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5 Small Business Marketing Tools for Building Authority Fast

Whether you are trying to get better rankings in Google, spreading your message on social media or working on making your website more persuasive, the power of being seen as an authority will help you streamline your digital marketing.

Google recently made public their quality raters guide for 2015. In it they use an acronym (E-A-T) which stands for expertise, authoritativeness and trustworthiness.

Essentially, for a website to get a high-quality rating, it has to have authors that have a certain level of expertise.

Beyond expertise, they also need to have some level of authority status, which can be imparted by such things as being featured in the media or having a strong social media profile. In order to be trustworthy, they need to have decent reviews and a website with helpful content.

If you are looking to grow your website presence and Google authority, these five tools can help you size up your competition and grow your brand.

Screaming Frog

The amount of high-quality pages you have indexed in Google is going to partially determine how well you come up in search rankings.

A simple way to see how many pages you have indexed in Google is to use an advanced search operator. Go to Google and search for Don’t put any spaces in the search. What comes back will be the amount of pages Google has crawled and listed in their index.

It will look like this:


If you want to easily put all of those indexed pages into a spreadsheet, you’ll need some software.

Screaming Frog is a tool that can be used to download all of the page names/URL’s that exist on a website into a spreadsheet. This is important to do not only for your own site but for those of your competitors.

Use Screaming Frog to download the list of website pages (called a sitemap) and then put each of them into a separate tab in Excel.

I recommend starting with five competitors that come up in Google for keywords that you would like to rank for.

Then you will want to scroll through each of the tabs and look at the names of the pages (URL’s), to get an idea of not only how much content each competitor has but how much content they have in various categories.

Here’s how to get started.

When you put a URL into Screaming Frog and hit enter, there will be a long list of URL’s, including images and PDF’s.

You can export this data, strip out things you don’t want and add it to your excel spreadsheet.


The tabs at the bottom of Excel with your pages and the pages of your competitors will look like the image below.


Make sure the very first tab in excel contains your own sitemap.


The amount of high-quality links pointing at your site is another main factor that Google uses in its search algorithm for determining rankings.

Ahrefs is my favorite link analysis tool and it’s easy to use. This tool will tell you how many people link to you and to your competitors.

Simply insert your domain name into the search field and hit search. It will then tell you how many backlinks you have in total and how many referring domains.

Focus on the referring domains because you might have many total backlinks from one website, such as in their footer links on every page, but these won’t really count any more than having one link.

Check out the amount of referring domains for your site on five of your top competitors.

Here is how it will look for HubSpot:



Click the number under referring domains and it will take you to the list of backlinks to that site.

It will look like this:


If you click the letters DR it will sort them either by highest domain rank or lowest domain rank. The higher the score, the better the link.

Look through the high domain rank links of your competitors, to find ideas of where you could do guest blog posts or find a way to get a link from the same site.

Also make sure to sort by the lowest domain rank sites, to see if there are any very bad sites linking to you.

If there are bad links, you will need to ask the site owners to remove them or use the Google disavow tool to let Google know you no longer would like to be associated with that site.

Otherwise, if you have bad sites linking to you, you could have a Google Penguin problem and will lose authority.

Google’s original patent called Page Rank, focuses primarily on judging websites based on how many high-quality sites link to them.

There are a lot of factors that play into search results but having good quality links is still a very important part of the process.


If you want to get ideas from who is writing content that gets shared a lot on social media, check out Buzz Sumo.

Put a keyword into the search box and hit search. You will see the website pages on the left that get the most social shares and on the right, the amount of shares on each social network.


If you want to get more advanced, you can look up the people that shared the content of each of these posts and email them with your similar content.

Initially, you can just use the free search tool to get ideas on what content has done well.


If you want to grow the amount of people that follow you on social media, it’s important to share content regularly, even if it is not your own.

This is a form of content curation, where you are not writing content but being a good researcher and helping your community by sharing great resources.

Buffer is an amazing social media tool that is incredibly easy to use and is great for helping you do just that.

Basically you are going to be listing what social networks you want to share on and how many times a day to post.

Here is what Buffer does on their account in terms of setting a schedule:



Buffer has a feed section that allows you to select blogs you read regularly and where you might like to share their content. Once you set the feeds, all you have to do is hit the ad to queue button and it will be stored and ready to go out according to your schedule.

Here are more details on how to use buffer.


SEMrush is a competitive analysis tool that lets you check out various success factors about your competitors search presence.

Two of the main things I use are the organic keyword research and paid keyword sections.

After you put in the website address of your competitor, hit search and then select the organic research positions tab on the left side.


You will then see the number of keywords driving traffic, the amount of traffic to the website and the traffic cost.

HubSpot in this example has 338,000 keywords driving traffic to their website.

The traffic number is not very accurate because it does not rely directly on the analytics of the website, so I pretty much ignore that. The traffic cost is the amount of money you would’ve had to have spent to get the same visibility from those keywords through Google ads.

You can also see the exact keywords that are driving traffic to your competitors and download them into Excel.

I recommend using five competitors and also putting them separate into tabs, so they are all-in-one spreadsheet.


By knowing the amount of pages you have compared your competitors, as well as the amount of backlinks and social shares, along with the specific keywords you can target, you can greatly speed up the rate at which you become an online authority.

As you write website pages and blog posts containing the keywords you are targeting and then share them with your newly built social media following, you are sure to be on the right track to building lasting authority.

What marketing tools do you use to expand your authority and search presence?

mcdougallJohn McDougall is an authority marketing expert, the founder of McDougall Interactive, and author of Web Marketing on All Cylinders. To find out more about John and his business, visit  McDougall Interactive

9 How True Authority Is Actually Gained

The idea of authority has gotten a great deal of attention in business circles the last few years. People who have amassed lots of fans and follows in social networks are seen to have authority. People who have lots of blog readers or who have carved out some niche of expertise are seen to have authority. Authors and speakers are deemed authoritative.


photo credit: Paul Worthington via photopin cc

But the idea of assigning authority based on position has rarely led to long-term positive impact. Think about those who command authority based on an elected role. We may respect the role, but resent the authority.

In this online social world we live in some individuals, by virtue of somewhat arbitrary measurements, have been able to assign and command authority, but I offer that authority, in the end, is earned through a much different path.

Ultimately, over time, authority is gained by how you relate to communities. How you serve and add value – and I sense a significant shift in what and whom we view as actually authoritative.

It’s not about being expert in a world that has no more subjects left to master. It’s about signal, signal that’s clear and true and consistent.

In a time when our reality is increasingly dictated by screens instead of people and experiences, I believe you command authority not by assigning it to yourself, but by practicing the following five habits.

Share an opinion that matters

Instead of picking up on the latest trend or finding a niche that seems wanting, you command authority by having and sharing a point of view that you believe is true and worth holding on to.

This can be your view on work or life or simply your advice to a client. It’s okay to say to the world – this is the one thing everyone must do – if you believe it, practice it and perfect it.

Surround yourself with teachers

This one is a little counterintuitive because people who want to command authority often strive to be seen as the teacher.

I’m here to tell you that growth and your ability to relate to and add to a community comes from spending a great deal of time as the most inexperienced person in the room.

When you become so big that your ego competes with this notion, you’re on your way down.

Stop seeking reinforcement

People who gain some little measure of authority often try to cling to it by surrounding themselves with people and information that supports what they already believe.

When we do things in an effort to please or prove how right we are, we lose the ability to expand and make choices that are evolutionary for us.

You command authority by exploring new ideas and intentionally stretching your level of comfort.

Expect a response

If you share and hold on to opinions that matter and you do so without trying to please others, you should expect people to respond and you should be prepared to nurture and grow that response into a community.

In fact, if you are to command authority you have a responsibility of sorts to deal with the positive and negative responses that come from how you relate to communities.

Be vulnerable

Vulnerability is another one of those terms that’s getting a lot of play and words these days.

One of the ways you command authority is to show the world you don’t need it. Show your community that you can be as silly, frightened, confused and happy as they are and they will trust your intentions even more.

This is a scary one for most leaders, but know that you don’t have to always have the answer – if you are to command authority people simply need to know they can trust you.