With more than 600 million blogs on the internet and about 7 million blog posts being published each day, getting your blog noticed is becoming more difficult by the minute. Currently, building topical authority and domain authority are two of the most effective SEO strategies for bloggers, but it is often asked: do these go hand in hand?

Topical authority is reached when one establishes oneself as an expert on a specific topic, whereas domain authority is reached when one’s website ranks highly in competitive searches. Topical and domain authority are closely related; however, there are some who deny that domain authority has any influence on website rankings. 

Want to find out how these strategies work together to draw traffic to your website? (And learn even more strategies to get your content noticed!) Keep reading.

The Close Relationship Between Topical and Domain Authority

Search engine optimization (SEO) is an evolving set of guidelines and tools meant to drive more traffic to a website. There have been many “hot” SEO practices over the years (remember keyword stuffing?), but not all of them have stood the test of time. 

Topical vs. Domain Authority Topical Establishes your as an authority based on topical expertise Increase traffic to your website Domain Establishes you as an authority based on the website itself

By definition, topical authority and domain authority seem fundamentally different. However, the moving parts of both authorities work separately and together to bring more traffic to your website.

While building your domain authority, you will also build your topical authority. The same links you are using to ensure that your website ranks higher in searches are also helping to show that you have done the work and the research to be considered an expert in your niche.

Topical Authority Cements You as the Expert

Topical authority is the new – and improved – “keyword stuffing.” It takes the bare-bones strategy of the years-old technique and multiplies it tenfold, using clever techniques to “stuff” a website full of valuable, authoritative information. But how can you establish topical authority?

Establishing Topical Authority

At first glance, it may seem like establishing topical authority is easy, but it can be very hard work. It’s much more than writing a collection of articles on a single topic.

Here are some of the ways that you can secure topical authority:

  1. Be strategic with your content. It’s vital to have a plan for producing content that establishes you as a trustworthy and reliable content creator.
  2. Fully understand user intent. Cater your articles to your readers’ intentions behind their keyword searches.
  3. Create topic clusters. Find a broad topic and focus on creating multiple articles that can link back and forth to one another to ensure your blog covers all the information on that topic.
  4. Be intentional with your links. Ensure that your backlinks, hyperlinks, etc. are from reputable sources so that your domain rating backs up your topical authority.
  5. Create topic clusters. Take a single broad topic and branch out into more focused areas of that topic in smaller articles. These families of articles will provide plenty of internal links for your site. 

As you can see, topical authority is more than just writing multiple articles on one main topic. You can easily use the strategies above to raise your topical authority quickly.

Semantic SEO and How it Helps Topical Authority

You won’t get far when raising your site’s topical authority if you aren’t a bit purposeful with your words. Semantic SEO is a strategy that focuses on using language to its benefit to raise topical authority. But what exactly does this mean?

Typically, when you type one search query, others will follow. Semantic SEO aims to prevent that. This strategy dictates that the content creator aims to answer as many questions about the query as possible to keep the reader on their website for longer. The more answers the user can find on your website, the better.

Here are some ways that you can use Semantic SEO to your advantage:

Semantic SEO Strategy Explanation
Focus on topic depth and content length. Longer content is preferred because it can give more information, and make sure to cover all your content extensively.
Utilize keyword clusters.  Find multiple keywords and phrases semantically related to one another to use in your content.
Check out “People Also Ask” under your Google search. Look through this section of related queries, and use them to figure out what users are really looking for regarding your topic.
Use “cheat codes.” Content optimizer tools can be used to find a variety of semantically related words and phrases for you to use to improve your topical depth.

These are only a few of the many targeted actions you can take to increase the topical authority of your website. 

Domain Authority Ensures a High-Ranking Website

Simply put, domain authority (or domain rating) is a score between 1 and 100 that is issued to a website depending on the strength of that site’s SEO. Determining what a good domain authority is for your niche is a bit more difficult because different niches have different average domain ratings. 

Generally, having a domain authority of 50 is considered “competitive regardless of the niche or industry.” Some niches and industries consistently keep lower domain ratings, but other websites’ keywords are so prevalent that their ratings shoot up incredibly fast!

Establishing Domain Authority

Domain authority may seem a bit trickier to obtain than topical authority, but it’s pretty straightforward because you follow SEO strategies to boost your rankings. 

Instead of focusing on the topic, you steer your focus toward building a surplus of links and sources within your content that show you have done your research and found a wealth of information for your readers. Ensure that they do not need to do another search to find the answers they need.

One thing you must remember is domain authority is finicky. The score you need is determined by your niche, so make sure to only compare your score to other websites within your niche.

Checking Your Domain Rating

Checking the domain authority of your website is easier than ever! There are multiple sites that you can use to find your rating.

Here are a few websites that can help you find your domain authority with short explanations of how they rank your website:

Website Rating Details
MOZ This site gives a “domain authority” or “DA” score. Your site’s total number of links and number of linking root domains are only two of the dozens of factors MOZ uses to find its rating. 
Ahrefs This site gives two ratings. Its “Ahrefs rank” considers both the size and quality of your backlinks. Its “domain rating” ranks a site’s complete backlink profile against other similar sites. 
Majestic This site actually rates topical and domain authority. Its “flow metric scores” consider both the total number of website links and the content quality of the site.
Semrush This site offers an “authority score” that considers an entire domain’s quality and SEO performance. 

The websites above figure your domain rating using several factors, but the number of reputable and authoritative links within your website remains the most important factor when figuring this rating.

Is One Authority More Important than the Other?

It’s already been established that both topical and domain authority work together to boost your website’s traffic, but is one more important than the other? 

The best way to build topical authority is to build domain authority. Because of this, neither is more important than the other; they go hand in hand when bringing readers to your website. The strategies you use to raise domain authority will inevitably boost your topical authority.

Some Say Topical Authority is King

It’s easy to assume that topical authority is the one true authority in SEO because the words in search queries directly lead users to your content. As a result, users stay a while on sites that have thoroughly researched information, bouncing from article to article and answering question after question. 

But you cannot forget that users need to see that your information is factual. They need to see backlinks, root domains, and internal links. They need to see reputable sources and recognizable names in the niche. 

Topical authority may be the end goal, but domain authority is the entire journey.

Some Say Domain Authority Does Not Matter

There are some who believe that domain authority doesn’t really matter. For instance, Moz, the creator of the domain rating, states, “Domain authority is not a Google ranking factor and has no effect on the [search engine results pages].”

Further, John Mueller, a Search Advocate at Google, has confirmed on multiple occasions that Google never considers domain authority when ranking websites. (But you know that Google is not the only search engine.)

Those who feel that domain authority is not a ranking factor believe this because there are multiple websites that figure out domain ratings in different ways. Because there is no uniform set of metrics that all websites use to figure out domain authority, opponents of its ranking effectiveness claim the score cannot be trusted. 

While we have to acknowledge that it may not help you rank in Google searches, domain authority is a valuable and useful metric for any website because it helps the content creator see where they rank with similar websites.

SEO Evolves as Technology Advances

Anyone who has run a website for the past few years can attest to the fact that SEO is ever-evolving as the technology that runs search engines advances. 

For instance, the launch of Google’s Hummingbird update in August 2013 introduced the ability of the search engine to better understand conversational language in searches. Matt Cutts, a former Google Software Engineer, explained that “Hummingbird [was] a rewrite of the core algorithm” that Google used for its searches. 

Next, Google introduced RankBrain to its algorithm in 2015. This was meant to help the algorithm further understand the context and meaning around the search query and not just the words being typed.

Cutts revealed that Google’s search engine algorithm has changed in two major ways:

  1. It can now recognize the important words in a search query.
  2. It doesn’t match singular keywords anymore.

In a nutshell, search engines are becoming smarter and can better decipher what a user’s intent is when entering a search query. This is why SEO is constantly changing; it adapts to the search engines that it optimizes.

How to Increase Domain Authority

Here are five ways to further your website’s authority:

Strategy Explanation
Optimize your site’s URL. Create a URL that is focused, succinct, and features the proper keywords.
Ensure fast page speed. Take measures to keep your web pages loading within three seconds.
Name page titles and descriptions properly. All page titles and descriptions should be named according to user intent and targeted keywords.
Find the perfect keywords.  Keywords should always cater to your niche and your audience.
Optimize your site’s images. Make sure to use high-resolution images and place proper keywords in titles and descriptions.

It’s important to keep yourself updated on SEO trends as they change, so you can stay abreast of the latest strategies to get your website noticed.

Google’s E-A-T and Website Authority

Search Engine Journal predicted in 2021 that, within the next two years, about 25% of SEO ranking factors would be based on “expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness,” or E-A-T, compared to that year’s 9%. This is a significant increase and, these are the three key factors that you are influencing by raising your topical authority and domain authority. 

As if right on cue, the prediction is coming true as topical authority and domain authority shoot to the front of the conversation surrounding SEO and website traffic.

Topical Authority and Domain Authority Work Together

Clearly, topical authority and domain authority work with one another to ensure that your website receives the most traffic and the highest rank possible. There are some who believe that domain authority doesn’t factor into Google’s website ranking, but there is no denying both the correlation and causation between topical and domain authority.

The bottom line is you will automatically raise your domain authority as you work on boosting your topical authority and vice versa.