Borrowed Authority – What is Borrowed Authority and How Do I Get It?A guest post by Steven Lucas

Borrowed Authority is where you take the reputation of a well-known or well-visited site and use it to your own advantage. Many of us do it every day and don’t even think about it. That YouTube video you shared on your blog post – you’re borrowing YouTube’s tremendous authority to boost that of your blog. That BuzzFeed news story? Ideal for click bait to get people to pay attention to you – even if only to comment on your social media post.

So, Borrowed Authority is content you didn’t create, from a site you don’t own and can be used by you to your own end.

In fact, this guest post is also an example of Borrowed Authority, although in this case it’s beneficial to both me (Steven Lucas) and Kevin who runs Sacking The Boss. He gets an article from me on a different (but related) topic to his normal fare and I get exposure for my blog from him. More like swapped authority, but you get the point I’m making here.


Examples of good places for Borrowed Authority

News sites are always a good place to start. They have a constantly changing front page, so there’s always something different for readers to take a look at. Social sites for exactly the same reason, although it is often more difficult to get feeds from these unless you’re very technically aware. Other sources are comedy and spoof sites, although with these you sometimes have to be careful of the content and there are far too many people who will take this sort of content seriously and pillory you for it.

One last possible source of Borrowed Authority are high update rate blogs. There are some out there that put up several articles per day. If you can find one in your niche, then you can have a constant source of ever-changing items for the interest of your readers.

Your best bet is to try to find a combination of the above and curate them into a single page for readers to come to see. Ever changing scenery stops the travellers from getting bored.

How to Use Borrowed Authority Sites

If you have a WordPress blog, then it can be quite easy. You find a plugin that does RSS aggregation and let it post a few times a day on your behalf. You specify some sites that have an RSS (Really Simple Syndication) feed and put those addresses into the plugin, perhaps along with some search or filter terms. You will then get a page of stories and links to the originals. This does not count as duplicate content as the search engines recognise RSS as a valid sharing option.

If you have WordPress then your site already has an outbound RSS feed for others to use, so your site could be part of someone else’s pages!

There is another way of making use of Borrowed Authority and that is to send people (apparently) directly to valuable information sites, but with your information attached in some way. This is done via a third-party site that takes a link that you give and overlays your information on it via a new link. If this is done cleverly, with colours that blend with the original site, then visitors using your new link could think that your overlay is part of the authority site and possibly click on it to your advantage.

It is then up to you how you spread these new links. You are, after all, spreading interesting information if you picked your sources well. This system is not dishonest or misleading, it’s just making use of borrowed authority. Something we all do now and again, even if we don’t realise it.

To see how I use Borrowed Authority, take a look at Curate, Snip, Score to see how you can take advantage of it for yourself.

If you have any further questions, please contact me via my blog link below.

Steven Lucas

Steven Lucas Marketing

Author of Curate, Snip, Score


If you enjoyed this really excellent article by Steven, be sure to head on over to his blog using the link above (Steven Lucas Marketing).

You may also enjoy this post on a similar subject here.