SaaS Topical Authority: What You Need to Win

SaaS Marketing
June 13, 2023 4 min
Justin Berg
Justin Berg

Founder of Rock The Rankings

Did you know that a few weeks ago, Google quietly announced “topical authority” as an important ranking factor?

If you’ve been struggling to rank content and product pages, read on – I’m going to show you high-level how you can start to build topical authority in your space.

For a while now, many SEOs have known that topical authority has played an important role in ranking important content and SaaS product pages at the top of Google’s search results.

Let’s take a deep dive into building topical authority for SaaS businesses, and dominating the SERPs.

Google’s Topical Authority Factors Defined

There are core signals that fall underneath topical authority as defined by Google:

1. How notable a source is for a topic or location: Our systems understand publications that seem especially relevant to topics or locations. For example, they can tell that people looking for news on Nashville high school football often turn to a publication like The Tennessean for local coverage.

2. Influence and original reporting: Our system looks at how original reporting (for example the publisher that first broke a story) is cited by other publishers to understand how a publication is influential and authoritative on a topic. In 2022, we added the Highly Cited label to give people an easier way to identify stories that have been frequently cited by other news organizations.

3. Source reputation: Our system also looks at a source’s history of high-quality reporting, or recommendations from expert sources, such as professional societies. For example, a publication’s history doing original reporting or their journalistic awards are strong evidence of positive reputation for news websites.

With having a better understanding of the factors that fall underneath of topical authority, here’s how we’re going to tackle each of these factors to drive rankings and conversions:

Influencing Topical Authority Step-by-step

Google understands how authoritative your website is for a given topic.

👉 Want to own the SERPs? Here’s what you should do:

  1. Write hyper-focused content from a position of expertise

2. Get linked to from others within your industry or niche by relationship building and having great linkable assets

Create topic clusters around areas you want to build authority

👉 Want to get the most out of your content strategy? Do this:

  1. Create your pillar page topic that targets the highest-level keyword for a given topic that’s relevant to your business
  2. Create and cluster related topics (individual articles) to take a deeper dive into sub-topics off the back of your pillar pages

These individual sub-topics will require their own pages to own top SERP positions, so you’re doing yourself a favor by owning these queries as well.

Build internal links between your content

👉 Internal linking is one of the easiest wins, and usually forgotten strategies to help drive to SERP rankings. Do this to build internal links:

✅ Add contextual links within your content to connect the content in your silo.

✅ Choose anchor-rich keywords within the content (you’re in control here!)

✅ Build internal links (where relevant, and applicable) to your product pages (features and benefits, use cases, etc.) to pass link value down range.

Here’s an example of how all of this comes together:

SaaS product operates within the time tracking space – and their target audience are within the construction industry.

Build pillar content and topic clusters around construction-specific queries (bottom, mid and top) to start to build topical relevancy that connects the product to the construction industry.

Without this content and strategy in place – one single product page focused on a high-intent query i.e. “construction time tracking software” is going to be very difficult to get traction for – as with most high-intent queries in SaaS.

Building topical authority over time and supporting content assets will allow you to build up the base and topical authority you need to slowly start dominating that industry, or niche.

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