Do you know how to boost your standings in the SERPs? Use topical relevance!
I used topical relevance to accurately predict which keywords would do well in the SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages).
After reading this guide, you will know the powerful effect of topical relevance to make your content planning decisions. You will be able to accurately predict which of your posts will rank well also.
It gets better: This means you can intentionally choose topics you know will rank well on Google. That is the power of topical relevance. You can use content to drive traffic to your site.
By reading this post, you can generate free, passive, and consistent traffic that grows over time.
In accordance with Google’s E-A-T criteria (Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness), you get search engine visibility when Google sees you as an authority in an area.
That is the beauty of topical authority. By showing Google you are an authority in a content area, you meet the “A” in Google’s criteria to get strong SERP ranking positions.
SEO Expert Miranda Miller predicts Google’s E-A-T criteria continues to be a ranking factor through 2022 (Source).
This case study post shares anecdotal data about how I used topical relevance to boost my posts’ standings in the SERPs.
Let’s look at examples of how topical relevance helped me predict which topics would rank well so I could write about them.
By the time you’re done reading, you can make the same predictions about the chances of success before you craft your blog post.
Make sure you stay until the end of the post where you get a bonus tip about the effects of topical relevance.
Blog Traffic Peaks and Valleys
I was never affected by Google Core Updates.
I wasn’t affected in December of 2020, June of 2021, and the other Core Updates before that.
Mostly Blogging was immune, right?
Or so I thought…
At my height between the fall of 2020 and winter of 2021, I received more than 3,000 page views per day.
Then came the July 2021 Google Core Update. Instead of receiving 3,000 page views per day, I fell to between 700 and 800 page views per day.
This was a significant loss in my traffic. Hearing how everyone lost traffic was no consolation.
I was determined that this case study I was planning would indeed have a happy ending with a success story.
And it does…
At the time of this writing in September 2021, I am back up to receive more than 1000 page views a day. This screenshot is taken over Labor Day Weekend in the U.S. when traffic is normally slower.
By late January 2022…
By early February…
Let’s examine the SEO blog writing tip I used to restore the blog traffic I lost in the July update.
I credit my traffic boost to making better content planning decisions.
I have no empirical proof that topical relevance caused the increase. Therefore, since this post is based on my observations, the topical relevance examples contained here are examples of anecdotal evidence.
Keep reading to make your own determination.
Topical relevance is also known as Topical Authority.
Google thinks you are an expert in a topic since you’ve written about it before.
You may protest you are not an authority in the areas you are ranking for.
When we speak of Topical Relevance, we consider Google’s perception.
Topical Relevance Example 1
Is “Facebook” topical authority for me?
Topical Relevance Example 2
My post which offers tips to grow an Instagram meme page ranked so I was confident I could rank for the keyword “best I could do meme.” The post currently ranks in Position 3 for the term “best I can do is meme” and currently brings in 5% of my blog traffic.
Topical Relevance Example 3
My post about the hottest Reddit subreddits ranked well. The post is currently in Position 4 for “hottest subReddits” so I was confident I could generate search engine traffic with my Reddit vs Quora post which currently is my 16th best ranking post and my post about Reddit cryptocurrency platforms which sits on Page 1 in Position 7.
Important Note: I know nothing about crypto. I am not a finance blogger. The post was provided by a guest author.
Topical Relevance Example 4
This leads us to an important point about the power of topical authority:
In 2019, Google released new ranking criteria called “YMYL” which stands for “Your Money or Your Life.”
This means only if you are an expert in money or health will Google give your posts high rankings in the SERPs.
However, because Google saw me as an expert in social media, my post about using Reddit to gain knowledge about cryptocurrency ranked. Currently, the post is in Position 2 for the keyword “best Crypto platform Reddit.”
This gave me topical authority in the area of cryptocurrency in the eyes of the Google gods.
As a result, my subsequent posts about cryptocurrency ranked:
My post about the Safe Moon value ranks in 109 post positions at the time of this writing.
Currently, my post about the Dogecoin pool ranks for 18 keywords.
Also, my post about free Ethereum mining currently ranks for 78 keywords.
Topical Relevance Example 5
My Ubersuggest review was a Google traffic-generator for me for a long time, so I felt confident I could write a review of a newer version of Ubersuggest, Ubersuggest.io which is currently on Page 1 of the SERPs for the keyword “Ubersuggest.io”, not bad for a post that is years old.
Topical Relevance Example 6
Do you know when I first discovered the power of topical relevance?
In 2019, I published a post about the pros and cons of Instagram.
I soon discovered many of my posts about Instagram ranked well.
Apparently, Google sees me as a thought leader on the topic of “Instagram!”
At the time of this writing, I have 12 posts on the topic of “Instagram” in my top 50 best-performing posts in terms of traffic generation.
Topical Relevance Example 7
In 2018, a guest author contributed an article about how to post an article on LinkedIn. The post received massive traffic in large part because the LinkedIn crowd shared it.
I made the same observation: My subsequent posts on LinkedIn ranked well.
At the time of this writing, my guide to the LinkedIn home page sits in Position 7 on Page 1 of the SERPs.
Do you see how I can offer enough examples of the effects of topical relevance to be able to draw a conclusion? If Google sees you as an authority, your subsequent posts on the topic should rank high in the SERPs.
Topical Relevance Example 8
At the end of 2019, I wanted to publish a post that would spread good cheer during the holidays. I published more than 50 good vibes quotes.
The result was daunting.
I received so much traffic, I thought my blog was broken. The experience is the first time I had a post go viral on Google.
To date, the post is my eighth-highest traffic generator, and I have published 1,639 posts at the time of this writing.
Did I publish quote posts after that in order to capitalize on the power of topical relevance?
Did the follow-up quote posts also perform well?
I published another quote post at the end of 2021, offering Thankful Thursday Quotes which was my 2021 Thanksgiving post.
My post telling people, “You Matter” currently sits on Page 1 of the SERPs for the keyword term “you matter quotes.” This was my 2020 Thanksgiving post.
Topical Relevance Example 9
How was I able to generate topical relevance in the area of gaming when I know nothing about gaming?
Happily, I accept guest authors, and they know about gaming.
One of the contributed articles ranks on Page 1 for the keyword phrase game designer vs game developer.
Topical Relevance Example 10
You can also show topical authority when it comes to methods in your content niche.
My post about how to use a funny font generator to get attention on Instagram previously ranked so well in the SERPs I got the idea to post about how to generate crazy text. Although the article sits in Position 12 for the term crazy text generator, it is my 23rd best-performing post.
Topical Relevance Example 11
Last spring, I had time on my break at school. I went to a keyword research tool and typed “Pinterest.”
The keyword term “Pinterest downloader” appeared. The metrics appeared easy enough that I felt I could rank for the term.
Today, my Pinterest downloader guide to downloading Pinterest images and videos legally, ethically, and for free is my second best-performing post, but for a different keyword term. The post ranks for a much harder keyword term, “Pinterest video downloader.”
Encouraged and excited by the traction, I researched and discovered a related keyword. Since Google considers me an authority in the area of Pinterest downloader methods, maybe Google would consider me an authority in the area of YouTube downloaders.
Was I right?
Today, my post about the YouTube Shorts downloader method sits on Page 1 in Position 6 and brings me 2% of my blog traffic.
I will never know if my success with the YouTube Shorts downloader post came since Google considered me an authority in the area of downloader methods. I also ranked for a post about the pros and cons of YouTube which could have given me topical relevance.
Does it matter which post gave me topical authority? No!
Topical relevance works! The findings are clear.
Topical Relevance Testimonial
From Karan Singh:
“People underestimate topical authority a lot. I have worked on the websites where we have published 60+ articles about one small very specific niche. Now every time we publish an article about that topic, no matter what, it starts ranking on page 1. That’s the magic of topical authority (Source).”
We are in an age where Google is giving the best SERP rankings to authority blogs.
Does that count you out?
Evidence This Case Study Worked
Bonus Tip: Topical Relevance Example 12
These are currently my top 20 posts. There is a red box around the social media posts.
Clearly, Google sees me as a social media authority.
If I were to write about social media, I’d do so confident in knowing Google ranked my other social media posts well in the past.
As you see from these examples, you can show Google you have topical relevance in a narrow topic like Reddit or a broad topic like social media.
More Ways to Get Topical Authority
In addition to writing repeated posts on the same topic, there are other ways to convince Google you have topical authority:
- Participate in expert interviews in your niche
- Guest on podcasts in your niche
- Have a bio on your article explaining you are an authority in the content area.
More Tweaks That Helped My SEO
I just finished my seventh year of blogging. Let’s look at how I boosted my SERP rankings in other ways in addition to using topical relevance.
I’m sure you know the frustration of having your posts on the top of Page 2 in the SERPs.
I tried various tweaks that seemed to help push my keywords to Page 1.
- Take out needless information from the introduction
- Add tables
- Add brackets to the headline
- Add the year to the headline
- Boost comments
- Retweeted posts with keywords I wanted to boost
One of the tweaks was asking my husband to comment on the post.
My hunch told me if Google felt there was interest in the post, Google might bump it up.
Each time I asked my husband to comment, the post went up in rankings.
Let’s look at some data.
Look in the Position column. The keywords are all on Page 2.
Topic Relevance: Important Notes to Remember
Predicting which posts will rank well in the SERPs and writing about those topics is exciting because hope is exciting. However, you still need to make sure there is interest in the topic among search engine users. Interest coming from you is not enough.
Ranking well is simply bragging rights if no one cares about your topics. This post is designed to boost your search engine traffic and not your ego.
In fact, you need to follow SEO best practices:
- Research to ensure interest
- Answer users’ query
- Optimize your post with your focus keyword.
- Include internal links to older posts.
- Link out to authority sites.
Clearly, you need a keyword research tool to ensure there is interest in your topic before you compose your draft.
Wrapping Up: Topical Relevance
Let’s recap: What have we learned?
If you write about a new topic in your niche, and the article underperforms, don’t worry. Google doesn’t see you as having topical authority yet.
Write about the topic again to have a greater chance of ranking with the second article on the topic.
Readers, please share so bloggers discover how to boost their search engine rankings with this post about topical relevance.
I look forward to your views in the comments section. Do you agree that topical relevance can help predict success on Google?
Are you interested in how to boost your post positions in the SERPs? You might want to check out this Mostly Blogging article explaining how to get guaranteed search engine rankings.
Janice Wald is the founder of MostlyBlogging.com and co-founder of the Mostly Blogging Academy. She is an ebook author, blogger, blogging coach, blogging judge, freelance writer, and speaker. She won the Best Internet Marketer Award and the Best Blogger Award at the 2021 Infinity Blog Awards. Wald was also nominated as 2019 Best Internet Marketer by the Infinity Blog Awards and in 2017 as the Most Informative Blogger by the London Bloggers Bash. She’s been featured on Small Business Trends, the Huffington Post, and Lifehack.