Topical Authority: What It Is and How to Demonstrate It

What is topical authority?

If you’ve ever looked into search engine optimisation (SEO), you may have heard of topical authority. But what does it actually involve?

Topical authority is all about proving to search engines like Google that you’re an expert on a given topic. When you build topical authority, you’re helping search engines understand where you can offer knowledge and expertise.

Consider Google’s E-E-A-T (experience, expertise, authority, and trustworthiness) guidelines. If you’re successful in building your site’s reputation as an expert resource, you’ll be contributing towards the ‘authority’ concept in E-E-A-T.

This means that when a user searches a term matching your area of specialty, Google will be more likely to display your pages near the top of the search engine results page (SERP). It can take time to get to this point, but we’ve put together this guide to help you get started.

How to build topical authority

There are a number of ways to increase your topical authority. But it’s important to get the basics down first, including:

  • Topical keyword research

We’ve spoken before about the importance of keyword research, and it’s no different here. You’ll first want to identify broad search terms that match your areas of expertise. If you’re a firm that specialises in clinical negligence, try the search term “medical negligence claims”.

After this, you should try to find more niche keywords that fall under your broad search term. Ahrefs’ Keywords Explorer is a great tool for this as it will provide related subtopics based on users’ search queries.

And if you don’t have an Ahrefs account, you can always use Google instead. Typing in a search term will bring up their People Also Ask and Auto Complete features, which will give you a good idea of what people are searching for in relation to the topic you’re targeting.

The overall objective here is to find one ‘umbrella’ keyword that will form the basis of a main – or pillar – page, and related search terms that will inform its supporting content. This is why it’s so important that you target broad keywords with enough depth to them.

  • Content strategy

After carrying out your keyword research, it will be time to think about content strategy. We would suggest taking the keywords you’ve identified and gathering them into clusters. AI tools like ChatGPT can help you do this without taking up much time.

Next, you’ll need to create your pillar page. Going back to our previous example, this could be titled “Medical Negligence Claims”. After this, you can start writing about smaller, related topics based on your keyword clusters. These pages should match user intent, so you should think about what it is your site visitors are looking for before producing these pages.

As an example, you could take the same approach as the project management tool, which has informative content organised into sub-niches. This has clearly worked well for them, as over 1.2 million people visit their site each month.

Obviously, is a large domain, and we’re not suggesting that you’ll see your organic traffic sky-rocket to the same level overnight. But having multiple, organised pages on one topic will show search engines that you’re authoritative, which could start to have a positive effect on how the algorithm ranks your content.

  • Build internal and external links

Once you’ve created a bank of related content, you’ll want to help search engines find it. One of the best ways of doing this is by creating internal links wherever relevant.

For instance, you could include links to supporting pages on your main pillar page. This will help search engines and visitors to your site discover more of your content. And it doesn’t take much time to do.

Consider links from external sites, too. If there’s a site you know of that regularly posts content related to your area of law, ask them if they’d be able to feature one of your pieces. The goal is to make yourself the go-to resource.

Ways of measuring topical authority

Topical authority can be difficult to measure as there’s no definitive metric for it. But it’s generally achieved when your site successfully covers a topic as a whole, rather than targeting individual keywords.

To get a better idea of how much topical authority your site has, you could look at its domain rating. This is based on backlinks, so it will give a good indication of how many external sites are linking to your pages. Domain rating is an Ahrefs metric, but you can access it through their free backlink checker tool.

Generally speaking, authoritative websites tend to get more links. So if you have a higher domain rating, it’s likely that you also have a significant amount of topical authority. You can use Ahrefs to see your domain rating, or check your backlink profile in Google Search Console.

To find out how First4Lawyers could help you boost your marketing efforts and generate high-quality leads, get in touch with us today.


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