In response to a question on Twitter, Google’s John Mueller suggested that blindly copying the SEO strategy of top-ranking sites may not be a good idea.
There’s a notion that copying what top ranking sites are doing can be a useful SEO strategy. After all, they must be doing something right to earn the top spot in search results, right?
Unfortunately, the answer is not that simple.
For one, it’s impossible to know the specific approach that’s contributing to the site’s search ranking success. Besides, Google could ignore some aggressive strategies — especially in competitive niches — that larger websites employ.
Recently, a site owner sought Google’s John Mueller‘s perspective on how to create a menu. The individual wanted to know if it was okay to copy what Amazon does in this aspect.
The tweet reads:
“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?”
Here’s Mueller’s response.
Mueller on Copying a Successful Site’s SEO Strategy
First, Mueller stated that blindly copying what successful sites are doing is no guarantee your site will get the same result. The analyst then suggested that some strategies don’t apply to all websites.
His response reads:
“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.”
A few minutes after Mueller’s answer, the person asking the question tried to clarify the situation. He pointed out that ranking like Amazon wasn’t the goal.
The site owner then explained that their site is quite large, with over 20 million pages. They only wanted to take inspiration from Amazon for better navigation for human users and search engine bots.
“So, we want to know would bot be able to crawl these menu links or not,” he asked.
In response, Mueller stated that it depends on the implementation. However, it would be best to determine your site’s needs from both user and SEO perspective, rather than copy what Amazon did.