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Will AI trump topical authority?

Tom Amitay - Organic marketing & SEO expert
By Tom Amitay
Davor Štefanović - Editor
Edited by Davor Štefanović
Romi Hector
Fact-check by Romi Hector

Updated February 29, 2024.

Will AI trump topical authority?

Key takeaways

  • Topical authority is crucial in SEO
  • Building topical authority requires high-quality content, expert insights, and strategic interlinking
  • AI can enhance, not replace, topical authority by improving content quality and efficiency

Topical authority, a concept that has taken center stage in SEO, refers to the perceived expertise and credibility of a website or its content on a particular subject. It is a multifaceted metric that search engines, predominantly Google, rely on when ranking content.

In the race to rank at the top, the lines between AI and human-authored content are being drawn.

This raises the question:

Will AI amplify or annihilate topical authority?

The importance of E-E-A-T in topical authority

Graphic of a pedestal with a Google logo on it

A central pillar of topical authority is E-E-A-T: experience, expertise, authority, and trust. This becomes especially significant in the era of AI-generated content. While AI is undoubtedly capable of producing content at scale, the value of genuine personal experience and expertise embedded in content is irreplaceable.

Authentic, human-created content lends authority and trust, resonating with audiences who seek relatable experiences and trustworthy information.

A balanced approach

AI can produce an entire article in seconds, a task that would take a human hours or even days. However, without a human touch, this content may lack the depth and nuance that audiences appreciate.

That's why it's a good idea to strive for balance. Use AI to generate drafts or ideas, but always review and revise to ensure the content aligns with your brand voice and adds unique value.

» Find out if ChatGPT is a threat to Google.

How to establish topical authority

Topical authority isn't just about one page on your website. It spreads across your whole site, adding trust and credibility to your content. Nowadays, this can also include your social presence and social media content.

Despite the increasing presence of AI-generated content, the basic principles remain the same:

  • Creating high-quality, interesting content
  • Providing expert insights and answers
  • Structuring content effectively
  • Preventing cannibalization
  • Strategically interlinking relevant articles
  • Accurately answering targeted search queries

At Entail, we have developed a topical authority model that tackles these challenges. It emphasizes the structure of content, prevents cannibalization, strategically interlinks articles, and accurately answers targeted search queries.

AI's role in the future of topical authority

Graphic symbolizing topical authority

As AI continues to evolve, its influence on how Google ranks websites and content is anticipated to grow. One such development is the integration of search and chat functionalities. These features, which can answer questions while also verifying content accuracy, are already in progress on platforms like Bing and Google Bard.

Topical authority is more than just qualifications. It's about tying in personal experiences, insights, and thoughts into content that clicks with the audience.

With more and more content being created by AI, it could change how Google sees topical authority. However, topical authority is influenced by many different indicators, such as social media traffic, paid advertising, and how users discover your website.

Even if Google tweaks how much these factors matter in its ranking formula, it is unlikely to affect the importance of topical authority.

AI and topical authority go hand-in-hand:

AI can help content creators by making their content more engaging, effective, and easy to understand. By integrating AI into their content strategies, businesses can amplify content quality, efficiency, and in turn, their topical authority.

» Learn how AI-generated content affects SEO.

AI as an ally in strengthening topical authority

AI has further stirred the already murky waters of content marketing. However, while it does introduce uncertainty, it also presents promising prospects for topical authority. Far from making topical authority irrelevant, AI appears poised to enhance it, paving the way for a symbiotic relationship between human creativity and the efficiency of machines.

AI can be used as a powerful tool for improving content quality and strengthening topical authority. Its potential allows for some interesting possibilities practically begging to be explored.