coming in at some point. But it would be great if you continue focusing on building links to your website.

Uncover Search Intent

Find the search intent of your target audience for your target topic as soon as possible to make sure that every content you create answers a specific question.

Because whenever someone looks for a specific topic, they have an exact idea of what they want to learn, and if you don’t fulfill that need, your content isn’t valuable then.

That makes your web page or your entire website less authoritative.

For example, suppose someone is searching for “how to get a job as an SEO analyst,” and your content talks about the process of “SEO management plan,” the intent is off.

That means your audience will bounce from the website faster, share less, and mostly not show interest in your content.

Use Modern-day Tools

Try today’s modern SEO tools to create a more comprehensive topic list, understand the chances of your domain to rank for a particular topic, create SEO-optimized content outlines, etc. These tools make it easier to strategize your target topic and create individual article content.

To establish actual topical authority, provide your audiences and search engines with a resource covering every aspect of your area of interest.

Use the Topical Authority tools to find your domain’s authority gaps against high-ranking competitors and get insights to close those gaps to establish the topical authority of your website can save you from missing out on key information that matters.

How Help You Establish Topical Authority

While there are hundreds of tools out there, it takes a lot of drilling to find the right tool that helps in establishing expertise or authority in a niche.

One of such tools is’s Topical Authority tool.

In this tool, you get Topical Authority Scores from ALPS’ algorithm to quickly analyze and understand your entire domain’s chances of winning on a particular topic at once and figure out why someone is winning on that particular topic. 

For each keyword category or sub-category, you can view the domains driving high topical authority for those keywords and understand why they’re driving that. Also, you get to uncover authority gaps from top competitors and find out what you need to do to fill those gaps.

For example: If you’re planning to write content on the Keyword Category “Mortgage,” the Topical authority scores will help you understand the benchmark score in authority for you to beat.

How do ALPS’ Topical Authority Reports help?

Analyzing Topical Authority will help you:

  • Gain competitive intelligence on your high-ranking competitor’s topical landscape and understand how they are achieving it
  • Figure out topical gaps and gain actionable insights to drive authority around your target topic

Final Thoughts

The first and foremost thing to remember while trying to establish topical authority is that topical authority is primarily about developing a well-structured website with plenty of high-quality content on a given topic.

When you generate content for your business, focusing on topical authority is an excellent strategy for appealing to search engines and searchers.

However, creating a comprehensive resource on any given topic is no easy task, so it’s essential to be strategic with how you showcase that authority.

Therefore, be specific with your topics. When you gain topical authority on those topics, it will showcase your expertise publicly. That promotes your brand, enables you to earn more backlinks, and makes it easier for your web pages to rank higher in the SERPs for several key terms.

If you would like to learn more about establishing high topical authority by gaining natural backlinks, sign up for a free demo here!