The author’s views are entirely his or her own (excluding the unlikely event of hypnosis) and may not always reflect the views of Moz.
As is often the case with SEO, if you’re doing it well, then you are probably already topically relevant. Topical authority isn’t new, but it’s a term that I’m seeing a lot right now in the SEO sphere.
But hey — if you’ve not yet earned topical authority, now is a good time to start.
In this article, I’ll take a deep dive into topical authority: what it is, how to earn it, and, importantly, how to strategically develop topical relevance.
What is topical authority?
Topical authority is a measure of authority built up through proven expertise and trust in your field. The more high-quality, informative pieces of content there are on your site, the more likely your website is to be perceived as a trusted source of information on a particular topic.
To be topically authoritative, your site needs to serve your web user, answer all their questions, and provide high-quality content at every step of the buyer journey. Unlike domain authority (DA), topical authority is more of a quantitative measure of how authoritative a site may be. Whilst DA looks primarily at backlinks and the number of high-quality, relevant backlinks, topical authority is proven expertise built over time by covering the breadth and depth of a topic.
Why is building topical relevance important?
If you reach out to someone for a service or product and they speak confidently and passionately about their offering, answer all of your questions, and understand your needs, then you’re more likely to trust them. Why should the internet be any different?
Your buyers are drawn to your offering, your expertise, and your passion. Buyers also want to know you can help serve them and that you understand them.
In the digital world, content is how you nurture buyers. Where Google is concerned, topical relevance proves to search engines that you’re trustworthy and knowledgeable. We all know that Google wants to show its users the best possible content from the most credible sources.
You know a thing or two about your product or service, so prove it to Google through content. Cover related topics, hit keywords, and present information in a way that’s easy for your user (and Google) to understand.
Medic and topical authority
Google’s desire to present only the most useful pieces of information was made clear (if it wasn’t already) in 2018 through the medic update. Back in 2018, the medic update impacted all verticals, but predominantly, health.
It was a positive update, encouraging everyone to improve content production. The update meant that instead of writing content in isolation and expecting it to rank well, content needed to showcase expertise, authority, and trustworthiness (E-A-T).
And it makes sense for this standard to be upheld across the web, especially when we consider that there are more pieces of content being published than ever before. In short: publish only the most well-written, well-informed pieces on your website if you want to stay competitive.
How does topical authority help you rank higher?
Topical authority’s impact on rank is fairly logical. Consider your own buyer journey. You want to source a good product or service that you also love. Perhaps the brand values need to align with your own.
Before making a purchase, you most likely head to Google — but even if you didn’t, you’d be looking for credibility before you make your purchase. Without Google, you would need to source referrals from friends or pop into the store and speak with an advisor. You’d ask questions and gauge if the product or service does everything you need it to. You’d likely be looking to build a rapport and to see if you trust the person or business to deliver whatever you’re thinking of paying them for. If you were torn between two vendors, you might be swayed by the more passionate person or value-driven business.
Topical authority allows you to provide this same experience online. You showcase all the reasons why someone should buy from you. If you’re saying everything your competitor is saying — plus some more — and you’ve created different types of content to appeal to your audience (videos, guides, etc.), your site is starting to look more authoritative and useful. Why would Google prioritize a competitor site when it perceives your site to have more useful information?
There’s one key thing to remember: when it comes to ranking on Google and earning favor in the algorithm, you need to use keywords in your content. As you center your strategy around creating high-quality articles, you need to be especially cautious of keyword cannibalization.
There’s also what I call topical cannibalization. To build topical authority strategically, you need to know how to build out your content architecture in a smart way. I’m going to walk you through that now, step by step.
1. Research your topic
Before you can build out your content strategy, you need to research your topic. What you’re looking for are the search terms your buyers are typing into Google to solve their problems.
Here, you can turn to keyword tools like Moz’s keyword explorer. Type in a keyword (or your topic) and see what else is suggested. You will find exactly what terms are being searched in Google so you can use them within your content to earn ranks for them.
Moz shares keyword suggestions, many of which can form part of your content strategy. Remember: covering all relevant topics helps build topical authority.
Social media sites like Quora and Reddit are also useful. Within these sites, you can see exactly what discussions your audience is having. You’ll likely encounter their pain points, queries, and buyer apprehensions that you can then solve, answer, and/or soothe within your content.
Finally, it’s my favorite: people also ask (PAA). Want to know what your audience is asking? There’s a trove of information in there!
Tools like AlsoAsked make light work of PAA, allowing you to view PAA data in a visually appealing, hierarchical structure. There’s a lot of opportunity to build topical authority in any niche. Just take a look at knitting as an example!
2. Create pillars and clusters
When researching your topic, map out every single piece of content that you want to create based on what your audience is searching or looking for.
Then, you’re going to work on assigning keywords to the pieces. This is the crucial step that prevents keyword and topical cannibalization.
3. Map keywords to pillars using SERP analysis
When mapping keywords, it’s easy to assume that every keyword needs its own page. Take the knitting example from earlier: if you dig around in the keyword suggestions, you can find “what is knitting” (590 searches/month) and “history of knitting” (480 searches/month).
A quick analysis of the SERPs shows that these two keywords can perform well in SERPs used on the same page. You don’t need to write two articles. Two articles could result in what I call topical cannibalization.
4. Write high-quality, well-researched content
When planning your content, look for opportunities to write quality, well-researched, long-form articles instead of just trying to publish as many as possible.
Instead of writing two articles, consider writing one more in-depth article like sustainablefashioncollective.com did. Their article features high up on the SERPs for ‘what is knitting’ and has a featured snippet for “history of knitting”.
It’s also on page one for “knitting uses” (20 searches).
The point is, more articles don’t necessarily equate to more ranks. When it comes to topical authority, Google wants to present well-written, in-depth, well-informed articles.
5. Share it with your audience
There’s no need to wait for your page one rank before you get eyes on your article or page. Share it with your audience, use social media, and present content to your subscribers through email. Try repurposing content and creating videos.
Quick tips for earning topical authority
The steps above briefly detail the steps you can take to help build topical authority over time. Here are some final steps to integrate into your content plan:
Keep up with current events related to your topic.
Identify new trends and write about them.
Cluster your keywords and cover a topic in full based on SERP analysis.
Don’t be afraid to share something new — just because it’s not on the SERPs doesn’t mean you can’t be the first to say it.
Don’t be afraid to link out to trusted sources. Referencing other materials is a great way to show you’ve done your research.
Update your content to keep it fresh. For example, if you’ve got a page about your topic in 2021, it might be time to update it and make that article relevant to 2022.
How can you tell if a website is authoritative?
There are many ways to work out if a website is authoritative. Find out how the you can use the following items to tell if a website is authoritative:
Check the domain authority
Look out for indented SERPs
Check organic keywords
Strong internal link profile
Well-written, informed content
Check the domain authority
An SEO favorite is domain authority (DA). Although we’re focusing on topical authority here, domain authority is still a measure of an authoritative website. The DA score is a number between 1 and 100 that indicates the website’s strength in search engine results pages. There are several factors that feed into this algorithm and backlinks are one of them.
Simply put, the more backlinks a site or content piece has earned, the higher the domain authority will likely be. After all, other websites tend to link to highly authoritative websites.
Look out for indented SERPs
Indented SERPs are a strong indicator that a site is topically relevant. If you search a keyword such as: ‘landscape design tips’ (90 searches/month), you might find housebeautiful.com and their indented search results.
Indented SERPs are where similar topics that exist on one website are grouped together, giving the site more prominence in search results.
Check organic keywords
Generally, the more keywords a site ranks for on a topic, the more topically authoritative it will be.
SEO tools can give you some insights into what your competitors are ranking for. They can also share topic ideas for how you can close the gap by covering the same topics.
If you do cover the same topics, remember to add more detail, more media, or a unique perspective.
Strong internal link profile
Assuming a site is using internal linking well, a strong internal link profile should demonstrate that a site is authoritative on a subject.
Take ‘beginners guide to seo’ (480 searches/month) as an example. For this keyword, Moz is in position one.
A quick internal link analysis tells me there are 26 links within content pointing to this page. Links are coming from pages such as On-Page Ranking Factors in the ‘learn’ section of the website. This is a highly relevant topic for beginner guide SEO.
Well-written, informed content
If you’re on a website and you’re discovering well-written, high-quality, original pieces of writing, then it shows that the site has some topical authority.
If the site is also updating this high-level content regularly, it’s probably earning topical relevance.
Do backlinks still count toward website authority?
Yes, backlinks still contribute to website authority. We can also predict that backlinks will continue to be helpful toward SERP rankings — but they’re not everything.
Backlinks needn’t be your goal when it comes to topical relevance. They will happen naturally as you earn visibility in SERPs and write high-quality, linkable content. Nevertheless, authoritative sites will continue to earn backlinks at a higher rate than non-authoritative sites. Plus, having topical authority can only help you attract links from other websites.
Koray Tugberk conducted an incredibly useful experiment where topical authority is concerned. To add credibility to his study he isolated E-A-T as the driving factor for success — he literally implemented no other SEO tactic. Take a look at his interview with Matt Diggity:
Tuberk claims he earned 300,000 organic users, built up from zero in just five months. And he did it all using topical authority and semantic SEO only — no backlinks.
Final thoughts on topical authority
Building authority on a subject should come easy. After all, this is the topic you loved so much you built a website to share your expertise on it, right?
Reach out to your subject matter experts, ask them questions, and get to writing.
Be creative with what you put out there, repurpose your content, answer questions, and nurture your buyer.
Follow my steps above and don’t be afraid to inject some new information into the SERPs. Your buyer wants to know you and your business! The extra efforts go a long way when it comes to content.
Remember, content and topical authority in a digital world often replace face-to-face interactions. Show your buyer why you’re an expert, what you know about your subject, and all the reasons why they should trust you.
8 Effective Ways to Ensure Ecommerce Business Success
It is a known fact that the global consumers are favoring ecommerce, and the reasons for ecommerce business success are many.
According to a Statista forecast, the retail ecommerce revenue in the US is expected to cross 1.3 trillion dollars by the end of 2025.
Image via Statista
While brick-and-mortar stores are gradually losing their dominance, the digital marketplace is blazing. More and more ecommerce brands, big and small, are coming up and gaining a foothold in this ever-expanding landscape.
If you are one such ecommerce business striving to taste success, you know how demanding and competitive things can be. And you only beat the fierce competition with aggressive ecommerce marketing strategies like digital advertising, content marketing, social media marketing, etc.
In this post, I will be sharing 8 key factors you need to focus on to ensure your ecommerce business success and sustainable business growth.
Let’s get started.
8 Key Factors for Ecommerce Business Success in 2022
The future of ecommerce is bright and the small businesses that jump on the bandwagon early will reap great benefits. But what does it take to taste this success?
Here are the 8 key success factors for ecommerce businesses.
1. Target a Niche Audience
The secret to ecommerce business success lies in understanding your target audience and focusing all your efforts on engaging them. Instead of trying to attract a broad audience on the search engines, select a niche audience specific to your small business, understand their pain points and interests, and position your brand to meet their needs. An SEO tool like Semrush or Ahrefs can help you with your research to build a strong marketing strategy based on real insights.
The goal is to make your product unique and market it to a relevant audience that is more likely to make a purchase. This strategy can increase customer loyalty and win repeat customers for your small business. Therein lies the secret to your ecommerce business success.
2. Go Mobile-First
The pandemic has accelerated our shift to ecommerce and given rise to m-commerce. Insider Intelligence estimates that by 2025, m-commerce sales will account for 44.2% of total ecommerce sales in the US.
So it’s clear that the success of your ecommerce business relies on the mobile-friendliness of your site. Having a mobile-friendly online store can help you deliver a seamless online shopping experience to customers on the go.
You can begin by running Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test and building a progressive web application (PWA) for your online store. A responsive design for your website will help boost sales and pave the way for your ecommerce business success.
3. Choose the Right Distribution Channels
Your audiences are active on different channels and if want your products to be visible to them, you need to choose the right distribution channels.
If your business model focuses solely on your ecommerce website, you should broaden your perspective and consider other sales channels. There are several other options to sell your products like Amazon, eBay, social media, affiliate marketing, and so on. You can manage your sales process effectively with the help of sales CRM tools. These tools integrate your different sales channels and makes your sales process more efficient.
Conduct extensive research to figure out which of these channels are preferred by your target customers. Showcase your products in an attractive way to boost your ecommerce sales. This digital marketing strategy can contribute to your ecommerce business success.
4. Create Unique Content
You heard that right. To ensure that your ecommerce brand stands out in the crowd, you should invest in high-quality and diverse content.
Today internet users are flooded with content and to grab their attention you need to think out of the box and create content marketing strategies that truly grab their attention. Remember, video content is ruling the landscape delivering great results. You can use Premiere Pro Presets to create unique and impressive videos and stay ahead of the competition.
Gather insights from customer data analysis, see what your competitors are doing, and learn from your previous digital marketing campaigns to create a more targeted content marketing strategy for your small business.
5. Continually Update Your Email Marketing List
Marketers rely on email marketing to achieve diverse marketing goals. Emails can be used to generate leads, nurture them, build relationships with customers, ensure customer satisfaction and boost ecommerce sales.
But to leverage the power of email marketing, you need to be smart about your email lists and use the right email tools to manage them. There’s no point in sending a thousand emails when only a couple of hundreds of recipients are your target audience.
That’s why segmenting your email lists and keeping them updated is crucial to your ecommerce business success. An effective way to manage your email lists is to ask for the recipients’ feedback on your emails and the information they prefer to receive.
By analyzing the responses, you can make more strategic decisions and ensure the success of your ecommerce business.
6. Deliver a Great Shopping Experience
The expectation of customers in terms of customer experience has skyrocketed and that’s why you need to work towards improving customer satisfaction.
Personalized communication could be one of the biggest game-changers, be it in recommending products, reminding them of abandoned carts, or introducing them to your latest offerings. Creating user story maps can go a long way in making your personalization efforts more effective.
Right from the moment customers land on your page to when they make a purchase, you should strive to create a smooth customer experience. You can also consider incorporating an AI-powered chatbot into your website to take your customer service to the next level.
To make your customers happy, offer them special deals and discounts. Such moves will surely boost your ecommerce business success.
7. Invest in Social Media Marketing
Social media, can be immensely effective in creating brand awareness, extending customer service, and generating leads for your ecommerce business. Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and YouTube are all marketers’ favorites to reach out to niche audiences and drive traffic for their sites.
Having said that, it is a crowded market, and winning big on social media isn’t easy. As an ecommerce brand, you need to use social media analytics to create digital marketing campaigns that not only generate engagement but also fill your sales funnel with quality leads.
Ecommerce brands should also leverage social selling as it is growing into a prominent trend. This shoppable post by Macy’s allows its Facebook followers to buy what they like instantly.
Image via Facebook
If invested strategically, selling on social media can act as a profitable sales channel for your business.
8. Leverage Ecommerce Tools
Your team need not struggle to ensure the success of your ecommerce business. A variety of advanced ecommerce tools are at your disposal to optimize your efforts.
Some of the must-use tools for you are:
- Website tools – to design, set up, and manage your ecommerce site
- Ecommerce marketing tools – to help strategize and execute your campaigns with ease
- Competitor analysis tools – to understand the gaps in your planning and improve it
- Analytics tools – to help you gauge the performance of your digital marketing campaigns
- Business tools – to help you manage daily operations, finances, logistics, inventory, and customer service
Choose the ones that can boost the success of your ecommerce business.
There you have it, a list of 8 key factors you need to work on to ensure the success of your ecommerce business. Gaining this success is hard work but it is worth it.
If you want to fuel your business growth, I strongly recommend building your ecommerce marketing strategy to enhance customer experience and build your brand identity. Go ahead and give them a try to beat the competition and establish a successful ecommerce business.
8 Effective Ways to Ensure Ecommerce Business Success
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