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Why Copying Your SEO Idols Is a Recipe for Disaster

3 min read

I’ve seen this happen countless times where marketers figure, “if it’s good enough for (insert your favorite idol) it’s good enough for me.” Why reinvent the wheel when you can see that something’s working? Right?


If you try copying what any large organization is doing, you will die. It’s plain and simple. The advice that’s given to SEOs in this market is to go to the top three results in search and copy the amalgamation of those.

That’s completely insane.

I’ve seen it destroy mid-market and small businesses because you can’t do what large organizations are doing. They’re allowed to get away with more than you are because they’re very authoritative in a lot of cases. And they have that historical corpus of content about these topics.

Are they good to look at and try to learn from what’s working? Yes, but it doesn’t mean that’s what you should do. Maybe they’re doing something that they’re getting away with that you can’t. Copying that may, in fact, lead to something as terrible as being penalized.

There’s an online retailer you may have heard of – they’re so big they sell everything in the jungle. By all measures they participate in black hat SEO techniques. They can do things that you shouldn’t.

Another example are the biggest content publishers in the world. They may have built an article that covers multiple intents. It’s a generalist guide that also covers a definition and they’re crushing it. It’s not really best practice to do. So you may be doing something that’s not best practice and because you’re weaker than them, you have no chance. So you’re actually taking yourself out of the game by mimicking rivals.

I know the head of SEO for a major publisher. He actually reaches out to people copying his strategy because he feels bad for them. He’ll say “Don’t do this. We’re allowed to do this. You’re not.”

So if your content team is banking on copying the top three, doing what they’re doing. There’s too much risk that it ends up being a disaster.

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.
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Co-founder & Chief Strategy Officer at MarketMuse

Jeff is Co-Founder and Chief Product Officer at MarketMuse. He is a cross-disciplined, data-driven inbound marketing executive with 18+ years of experience managing products and website networks; focused on helping companies grow. You can follow him on Twitter or LinkedIn.