What Is Topical Authority? (And Why It Matters)

What Is Topical Authority: In a Nutshell

Topical Authority describes the trustworthiness and expertise of a website in a particular niche.

It’s one of the most important ranking factors of Google. Sites with high topical authority have better chances of ranking high on Google search results.

There’s no way to measure topical authority.

Why Is Topical Authority Important?

To rank high on Google, you need to build topical authority on your website.

It’s one of the most important ranking factors of Google.

Read also: How Google Ranks Content

The concept of topical authority is simple and intuitive. To rank high on search results, a website needs to show expertise in the topic.

Whenever a web page or blog post ranks high on Google, these two things apply:

  1. Google considers that page or blog post the best solution to a particular problem.
  2. Google trusts the expertise of that website more than any other site in the niche.

Let’s take a real-life example that resembles the way Google’s topical authority works.

Imagine you’re seeking medical advice and there are two people available.

  • Alice, who has a track record of treating tens of thousands of patients.
  • Bob, who just started their medical studies yesterday.

Who would you trust more? I bet you would go with Alice as you trust her more.

The search engines rank content on very similar principles. The better a website covers a topic, the more Google trusts it and ranks it high.

How to Build Topical Authority?

The natural next question is: How do you build topical authority then?

The answer is simple.

Cover your niche from A to Z with detailed, informative, and easy-to-read blog posts.

Don’t just write one blog post. Write all of them.

This way you build trust in the eyes of Google which can lead to higher rankings.

Concrete Example

Let’s say you want your website to rank high for “Best Tennis Shoes.”

Google SERPs for Best Tennis Shoes

This is a lucrative topic. It could earn you tens of thousands of dollars per month in affiliate sales assuming you rank in the top 3.

To rank high for that topic, you need to work hard, though.

The goal is to establish your website as a trusted authority in the Tennis niche.

Basically, this means you need to cover every single Tennis related topic with high-quality blog posts.

This means writing hundreds or even thousands of blog posts about the sport.

Tennis related blog posts

You need to write epic blog posts that solve problems in better ways than anyone else has ever done.

And yes, this means really hard work!

Even with lesser competition, it could take months of full-time work to do this.

And with a more competitive niche like Tennis, it might even require a team of writers and years of work to outperform the existing competition.

But once you get the ball rolling, boy it feels good!

Case Study

Let me show you the impact of topical authority on my blog posts on one of my affiliate sites.

Here’s the lifetime performance of one of my blog posts on Google.

Google search console reports

I published this post about 13 months prior to taking this screenshot.

First, there was some initial traction to the post right after I published it.

But then there’s no traffic or no impressions to the post for almost 6 months.

But all of a sudden, Google decided to skyrocket the traffic to this post almost a year after publishing it.

And the best part?

I did absolutely nothing to the post.

No editing, nada!

What I did instead is published 150 niche-specific blog posts to the site after this one.

These related posts increased the topical authority of the website. Thus, Google started trusting it more, resulting in higher traffic for this post.

Around the same time, I noticed similar traffic trends on my other posts as well!

Google search console report

By writing a ton of content related to your niche, you build stronger standing with Google. This pushes your other content higher on search results!

This Is Not Even SEO—It’s Common Sense

I’m not a huge fan of SEO strategies. Those have never worked for me and I think they are just to sell those pricey tools.

I’ve found awesome success with my blogs in a completely SEO-free way.

But how about this topical authority thing then?

If you think about it, it’s actually all about common sense.

If you build blogs people-first, you don’t even need to know about topical authority or SEO to understand that you probably want to cover your niche from A to Z to provide maximum value to your audience.

Wrap Up

And that’s a wrap for today.

Building topical authority is the key to success with blogs and websites.

To rank high on Google, a website needs to be a trusted resource in that niche. It needs to cover the niche from A to Z with high-quality blog posts that solve problems better than the rest.

Thanks for reading! Happy writing!