Though ensuring your content has a real, tangible benefit for your target audience is certainly important, crafting content that has clear relevance to targeted search terms is also essential to the success of your campaigns.
In today’s post, we’ll take a closer look at the subject of topical relevance, and how you can use it in your SEO efforts.
What is Topical Relevance and Authority, and Why is it Important?
Topical relevance and authority is a variable factor of all web pages, which is used by search algorithms to determine how relevant that page is to a term users search for. Leading SEO tool Moz defines the ‘authority’ part of the equation as “a measure of authority built up through proven expertise and trust in your field”.
When determining the topical relevance of a page, search engines will look at a wide range of factors, including the actual text making up a piece of content, the page’s backlinks, outbound links, and keywords, to name a few.
If, for example, a piece of content is published about cryptocurrency trading, but contains a lot of terms and outbound links relating to property investment, this will have less topical authority than a rival piece of content which demonstrates a clearer focus on cryptocurrency alone.
While many marketers create content with a singular focus on a certain aspect, such as keyword optimization or link building, this will only take your content so far. To truly maximise a site’s chances of strong organic rankings, marketers must understand how each factor influences topical authority, and how they can optimise these elements for success.
How You Can Improve Topical Relevance on Your Site
Now that you have an understanding of what topical relevance is, here’s some of the most important actionable steps you can take to ensure maximum topical relevance on your site…
Make Search Intent Part of your Research Process
A large part of achieving strong organic rankings is aligning elements of your site to the intent of the search terms you’re targeting.
Whenever you’re planning to optimise your site for a certain keyword, take a moment to think about what that keyword means from the point of view of someone searching it. If someone searches “Sony”, for example, they could be looking to buy a product, learn more about the company, or look for news about a new product release. However, when searching “Sony headphones”, they’ll most likely be looking to purchase that specific kind of product.
Misinterpreting the intent of a search term can seriously drag down your chances of ranking for it, so make sure this is a core part of your content research moving forward.
Target More Authoritative Referring Domains
Once a piece of content has been published, the next job of an SEO professional is to start building backlinks pointing to that piece of content in order to improve the page’s rankings. “Backlinks are crucial to how Google finds, indexes and ranks your website,”' explains leading link building agency Hive19. “In order to help search engines locate your page, and classify it correctly – its relationship with other websites are absolutely critical. High quality links from niche-relevant websites are the currency that helps drive improved rankings and greater traffic levels.”
One of the most common mistakes SEOs make in this area is focussing on quantity over quality, and not spending enough time thinking about the authority of the referring domains they’re targeting.
The authority of the referring domains that link to you can have a profound impact on your topical relevance. Upgrading the class of your referring domains can be a challenge, but if you can sacrifice a little content calendar efficiency to optimise your link building for a higher standard of links, this can go a long way towards developing your site’s topical authority, and therefore rankings.
Prioritise Contextual Information
Ensuring that the information in your content is framed in a way that adds more depth and detail to it will help both people and crawlers understand the relevance of your content within a given topic.
Though Google’s bots can’t read content in the same way a human does, they can gauge the context of words and phrases based on the terminology found elsewhere in the page’s text. A post about paid social marketing that contains a lot of references to “print advertising” won't be as relevant as a piece that shows a more consistent focus on social PPC. However, a social PPC post that contains a random phrase like “agricultural machinery” will have lower topical relevance than one referencing print advertising.
By unpacking the concepts in your content in greater depth, without straying into irrelevant topics, you’ll be able to ensure more consistent topical relevance in all your posts.
Be Strategic About Internal and Outbound Links
Optimising your internal and outbound links isn’t rated highly as an SEO strategy, but these two elements can be some of the most effective tools to improve a page’s topical relevancy.
We all know Google places a lot of stock in hyperlinks when determining the value of a page, which is why link building is a top priority for many SEO professionals. Though backlinks are certainly important, they’re not easy to control. You can do anything you like with the links hosted on your own content, making it a promising avenue through which to emphasise the topical relevance of your content to crawlers.
By linking your posts to related pieces on your own site, along with external content that backs up or expands your points, you’ll provide more value to your users, and send a clear signal about the subject matter of your page to Google, thereby driving topical relevance.
If you’ve been feeling confused about the subject of topical relevance and how it fits into SEO, we hope this post has helped your understanding of the concept and given you an actionable plan of how to include it in your strategy.
To learn more about authority and relevance and its role within a wider SEO marketing strategy, be sure to check out our other articles, or get in touch with our team of SEO experts at 0203 368 8556 or firstname.lastname@example.org.