Google's Mueller's interesting comments on copying top-ranked sites

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Search Engine Journal highlights an interesting conversation John Mueller just had on Twitter about copying the tactics of search leading websites - in this case, Amazon.

Google's John Mueller advised that blindly copying top-ranked sites won't guarantee you'll also rank highly in SERPs. He suggested heading in your own direction and tailoring your approach to your specific targets.

This happened on Twitter recently. Mueller answered a question from a website owner about making a menu, and whether it was ok to copy what Amazon does.

"Amazon. com has created a 3-level menu on their homepage, and the main item links are at the 3rd level. We are planning to make something similar on our website. Just wanted to confirm will Google bot crawl these links?"
John Mueller responded:

"Unless you're Amazon, I wouldn't assume that you can just reuse the same thing and you'll rank like Amazon. Large sites do good and bad things; they don't apply to all other sites."
However, the person who asked the original question explained that their site had lots of pages and they were looking to Amazon for tips because of that factor, not so much because of the site's success with ranking:

Seems reasonable enough to me, and John Mueller responded by saying:

"You can make this kind of on-site navigation work for search, or not work for search, depending on how you implement it. I would not blindly implement it like Amazon, but rather work out what *you* need for *your particular site*, both for users and for SEO."
It's unclear here whether the guy asking the question was from an eCommerce site, and I think that's the important aspect of this. Maybe looking at trends a rival site is following could be useful, but surely directly copying sites in your own niche is a bad idea, and Google is going to spot that behavior? What do people here think? When is it ok to copy rival sites, and how far is too far?
#comments #copying #google #interesting #mueller #sites #topranked
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  • Profile picture of the author dave_hermansen
    I'm not clear on what you mean by "copying" another site. Surely, copying their text, images, etc. is not a good idea but if they have a better navigation method that helps customers reach the product they are looking for, that's certainly something you might consider doing. If they are using keywords a certain way, that's something worth testing as are things like their page layout, backlinks and on-site interlinking strategies.
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