21st March 2024

How To Build Topical Authority Through SEO

graphic showing a magnifying glass over a stack of books and the word 'topical authority'

Topical authority has emerged as a cornerstone of effective SEO strategies, significantly influencing how search engines and audiences perceive your content’s value and relevance. By building topical authority, you not only signal to search engines like Google that your content is a reliable reference within a specific niche. You also help build a reputation among your target audience and users as a go-to expert. This dual benefit can help improve your search rankings and create a loyal base of readers and customers.

In this guide, we’ll explore the concept of topical authority in SEO and underscore its role in enhancing your online presence. As we examine strategies to achieve this, you’ll learn how a focused approach to SEO can transform your site into an authoritative voice, driving more traffic and engagement.

If you’re ready to grow your business with a comprehensive SEO plan that includes strategies to improve topical authority, please contact our digital marketing team to learn more.

What is topical authority in SEO?

Topical authority in SEO refers to being recognised as an expert or authoritative source for information on a specific topic or subject area by both search engines and users. It involves creating comprehensive, in-depth content that thoroughly covers a topic, demonstrating expertise and providing value to readers.

Unlike domain authority, which assesses the overall strength of a website’s domain, topical authority focuses on a site’s credibility and knowledge within a particular niche. Building topical authority helps improve search rankings for related queries and helps build trust with your audience, establishing your site as a leading resource for information in your field.

An example of topical authority in SEO would be a sports clothing website becoming a top resource for information on performance sportswear, achieved with extensive content on everything from the technology behind moisture-wicking fabrics and the best sportswear for different climates to guides on choosing the right gear for specific sports.

How to build topical authority through SEO

Content creation

High-quality, relevant content serves as the foundation upon which topical authority is built. It’s how you communicate your expertise, answer queries, and address your audience’s needs. The type of content that boosts topical authority is meticulously planned, expertly researched, and delivers comprehensive insights into your chosen subject matter.

It’s important that content creation achieves:

  • Quality: High-quality content is well-written, accurate, and offers genuine value to your audience. It answers questions and provides deeper insights, engaging the reader and creating trust.
  • Relevance: Relevance, on the other hand, ensures the content you produce closely aligns with your audience’s interests and the core topics of your niche.

Building topical authority with content needs a strategic approach rooted in comprehensive keyword research to uncover the terms and questions your target audience is searching for. This ensures your content is not only relevant but also has the potential to rank well in search results. Tools like Google’s Keyword Planner, SEMrush, or Ahrefs can help identify these key phrases and topics.

A website sitemap

Site structure

A coherent site structure ensures that content related to similar topics is grouped together, reinforcing the subject matter expertise to search engines. This logical grouping allows search engines to crawl your site more effectively, identifying areas of focus and expertise. A well-organised website also makes it easier for users to find the information they need, improving their experience and reducing bounce rates, which indirectly signals to search engines the value and relevance of your content.

Factors that influence the success of your site structure in relation to topical authority include:

  • Hierarchical organisation: Create a clear hierarchy from general to specific – broad categories that funnel down into more detailed subcategories and individual posts or pages.
  • Logical URL structure: A URL that includes category and subcategory names provides clear signals about the context and relevance of the content.
  • Strategic internal linking: Use internal links to connect related content across your site. This allows you to point users and search engines towards your cornerstone content – the content that best reflects your expertise.
  • Content clusters: Develop content clusters around key topics. This involves creating a central pillar page that provides an overview of a topic and detailed cluster content pages that address specific aspects of that topic, all interlinked to signal their relationship. This demonstrates both breadth and depth of knowledge.

You can significantly improve your topical authority by carefully planning your site’s structure and organising your content to reflect your expertise.

Internal linking strategies

Internal linking connects various pieces of content in a meaningful way. For search engines, these links help to establish relationships between pages, indicating which content is important and how it relates to other content on your website. For users, they offer a pathway to explore your site further, increasing engagement and the time spent on your site – both of which are positive signals to search engines.

There are several strategies to help use internal links to improve topical authority. These include using descriptive anchor text, linking to deep internal pages, linking to and from cornerstone content, and maintaining a logical structure.

It’s important to remember that internal links should fit seamlessly into the context of your content. They should add value for your visitors and not just be inserted for the sake of SEO.


Backlinks from authoritative and relevant sites are like a vote of confidence in the quality of your content. Search engines use these links to assess the value and relevance of your website to specific topics. A good backlink profile indicates that your content is valuable and also trusted by others in your niche, enhancing your topical authority.

To earn quality backlinks, it’s essential to have comprehensive, high-quality content that will attract backlinks from other websites with high authority. By focusing on creating content and engaging with your industry (building relationships and doing outreach), you can work towards building a profile that will help you succeed online.

Learn more by reading our guide on ‘Do backlinks still matter?

User engagement

User engagement metrics play a significant role in establishing and enhancing topical authority from an SEO perspective. These metrics, including page views, time on page, and engagement rates, offer insight into how users interact with your content. High engagement levels signal to search engines that your content is not only relevant but also valuable and interesting to your audience, further solidifying your website’s position as an authoritative source in your niche.

Longer dwell times can indicate that readers find your content engaging and informative, which contributes positively to your site’s topical authority. On the other hand, low engagement rates might signal that your content isn’t meeting users’ expectations or needs. By monitoring and optimising these engagement metrics, you can directly influence how search engines perceive your expertise and authority on specific topics.

Optimising your website for user engagement is essential. This can be improved with clear calls to action, fast load times, ensuring your website is mobile-friendly, and a focus on accessibility.

Monitoring progress

Establishing topical authority requires ongoing assessment and adaptation. Monitoring your progress helps you understand how effectively you’re building authority in your niche and identifying areas for improvement. Using the right tools and metrics allows you to measure your growth and adjust your strategy based on performance data. Areas for improvement may include refining content, improving user experience, and optimising for search intent.

Monitoring progress chart

By being willing to adapt, you can steadily increase your topical authority and help secure your success online. In many instances, the best way to build your topical authority is to use an SEO agency with a team of experts who can create a bespoke plan for your website.

Achieving topical authority with britweb

Our SEO experts are dedicated to helping you achieve and benefit from topical authority, employing proven strategies tailored to your unique brand and industry niche. With britweb, you’re not just working on improving your SEO; you’re building a solid foundation of trust and credibility that will drive your online success.

Get in touch with us today to learn more about how our bespoke SEO strategies can help boost your brand online.

Topical authority FAQ

Why is topical authority important?

Topical authority is crucial because it establishes your website as a trusted expert in a specific field, enhancing your visibility and credibility with both search engines and users. By demonstrating in-depth knowledge and providing comprehensive coverage of a topic, you improve your chances of ranking higher in search results. This not only attracts more targeted traffic but also fosters trust among your audience, potentially leading to higher engagement rates and conversions. In essence, topical authority helps you stand out amongst the competition.

How long does it take to establish topical authority?

Establishing topical authority varies widely and can take anywhere from several months to a few years, depending on factors like the competitiveness of your niche, the quality and consistency of your content, and your existing domain authority. Consistently producing high-quality, comprehensive content that addresses your audience’s needs is key. While immediate results shouldn’t be expected, a focused and persistent content strategy will gradually build your reputation as an authoritative source in your field.

Can topical authority impact my website’s conversion rates?

Yes, establishing topical authority can positively impact your website’s conversion rates. As you become recognised as a reliable source, trust in your brand increases, making visitors more likely to engage with your content and, ultimately, convert. High-quality, authoritative content not only attracts a targeted audience but also nurtures their journey from initial interest to decision-making, enhancing the likelihood of conversions through increased credibility and user trust.

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