Lately, I’ve been engaging a lot more with the SEO community and I’ve gained many good insights from their content. However, I’ve been wanting to talk about this topic for a while and what it means for your website. Topical authority means that you have content on your site that answers the questions people have about your products and services.
Instead of fixating on one or two articles, think more about the bigger picture when it comes to your site. How do you make Google trust your website more so it will show up in the SERPs more often? That’s what I like about the emphasis on topical authority in the way SEO works now. I’ve always known that you should have a logical approach to organizing content and making sure that you talk about as much as you can in a series of posts that are thematically tied together.
I remember having to do this a lot early on in my career as an SEM professional. But it’s clear to me that Google has been pushing this idea more and more. I’ve seen how in action this can work.
How Do You Increase Your Website’s Topical Authority?
To tackle this problem, you have to look at your website like a business, especially if you’re running a niche website. Do you have an address in your footer? It can even be a PO Box or mailbox, although you need a physical address for Google My Business, a completely separate can of worms which I have talked about more in-depth here. But I’m speaking in generalities. If you are missing anything like that, an email, or phone number, anything that lets people know that you are a real business, Google is not going to trust your website as much.
It’s like not having SSL enabled on your domain. It helps let Google know that you aren’t a spammy website. When people go on your site, they will feel more comfortable knowing that you are running a legitimate business. They stay on your site longer, your engagement time goes up, and then it’s a signal to Google that your site has gotten a vote of confidence from the people you’re catering to.
Another way to boost your website’s credibility, in general, is to have some social proof and testimonials on your site if you can. I don’t think it directly impacts your topical authority, but think about it from the perspective of the user. Would they rather purchase on a site or business that didn’t have all this evidence that they are who they say they are?
Creating Pages for Every Single Service You Sell
This has been proven to be a ranking factor, especially for local businesses. Do you have pages on your site targeting each service you offer? If you don’t, you need to fix this right away. Don’t think a single page that’s very thin that lists what you do is going to be enough. You need to think about all this like you’re casting crab pots into the water. I know I’ve said this a lot before, but I’ll keep saying it until people listen. The more relevant pages you have on your site that relate directly to your business, the more likely people are going to find you on Google.
If you don’t have this in place, you’re kneecapping yourself and limiting the amount of impressions and clicks you can get. Let’s say you run a plumbing business. Well, what do plumbers offer?
Doing some quick research, I found this great article on Huckleberry about some of the services and niches plumbers usually offer:
“Some typical plumbing niches include:
• Emergency, after-hours plumbing
• Slab leak detection
• Trenchless sewer repair
• Backflow testing and repair
• New construction
• Water filtration
• Water heater installation
• Drain cleaning
• Fixture installations”
Obviously, you wouldn’t just blindly make pages on all these, but you do have a starting point to be able to flesh out your website. If you’re looking to get more qualified traffic, you can get more granular with your analysis and make sure that it’s something that you can reasonably target and have a good chance to rank as well.
From here, what you can do is check Google Keyword Planner, SEMRush, or Ahrefs and look at any related keywords, services, or topic ideas, get all of this together in a spreadsheet, and then work out the website structure from there.
I would always do that part in Writemaps, but I’ve gone more toward developing content maps and calendars in Excel nowadays. It’s just one less service I have to pay for per month.
Keep Brainstorming for Potential Content Ideas
When you have pages on your site that explain what you offer, what you’re selling, etc., you can now start developing more blog content that helps support these main service pages you’ve made. It’s really simple too. Let’s say you’re selling landscaping services, and on your site you have a page about lawn bed maintenance. That would be a perfect topical cluster to focus on. You can probably make several helpful guides and articles around that topic alone that can then internally link back to that main page as well as your home page, contact page, and anything else relevant to what you’re talking about. I think Neil Patel explained this concept best in one of his guides here. which I recommend you check out. A lot of people dismiss what Neil has to say, but I still find him to be one of the most sensible marketers to listen to, and along with some other guys I still follow, you can’t go wrong with a lot of his advice:
Here’s what one of the custom GPTs I’ve made in ChatGPT has to say about this:
And these are just a small sample of ideas it gave me. With all of these, I would check again in SEMRush and look at some of the other LSI keywords that would be relevant to each article I’d create. Let’s pick a random topic this gave me and see if it passes the mustard.
So, I decided to pick “lawn bed maintenance” as the keyword I’m going to look up and get more search volume data on. According to SEMRush, it has a search volume of 10, but you can see all the other keyword variations of this keyword as well. On paper, it might not get a ton of traffic, but if it does, it’s going to be people specifically interested in that thing alone. Sometimes you’re making articles on this stuff to supplement the more popular pages that are going to bring you a huge chunk of your organic traffic.
This was just a random example I wanted to demonstrate here. You would keep doing this with other keywords that you want to target that are related to the main service or product you offer and create those articles gradually. Try to aim for every other week if you can, but if you’re a newer website, perhaps try to aim for 5-10 articles to start and then keep going from there and save all these topic ideas into a content calendar or spreadsheet you can refer back to and cross off as you continue to write new content for your website. And make sure that these articles link back to each other as well when warranted. But always use your best judgment and do it in a way where it makes sense. It’s like you’re writing a book and splitting it up into smaller chunks you can write about.
Topical authority in my eyes is the name of the game now in SEO, and always has been. It’s just that Google will play games and tricks to get people to realize these evergreen truths. No matter what name you want to call it, all of this is designed to make your website look more credible to not just Google, but the people who are going to find your website. If you can provide them with exactly what they’re looking for when they search for these topics, you’ll be way ahead of your competitors adopting this logical approach to SEO and content creation.
Remember: topical authority is not just about ranking higher in the short term. You’re developing a clear, solid foundation for your website and business to withstand any Core update Google throws at it. It’s like developing a good insurance policy for your website. In case something happens, you’ll have all these articles, posts, pages, and other content already ready to go and potentially attracting backlinks over time as well.
I hope you have learned something and wish you all a safe holiday as Christmas and New Year’s are coming up. I know sometimes I have some more contentious views on these topics, but it comes from years of experience and seeing what works and what doesn’t. This article is designed to save you time and headaches trying to figure out what matters in terms of real-world results.