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  • Matt Johnson

Building topical relevance and authority in SEO.

Search engine optimisation can be a daunting subject to get your teeth stuck into.

But adopting an SEO strategy is an essential component of doing business online. To attract customers on the digital playing field, you must understand how the game works.

We have summarised the fundamentals of building topical relevance and search authority in a blog post that’s easy to follow and understand.

Critical SEO success factors.

Winning with search engine optimisation can be boiled down to two critical success factors:

  1. Building topic relevance by creating lots of high-quality content on the topics you want to be known for

  2. Building search authority by getting lots of high-quality links to your website

Crawling, indexing and ranking - what do they mean?

Before digging into the topic relevance and search authority, it’s important to understand the process that search engines, like Google, go through to rank pages in search results.

Crawling: discovery

First, search engine bots crawl the web to discover your web pages and read the content. For your webpage to be discoverable you simply have to submit your URL to search engines or post the page via your CMS, like Wordpress or Squarespace.

Indexing: relevance

Secondly, the search engine bots determine your content’s relevance to search queries based on signals like keywords in the content.

Ranking: authority

Search engines will finally determine how authoritative your content is based on the credibility and number of backlinks to your page. Authority directly impacts ranking strength.

Establishing relevance in SEO.

Establishing topical relevance in SEO is based on how well your content matches certain queries.

It starts with creating compelling content which is of high quality, provides lots of insight and educates the audience. The more relevant your content is to the searched query, the better chance it has to rank high in search engine results.

"To build SEO topical relevance you must do 3 things.

  1. Decide which topics you want to be known for

  2. Publish lots of content (blogs, video, etc) that answer every question your target audience might have about that topic.

  3. Link these blog posts to one another strategically, using hyperlinks and pillar pages.

This will help you grow authority on the topic and rank higher in search engines for related search queries."

If you sell gourmet pet food, one of your core topics will probably be “dog food” as you will want your business to appear in search engines when people search for queries related to dog food.

You should then publish lots of content related to all of the top search terms/queries about dog food. For example, why isn’t my dog eating his dinner?” or “what happens if my dog eats chocolate?”.

Once you have lots of content, you should link to the other blog posts strategically using hyperlinks to let Google know that these topics are all related and relevant to the same topic, in this case, dog food. Read more about this way of structuring your SEO strategy here.

Establishing authority in SEO.

You establish web page authority when your page is talked about a lot, referred to by multiple sites and has credible backlinks from sites with high domain authority.

The higher the number of quality backlinks your page has, the more authoritative it is deemed by search engines.

The emphasis here is on quality. If Forbes link back to your site, it will probably help your search engine ranking more than 100 links from sites with low domain authority.

The most effective way you can build search authority is through quality backlinks.

You can use sites like Moz, and Ubersuggest to measure your backlink profile; the inbound links to your site; unique domains linking to your site; the quality of those links.

Striking the balance.

A healthy SEO strategy balances building relevancy (creating content related to search queries around the topics you want to rank for) and building authority (establishing your credibility on the topic).

How much time you focus on one versus another is determined by your current situation.

Is your company currently talked about and linked to often? If yes, you should focus on publishing more relevant content. Or are you creating lots of content but getting no links? In this case, you should focus on backlink outreach.

Don’t make the mistake of just creating content for the sake of it. It doesn’t matter how many books an author writes. If he leaves them all on his coffee table, who’s going to buy them?

Make sure you balance your outreach and production strategies in a way that meets your company’s SEO needs.


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