When learning how to build topical authority as a blogger, it is important to understand how Google uses it to rank results. Google uses semantic associations (called Semantic Experiences) to help understand content to rank better in its search results. Essentially, Google is teaching its systems to better understand how human beings interpret and use natural language flow in their conversations.
By inputting billions of lines of dialogue and allowing AI to learn to predict the likelihood of one statement following another as a natural response, Google is ‘teaching’ their algorithm how to read, interpret and anticipate language more naturally.
This translates to the search engine being able to recognize more authoritative content to link and associate those websites with a particular topic so that they can rank it according to how relevant or helpful the content is for specific topic-related keywords.
The 2013 Hummingbird update
In 2013, Google released its Hummingbird algorithm update, its biggest in over ten years. In it, the search engine significantly changed how the system ranked content in search results according to how relevant it is to a user’s search query.
This fundamentally transformed search by shifting the focus away from relying almost exclusively on individual keywords to find results to considering them in a more conversational context.
But what about keywords?
While keywords were – and still are – the primary means by which Google sorts and understands content, with Hummingbird, search intent, context, and relevancy became more important. Since 2013, Google’s subsequent updates have added to the search engine’s ability to boost how well it is able to identify and rank the best content for us using more than just keywords. Now we can apply context and relevance to them, making it how to build topical authority as a blogger using keywords that much easier.
YMYL, E-E-A-T & BERT
With Google paying more attention to content that impacts people’s money and lives (YMYL content) and assigning important value to its principles for experience, expertise, authority, and trustworthiness (E-E-A-T), blog topical authority is more relevant than ever.
These changes, along with the introduction of the BERT model (which helps computers to understand the natural language we use to communicate), topical authority is massively influential. This is why it matters so much to bloggers looking to improve their performance.