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A Step-By-Step Guide To Creating Segments And Audiences In GA4 With Examples



A Step-By-Step Guide To Creating Segments And Audiences In GA4 With Examples

Google Analytics 4 (GA4) comes with a more flexible audience builder and offers more advanced audience creation capabilities than Universal Analytics (UA).

GA4 also takes a different approach to measuring screen views compared to Universal Analytics.

Instead of measuring screen views in separate properties for mobile and web, GA4 combines data from both web and app views into a single property.

This means that audiences can be created based on a user’s entire journey across multiple devices, which makes it possible to create more complete user profiles.

What Are Audiences?

Audiences refer to subgroups of users that can be used for both analysis and advertising purposes.

These groups can be created based on a variety of factors, including dimensions, page views, user properties, and events (or their sequences) that are relevant to your business.

It’s important to note that, as new user data is continuously collected in GA4, audiences are automatically re-evaluated.

What Are Segments?

Segments refer to a part of data that meets certain criteria and can be analyzed separately from the rest of the data.

Rather than analyzing data from all visitors, segments allow you to separate specific groups of users and compare their behavior to the rest of the data.

For example, you can compare the behavior of users from the United States to the behavior of all users, or mobile users to desktop users, and get deeper insights.

Segments Vs. Audiences

When you create a segment, you can choose to build an audience based on a segment – but these two features are different. You can’t use segments in standard reports, but you can use audiences.

Segments are available only in exploration reports, while audiences are not.

Audiences can be used in Google Ads remarketing campaigns, but segments can’t.

Most importantly, segments are retroactive, but audiences aren’t, as audiences start collecting information from the moment of creation.

How To Create Segments

In GA4, navigate to Explorations > Create a New Exploration.

There are three types of segments you can create:

  • User segment: Includes all events associated with users who satisfy a specific set of criteria.
  • Sessions segment: Includes all events associated with those sessions that match the set of criteria.
  • Event segment: Includes only specific events that meet a set of criteria.

Let’s dive into how each type of segment works with a simplified model.

Let’s say the user who visited the website performed the following actions during the first session:

  • Page view.
  • Submitted form.
  • Watched a video.

On the second session the next day, the same user performed these actions:

  • Page view.
  • Page view.
  • Watched a video.
  • Clicked.

If we create a user segment with the condition that the user submitted a form, it will contain data from both sessions because we tell GA4 to include all data that belongs to that user.

If we build the sessions segment with the condition that during the session, the user submitted a form, it will contain only data from the first session because we told GA4 to contain data only from sessions where one has submitted a form.

If we build a session segment of when someone watched a video, it will have data from both sessions because the user watched a video during both sessions.

And finally, if we create an event segment for times when the user clicked a link, it will contain only click event data from the second session.

While it may seem like a lot of information and hard to swallow, don’t worry; you will gradually understand all of these as you start using it.

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Now, let’s dive into the segment builder UI of GA4, which is the same one we will be using for building audiences.

Get To Know Segment Builder UI In GA4

Here are some of the features to know about within segment builder:

  • OR/AND conditional logic operators can be used to apply multiple criteria at the same time in the groups.
  • Sequence is available only in user segments and can’t be configured for session or event segments. You can use it to know how many users subscribe after visiting your home page.
  • You can apply time constraints to your sequential segments. An example use case would be to know how many users visit your subscribe page and sign up within five minutes, or how many users visit your product page and add it to the cart within five minutes.
  • By checking the “Build Audience” checkbox, you can create an audience from that segment too.
  • “Exclusion group” is a valuable tool that allows you to refine your segment or audience by excluding specific users. For instance, you can create an audience comprising individuals who clicked the ‘Add to cart’ button but exclude those who have already made a purchase. This enables you to develop a targeted audience for your remarketing campaign in Google Ads, specifically catering to those who expressed interest in your product but didn’t complete the purchase.
  • Group level scoping: 1. across all sessions, and 2. within the same session within the same event. Which applies to all conditions in the group. Please note that you can apply specific sequence level scoping “across all sessions” and “within the same session.” Note that “across all sessions” scoping is available only in user segments.

Now, let’s explore a few examples of each type of segment so we can understand how they work.

Example Of A User Segment

At SEJ, we have sign-ups, and we are interested in how long it takes a user to sign up for our newsletter after landing on our article pages.

For that, we should build a segment of users who signed up for our newsletter, which is directly followed by a page_view event within 10 minutes.

For that, we choose “first_visit” as an event.

If you want to apply a time constraint to a specific step, you can utilize the time constraint option within the sequence. However, in our case, we have chosen a sequence global time constraint, which means that it applies to all steps within the sequence.

What we’ve found from this segment is that 478 out of 1302 subscribers (37%) subscribe within 10 minutes when they visit the article page.

If you have a shop, you can build a segment of those who purchase within a day after visiting a product page.

There are an infinite number of possibilities for how you can use this, and I would like to emphasize the fact that the new segment or audience builder of GA4 is very flexible and powerful compared to Universal Analytics.

Unfortunately, as you build a segment you can’t share it across explorations, and you need to create it again. There is a workaround you can apply to duplicate exploration if you need the same segment.

Basically, you can create an empty exploration with all the segments you might need. Then, whenever you need a new report, you can duplicate the exploration and utilize the segments within the copied version to avoid creating them each time.

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Here are a few ideas of segments you may need to use for a users segment:

  • User Acquisition: Understand user behavior from different acquisition channels (organic search, paid ads, social media, email marketing).
  • Cohort Analysis: Compare engagement, retention, and conversion rates between new and returning users.
  • Customer Lifetime Value (CLTV): Identify high-value users based on revenue, order value, and purchase frequency.
  • Demographic Analysis: Segment users by age, gender, location, or interests to personalize marketing strategies.
  • Churn Analysis: Identify and re-engage users who have churned via remarketing campaigns.

Example Of A Session Segment

While user segments are valuable for analyzing long-term behavior and user characteristics, session segments provide a more focused and contextual analysis of user interactions within a single session.

Sessions segments are the best choice for content engagement analysis type of reports. By using session segments, you can analyze how users engage with different types of content on your website or understand user behavior based on referral sources.

Session segmentScreenshot from GA4, May 2023

In the sessions segment, everything is the same, but it no longer has:

  • “Across all sessions” scope.
  • Sequences.
  • Time constraints.

Let’s build a segment of users who arrived at our website from social.

Sessions segment of social trafficSessions segment of social traffic.

Note that I used “session source” equal to “social” with condition OR of page referrer with regexp match.


Here are a few ideas for how you can use session segments vs. users:

  • Content Engagement: Analyze sessions where users interacted with specific content types.
  • Campaign Performance: Evaluate sessions that originated from specific marketing campaigns or channels to understand how effective your marketing efforts are.
  • Feature Engagement: Detect sessions where users actively engage with specific features on your website, such as adding items to a wishlist, using a live chat, etc.
  • Conversion Funnels: Analyze sessions that progress through key steps of your conversion funnel, from initial engagement to goal completion, helping you optimize the user journey.

Example Of An Event Segment

Event segments are subsets of events triggered on your website or app.

With users and session segments, you may already feel you have all that you need, so why would you need event segments? Well, event segments provide a more targeted and specific analysis compared to session-based or user-based segments.

They allow you to look into specific actions users perform on your website and optimize the user experience.

As an example of how they can be used, let’s create a scroll depth event segment. By analyzing users who reach certain scroll depth thresholds, you can identify engaging pages, optimize content layout, and improve overall user engagement.

Event segment of scroll depth 50%Event segment of scroll depth 50%.

In our example, we want to see data from users who scrolled 50% of the page and noticed from scoping that only “within the same event” was left.

The granular scroll depth tracking we have requires a custom setup which we will cover in the next guides. On your end, if you don’t have it set up you can just use the  “scroll” event without the custom parameter “percent_scrolled.”

Here are ideas on when you can use events segments vs. users and session segments.

  • Clicks Events: Create a segment based on click events, such as “Add to Cart” or “Submit Form.” This allows you to analyze sessions or users who actively engage with your calls to action and measure the effectiveness of specific call-to-action buttons.
  • Video Engagement: You can build a segment based on events, such as “video_start,” “video_progress,” or “video_complete.” This segment allows you to analyze sessions or users who engage with video content on your site or app.
  • Custom Interactions: Set up custom event tracking to create segments based on specific interactions relevant to your business, such as social media shares or error tracking, to help you identify and analyze sessions or users who encountered issues.
  • Error Tracking: Create a segment based on error events, such as form validation errors, broken links, or server-side errors. The advantage: event segments focused on errors help you identify and analyze sessions or users who encountered issues, enabling you to improve error handling, fix broken elements, and enhance overall website or app functionality.
  • Interaction with Dynamic Content. Analyze sessions or users who interacted with dynamically loaded or personalized content elements, e.g., image carousels, related articles, or personalized offers.
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As we learned how to use segment builder in UI, we can create an audience easily.

How To Create Audiences

The easiest method is to create audiences right from segments by checking the checkbox to build an audience.

Alternatively, you can access it under the Property menu.


As an example, we will build a user audience of those who abandoned sign-up form submissions in order to target them via Google Ads remarketing campaigns.

We used the event “form_start” but excluded those who submitted a form.

Let’s dive into a few new options you have in audience builder.

What Is Membership Duration Setting?

It is the period of time that a user remains a member of an audience after they meet the criteria for inclusion. It allows you to define how long a user should stay in the audience before being automatically removed.

Based on your remarketing campaign’s needs, you may need to set it to different values.

For example, you may want to build an audience of users who were interested in your product in the last 15 days and advertise to them.

What Is Audience Trigger?

Audience trigger is a new feature in GA4 that lets you trigger a custom event when a new user enters into an audience. It allows you to build user acquisition conversion by marking the event as a conversion.

You can build an audience persona by a number of conditions – for example, users who read three articles on the topic of “Marketing” – name it “Marketers,” and trigger the custom event “marketer_acquisition.”

As you run certain campaigns to bring traffic to your blog, you can use marketer_acquisition conversion as a KPI to measure how effective your campaign was in attracting relevant traffic to your website.

The checkbox “Log an additional event when audience membership refreshes” is self-explanatory, and it is up to you to decide.

This may be useful for e-commerce, as when we have users who are interested in a product in the last 15 days and removed from the audience as time elapses, you may want to retrigger it when they return and are interested again, say, 30 days later.


With all the challenges GA4 brings, it also has big advantages you can use.

Audience-based conversions are vital KPIs for publishers to know whether they are attracting an Ideal Customer Profile (ICP) audience, or just random visitors.

In Universal Analytics, this wasn’t available – but with GA4, it is.

Also, time-based constraints let you build segments and open new ways to perform behavioral analysis. For example, you can create a segment of users who made a purchase within the last month.

This helps you focus on recent user interactions and understand current behavior patterns.

More resources:

Featured Image: Vitalii Vodolazskyi/Shutterstock

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How to Get Customers From Everywhere



How to Get Customers From Everywhere

Traffic, leads, sales—the more you get, the better. Having a singular focus on one marketing strategy can bear fruit but almost always reaches a cap. That’s where multi-channel marketing comes in.

If you want to maximize sales and minimize marketing costs, a multi-channel approach can help you capture customers you may otherwise never reach.

But what is multi-channel marketing, really? And how do you do that while staying organized? Let’s talk about it.

What is multi-channel marketing?

Multi-channel marketing means utilizing multiple channels to get your brand in front of potential customers. This can mean using a combination of SEO, social media marketing, paid advertising, and any number of other marketing channels.

The benefits of multi-channel marketing

As I alluded to above, multi-channel marketing allows you to reach more customers than a single-channel focus ever can. To illustrate, some people will never search for the keywords you rank for on Google, and some people just don’t use social media. 

In addition to a broader reach, you may be able to capture new customers for a lower cost. 

Case in point: Organic social media is free, and spreading your advertising over a mix of both social channels and paid search engine marketing means you’ll find the most effective use of your ad spend. This will allow you to spend only on what’s working and avoid wasted ad spend.

The challenges of marketing on multiple channels

Of course, having more channels results in more complexity. 

You need to understand how to repurpose your content in order to avoid adding a ton of extra work and expenses. 

Not only that, but posting to multiple social media channels on top of doing SEO on your site, managing an email list, and running ads are lots of work—especially if you don’t have a specialized team member to handle each task.

Hiring an entire marketing team is also expensive.

But if you utilize automation software and use a tool to stay organized, you can overcome these challenges without breaking the bank. 

How to get started with multi-channel marketing

Below, I break down the basics of getting started with multi-channel marketing into four steps:

  1. Establishing consistency across your marketing
  2. Identifying and researching your target audience
  3. Choosing the channels you want to add to your marketing strategy
  4. Using software and tools to stay organized

1. Establish consistency using IMC

If you aren’t careful, utilizing multiple channels and hiring people to manage those channels can quickly lead to inconsistent messaging and branding. 

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That’s where integrated marketing communications (IMC) comes in.

Strong IMC makes your brand consistent across all the interaction points with customers, from initial awareness of your brand to making a purchase. It includes things like:

  • Brand styling, color, and font guidelines.
  • Messaging personality and style (i.e., how your brand writes).
  • Approved logo styles.

In other words, you should take the time to create branding and style guidelines for your company. What are your primary colors? How should your logo always appear? What style should your messaging be in, and what’s your mission as a company?

For example, here are Dyno Studio’s style guidelines:

Dyno Studio's brand style guidelines

You can see it shows all of the brand’s approved fonts, color combinations, and accepted logo styles. Of course, you can go deeper than that to include your brand’s personality (i.e., how you want your copywriting to come across—witty, funny, silly, serious, or something else).

If you want to learn more about developing brand style guidelines, I highly recommend reading Venngage’s guide here.

2. Identify and research your target audience

One of the most important things you can do to market your company is to understand the audience you’re marketing to. Things like:

  • What do they care about?
  • What problems do they have that your company can solve?
  • Where do they go to find information about your products?
  • Etc.

Conducting market research should be a priority. It starts with determining the questions you want to answer. I gave you a few ideas above, but feel free to come up with more of your own.

Once you know what you’re looking for, you need to choose a research method. You can run a survey to your existing customers, ask your customers directly for a phone interview to learn more about them, peruse forums you know your customers use (Reddit is almost always a good bet), or conduct a competitive analysis to see what your competitors are doing.

For example, let’s say I sell high-end water bottles. I know one of my competitors is Hydro Flask. So I take a look at what it’s doing by gathering data on the types of products it’s selling, the price points and features of those products, and any customer reviews.

In particular, I’m trying to figure out what its customers love about the products and what they wish was better about said products. 

For example, there are reviews that point to two types of buyers with different needs: (1) someone who needs the insulation for long, hot days at work and (2) someone who bought it as a gift with an engraving for someone else who spends a lot of time on the road:

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Competitive analysis example using product reviews
Another product review for Hydro Flask

Digging deeper, we can see a lot of reviews complaining that the bottle leaked. That gives me some information on how to improve my product.

Using product reviews to find issues with competitors' products

There are also lots of comments mentioning using the bottles for commutes and for the gym, and that helps me improve my picture of the kinds of customers looking for these types of bottles.

But the most important question is this: How did Hydro Flask’s customers find it?

The reviews give a few hints, showing some of its customers bought the product from Dick’s Sporting Goods. However, this doesn’t tell me where I should market my own products.

Looking at its website, I can see it has an email newsletter and is active on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, and YouTube:

Hydro Flask's social media channels

Its best channel seems to be Instagram, with over 600,000 followers. Additionally, it uses brand ambassadors to help promote the products. However, it doesn’t seem to have a blog—which, in my opinion, is a big missed opportunity for it.

Regardless, “spy” on some of your competitors to see which channels they’re using and how they’re using them to inform your own strategy.

3. Choose your channels

You’re now ready to decide which channels to prioritize. 

Social media is obvious. You can just have a channel on every major platform (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram) and automate posting across channels with a tool like Buffer. 

But not all businesses need all channels. You need to decide if creating videos for TikTok and YouTube is worth your time, as these channels take much more effort.

Also, not every business is suited to have a LinkedIn or Pinterest account. Is your audience using these platforms? If not, they may be worth skipping.

Your other marketing channel options include:

In other words, you’ve got options. Lots of options. Which should you choose?

Well, that depends on what you discovered in the last step. Where is your audience? Do they listen to podcasts? If so, which ones? And what are they searching for on Google? These are questions you need to know the answers to. Go back to the last step if you don’t.

In general, your best bet is to make an account on all the major social media platforms, have a basic email newsletter opt-in on your website, and write blog posts for SEO.

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If you aren’t sure where to start, consider plugging competitors’ sites into Ahrefs’ Site Explorer to see what keywords they’re getting traffic from on Google.

For example, let’s say you sell rooftop tents. One of your competitors will be Off Road Tents. If you plug its site into Site Explorer and look at the Organic keywords report, you can see it has blog posts ranking for keywords like “tacoma camper shell” and “tent ac unit”:

Organic keywords report for, via Ahrefs' Site Explorer

This gives you a hint as to what articles are bringing it traffic and, potentially, sales. Read our SEO competitor analysis guide to learn more.

4. Use software to stay organized

Remember how I mentioned one of the drawbacks of a multi-channel approach is how complex and difficult it can be to stay organized and consistent?

Software can help with that.

At Ahrefs, we use Basecamp to track our marketing efforts, keep our writers on the same page, build styling guidelines, and generally stay organized. 

It does have a bit of a learning curve compared to other task management software like Asana or Trello, but it is much more capable. It’s up to you which you prefer to use.

Thomas Frank also has many excellent guides that show how to use Notion for content creation, planning, and publishing. Check out his free Notion Fundamentals guide to get started with it.

In addition to using software to stay organized, it also helps to have something like Klipfolio to see all of your analytics across channels in one place. You can keep tabs on your social media stats, advertising success, and so much more in one simple dashboard:

Klipfolio analytics dashboard

Lastly, content creation and automation tools will become your best friend. These include:

Just remember: These tools are there to make your life less complicated, not more. Try a few, keep what works, and ditch what doesn’t. No need to take on more tools than you require.

Multi-channel marketing examples

Last but not least, let’s take a look at some different approaches to utilizing multiple marketing channels.


Here at Ahrefs, everything revolves around the product. And that’s what we share across every channel, no matter what. This photo sums it up:

Ahrefs' product banner

It’s what we talk about here on the blog with tons of educational content. And it’s what we share on social media:

Even our entire YouTube channel is dedicated to teaching you how to use Ahrefs tools to improve your website:

Ahrefs' YouTube SEO tutorial series

In other words, we stick to our mission of building the best SEO software on the web—regardless of where we’re promoting it.


Duolingo has one of the most fascinating marketing strategies I’ve ever seen. It forgoes focusing on its product in favor of virality and brand recognition.

Just watch one of its TikTok videos, and you’ll see what I mean:

Any idea what its product does based on that video? Yeah, me neither. But that video got 6.4 million views. Its YouTube channel isn’t much different:

Duolingo's YouTube videos

It has extremely strong branding through its Duolingo bird mascot, and it combines that with on-trend humor and virality to build brand awareness. It’s also using all the channels available—social, SEO, email, apps, TV, display ads, and more.


Apple is the king of branding. It utilizes multi-channel marketing better than almost any company that exists, with global recognition of the famous Apple icon.

Like Ahrefs, Apple’s messaging is focused on the product. But instead of educational content, it generates demand through storytelling and evoking emotions. 

It uses far more channels than most, mixing older methods such as TV advertising and billboards with unique approaches like offering its own credit card—plus, of course, the usual digital marketing methods of social media, email, and SEO. 

Apple is also one of the best examples of integrated marketing communications and a drive to create one, seamless experience across channels and devices it sells. 

Unlike the other examples on this list, it mostly utilizes user-generated content (UGC) on its social channels. Nearly all of its posts are reposts from people who use Apple products.

Apple's Instagram feed

Final thoughts

Multi-channel marketing helps you to get in front of your customers no matter which channels they use. It’s the only way to maximize your brand’s reach.

The main drawbacks—inconsistency and complexity—can be overcome with proper brand style guidelines and by utilizing marketing automation and task management software.

Questions or comments? Ping me on Twitter.

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Bing Integrates With ChatGPT



Bing Integrates With ChatGPT

Marking a significant step forward in AI-powered search, Bing announced at Microsoft Build 2023 that it’s integrating with OpenAI’s ChatGPT.

ChatGPT will now feature Bing as its default search engine, providing users with a search experience that delivers more timely and up-to-date answers.

This integration enables ChatGPT to ground its responses in search and web data, allowing users to receive citations and learn more directly within their chat conversations.

The new functionality is rolling out to ChatGPT Plus subscribers today and will soon be available to free users through a simple plugin activation process.

Expanding The Bing Ecosystem

Bing’s integration with ChatGPT is part of a broader commitment by Microsoft and OpenAI to support and grow the AI plugin ecosystem.

The shared plugin platform enables developers to build and submit plugins that work across multiple platforms, including Bing, ChatGPT, Dynamics 365 Copilot, Microsoft 365 Copilot, and Windows Copilot.

Bing’s expanded support for plugins means people will get more relevant recommendations based on conversations.

The plugins range from OpenTable and Wolfram Alpha to newly added partners like Expedia, Instacart, Kayak, Klarna, Redfin, TripAdvisor, and Zillow.

Examples of the plugins’ capabilities include the following:

  • Expedia will provide conversational trip planning, facilitating a seamless travel experience.
  • Instacart will allow users to turn Bing-planned dinner menus into shopping lists and place orders for delivery from their favorite grocery retailers.
  • Klarna will provide curated product recommendations to users seeking shopping advice and inspiration.
  • Redfin will enable users to describe their ideal home in everyday language, with Bing Chat finding suitable listings.
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Bing plans to bring these experiences to Bing Chat and the Edge sidebar in the coming weeks.

Integration across Microsoft’s Copilots

Beyond ChatGPT, Bing is integrating with Microsoft’s copilots.

The newly announced Windows Copilot will leverage Bing Chat to deliver personalized answers, relevant suggestions, and quick actions across Windows 11 apps.

Microsoft and OpenAI’s shared plugin platform will also be natively integrated into Microsoft Edge, marking a first in integrating AI-powered search into a web browser.

As Bing continues to evolve, search transformation is well underway, and these latest developments are another step in the journey.

Featured image generated by the author using Midjourney. 

Source: Bing

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An SEO Ranking System For News Sites



An SEO Ranking System For News Sites

Google has revealed new information about a ranking system called ‘Topic Authority.’

This system aims to deliver more relevant, expert, and knowledgeable content in Google Search and News for queries on specialized topics.

Why Topic Authority?

The inception of Topic Authority is an attempt to address a common challenge Google users face when seeking authoritative coverage on specific topics.

For instance, users looking for expert commentary on an economic report or local news on a disaster in their area often find a mix of general coverage, potentially obscuring more scholarly work by publications with specific expertise in these areas.

The Topic Authority system allows Google to serve more local news results. It helps Google prioritize content from local and regional publications, providing readers with more appropriate coverage.

For example, in a flood in a user’s area, the Topic Authority signal will prioritize content from local publications regularly covering topics in that region.

Further, an emphasis on Topic Authority means that original reporting from news teams familiar with the location and topic is more likely to surface.

Google says local publishers receive increased visibility for news events covered in their area.

Publishers with specific expertise can expect the same when their content is relevant to a news story about a specialized field.

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Despite not having its own listing in Google’s official guide to ranking systems, the company’s Search Liaison says Topic Authority has been used for several years.

Unpacking How Topic Authority Works

The Topic Authority system utilizes a range of signals to gauge a publication’s level of expertise in specific fields. The primary signals include:

  1. Notability for a topic or location: Google’s systems can understand if a publication is relevant to specific topics or areas.
  2. Influence and original reporting: Google’s system considers how other publishers cite a website’s original reporting.
  3. Source reputation: Google evaluates a source’s history of high-quality reporting and recommendations from expert sources, such as professional societies.

Recommendations for Publishers

Google advises publishers aiming to succeed with Topic Authority to continue providing excellent coverage on the areas and topics they know well.

As Topic Authority influences search results, seeing the changes to the news discovery and distribution dynamic has been interesting.

With the emphasis on local and expert coverage, Topic Authority has led to a renewed focus on in-depth reporting and a resurgence of specialist journalism.

The Potential Impact on SEO Strategies

Topic Authority adds another layer to the strategic mix for SEO professionals.

It emphasizes the importance of a publication’s expertise, influence, and reputation and aligns with Google’s ongoing efforts to promote quality content.

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It’s clear that the days of generic, one-size-fits-all content strategies are numbered, and those who invest in developing authoritative content in their areas of expertise will be well-positioned to reap the benefits of this new ranking system.

Source: Google

Featured image generated by the author using Midjourney.

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