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How to Optimize for SEO Topical Relevance

November 11, 2021

What is Topical Relevance?

Topical relevance is how search engines decide whether or not a web page is relevant to a particular search query.

Search engines use many signals to determine relevance, but links, keywords, and content are the three most significant ranking factors. If your content and links suggest a high degree of E-A-T (expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness) and topical relevance, you make it to the top of the search results.

Topical Relevance SEO

Links can get you in trouble. If you are linking to content in a niche that has nothing to do with your content, it's going to lower your E-A-T and confuse Google's algorithm.

Outbound links to authoritative sites can help boost your authoritativeness and trustworthiness. Well researched and cited content is always welcome.

Backlinks from other highly regarded authorities are also well received. Both of these concepts come from academia. Citing your sources and receiving praise from noted scholars has always been important in scholarly communities.

Why is Topical Relevance Important?

It's simply not helpful to serve the correct answer to the wrong question. The inverse is also true. It's not beneficial to give the wrong answer to the right question.

Google has a couple of steps that they need to go through to decide what to serve. The most important thing to remember is that they want to make sure you're an expert in your particular topic.

Google wants to assess the Expertise, Authoritativeness, and trustworthiness of your content. Getting medical advice from Mayo Clinic is much healthier than getting advice from a supplements manufacturer.

Good SEO strategy builds your E-A-T. Today's search engine optimization is a combination of solid public relations and good web design. If you're producing fantastic content, shopping it to your niche, and have a well-designed website, you're practicing good SEO.

Topic Research vs. Keyword Research

Because of Google entities, Topic relevancy, and the need for quality backlinks from topic experts, you should be trying to match your website to high-quality topics rather than high-volume keywords.

You will still need to serve target keywords in your niche, but it's crucial to stay in your lane and grow your E-A-T. As people learn to trust you, other high domain authority websites will link to you, and your website will grow naturally. People will reach out and ask to work with you.

Don't just look for long-tail keywords. Instead, spend your time thinking about keyword clusters and content gaps in your niche. Think about ways to make your mark in a specific community.

Optimizing Content for Topics Rather Than Keywords

Instead of hunting for today's hottest keywords, you should be thinking about what exactly your readers need and want from your blog. You should consider what's ranking well on Google, but it all needs to be kept in perspective.

Topics are critical for content building these days. Keywords are acceptable, but they ignore the best strategies for building your blog as a whole.

Hub and spoke and skyscraper are practical techniques that work well with topics. Build a massive lead-generating content piece, and then link it to other pages that go into more detail in specific areas.

Keyword focus risks cannibalizing your other content or and lacks cohesion. Keyword-focused blogs also miss out on internal links, which are excellent for SEO.

Strategies for Building Topical Authority

There are many strategies for building your authority about a topic, but it all comes down to one basic rule. Build good content.

Excellent content is the only way you have any chance of getting a reporter to use you as a reference. And, other people in your genre just aren't going to link to you if they don't trust your content.

Backlinks are a vote of confidence in your content. To earn those sweet backlinks, you're first going to have to produce content worthy of them.

Stay Focused on your content.

Keyword stuffing won't work.  Instead, content marketing uses related keywords and produces relevant articles and supporting articles in a narrow niche.

You need to stay focused on your main keyword to get enough content depth.  Google is looking for how thoroughly you cover a specific keyword or keyword phrase.

Stay on topic and give your site visitors relevant information and high-quality content. Think about the search intent and then wholly satisfy it.

Figure out what this particular piece of content will be about, and then cover just that topic in as much detail as possible. Stay focussed, and make sure to write relevant articles.

Google won't rank you highly for a specific topic if it detects a more general approach. If a search query is about hamburger restaurants, then only hamburger restaurants should appear on the SERP. General knowledge about all kinds of restaurants doesn't serve the search intent well.

Do massive research on your main keyword.

It's easy to sit down, slap together 1200 words in an hour or two, and publish your new blog content. The price you will pay is when nobody comes to read your blog.

You need to do at least one hour of research for each hour you spend writing your blog post. Then, budget another hour for editing.

Instead of sitting down and putting a blog post together in one or two hours, you need to budget 8 to 12 hours for good quality content.

Good content is expensive to create, and that's because we spend that extra few hours researching, planning, and editing. But that's what it takes to get onto the first page.

Create outstanding infographics, charts, and pictures

The next step after writing amazing content is to dress it up with custom infographics, diagrams, and photographs. You're going to need art to shop your work for reporters, social media, and other blogs.

It's a lot easier to build backlinks if your infographics are trending in your niche on Reddit, for example. Reporters love to link to good infographics because they do an excellent job of explaining complex topics to the general public.

Spend the time building good content now, and then later, backlink shopping and lead generation will be much easier.

Develop Topic Clusters around relevant keywords.

Internal links can push traffic to other pages on your site as people look for more information. Wikipedia uses extensive internal linking that adds additional value to site visitors while racking up many page views.

The hub and spoke model is a popular way to build a content cluster. The hub is a general overview of a topic, with links to more specific information in the spokes.

Find relevant articles and group them.  They should share relevant keywords so that they can link together easily.

An example would be a Hub about SEO which gives a general overview of SEO best practices. This hub might then link to articles about Entities, user experience, and topical relevance.

Use Search Engines to Research Topics

Search engines suggest additional keywords to refine a user's search query with long-tailed keywords.  Keyword suggestion makes Google and Bing excellent keyword research tools.

Search engine suggestions are a quick and easy way to score well for the relevance metric in the Google search algorithm. Simply knowing the associated keywords to a particular query is a huge advantage.

Remember, Google isn't just trying to drill down on your topic but also deciding which niche to use for your case. So be careful with the suggestions, because some will be off-topic.

Use an SEO content optimization Tool.

It's always better to use a good SEO auditor when you're getting serious about fixing your website. SEO auditors pay memberships to expensive SEO auditing tools that quickly drill down on your website problems and opportunities.

Semrush, Ahrefs, and Moz are excellent paid resources that SEO agencies use to optimize websites. They're expensive and require expertise to use, but in the right hands, SEO optimization tools can solve problems with a few clicks.

These tools will give you insights into the search volume and keyword difficulty that will help you target the right content markets.

One of the many tools we use at our agency is the Use topic. This tool gives robust research into the keywords, topics, and structure competitors use in your niche.

Proofread your work.

It's easy to put your work through Grammarly Premium and fix your worst spelling and grammar mistakes. Grammarly Premium should be the first thing you do when you finish writing your first draft.

When Grammarly gives you the OK, you need to take your content to the next editing stage. Go back and fix the style, look at the overall structure of the article, and start making significant edits.

Make sure that the page flows well, looks nice, and speaks in your unique voice. Make sure you use good meta tags and put in relevant links with well-thought-out anchor texts.

Then, send the whole thing through Grammarly Premium again.

Your final step needs to be checking your writing for plagiarism with Grammarly Premium, OneText, or Copyscape. You didn't plagiarize your content, but you need to know if another website already has substantially similar content.

When you're writing on-topic, using many keywords, and writing in a similar style to experts in your niche, you'll end up with places where your copy is too close to someone else's.

Don't buy backlinks.

Here's something you absolutely should not do. Buying backlinks is like buying your university degree from a guy on Fiver.

Buying backlinks isn't going to help you in the long run, and it's symptomatic of thinking that will lead to failure. It won't work, you will get caught, and then you'll get heavy penalties.

We all want to do it. Link building is challenging. There are many ways to do it legitimately, but it will take some work in most cases. Talk to your SEO auditor, and we'll get started on it with you.

There's always someone willing to sell you backlinks, but they're taking a considerable risk by selling to you, so honestly, the links will be from spam websites with low Domain Authority.

When they or you get caught, you'll drop off the SERP with a Google penalty, and you won't come back for a long time.

Dropping off the SERP for a long time is going to cost money.

Instead of buying links, use our suggestions in this blog, or just come and talk to us, and we'll walk you through it. We build our backlinks legitimately, and you can do it too.

Final Thoughts

Content creation isn't easy.  It takes a lot of time to do the research, writing good content is highly skilled work.  A good blog is an excellent marketing tool though, and worth the expense.

If you need some help, don't be afraid to ask. Talk to an SEO auditor if you're serious about building your brand and need some help setting up the website, content, and backlinks.

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