May 30, 2024

What is the minimum level of focus required for your website to achieve high rankings in Google? What happens if you go off-topic? Does it affect your “Topical Authority” and SEO (search engine optimization)?

What is the minimum level of topically focused content that your website needs to achieve high rankings in Google? Going off-topic can harm your ” topical authority” or SEO (search engine optimization).

Recently, one of our clients asked about expanding into new topics without damaging their current ranking.

Write for Topical Authority vs. Attracting Audience

Imagine that you write about sports but also know your readers enjoy video games. Imagine that a new Mario Kart version is being released, and you know how excited your community will be.

It would be best if you covered Mario Kart, even though it is technically off-topic.

The context, the execution, and the relevance of the article to the main audience will determine whether or not writing an essay about “Mario Kart” on a sports website will harm its SEO.

This is why I separated “retro gaming’ from my Maker site. There is a lot of crossover between those who enjoy making stuff and those who love old computers and video games, but there is also a distinct divide.

You will lose traffic if you try to change the focus of your website.

What is Topical Authority?

SEO Definition Topical authority is the expertise and trustworthiness of a website in a specific niche or subject. Topical authority means that your site is the go-to resource for information on a particular topic.

Why Topical Authority Matters

Topical authority does not only appeal to search engine algorithms. It is persuasive for people as well.

Trustworthiness: Search engines like Google aim to give users the most relevant and trustworthy content according to the search query. Your website will be more likely to rank higher on search engine result pages (SERPs) if it is seen as a topic authority.

User trust: Users are more likely than not to return to sites that offer high-quality and detailed information.

Links Building Other sites will be more likely to send you backlinks (inbound links) if your content is authoritative.

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Benefits to Topical Authority

Long-term traffic: An authoritative site can have consistent organic traffic without always depending on the latest trends and short-term tactics.

Diverse audience: Initially attracting a niche, an authoritative website can attract a wider audience who are looking for your expertise.

Monetization: Authority sites in niches can monetize better through affiliate marketing, partnership, or by selling products/services. They are seen as trusted sources.

What to do if you want to go off-topic?

Consider these tips for bloggers who want to branch out and cover previously untapped topics:

Relevance: Will your new subject matter appear out of place for your core audience? This can have a negative impact on the user experience. If the website in question already includes e-sports, gaming, or sports-related activities, then it may be relevant.

User experience: Is it likely to cause confusion or frustration for users? High bounce rates can affect rankings.

Authority & Expertise: Search engines are looking to provide the most authoritative, expert content for their users. You may lose your perceived expertise if you don’t have a focus. Sites need to be able to establish themselves as authorities in their chosen fields.

Context: It can be logical to connect a new topic to an old one. If executed correctly, this type of integrated content strategy can help your SEO.

Internal linking and structure: If you decide to write articles about topics that are not related, create a new category or section. This will allow you to provide interesting content for readers who are interested without confusing others looking for your regular content.

Frequency: If you have the majority of content about the same subject and only occasional articles about other topics, it is less likely that SEO will be affected than if the content becomes random.

Feedback from the audience: Watch how your audience responds to content. It might be worth looking into further if they respond positively. If you notice a decrease in engagement or negative feedback from users, this could be a sign the content is not suitable for your platform.

It is possible to include off-topic material on a website. However, this must be done with care.

Your new article will delight or surprise regular readers.

Make sure it adds value to your audience and does not dilute the primary focus or authority of your website.

SEO today is not just about keywords or backlink profiles but also about the user experience and relevance of the topic.

How to build topical authority (Or re-build it when you go off course)

Firstly, you should sacrifice any content that does not relate to your core topic, even if the traffic is currently high.

I removed my retro gaming content from my maker site and created a brand new place with 301 redirects. It gave my new website a boost and made the old one more topical. Win-win.

Keyword Research: Return to your core subject and look for search topic clusters or subtopics you can rank for. They have a lower search volume but are easier to organize, especially for new blogs.

Deep content: Don’t just skim the surface of the subject, but delve deeper into it. It could be longer and more detailed articles, guides, tutorials, case studies, or research. Existing content can be used for this. Older reports can be expanded or combined to create new long-form content.

Consistency in Content: Regularly post high-quality articles on niche-relevant subjects.

Internal Linking: Create a web of related content on your website, which can guide your users (and the search engine bots) through your site’s expertise.

External Links: Cite reputable sources to support your claims. This will not only increase the credibility of your content but also encourage other sites to use you as a source.

It is important to focus on the core values of your website and publish valuable, in-depth content related to those topics and others!

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