All business owners want topical authority in their fields. Having “topical authority” means you’re regarded as an expert in a specific area. Website owners can leverage topical authority to improve inbound marketing and SEO efforts.
According to Mark Schmukler, Co-Founder, Managing Partner & Brand Strategist at Sagefrog Marketing Group, “Topical authority is the output of comprehensive and consistent thought leadership that educates and informs your audience. When done right, it’s a valuable mix of content such as whitepapers, blogs and downloads that surround a topic from all angles.”
Topical authority is a subset strategy of content marketing. From an SEO perspective, topical authority defines how trustworthy a domain is within any particular niche and what the topic is about. One way topical authority determines the trustworthiness of a domain is by the amount of content that links to a specific page.
So you aren’t just targeting a specific keyword; you’re targeting many keywords related to your area of expertise. Doing so allows you to focus on several niches under a topic umbrella.
Getting Inbound Links
Regardless of the changes Google makes to its algorithms, inbound links will continue to signal authority and relevance. Many website owners make the mistake of padding content with keywords to increase SEO. But content that isn’t valuable leads to much less engagement and inbound links.
Without inbound links, there’s little proof that you’re providing valuable content at all. There are many ways to promote inbound linking, and webmasters should be aware of the options and benefits for each method.
By the same token, external linking can be helpful too. Many businesses would rather avoid linking to a knowledgeable third-party source in favor of linking internally. Internal linking isn’t a smart, long-term strategy though.
Sometimes you do not have the relevant content to link to, and other times, linking to studies and reports can only boost your trust factor. Additionally, other businesses who see that you’ve linked to them will recognize the value you bring, and potentially return the favor—increasing your own inbound linking.
The pages that make the top of Google’s search results are pages that feature high quality, relevant content. The goal of that content is to educate users by providing them with solid information that helps them make a decision.
Consumers will consider it a waste of time if they’re seeking help and only receive a keyword-padded overview of a particular topic. Webmasters and marketers should work together to ensure both parties are on the same page with the main topic. From there, branch out to niches and begin mapping out an editorial calendar that covers a breadth of topics in depth.
Build a Loyal Audience
Building a loyal audience is a huge part of gaining topical authority. You can achieve a loyal audience by incorporating your social icons onto your website and on each blog post. On all marketing materials, be sure to leave your social handles, and engage with visitors consistently through those social media channels.
You can even promote your social campaigns through contests, online rewards, and advertising. Keep in mind that the biggest part of building a loyal audience is providing valuable content. Many businesses choose to give away free content such as ebooks in exchange for consumer information. Consider your options and define goals for each step along the way.
Host Your Blog on a Subfolder
Every business needs a blog to establish topical authority. It’s rare to receive inbound links based solely on static business pages. When launching your blog, there are three primary choices:
- subfolder ( like this www.travel.com/blog which is most common and preferred)
- subdomain (blog.travel.com)
- separate domain (travelblog.com)
If possible, try to keep your blog on a subfolder. Integrating your blog has the most visitor and SEO benefits. Doing so also benefits your company by helping your brand establish authority on a topic and be more than just a provider of products or services.
Furthermore, it’s easier to promote the brand as a package on the same domain. Any visitor to your website should be able to recognize and access your blog from the same space.
Incorporating SEO into your website and blog shouldn’t be difficult, and this is another area where the webmaster and marketing team should be cohesive. Webmasters should work beyond the coding and technology toward the bigger picture (the customer). Business owners and marketing teams should understand the backend steps needed to keep SEO a priority behind the scenes.
One way webmasters contribute to SEO is by making their sites easy to navigate. They can do so with logical architecture and by giving each page a theme (the content should support that theme). Once they have chosen all the keywords and phrases, they should use those keywords appropriately throughout the site.
Meta title tags should support the theme and keywords as well, and meta description tags should be informative. Webmasters should include title and meta details for each blog post and image. Lastly, sitemaps have been proven to increase SEO, so be sure to include them.
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