What Is Topical Authority In Local SEO?

Topical Authority

When search engines like Google scan the internet for the best, most credible answer to a given searcher’s query, it wants to serve up the answer from the source with the most topical authority for that question.

In SEO, Topical Authority is a measurement of a website’s or authors’ authority or credibility to write or speak on a given topic compared to similar websites or authors. Local SEO measures authority or credibility within a given industry, city, or neighborhood.

In this article, we will delve first into how local SEO Topical Authority is measured and then look at how to show it on your website. And finally, we will touch briefly on how Topical Authority helps in the local rankings.

Before I get into the meat of this article, I have a quick suggestion. If you found this article because you are trying to learn Local On-page SEO, I recommend you read my articles “How To Do Local SEO – An In-Depth Overview!” and “What Is On-Page Local SEO?“. See also our related article “Why is Topical Authority Important?“.

I created a video on my YouTube channel that covers the same information I discussed in this article. If you want to watch that video, I list it below.

How Did Topical Authority Become A Priority?

Google Algorithm

Google employs many manual website reviewers called “Human Search Quality Evaluators” who are paid to do various Google searches and look over the websites that show up in the search results. The purpose of having these human reviewers is to learn ways to improve Google’s algorithm in the future.

The now famous Y.M.Y.L (your money, your life) and E.E.A.T (experience, expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness) ideas for Google’s algorithm came out of the work that this manual group does.

As these manual reviewers looked over the websites personally, they could tell that the entities with the most experience and expertise provided the most reliable and helpful content. They were often the websites that other sites linked to as sources and references.

How Is Local SEO Topical Authority Measured?

When the search engines scan the various websites within an industry for a specific city or neighborhood, they look for clues that indicate experience, expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness (E-E-A-T) that exceed their competition.

Google wants first to rank the local businesses that measure the highest in these E-E-A-T factors within their industry and location in both Google Maps and the regular organic section.

Search engines determine this measurement based on the number of recommendations (backlinks) that your website gets from relevant sites and how the content is written on the website.

In the general SEO world, these E-E-A-T factors are exhibited when websites like WebMD outrank other websites for health-related questions. Search engines show WebMD and similar sites because they exhibit these E-E-A-T factors above competing sites.

How To Show E-E-A-T On A Local Business Website

Google EEAT

I will go over a few of the most important ways to show E.E.A.T. on your local business website. See also my article “How To Optimize For E.E.A.T!“.

1. Content That Shows Experience & Expertise

The first E-E-A-T rule for a local business website is to give your reader some meat. A local business website page is usually not more than 300-500 words. So write yours at least that long, perhaps slightly longer, but don’t just write fluffy, meaningless fill words. It needs to be valuable to the reader. Impart some of your experience and knowledge.

Obviously, you want to write the content to convert and get them to come in or call, and you don’t want to bore them to death. It really helps those who read your content. As you teach them things related to the problem they have, they will trust you and want to work with you. This will also demonstrate to Google that you are experienced and trustworthy.

Search engines have come a long way. It is not just a bunch of text on a page to a search engine anymore. They can read and understand what you are saying and tell someone who knows what they are talking about, from sales jargon or fluff. So give it helpful meat that shows your expertise.

2. Link To Quality Resources

When it makes sense in your content, link to high-quality resources that either support or show where you are getting your information. It is even better if some of these resources are elsewhere on your website. So add to this item the fact that, if possible, you should have some really good resources on your website that your articles can link to.

If you go to a website like WebMD, you will notice that they link to comprehensive articles or charts elsewhere that back up or further elaborate on the topic they are discussing. Linking to these resources helps establish themselves as the expert.

3. Have A FAQs Page On Your Website

Having a FAQs page on your website, not just about your company but also about your products and services, can help establish you as a resource or an expert in your field.

These should be real and interesting questions and answered with well-thought-out expert answers where possible.

How Does Topical Authority Help In Local Rankings?

SEO Backlinks

When deciding what local businesses to list in the Maps 3-pack or on page one in the regular organic sections, search engines try to show the most experienced, expert, and trustworthy businesses in the area.

They are not perfect at it. It is all based on perception. So, if you can build your website such that the search engines believe you are the most experienced, expert, and trustworthy in your industry in your area, you will have an advantage over your competition.

This all boils down to search engines competing to do the best job of providing their searchers with what they are looking for. The better they do that, the more people will use their search engine.

Our job as local businesses is to be what our prospective customers are searching for and to show that sufficiently online. That is the name of our game.

Final Thoughts

I would like to emphasize the importance of ensuring your local business website has really good Topical Authority. This is one of the most commonly overlooked local SEO areas, yet it is super important.

If your business is in a low-competition industry or city, you might get by without doing this and still rank in the Google Maps 3 pack. However, with all else equal, Topical Authority might just give you the edge over your competition and cause you to outrank them.


When I was first introduced to the local SEO industry, I took a job working for a company that did it nationally. To my surprise I eventually learned that the company I was working for had no idea what they were doing. As I began to take various local SEO courses to try to help my clients, I also learned that most courses didn't teach methods that actually worked. Fortunately, over the years, I was able to find some that did know what they were doing and over the last decade or so, have had great success getting my business clients on the first page of Google locally, even in competitive niches and markets. The purpose of this website is to teach any local business owner, or employee, how to do their own local SEO so that they can get their own websites in the Google Maps 3 Pack, and on the first page in the regular organic listings as well.

Recent Posts