How to Build Topical Authority for Online Success in 2023

Being an industry expert has never been more important in today’s dynamic online world, especially now that the internet continues to explode.

You have to stand out as a marketer or business owner if you want to get noticed, and the key to success is building topical authority.

But what is topical authority? And how do you build it?

In this post, we’ll give you actionable steps to build credibility and position yourself as an industry leader to gain the trust of your target audience and search engines.

You’ll learn essential strategies to create content that resonates with your audience, optimize for search engines, build quality links, and strategically position your brand to stand out in this vast online world.

So if you want to succeed online in 2023, this article is for you!

Understanding Topical Authority

Topical authority is a concept in the SEO world that means having knowledge and expertise about a given topic on your site.

For instance, if your website is about gardening, your site should be considered a go-to source for gardening topics like planting, fertilizer, and landscaping.

It shows search engines you’re an authoritative source of information and increases your chances of showing up in SERPs.

“Hummingbird” was a Google update released in 2013 that played a big role in shaping topical authority.

To make search results more relevant for users, Google’s update focuses on context and intent when interpreting queries. So it’s no longer just about cramming keywords into your content.

That’s why topical authority and trustworthiness are considered when indexing.

Why Establish Topical Authority?

According to Demand Sage, as of 2023, there are more than 5 billion active Internet users worldwide, accounting for 63.5% of the world’s population. – That number will only get bigger.

With internet usage growing, topical authority is vital for several reasons:

  • Higher search engine rankings Google and other search engines want to deliver the most relevant results for users. Building topical authority will increase your website’s visibility and capture more organic traffic.
  • User trust and engagement When users see you as an expert in your field, covering a wide range of topics, they’ll trust and engage with your content. This leads to higher conversion rates and customer loyalty.
  • Competitive edge – In crowded online spaces, topical authority sets you apart. Consistently delivering high-quality, informative content differentiates you as a reliable source. Your competitive edge helps you keep a loyal audience even when markets are saturated.
  • More business opportunities Topical authority opens doors to various opportunities, like speaking engagements, guest contributions, collaborations, and partnerships. Using these avenues can help you reach new people and grow your business.

Think about it this way: If you’re not leveraging topical authority, you’re missing out on potential opportunities to reach a global audience and grow your business.

How to Build Topical Authority in 2023

Now that you understand what topical authority is, let’s show you how to successfully implement it with the following strategies.


Content Strategy

Developing a strategy for topical authority is like building a house—you need to lay the foundation first before adding walls and a roof.

The foundation, in this case, is knowledge and understanding, followed by careful planning of how to deploy the pieces.

You have to develop a comprehensive strategy that aligns with your audience’s needs. This starts with researching your audience effectively to know what kind of problems they have, desires, interests, or pain points.

Once you understand your audience, you can create content and campaigns tailored to their needs and interests.

There are many content planning tools available to help streamline your process and keep you organized.


Keyword Research

It might seem obvious, but it’s important to do it right. You have to find relevant keywords for your business and target market to build topical authority.

This is where you have to get into your audience’s mind and identify which words they type into Google so you can address their needs.

Consider these factors when researching keywords:

  • Relevance – Are the keywords directly related to your business, products, or services? Analyze the relevance of each keyword.
  • Search volume – Look for keywords with high monthly search volume. But make sure the keywords aren’t too competitive to rank for.
  • User intent – Think about the intent behind the user’s search query. Are they looking to buy something? Or do they just want information? Knowing this will allow you to provide relevant content that solves their problems.
  • Long-tail keywords – These types of keywords are more specific and less competitive. For instance, instead of using “running shoes,” you can use “men’s running shoes for flat feet.” This will make it easier to match the user’s search intent and rank for the query.

There are free and paid keyword research tools like Google Keyword Planner, Semrush, or Ahrefs to discover and assess keywords to target.

You can also use a free tool like Answer the Public to uncover questions people ask about a certain topic.

For more detailed info on keyword research techniques, check out our post “How to Do Keyword Research for SEO.”


Create Topic Clusters

Topic clusters are related topics grouped together and linked to each other that help build topical authority. It’s typically a “pillar page” and sub-topics underneath.

For example, if you have a gardening website, you might have a pillar page on “Gardening Tools” and then a topic cluster of sub-pages about different tools such as shovels, rakes, and trowels.

Each of those posts links back to the pillar page.

Here are some actionable steps to help you create topic clusters:

  1. Create a pillar page Include a well-structured guide that covers the core topic. You want it to give your audience valuable insights and actionable tips.
    Example: Pillar page – “The Ultimate Guide to Gardening.”
  2. Identify sub-topics – Find subtopics related to the main topic and turn them into separate posts.
    Example: Subtopics – “How to use Gardening Tools,” “Best Tools for Beginner Gardeners,” “Best Fertilizers for Growing Vegetables.”
  3. Link to each post – Link each subtopic to the pillar page for a strong linking structure. Internally linking these posts will boost your topical authority and make your site easier to navigate for users.
  4. Create high-quality content – Provide detailed, informative content for your audience on each subtopic. Make articles, case studies, and guides that resonate with your viewers.
    Common examples: “X Buying Guide for Y,” “How to X: A Step-by-Step Guide,” or “What is X and Why it Matters for Y.”

Topic clusters help search engines understand content and relationships, which helps SEO. It also helps readers find related content, which ensures a better user experience.


On-Page SEO

Considering what your audience wants comes first, and Google rewards “people-first content.” But remember, you still have to optimize your content for search engines too.

Search engines have to crawl and understand your web pages to index them. Otherwise, your content won’t appear in search results.

Here are some key on-page SEO techniques to optimize your content:

  1. Keyword Optimization: Optimize your headings, content, and meta tags with relevant keywords.
  2. Title Tags: Create keyword-rich and compelling title tags.
  3. Meta Descriptions: Get users to click with concise and persuasive meta descriptions that also include your target keyword.
  4. URLs: Include your target keyword in your URLs.
  5. Headers: Make your content easier to read by using headings (H1, H2, etc.).
  6. Page Speed: Get your pages loading fast to improve user experience and search engine rankings.
  7. Images: Use descriptive file names and alt tags to optimize images.
  8. Internal links: Establish links between relevant pages to show Google that they are related.
  9. External links: Add external links to trusted and authoritative websites to show Google that your website is credible.

It’s an ongoing process, but you can implement these techniques to help improve your rankings. There are many DIY SEO tools to choose from that can make this process easier and more efficient.

Having optimized web hosting can also improve search engine visibility and user experience as it increases website loading speed. 


Brand Positioning for Topical Authority

The success of your online relevance doesn’t just rely on keywords alone. Your brand’s positioning should be clearly defined so you can effectively communicate the value that you offer to your customers.

The online world is vast, so to stay competitive and build topical authority, your target audience should know why they should choose your brand over anyone else.

Some essential characteristics for positioning your brand to build topical authority include:

  • Uniqueness – Make your communication stand out and resonate with your customers.
  • Value – Telling your customers what your brand is worth and what they’ll get.
  • Clarity – Make your message concise, compelling, and easy to understand.
  • Consistency – Make sure all channels and touchpoints reflect the same brand identity.
  • Relevance – Understanding your audience’s needs, pain points, and interests.

Giving value, clear messaging, creating visuals, and a brand identity can all help create a relevant connection with your audience.

Of course, it starts with a website. You can utilize an easy-to-use website builder to create a website that reflects your brand’s identity.

And don’t worry if you aren’t a professional graphic designer.

There are AI logo generators that can help you create a visually appealing logo so you can build topical authority while confidently showcasing a distinct and compelling brand identity.

The point is you can establish topical authority and effectively connect with your target audience by strategically positioning your brand and consistently delivering valuable content.


Build Quality Backlinks

Getting high-quality backlinks to your website is an effective way to establish topical relevance. Links from relevant websites help Google understand your website structure and content.

Quality links can also increase referral traffic to your website and boost your search engine rankings, aka “Google Juice”.

For instance, if your business sells snowboards, linking from relevant sites such as ski resorts, winter sports forums, and other snowboard-related sites can enhance your website’s relevancy.

Here are some link-building strategies to consider:

  • Publish valuable content: Write informative and engaging articles to get backlinks and establish your website as a resource.
  • Build a strong link network: Get backlinks from high-authority domains to boost your website’s reputation. Search engines like links from reputable sources because they show trustworthiness.
  • Get backlinks from niche-relevant websites. Optimizing your backlinks by targeting contextually valuable and credible sources is key.

Creating content is essential for online authority, but backlinks are just as critical.

While content acts as the foundation, providing valuable information, backlinks are the bridges that connect your content to the rest of the internet.


Building topical authority is a process you can’t overlook in this contemporary online world.

Not only are more people coming online, but artificial intelligence is eating up content creation, and it continues flooding the digital space.

Throughout this post, we explored what topical authority is, why it’s so crucial, and key strategies to build topical authority in 2023.

These strategies include content strategy, keyword research, topic clustering, on-page SEO, brand positioning, and building high-quality backlinks.

Establishing topical authority is the key to putting yourself in a position to stand out and make a lasting impact.

Remember, it’s all about credibility, trust, and building meaningful connections with your audience. Follow these steps and see for yourself!

Author Bio: Chris Rojas

Chris is a content marketer and founder of ChrisJDigital. With an expertise in SEO and content strategy, Chris empowers small business owners and aspiring digital marketers to enhance website visibility and revenue growth by providing actionable insights.

Last modified on: November 22nd, 2023

Categorized as Business

Julia is a Content Coordinator for HostPapa, with a special focus on editing copy and all things blog-related. In her spare time, she enjoys reading, watching Oscar-nominated movies, and drinking iced lattes.

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