In the second part of our short series on E-E-A-T, we zoom in on the topic of topic authority – and discover how it changes the way we establish expertise and authority for your website.
Google recently shared a system they have been using for identifying the best sites to surface in the search results. Focusing on results for news searches around specialised subject areas – such as health, politics or finance – this system is called ‘topic authority‘. This announcement ties in with Google’s recent drive to demystify some of the ways in which ranking in the search results work. With transparency a founding principle of ANything is Possible and how we work with our clients, we can only welcome this news.
Topic authority refers to the idea that a website or author is recognized as an expert in a particular subject area. This concept fits into the Google E-E-A-T (Experience – Expertise – Authority – Trustworthiness) framework as part of the ‘Expertise’ and ‘Authoritativeness’ components:
- Expertise: In terms of E-E-A-T, expertise refers to the source’s knowledge or skill in a particular field. A news source who consistently produces accurate and in-depth content on a specific topic is likely to be seen as an expert. This expertise may come from formal education or from practical experience. In the updated E-E-A-T framework, it might also come from first hand experiences using a product, visiting a location, or otherwise directly engaging with the subject matter.
- Authoritativeness: This refers to the recognition of that expertise by others in the field or industry. A news source’s authority is often established through endorsements from other experts, citations, high-quality backlinks to specific publications, positive user engagement, and online reputation. This recognition helps to establish the source’s credibility on the topic.
Where does Topic Authority fit in?
Topic authority, therefore, contributes to and evolves the E-E-A-T rating of a website or piece of content. A high level of topic authority signals to Google that the content is likely to be valuable and reliable for users searching for information on that topic.
Topic authority can also enhance the Experience component of E-E-A-T, as a news source or publication with deep knowledge and recognition in a particular area is likely to offer meaningful, first hand insights that can enrich the user’s experience.
It’s worth noting that establishing topic authority requires consistent effort. This can include producing high-quality content regularly, engaging with audiences, collaborating with other experts, and staying up-to-date with the latest developments in the field.
What should I do about it?
This announcement just reinforces Google’s commitment to position authoritative authors and sites in front of searches. When combined with the recent AI integration announcements around Search Generative Experience (SGE) it provides a window into how the biggest potential disruption to search results could be shaping up.
It also provides an opportunity to re-evaluate your approach to content, the ToV being used and considering how AI may interpret and then produce content for users around what you’ve produced. This opportunity should be grasped with both hands, and serious thought be put into what your brand or site stands for, what is it’s ambition to be – and then how content can play a part in getting you there.
Of course, there’s another thing you can do about it too…