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Finding Topic Authority Quick Wins

4 min read

Quick wins is an SEO strategy focused on low-effort activities that can lead to improvement in rankings. Sometimes they’re referred to as low-hanging fruit. SEOs often search for low competition keywords with decent rankings.

By decent rankings, I mean positions 4 to 20. The idea is that you must be doing something right to rank, so just do a little bit more to rank better. Low competition keywords really means low keyword difficulty. 

The belief is that low keyword difficulty is a predictor of success. The lower the difficulty, the more likely you are to rank.

Not really.

That metric is a generic one that’s heavily skewed towards backinks. It’s essentially a counter of backlinks to the top 10 or 20 pages in Google. That’s the way it’s calculated on every platform that I’m aware of — MarketMuse has this metric too.

But there’s a problem.

A generic metric means that it applies to everyone and no one in particular. So, a site about pizza has as much chance ranking for “property management software” as a site devoted to that specific topic. Intuitively, we know that doesn’t make sense.

MarketMuse goes a step further — two steps actually. We calculate topical authority based on how well you cover a topic, across your entire site. We look at both the breadth and depth of coverage. We take into account search performance, both historical and current, so we capture momentum. And we look at other factors, too.

We then use Topic Authority to determine your Personalized Difficulty. That score is unique to your site and its contents and reveals your competitive advantage. 

Finding SEO Quick Wins With Topic Authority

Here’s an example of topic authority at work.

MarketMuse content inventory table showing topic URL, rank, keyword difficulty, personalized difficulty, and topic authority.
MarketMuse content inventory

This row of data tells me that my page, What is Content Strategy? (With Examples) ranks for the term “content strategy deliverables”. At the time of my analysis, it was at position 20, but had been as high as position 15 prior to that. 

I can also see that I have decent Topic Authority (32) which give me a significant competitive advantage. I like to think of this as a probability indicator. The more Topic Authority I have, the more likely I am to succeed in whatever I do.

The low Personalized Difficulty (7) indicates that not a lot of worked will be required. I can just get away with updating the page, should I choose to do so.

Before going ahead, I use the Research Application to make sure that the intent of the term matches that of my page. I’ll also determine whether it’s editorially appropriate for inclusion. If so, then I’ll update the page, as I did. Otherwise, I would create a new page.

How I Update the Page

I enter the topic “content strategy deliverables” along with the URL into Optimize, looking for guidance as to how to write. Keep in mind that the subject of page is content strategy and not content strategy deliverables. 

And I want to keep it that way. 

So I’m just going to add a small section that covers this aspect, using the topic as the section title.

  • I’m not concerned with hitting my target Content Score.
  • I don’t care about my Word Count. 
MarketMuse optimize showing a section of an article including its Content Score, Target Content Score, Word Count, and Target Word Count.
MarketMuse Optimize

I’m just going to use the topic model to ensure I have adequate coverage. I’m not diving deep into the subject matter because, again, this article is about content strategy in general. It’s not about content strategy deliverables. I just need enough coverage to ensure better ranking.

The Results

This page now has the featured snippet for the that term. So there’s nothing else to do.

SERP results March 2024

But what if we weren’t as successful the first time around?

In that case, I would create a new page specifically targeting “content strategy deliverables” and then I would link to it from the existing page. I would do so within the section I had created on content strategy deliverables. Starting small with a supporting piece of content like that is an easy way to build out content clusters.

What you should do now

When you’re ready… here are 3 ways we can help you publish better content, faster:

  1. Book time with MarketMuse Schedule a live demo with one of our strategists to see how MarketMuse can help your team reach their content goals.
  2. If you’d like to learn how to create better content faster, visit our blog. It’s full of resources to help scale content.
  3. If you know another marketer who’d enjoy reading this page, share it with them via email, LinkedIn, Twitter, or Facebook.

Stephen leads the content strategy blog for MarketMuse, an AI-powered Content Intelligence and Strategy Platform. You can connect with him on social or his personal blog.