Outranked! Was My Niche Site Copied?

Outranked! Was My Niche Site Copied?

I have been hearing some “whispers”, that I have an up and coming competitor for my niche site!  So, I took a look at the results for “best survival knife”, and I do indeed see that another niche site is sitting at the number 1 spot in Google…oh no!

And what’s even worse, is that this “competitor” has obviously copied my site.  They are targeting the same keywords, and they even basically “borrowed” my exact comparison chart of survival knives.

Should I freak out?  Should I cry myself a river?

Nah, I have bigger things to worry about. Quite frankly, I’m not too worried…and as I’ll show, I think this will have a very miniscule impact on the earnings of my niche site.

However, I actually think this situation brings with it some good educational opportunities that I’d like to dig into.  In my post today, I’m going to cover what you should do when someone copies your site, how moving to #2 on Google has affected my traffic, and what I should do differently with my site.

Is it Really a Copy Cat?

I actually find it a little funny how obvious it is that this site is copying mine.  Here’s just some of the quick evidence that this person is copying my site: bestsurvivalknifeguide.com

1. They are targeting the same keyword.  Now, obviously others can target the same keywords without being a copy cat – so this is not very convincing evidence; but it is part of the puzzle.

2. The site copied my Survival Knife Comparison Chart!  Now this starts to get personal :).  I put a lot of time into this chart, and they took the exact same data and slapped it onto their site.  The only difference is that they only include 6 knives instead of the full 50.  I guess they didn’t feel good about swiping ALL my work.

3.  The chart uses the exact same plugin.  Okay, this could still be point 2, but the chart was created using the TablePress plugin, which is what I used and widely discussed on my blog here.  Convinced yet that they copied me?

4.  They copied my domain!  This one makes me laugh actually.  Now you will see that their domain is survivalknifeguide dot net rather than bestsurvivalknifeguide.com – so they didn’t copy right?  Well, what’s funny is that I actually own the domain SurvivalKnifeGuide.COM!  I purchased survivalknifeguide.com and bestsurvivalknifeguide.com at the same time before I knew which one I would use.  So rather than come up with an original Dot Com domain, they simply copied me and got the .net.  Does anyone else find that funny?  They couldn’t even be original enough to come up with their own .com domain.

5. My site existed first.  And finally, I should point out that my site existed first, and then his site came along second.  (Just in case anyone was wondering if it was the other way around).  I registered survivalknifeguide.COM and BestSurvivalKnifeGuide.com on Feb. 7th, 2013.  The copied domain was purchased on March 5th, 2013.  Almost a month after mine.

So, I think this establishes pretty well that I’m dealing with a copy-cat here.

How Did The Copied Site Out Rank My Site?

Currently the copied site is ranking above mine for the keyword “best survival knife”.  (But as I’ll point out later, this may not be such a huge deal).

The content on both sites is similar; so I don’t think the on-page factors are playing a huge role in determining which site is #1.   And in fact the content on the competing site is of lower quality (in my opinion).

The primary article sounds like it was written by a non-native English speaker – it has some weird sentences.  I only skimmed the article, but here is one of my favorite sentences from the competing site, “Therefore, you should be smeared with a thin layer of oil if not used for a long time.” :)

Okay, back to my point.

So why is lower quality content and copied data outranking my site?

  • I am seeing more social activity for one on the competitors site.  They have a Google+ page set up that is showing their author profile picture.  I also see several Facebook shares and Twitter mentions.  Obviously these are most likely purchased shares and tweets, but appear to be working nonetheless.
  • In addition, they did just publish a new post, and its been a couple of weeks since I published anything on the site.  So, perhaps they are just getting a short term freshness bonus.  That could be part of it as well.

What About Links?

I want to spend some time talking about the amount of links pointing to their site vs. pointing to my site.  Obviously I don’t like having competitors, but I am actually happy to see that someone can rank for this keyword with MUCH less links than I have.

This is a GREAT educational point that I can make with this public niche site.

I’ve said all along that the MOST important part of building a niche site by FAR is choosing the correct keyword…NOT links.  I think this copy cat proves my point.

You see, my site was a target early on from someone trying to perform Negative SEO on my site (same person as the copy-cat??).  I caught a lot of flak, because some people actually believed that my site ranked higher because of all these spammy links.  I tried to say otherwise, but how I could I prove them wrong?

I truly believe that the links I personally built helped more than the thousands of Negative SEO links that I didn’t want.

Well, now I can kind-of prove it.  My competitor has ranked for my exact keyword WITHOUT all these links.  Having a relevant website that targets a low competition keyword, even with less than stellar content, is ranking #1 in Google…and it has very few links!

Let’s take a quick look at the metrics for the sites:

top10survivalknife

Click to Enlarge

You will notice that the #1 site (competitor) has only 4 Juice Page Links vs. the 4,819 Juice Page Links that I have.  If this isn’t proof that you don’t need a lot links to rank, then I don’t know what is.  Most of my links are from the Negative SEO that I mentioned, and are links that I don’t want – I wish they would go away.

The Link Building plan that I laid out for niche sites works.  Its what I’ve used many times.

But looking at this image, most of the metrics would indicate that I should be outranking the site.  That’s why I feel like this will likely be very temporary – OR it is due to the Google+ or other social metrics or the short term freshness of content that my competitor has.

However, I want to use this opportunity to drive the point home that links is only part of ranking sites.  If you are able to pick a low competition keyword like my copier did (wonder where he got the idea?), then you can rank a site at the top of Google with just a little bit of effort.

Has My Traffic Tanked?

I have not seen any significant change in traffic.  You see, the amount of traffic I get from the keyword, “best survival knife”; now only accounts for approximately 9% of the total traffic to my site.  So, 91% of my traffic comes from other keywords or other sources.

According to this study, the difference in traffic from ranking #2 vs. #1 in Google is about 65% less traffic for that keyword.

So, at #1 I was getting around 70 visits per day from the keyword, “best survival knife”.  If the percentages hold up from the study, then I would get 65% less each day or 25 visits a day.  So, this is 45 less people per day.

However, my site is also averaging around 750 visitors per day.  So, this will only drop my traffic by about 6% (45 divided by 750).

Overall Traffic and Earnings Change

So, dropping traffic by 6% is no fun, but keeping 94% of my traffic is real nice.  So, if my site was earning $500 per month, the new earnings might be $470.  I hate to see $30 or more get lost every month, but really the impact will likely be pretty small overall on the earnings for the site.

I should also point out, that its possible that my ranking has been affected for other search queries as well.  However, you also have to realize that I got traffic from over 1200 DIFFERENT keywords in the month of May.  I rank highly for many of these “long tail” keywords, and my competitor is no where on those pages with me.  (I checked on several of these – my copy cat is no where to be found).

So, based on the fact that I have at least twice as much content on my site, I would suspect that I am still getting close to twice as much traffic as my copier, even though they rank higher than my site for my primary keyword.

My Plan of Action

Now, I could easily find contact information for the site owner and send them an email asking them to remove copied content (my comparison chart).  And if the person is reading this, I would ask you to please just try to come up with something original.

But overall, I’m not going to waste my energy worrying about what the site owner does or waste time contacting them over and over again.  I would also ask YOU my readers to not go out and find this person and send them nasty emails or anything.  Just let it be.

However, if the copying was more severe, such as entire articles, I probably would take a more active approach in contacting them and perhaps even reporting them.

My plan of action is not to change what is on their site; my plan of action is to continue to make my site better.

  • I have a content strategy to add another 20 knife review articles or so in the next little while.
  • I also may look into adding more social signals and perhaps even attaching my own Google+ account to the niche site.  I’ve never added a Google+ account to a niche site, but this situation is a bit different in that I have publicly already shared this site with everyone.  Its already publicly known that I created the site, so I suppose I could just attach the 2.  (I won’t be creating a “fake” Google+ account for this site – as my competitor has).
  • I could also easily go out and acquire many of the links that my competitor has.  Many of them are simple blog comments that I could get as well.
  • However, I’m actually not going to do anything for a week or 2 other than just add new content.  I’m not going to get all anxious about a change in ranking – I’m going to focus on what I can do content wise on my site right now.
  • Then after a few weeks, if I need to look at building more links, I can look into that.  But I have no plans to at this point in time.

Your Thoughts

I’ve laid out pretty well how I think having a copied site outrank me has affected my traffic and earnings.  I’ve also laid out what my plan of action will be to continue to improve my site.

And stay tuned for my full earnings and traffic report for the month of May.  That will be published early next week…and its going to be a good one!

I would love to hear your thoughts and comments on the matter.  Its another fascinating development in the public niche site project!  If you have something to add or ask about, please leave me a comment.

Update: At the time of publishing this, I can see that a YouTube video has leapfrogged to the #1 position in Google.  Google results are very fluid, and positions change many times each day – so this could be very different tomorrow.


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254 Comments for this entry

  1. Hasan says:

    I was thing about copied cat – just happpy to see this article about it.

    Thanks Spencer Haws

    Hasan

  2. Alex B. says:

    Spencer,

    Kudos to you for how you’re handling this.

    I have no doubt in my mind that you will do just fine! I would suggest that you just keep being YOU. That’s one thing no one can copy. Adding value that YOU provide will go unmatched.

    Keep up the great work, and with your positive attitude, the world is yours for the taking.

    Your friend,
    -Alex

    • Spencer Haws says:

      Great advice Alex…thanks!

      • ikedi says:

        At the end of the day you came up with your own keyword. This moron didn’t. Classless individual! The blatant copying is what gets me seriously, have some originality, better still they should buy your long tail class room product. If they haven’t already lol….

        Anyways keep up the good work, I have the longtail classroom and the platinum software they are great. You are one of the SEO’s people should definitely listen to. My site gets about 700 unique visits a day. And I owe a lot of it’s success to your work and one other SEO. And of course trial and error.

        All the best

  3. Tao says:

    Wow… sucks that people have to go and spoil nice case studies like this by stealing the content. Luckily, none of my sites have ever been hit by this problem, even though I have several at #1 for my target keywords (as far as I know).

    I agree that the best stance is to rise above it, concentrate on writing more quality content and waiting for their site to drop out of the SERPS after a short time.

    Kudos for taking it all so well :)

  4. Taylor says:

    Always got to be some kind of troll out there on the Internet. Oh well, haters be hating! I’m sure it’ll take him a while to knock off Long Tail Pro!

    Just hope that some of your readers don’t go try a couple million backlink Negative SEO strategy on the copycat…..

  5. Miguel says:

    I think the SERPs are still bouncing around from the recent update, it’s been a little weird.

    The newest site I build went from a steady position of 7-11 for my main two keywords, to 60-70 and then to obscurity.

    One thing that I thought was really weird is when I checked my rankings in Long Tail Pro, my position was 500+, then I changed one phrase on my home page and in a few hours i was back up to a ranking of 56.

    I changed my keyword in the first paragraph from an exact match to a closely related term, for example from “best survival knife” to “best survival tool.”

    It would be really interesting, in a few weeks, to see if social signal could be the trigger. I haven’t made any personal tests with social so I would be excited to see!

    • serge says:

      Social Signals and Authorship plays a huge role in ranking, and Authorship is part of the social-signal algorithm. I.e; If 10 of us REAL people +1′d the original website; that would give a boost to the site; way more than if 10 “fake” accounts +1′d the copycat’s site.

      Now; take an expert on knives who writes articles all the time about survival, knives, gear, hiking, etc. His SINGLE +1 can outweigh the 10 REAL +1s left behind by us, because at THAT point, the website is getting an “OK” from an expert in the field. THIS is why interviewing/asking professionals to provide content to your sites is so important; Imagine you got an expert from a field’s opinion on something; he later goes to +1 the site/post; HUGE SEO value.

      Also, it has been shown time and time again (most recent example coming from Alex Becker) that when you’ve established yourself an an “Authority” of a niche/topic, your website will show up for MANY DIFFERENT searches even if you don’t have the keyword displayed anywhere on your website.

      i.e. search “-anykindofkeyword(s)here- Guitar tabs” and the domain ultimate-guitar.com will show up on the front page. No matter what keywords you put; as long as “guitar tabs” is on the front; the domain will show up.

      The domain ultimate-guitar.com has 3.9MILLION backlinks… Ahrefs actually froze up on me when I was checking the backlinks otherwise I would have had a little bit more info, but according to Opensiteexplorer.com, “Guitar tabs” is not even one of the top 5 backlink anchor text(s?)…

      Sorry, that wasn’t really an answer to your comment, more of a side-tangeant; but I do believe that Social Signals really do matter, and I think that what would help most (Spencer), is having a person of authority in that niche possibly provide some feedback on the site and give his “OK” via +1, share, etc.

      • Shaun says:

        Interesting Serge. Where’s that example of Alex Becker’s you mentioned? I searched for it but only saw a late 2012 article when he first talked about Authorship.

        Know it’s a bit off topic Spencer, but I’ve added authorship to my site. I haven’t done it for any of my guest posts though as not sure I want Google tracking all the things I do on every site. In case all of a sudden they stop ‘trusting’ me and de-rank everything I’ve got online! I do put out good quality stuff and my rankings currently reflect that, but I’ve learnt about putting all my eggs in one basket a long time ago and not sure if I trust Google enough to do that again…

        • serge says:

          Sure; but at the same time – guest posting on other blogs (especially well established ones) will help prove your “Authority” on the topic, no?

          Ah, the example was on one of his more recent webinars; keep an eye out for it soon (he usually releases the recoded versions a few days/weeks after the webby).

      • I agree with Serge… I think if you connect your Google+ profile to this site you will take back #1 quickly. Having your authorship profile connected with all your content will immediately add a ton of juice to your site!

  6. Steve Eason says:

    Great response, great post and great information. I am waiting expectantly to see how the month of May has turned out for you. I’m back into the process of building niche sites thank to this project of yours. And Pat Flynn is starting up Niche Site Duel 2.0 again which is going to keep me going.

    I think you have a great plan of action for dealing with this situation. The best solution is clearly, keep adding excellent content. Content reigns supreme in today’s environment. Links will only last a little while.

  7. I hate to say it… But the other site looks pretty nice… But I did not read it to be honest. Also, I hope the site will be gone as fast as it came…

  8. I think it is amazing how you are handling all the sh* with this public niche site case study! After the negative SEO thing, now a copycat, man… Be sure that your audience supports you and that this poor little guy who is trying to steal your success will quickly give up the idea (as soon as he realizes his incompetence in publishing original quality content) and everything will go back to norm… Great work and great mindset facing these problems man!

  9. Ben says:

    Hey Spencer. This might be a bit of a strange observation to make but surely if you’re making good money from the site in spite of a competitor it is even worth owning multiple sites on the same subject and monopolizing? You could own 5 of the top 10 results and all would be profitable?

    • Spencer Haws says:

      Ben – its possible; but I think it just wouldn’t feel “right”. I prefer to just find additional markets.

    • Galyna says:

      That’s an interesting idea.. Boy, that is a lot of different articles about survival knives :))

      • serge says:

        Google would make the connection eventually, and all that hard work would be lost :)

      • Anton says:

        Glad to see you here Galya! ;)

        Hi Spencer!

        First, again and again thanks for your great effort you’ve put into creating this PUBLIC project, that is obviously bringing that sort of things we’re witnessing right now with this new copycat and negative SEO.

        Some people just don’t understand the true value in what you show here and instead of following the process and applying tactics you share, they start doing EXACT same things hoping to achieve your level of success. How about copying your whole online business strategies, experience and attitude that brought you MUCH more profits and success than this single website project? :)

        At the same time, “borrowing” stuff is not new and it happens in all affiliate niches all the time. I do remember when I promoted a diet supplement with the action similar to Xenical, the new FDA approved Alli hit the market and made a HUGE buzz among the slimmers – so I created a side-by-side comparison of my natural product and Alli, showing the pros and cons of each other, with links to websites of both products.

        That made me sales after sale then…. but a month later I saw the same “Style” of article exactly comparing these 2 products on different competitors websites. Asking my affiliate managers to sort this out didn’t really help.

        I’ve checked this guy’s website in SEOSpyglass and found that he’s got many links from .pl domains (Poland) and these are sidebar links.

        Don’t you think it has something related to the latest Penguin 2.0 ? I’ve seen some of my sites losing several positions while the comparatively “new” websites with much weaker content and backlinks dominating my keywords.

        Obviously, google algorythm doesn’t care about the “quality” content as it doesn’t know what the quality content really is – no matter how they try to count such metrics as bounce rate and amount of “likes”, “tweets” and “+”s.

        And we have to adapt to this.

        What I can say my dear guyes and gals – SEO traffic is slowly becoming more expensive than paid traffic! :)

    • The Rookie says:

      Thats pretty common and works well. People have been doing that for a long time. They used to interlink the sites and they fed off each other. Obviously that part of it doesn’t work anymore. Not blatant interlinking anyways.

      Nothing wrong multiple site method.

  10. more says:

    Why you have use this title “BestSurvivalKnifeGuide.com | Find the Best Survival Knife for You”

    Can you change the title

    to

    “best survival knife – find the secrets on BestSurvivalKnifeGuide.com”

    I hope you can outrank

  11. John Shea says:

    Hey Spencer,

    Interesting to see how competition works, I felt as though following your posts for this niche your site was doing so well because it actually contains useful and good relevant information on the topic.

    I find this to be interesting because I actually just ranked my new niche site on the 2nd page of google (Have not even done any backlinks yet) and I decided to contact the owner of one of the most popular products in the niche ranking 2 spots below me asking if he wanted to work with me and if I could embed his Youtube videos. He’s already talking to me about placing banner ads on my site directly back to his for a monthly cost, I decided since he clearly is not doing proper SEO and his site is VERY dated (not even a google xml sitemap on his site?!) he is not ranking the way he should be. I’m going to help promote his products using the funds to pay for article and SEO outsourcing.

    Might be worth considering contacting some knife manufacturers, consider they want to sell their products they might be willing to help you. This is what I’m trying as a test.

    I figure this guy is better than all the other products in the niche, why not help him? I suppose you are dealing more with direct competition from someone else looking to make affiliate commissions. I’m not sure of how powerful it is or how much weight it carries, but I know having a LARGE number of people in your Google circles when posting content using Authorship has some weight so this may help you a great deal, along with social proof.. likes, shares, tweets etc. Example of the circles.. Google “Network Marketing” #4.

    • Spencer Haws says:

      Great suggestion about contacting other site owners in your niche. I also agree that have more people in my Google circles would add weight.

      • serge says:

        Agreed; if those knife manufacturers add you on G+ (or you follow a few of them back as well), that would be a great start. Also; if you could get a link BACK from the manufacturers’ websites (even a nofollow link) and that would put you in the “Authority” circle since at that point, you have knife manufacturers endorsing you (with their links).

        • The Rookie says:

          I love social but the problem with google (not really a problem for most) is that unlike facebook pages, google plus pages don’t let pages plus one, at least I don’t they do yet..

          I get the one author thing but in some instances pages that carry author rank or at least the ability to plus one, etc seems useful. I like a little anonymity like facebook pages has.

          On the other hand I also get that there are valid reasons google might not like the anonymity of pages, but that doesn’t keep someone like “john knife or whatever he called himself” from creating a completely new profile to get around this. which is what will continue to happen. So does anyone see google allowing pages to carry weight in a similar way to their actual personal profiles. Similar to facebook

  12. Sarah says:

    Thank you Spencer for your strategy for dealing with a copycat. I’m going to copy it :D (lol)…it actually is what my fiance advised me to do in my situation but I wasn’t sure if Ishould be more aggressive or not. Great post, thank you!!

  13. Rater-X says:

    I guess it makes sense to look at the #1 site for your target keyword and try to “do what they do” to improve your site. Many “gurus” actually teach that. But, copied content definitely crosses the line. Your copycat’s quality of writing is no match for your site though, so hopefully that will prove valuable in the long run.

    Ok so, all agreed that the copycat is out of line here. But aside from that, does anyone know how he gets the Amazon ad to jump to the side when you scroll down the page? That’s pretty cool LOL ;)

    Keep up the good work Spencer!

  14. John Shea says:

    Also I noticed the KW shows up twice in his meta page description and yours only once. Not sure how much weight that carries but I know it’s relevant.

  15. Sachin says:

    Bang on !!!

    I expecting this from you :-) In my previous comment I asked to attach Google authorship to niche site and now you ready to do that. Surely it will help you. (I am studying your niche site very closely, I just want to understand the whole process in subtle way so I can implement it in other niche)

    Yes, adding fresh content is helping to boost ranking like never before. ( I am observing this since last dew month with my niche sites )

    Does your bounce rate is low or high??? If it is not below 50% try adding a small youtube video in sidebar. This will help to reduce BR.

    Add ‘Digg Digg’ plugin and let it float along the side of homepage. (Please note you have huge loyal audience here on NP who will +1 your site for free. (Because you providing valuable content here, so we will pay you back with social signals ;-) )

    Hope everything go normal again !!!

  16. Dror says:

    Hi Spencer,

    It is interesting to know when your site dropped from the #1 position? Does it have anything to do with Penguin 2.0 that was released last week?

    Regarding the negative SEO and all those crappy links you want to remove. You actually can (and should) try to remove them. Just go out and search for all the links pointing to your site (using magesticSEO and Ahref) and filter the list to include only the low quality links you want to get rid of and submit the list to the Google Disavow Tool.

    I don’t know if it will work or not but I don’t think you have anything to lose and it could be an interesting case study.

    Another recommendation for your site, since you already proved the keyword is worth money you should consider changing the theme and making it look better. There are plenty of theme out there that can upgrade the look of the site without spending too much money or time.

    Get more social shares by maybe giving something away for free in exchange for a social share. A great plugin for that is WP Sharley which allows you to lock specific content and unlock it with a like, tweet or a +1. Getting a Google authorship on your site might also be a good idea since it is a public site and everyone knows you are behind it.

    • Spencer Haws says:

      I don’t think it has anything to do with the Penguin 2.0; just another site moving up (in my opinion). Good suggestions on the disavow tool as well.

      • serge says:

        There’s lots of talk that Penguin 2.0 didn’t actually “SLAP” many sites; instead, it improved the rankings of others based on the algorithm, so I wouldn’t think that you got “slapped” for anything; he just out-tricked Google; for now…

    • Benji says:

      Yeah I was gonna say the exact same thing about the disavow tool…great point!

      Another great post, Spencer. I immediately went out and connected my Google+ account to the email I use on my WordPress niche site. No idea how I didn’t think to do that before.

      Now I wonder if it will change my rankings at all?

  17. Phil England says:

    I’ve been following your project from the start and reading a lot of your posts It’s been a learning experience.

    I’ve quickly looked at the copy site on ahref and it’s gained a huge amount of links over the past two weeks, most are just no follow comments.
    But I’m surprised someone was able to do this so easily and rank so quickly I was under the impression google doesn’t like heavy increase in links especially to new sites.

    I’ve been building quality links to my new site with high quality articles and my site is hardly ranking for anything after two months of solid work.

    I think it’s going to be interesting to see what happens to both sites considering your site has been hit with a range of spammy links and the other site has gained links so quickly.

    • I’ve seen a lot of low quality sites (literally one page sites with only about 300-400 words of poor copy) rank first page for moderately difficult KW (30-40 KC from Long Tail Pro) with nothing but comment links from spammy sites. It blows me away that quality links are not moving sites much, but a blast of automated comments will jump something to page one.

      Anyone else feel that white hat is for suckers??

  18. Matt says:

    It sucks Spencer but there will always be competition in this business. Still, the fact he has blatently copied must hurt.

    The copycat’s name is Paul from Romania. He has obviously splashed out on a comprehensive link building package and you cannot rely on the stats from LTP you showed above – they will not be up to date for such a new site.

    Maybe he’s also the negative SEO culprit?

    I would like to see you invest in some social links and see how you compare.

    • Spencer Haws says:

      Matt, I’m removing the last name and email of the competitor – no need for that. But you are correct, that links can take some time to show up in SEOmoz and Long Tail Pro.

      • Paul says:

        Thank you! I did not buy any link bulding package. Yesterday I just outsource a proof reading job for the text from frontpage.
        I did not copy from you anything just the keyword. Also, the plugin used is tablepress, which is a public plugin. I add the price on extra from what you have on your website.

        And yes, I have started the website after you, starting from your IDEA. But I did not know you own the survivalknifeguide.com – I have buyed this domain because it is smaller. I also own the bestsurvivalknife.net

        Also, I want to thank you Spencer for your kind work you are doing on this blog. Thank you that you gave me confidence that I am doing things right. Now I am doing my own research and I am targeting other niches.

        Do you want to shut down my website?

        • Spencer Haws says:

          Paul Knife – good to see you!

          I don’t mind that you used the Tablepresss plugin; but my suspicion IS that you copied the data in the chart. Getting that data is not easy to do (its not all in one place). So, I still think you copied the data…which is the most important part of the chart (and the site).

          However, as stated in my post, I’m not angry at all – you actually have helped prove some of my points about the importance of keyword research and building niche sites – its a good learning experience.

          Do I want you to shut down the site…hmmm? What does my audience say? That seems to easy to me… :)

          I would like to have a private email discussion with you, and perhaps I can do a follow up post with some of the stats from your site etc. Send me a message via my contact page.

          • Mike M. says:

            Wow, so the copycat reveals himself! I’d better grab my popcorn, this is better than Jerry Springer.

            Joking aside, that’s an interesting way to approach it Spencer, most people would get angry at him, you’ve decided to work together to compare data! Hilarious.

        • Sachin says:

          ????……yes Paul? What did you said? …You are not used any link building package??

          Seems impossible to have 31K backlinks with 117 referring root domains for any website who’s domain name is brought on 05/Mar/2013. Please tell the truth man. Share the knowledge….how are you doing it???

          There is no way for new site to gain such massive backlink portfolio with best possible diversification of ANCHOR TEXT. (this is where Spencer got outranked; he got 51% keyword anchor text while you purposefully kept it below 20%)

          I hope you will reply with answers! (Please don’t hesitate to tell us which SEO company is doing it better for you ;-) )

      • Steve says:

        I guess we can phrase the Chinese companies that steal intellectual property day in and day out “competitors” as well.

        It cracks me up how a copycat can be spoken of as an entrepreneur utilizing the ideas of others. An unfortunate evil when ideas go public.

        I had some idiot scraping content for around 3 months and finally got closed down for good. IP thieves are everywhere.

  19. Adam says:

    Interesting to see that the competition works. I have to admit, after searching for keywords for a while I had the same thought. I am familiar with TablePress so I I thought about it. Not copying your content of course! Then I decided you have provided so much free information that has a lot of value for me that it wouldn’t be ethical.

    I’ll be interested to see how the case study carries out, now that there is another interesting twist for you to compete with.

    • Spencer Haws says:

      Feel free to use the TablePress plugin…I encourage people to create comparison charts and other great content for their own niche! (Just don’t copy mine :) )

      • Adam says:

        Another thing you mentioned in your post is that you could tell he was getting links or traffic from social media sites. How do you see these links? Is there a tool for this? Thanks.

  20. Randy Brown says:

    This also happened to me. Someone started a niche site about wide margin Bibles. Instead of writing any content of their own they used my articles and placed links to Amazon throughout the articles. I posted a comment on their site (just saying how important I thought the topic was, and letting them see that I saw it) but it was ignored.

  21. Galyna says:

    Spencer, do you think this might be because of Google+? Try adding Google Plus authorship to your website?

    I’d also suggest doing YouTube videos reviews to fill out other Top 10 Serps.

  22. Christine says:

    His Google+ account appears to be interconnected with other Google+ accounts. His Google+ name is Paul KNIFE…. Lol….. Definitely proves that, even thoughbsocial signals are valued, spam is still king…..even social spam. Sorry to see someone tackled your site like that. Perhaps Google will catch on to the bogus signal?

  23. John Gibb says:

    What a stupid strategy to copy-cat a site made by a SEO specialist and content outsourcer… sincerely!

    Maybe the guy (Paul?) is super passionate about the topic, or just want to prove he’s capable of out-ranking you?

    I’d probably do this only for fun, or passion, but not to make money from… why?

    Because just by entering a niche where there’s already one good SEO sitting @ #1, will probably make my site get only half of the traffic — as both of you guys target about the same keywords… so why bother to go up and down from week to week when you can enter a low competition niche and stay there for weeks!

    Does it make sense?

  24. James says:

    First of all it goes without saying that Spencer is a class act. That said, this guy (might be a woman) pulled a low life move because they obviously are too selfish to consider how these actions affect people trying to learn. I also noticed the language syntax was off. BTW, I don’t know Spencer, never spoke to him but I have this to say. His course, Long Tail Classroom, is one of the best out there. His videos on keyword research alone are worth the price. He proved his techniques work beyond any doubt by ranking his survival site. And yet, I don’t see him really pushing it. Anyway, I wouldn’t blame him if he never did this again. Our lose.

  25. Dragos says:

    Hi Spencer,

    Ahrefs.com is showing more domains that is pointing to the other site then yours so I think this is the main reason for the higher rankings. The content is more good on your site so I think this is the reason.

    BR,
    Dragos

  26. Eartha says:

    I noticed the copy-cat site as well and wondered if it would outrank your site. I’m glad you were able to use what happened as a learning experience and drive home your points about good keyword research and the amount of links that can help rank a niche site. Another very helpful post! Thank you!

  27. ray says:

    It’s funny, I saw this a few days ago while I was brainstorming ways to help my site rank and looking at yours as a guide almost. I was hoping you’d be willing to endorse my site, http://www.evenbettersurvivalknifeguide.org/edu, but since this niche seems to be getting a little crowded, maybe I’ll table the site for now!

  28. Having your site copied and outranked by a competitor has got to be one of the biggest down sides to this business, but as long as you keep adding quality content and building a site that ranks to help people and not to just rank #1 in Google you will almost always dominate the #1 or #2 spot.

  29. Michele says:

    Good Lord! The writing is so bad on the copycat site that I want to smack the owner. How embarrassing.

    I would imagine that anyone reading that mess would just tune out and move on to another site. I certainly wouldn’t buy from a site where the information was barely readable.

    On the other hand when I read your site, Spencer, I actually kept reading. It flowed and had interesting information, even though I have no interest whatsoever in knives or buying knives. You kept me engaged anyway.

    I think the copycat will fade away soon. And, you’ll be on top again.

  30. marvin says:

    look at the way both are using images

    Spencer way
    “http://www.bestsurvivalknifeguide.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/02/buckhoodpunk.jpg”

    other person way
    “http://i2.wp.com/survivalknifeguide.net/wp-content/uploads/2013/04/1.jpg

    Make any difference ????

  31. Navjot Singh says:

    I believe that this is main disadvantage of sharing your success & experience with the online audience. They just started copying exact same thing…….. without thinking that it is an unethical way to compete with a person, which taught you all this…

  32. Kenneth says:

    I think something very similar happened with Pat’s security guard niche site. It’s pretty sad that people can’t spend a hour doing keyword research to find something original. There are tons of easy to rank for keywords if you’re willing to do a little research.

    • serge says:

      VERY similar; Pat’s Copy-cat actually even used Pat’s Click-able map maker LOL… Some people…

      The light at the end of the tunnel is that once these copycats link their sites to ANY of their profiles; Google has them for future reference.

      G+ and Authorship means that in the future, when these copycats copy someone else and assign their profile to the site; they will NOT get that authorship boost that they’re getting now.

  33. serge says:

    Spencer; I am happy to see someone else posting about copy-cats.

    I actually just had someone copy me on 3 of my sites as well… At first; I was furious that they would scrape my site and STILL out-rank me…

    However, While investigating his website (which was outranking mine), I actually found what I was doing wrong and the fact that attaching your G+ Profile to your site(s) helps ALOT.

    The great thing about the copy-cat attaching his G+ Profile to his site: Google will eventually SEE that his backlinks are spam-comments spread across foreign and pornography websites (aka Unrelated domains) and will not only penalize his SITE, but his G+ Profile as well

    Also, as Dragos has mentioned; he *may* have less backlinks than you OVERALL, but look at the graphs (see link: http://i.imgur.com/FK4tjTX.png ) that AHREFS shows of the two sites. Google is giving the site an ADDITIONAL boost in rankings because it looks like the site is going viral-ish.

    MY suggestion; Set up your G+ Profile with your website and you will see an INSTANT boost in rankings. Also, look at the anchor text for the sites; The copycat has it right with ~20% exact match anchor text for backlinks; Try diluting the backlinks a bit with some random (click here, my site, the site, this site, here, etc.) anchor text: Names also work very well, I’ve noticed.

    • serge says:

      re: the anchor text; I’m surprised that you were in spot #1 to begin with with the 83% exact match anchor text @_@

      Don’t get me wrong; your site is well-balanced but the 83% exact match backlinks might be a bit much :S

      Also to note; Your site is coming up on 3 months old now (judging by backlinks); I’ve seen Google give boosts to new websites to let them “settle” a little better in their spots; it is possible that yours is “settling” while the copycat is benefiting from this boost… no?

      • Spencer Haws says:

        True on the newness boost. Again, the negative SEO caused the high anchor text. I never build more than 10 to 20%.

        • serge says:

          (Also, when you get around to disavowing the Negative SEO):::
          I’m sure you know of this already but a good way to “filter out” the spam backlinks would be to
          Pull up all the backlinks with your software of choice
          drop it into SEOQuake (I use the Google Chrome Plugin); check the PR of each backlink
          Sort by PR of backlink (can copy into Excel now)
          Select everything PR0 and below (I use Excel for this part) – These are all the low-quality backlinks
          Check what your percentage would be if these were disavowed; Adjust accordingly
          If everything looks good, paste the column containing the URLs into a text file and use the Disavow tool to get rid of the low quality links

          Who knows, that “Negative SEO” campaign might end up helping you in the end (assuming there were any PR1+ links)

          Also, have you ever used Traffic Travis? It’s an awesome little windows app that will check for SEO Issues… according to the Free version of TT, Your homepage has 4 page warnings (onpage SEO) and 4.4k backlinks while the rest of your pages have NO backlinks to them (again, according to the software; I haven’t checked in anything but TT since that laptop was close by me) and a few scattered on-page SEO issues.

          When you get around to fixing the issues, it might be worth taking a look at those issues :)

    • Spencer Haws says:

      Thanks serge…! Thanks for taking the time to put together that image as well…very interesting. Yes, I agree that adding my G+ would help, but I’m going to wait a week or so, just to see what happens (I’m in no big rush). Also, the anchor text is so high on my site, not because of me. Its a lot of links to dilute now…darn negative seo!

      • serge says:

        Yeah.. I’ve seen it spike as well on my sites at times from negative SEO…

        The one lesson that I hope everyone learns from this is that you should NOT fight fire with fire in cases of negative SEO…

        P.S. I just saw that you’re in Richland, WA; I used to drive through Pasco/Kennewick all the time! If you’re ever in Portland, you should give me a holler/call/text/chooseyourword; I’d love to buy you lunch or a drink and pick your brain for a bit. I live in Vancouver, WA.

  34. Jake says:

    I like the way you made lemonade from the lemon that rolled your way. Now we all can drink (learn).

  35. Chandan says:

    Hi Spencer,anybody has the right to use the same plugin or similar charts provided the content is different. You should not call him a copycat. He has got even more content on homepage than you. Forget about quality of content, I can cite countless examples where real copy cats outranking the main site with incredible amount of duplicate contents. Google is highly unpredictable and recently (P 2.0) behaving like a mad scientist. You can not take any action against the so-called copycat because he didn’t really copy anything except for the niche idea and your open-to-all strategies. You own survivalknifeguide.com, doesn’t necessarily mean nobody can register .net, .org or any other extensions unless it is your trademark.As far negative SEO is concerned, Google should be more mature to handle this instead of asking webmasters to remove the links (plain crazy).

    I wish you outrank him in the process because, you deserve it.

    • Spencer Haws says:

      I never said anything wrong with using the plugin – that’s great. But the content in the chart is from my site (copied). I mentioned the plugin, domain name, etc just to prove that he didn’t come up with the original idea to build the site; I did.

    • Akila says:

      Spencer did the keyword research for him or her. He is in this community. He follows nichepersuits. He built his site after Spenser revealed it. So I guess it’s fair to call copycat. Any body takes ideas not the hole concept.

  36. Salomon says:

    hi i like to se that a “non native” english speaker, beat your site with poor content, and almost nothing of link building, why i like to see that?? because that means that anyone can rank just doing a litle of work, and i don´t think that the guy “copy and paste”, they just copy the idea, i see also that the guy of cloudlivingjourney.com copy and paste your niche site and it rank good, i mean i know that you own bestadjustabledumbbells.com (same tablepress, same nichewebsite theme) and this guy copy and paste and made bestadjustabledumbbells.org, and you don´t say anything?? and with this other guy, i see know that you are like a “golden chicken” i mean if you die all the copy cats die with you

  37. Von says:

    As unfortunate as it is to have your work stolen, the upside for us is that it provides a little laboratory experiment that will help us understand what works and what doesn’t. The Romanian’s site is a control allowing you to tweak and observe various parameters.

    But it still sucks that your work was stolen. Sorry, dude!

  38. Barbara says:

    I just recently started following you and must say that based on the way you’ve responded to having your site copied, I’m glad I did.

    I personally think that if “Paul Knife’s” first place position is more than just a temporary bounce OR if he takes more of your content (this could just be the beginning), you should take a stronger stance (and it sounds like you will). The name (Paul Knife) cracks me up, BTW.

    But the reason I am glad I’ve started following you is the WAY you responded and that you are using this as a learning experience for teaching others and for improving your own business.

    Truly the kind of mentor I want to follow. Thanks!

  39. Hey Spencer,
    Great response, this copy cat site has provided another learning opportunity, thank you! We’ll see what happens when that Google freshness wears off …

  40. Will says:

    It’s sad that you put this out there for people like me to learn from and these people have clearly copied and stole your hard work. They could have at least picked another keyword. Some people have no respect and hide behind the internet.

    Thank you for sharing with us!

  41. paul says:

    and now your number 3 today from my check, bummer..im sure your plan will go well

  42. Carl says:

    It’s a shame that someone was so good at every aspect of creating a site, building links and being in a position to monetise it using all your useful advice and help but couldn’t take advantage of your constant guidance on selecting a good, ORIGINAL keyword… Surely that’s half the fun?

    You will always find people who are too lazy to put the effort in and I can understand any frustration you are feeling, but I guess it was a risk and unfortunately somebody was ready to take advantage of this great project.

    I think now is a good time to thank you, and everyone else on here who is teaching me so much. I have managed to rank 2 after 90 days for my first niche site and have earned a steady 12 dollars a month on adsense. Unfortunately, my CPC is much lower than first anticipated (a lesson learned) and this is the reason for the low income. Had I of earned 1 dollar per click I would be seeing a revenue of nearly $40 a month.

    To me, the first website wasnt about making a large amount of money, but proving that your tactics and teachings work, which they obviously do. I am now working on my second niche site which I believe will earn a higher amount, poco y poco as they say here in Spain.

    Have a great weekend everyone!

  43. Ricky says:

    You are really taking this well Spencer! I actually saw that site this morning and thought to myself “what a snake”! But I’m glad to see you turn it into another lesson for us! Looks like you even dropped down beyond #2. I wish someone could say unequivocally exactly why, why why though! Thanks.

  44. Jon Haws says:

    Favorite quote:

    “The current provision is extremely broad knife and uninitiated choosing the right model can prove to be a big hassle and money spend more or less intelligent.”

    Still not sure what that means!

  45. Lloyd Hester says:

    It was inevitable that some lazy git would end up copying you.

    I am sure that you have plenty of other niche sites that you have under your hat that are doing ok ;-)

    The fact that you did this as an open experiment I am surprised that it has not happened before now and with more people trying.

    They say that mimmicking is the best form of flattery.

    He could just be showing off….

    Anyway.. Keep up the good work and I appreciate your candour, sharing and open approach.

  46. Tom says:

    Your response to the “copy cat” shows your integrity, professionalism and patience. It amazes me how this “copyprenuer” sought to capitalize on your hard work and effort. I find it troublesome that this person would resort to building his e-commerce on match sticks (no creditability) and to wallow in a high google rating. Be as it may, what goes around, comes around. Keep up the good work Spencer.

  47. alistairgd says:

    1. I think it’s fantastic the way you have handled this. You could have went all “screw this for a lark”, but instead handled it positively and as a case study opportunity.
    2. For us readers, it just made this series even more of a compulsive read! I feel like I need to be googling your keyword every day to see who is winning the battle!
    3. While his quick gain strategy has worked, yours is clearly a long term approach which I am sure will be the deciding factor in the coming months.
    4. Stop reading and publish your May affiliate earnings. Please :)

    • Spencer Haws says:

      Thanks! I will publish the May earnings…soon! Today is the last day of May, so I won’t know the total until tomorrow :). But the post will be on Monday or Tuesday…I’ll give you the inside scoop though; May earnings is more than April earnings!

  48. Actually, When I wanted to show your bestsurvivalknifeguide.com/ (Which I think is a great piece of SEO artwork + useful, not useless) to few of my friends and explain them how are you earning with simple styled website like that by doing just few wise things, and how your earnings go up etc.

    So I googled “Best survival knifes” and were wondering which one was real – net or “bestsurvivalknifeguide.com” … luckily for you I used logic and knew you would chose .com :)

    And I were wondering who is that bastard who made exact same website :)

    P.S. It is worth to subscribe to your website. :) -Wish I had more time then I could do things like you.
    P.S.S. Actually You just have to be socially active in G+
    I mean 1/2 posts a day and a link to URL you care. After a while G will see you’re active and personal record webpage indexed in ~1,5 (for 150pages website) + adequate ranking for 6,5/10 competition.

    Keep up all the good work in bestsurvivalknifeguide.com, because it actually is best survival knife guide everyone should read :)

    • Also, I feel outraged that he actually put his name on G+ as following – P.a-u.l. K-n-i.f;e, Really man, if you wanted to copy something then try better :D

      As for everyone else, author copyrights should be granted to bestsurvivalknifeguide.com/ which is original and NON-copied, self-studied and written in well manner.

  49. Shaun says:

    Glad that you are being the bigger person with this. My respect has grown. You had to know eventually something like this was going to happen. But it is good to see that instead of getting mad, you are sticking to the plan which is working. This gives me hope for my plans too.

    Shaun.

    • Spencer Haws says:

      Shaun – I most definitely knew something like this would happen. I knew when I decided to do a public case study, that “weird” things would happen. Despite the negative things that have happened so far, I’m very happy the way this niche site project has turned out. Not only am I earning a bit of money from the niche site, but I think the value others are getting from it seems to be very high (at least I hope so).

  50. Jon says:

    Great article. Keep to the plan my man. I was wondering though how one goes about adding their Google + profile to their site like you spoke about. Is it just a matter of a plug in?

    Jon

  51. Leo says:

    Relax Spencer!

    You still held the No.1 spot here in Down Under.

    But, i noticed that the .NET used sociable plugin and added Youtube video which Google like to see on any website – social engaging.

    The video used from .NET was from.

    by ModernOutdoorsman
    1 year ago
    241,774 views

    Not sure if the .NET site had a permission to used that video which is something you can quickly check by sending a message to the video owner via Youtube mailbox using your Gmail account.

    No doubt it is a clone of your website but the .NET made their a bit more engaging by sharing their website via social websites and used ranked video through Youtube which Google loves.

    Given you have substantial followers, you should share this website too via FB, Google+, Pininterest etc. to go viral.

    All the best

    Cheers Leo
    Australia

    • Akila says:

      Hi Leo, I guess when someone up lodes a video to Youtube, it has been given permission to use(Youtube TOS 6.c). But this is not valid for movies, tv shows, song etc. Such vidios are not even leagal in Youtube unless it’s official. Correct me if my understanding is wrong. http://www.youtube.com/t/terms

  52. Dave says:

    I see this differently than most of the prior comments.

    I’m a little surprised that you’re acting so surprised in your article. Would you really have us believe that you didn’t see this coming? Most folks don’t reveal their sites for this very reason, so it’s kinda already a known thing. Plus you’re doing a public site after – I assume – having observed the same issue with Pat.

    Trolls will be trolls. Fans will respect and appreciate and mouth breathers will copy. Its how the world turns.

    Look, I love what you do and I love this live and public project. I read your posts and listen to your podcasts and buy your products and I’ve learned a lot from you. THANKS! But I’m going the other way on this one. Your article is over the top whiny and surprised and self righteous. That’s not who I understand you to be and that’s not how you’ve earned my respect.

    OK, so I’ll be attacked for that, but that’s as honest as I can be Spence and I think/hope you know that I’m a big fan.

    • Spencer Haws says:

      Dave,
      I write a blog about this niche site project. I have to respond to the events. I’m not surprised that it happened, and actually fully stated in my early posts (before I started the project) that I expected it to happen. So, I’m not complaining, and even said in this post that its not a big worry to me. Please re-read as I think you missed my tone. I’m simply commenting on what I see happening. Thanks Dave!

      • Dave says:

        Sorry, but I still find your article to be a reaction rather than a response.

        But that’s ok, I still enjoy your mission and the great information you so freely share. Keep up the good work.

        Dave

  53. Leo says:

    Good point Dave!

    It is the world we live in. Microsoft did it for Apple with Desktop operating system. Samsung is doing it with Apple with Samsung Galaxy to iPhone etc.,

    This is normal in the world we live in thus we better get used to it…every industry has it.

    But it is sucks though……

    Cheers
    Leo

  54. Gillian G says:

    I am not really surprised but I hope that the guys who were targeting you with bad links move their attention to this guy (or gal). They deserve it.

    The .net site looks good but they are clearly not very smart and the articles will never compare with the quality you produce.

    Keep up the great work and looking forward to the big reveal on income for May.

    Gillian

  55. At the time of writing this comment, your site spencer appears in the number 1 position.
    The video you mention is already at number 9.
    I think things are taking their ordinary course.
    Spencer definitely with this shows that if you can find a gold nugget, take care that there are a lot people who have no shame to copy and find easy work already done.
    Sorry spencer

  56. Travis says:

    Sorry to hear you got bumped. That happened to me earlier this month with one of my main phrases for a hotel site. This site came up out of nowhere and is basically all spam, yet it still ranks right up there (for now). The title is simply:

    Key Phrase One – Key Phrase Two – Key Phrase Three

    The phrase it beat me on combines the hotel name and city, which is one of the more popular ways for people to search for the hotel. They also have the domain with the exact phrase match plus “hotel” at the end.

    Not too big of deal though. I made a couple small tweaks and should be back up soon. I probably didn’t even need to bother with those.

    On the most relevant phase (the two-word hotel name) I am ranked #3 (behind the hotel’s direct site and TripAdvisor, but ahead of Expedia, Travelocity, etc).

  57. Stefan says:

    I’m not a fan of flat out copycats, but I am happy to see that it can be done without the thousands of negative seo links your own site got.

    On the other hand, it’s sad that such bad content can zoom to the top position in Google, proving once more that Google is utterly, utterly broken.

  58. Phuong Le says:

    It is a bad news that your site is facing negative link building and ideas copied, I think you should launch a DMCA policy for specific content on all pages.

  59. Josh says:

    Fascinating development and also a great opportunity for competitive analysis.

    Two words: “Paul Knife”. That must have made you laugh.

  60. neale says:

    Love the way you are handling this, awesome.

    I think that the data in the tables is kinda “public property” kinda like eCommerce stores that have the same data for the same product. If the data in your table is just pulled from amazon or the manufacture, you cant call that your own. Only if you added unique stuff of your own could you call it your own.

    Obviously I’m not endorsing the other guy at all, like you have mentioned a lot can be learned.

    With him now ranking it really does prove the point that one can rank quickly and make a few bucks. He is doing a few things better than you and I think you picked up on all of them.

    I would give some attention to your images, hosting them yourself, naming them correctly and adding good alt tags possibly including model numbers.

  61. Mike says:

    I would not wory about being #1, I’ve found I got more traffic at being #3-5 than at #1 at times. #1 being too close to the paid advertising.

  62. KimP says:

    Death to copycats. I have one of my own, but thankfully the loser doesn’t copy content, but he/she is sending bad links. I think the only thing that will help you is some social shares and some content that goes semi-viral. Perhaps an ultimate survival guide or infographic? If it gets picked up by one or more of the survivalist sites that would generate some solid social proof and links.

    Also, I would add google authorship so Google knows you authored that content first.

  63. Charles says:

    Forget about the social signals and +1 authorship and check this out:

    1. Head to this URL: http://www.matthewwoodward.co.uk/experiments/google-webmaster-guidelines-experiment/

    Search for the word “PAUL” (ctrl+f), click on the word and view the URL it links to. Good! Now y’all know his name.

    2. According to Ahrefs, he has many links that almost unarguably seem to be coming from a blog network, which clues us in on the glaring possibility of him being the same person who built those unwanted links to your site.

    Whew…

  64. I see another copycat site, bestsurvivalknife-dot-com, is now ranking first page. It is better designed than the “featured” copycat site, but it still isn’t very good. Hopefully your site will adjust back up soon.

  65. Jason says:

    This guy might be your number 1 fan! Lets all be nice about him because he might be a little unstable.

    Seriously though, for the sake of the case study it is quite interesting. The lessons about less links, worse content, and the issue of copy cats all teaches us something.

    Oh, and you teach that if there are already niche sites ranking for a keyword then this is a good thing. This proves it.

  66. NT says:

    Hi Spencer,

    The latin root of competition is to ‘conspire together’. Competition forces us to learn new things and up our game.

    Have you considered asking your writer to sign up to Google Authorship?

    Google appear to the value this metric. With the following you have here, your writer will create a significant following in no time.

    Good luck.

  67. James says:

    Very surprised at some of the comments here like “his (the copycat’s) site is more engaging” and “his photos” are this and that. I think some are missing a key point here. Correct me if I am wrong, Spencer emphasized looking at the top ten websites to see if you can offer more value, right? Well Spencer did that. And he created his site. Added more value then was there AT THE TIME and hit number one. And THEN the copycat came along. He looked at Spencer’s site and started from there. Another key point we may be missing is that building the site is the easy part. Spencer did the real work finding a profitable keyword that he could rank for. I have plenty of “pretty” sites sitting at 27 and 38 on google. lol.

  68. dang says:

    Hey Spencer

    I see you are at the first spot not the second right now..
    the copicat name is Paul Knife
    you can’t compete. he put his google+ pic on

    if you don’t take care, you could be outranked by the 5th one

    best-survival-knife-guide.blogspot.com/‎

    • Tuan says:

      I agree with your point.
      Spencer’s site must have some problems, probably in link building and freshness.
      I used to have copycats on my site and my site was outranked as well. Then I figured out that was all my fault. The site keeps publishing new posts everyday whereas I posted just around 2 articles per week.

  69. Chris says:

    I have experimented with adding a Google+ verified author profile to several sites that I have put together. It has made a noticeable difference in SERP position for various keywords. I suggest you look more into this and incorporate it in some of your projects. I mean you’re trying to rank in Google and Google wants you to use their products. I suppose it gives you an extra boost in Google’s eyes when you’re using their social network to promote yourself and your sites and not their competitor.

  70. Ian says:

    What a jackass.

  71. Hey Spencer,

    You may want to strike up a conversation with Pat Flynn. He had a site literally copy a lot of his content and outrank his security training HQ site for a while. As I recall, he got a lawyer involved as it was clearly a duplicate. I think the 2nd author just wanted to show he could outrank him and then took the site down.

    That’s what I remember of the situation anyway, I’m sure Pat would be happy to discuss it with you more.

    Good Luck

  72. Tung Tran says:

    I think you shouldn’t rely on OSE’s backlink data to judge this situation. Look at this:

    https://ahrefs.com/site-explorer/overview/subdomains/http%253A%252F%252Fwww.bestsurvivalknifeguide.com%252F (Your site is getting 7,2k links from 147 referring domains)

    https://ahrefs.com/site-explorer/overview/subdomains/survivalknifeguide.net (Your competitor site is getting 1,5k links from 311 referring domains)

    I think this situation has proved my point that the amount of backlinks is less important than the amount of referring domains pointing to your site. Your competitor has double the amount of unique links than yours, that’s why you were outranked.

    I’ve analyzed the backlink profile of your competitor and found out that they are using SAPE links which is a Russian blog network. Almost are on the high pr homepage which is more powerful than your web 2.0, social bookmark, squidoo, backlink profile.

    My conclusion: High PR blog network still is the most powerful method to get links.

  73. Philipp says:

    Well, that’s why you don’t make all your niche sites public. Thanks for doing it with that one, and I think it’s a great learning opportunity for all of us when there is some SEO competition around that keyword. Of course your income on that specific site suffers a bit, but the attention you (and LTP) get from your public niche site is probably very much worth it!

    One thing which is much better on the competitor’s site (copycat is the wrong word IMO) are the images. He has a lot of pictures, and most of them really intersting. Don’t know if that’s what Google likes on his site, but readers do.

    I appreciate how fair you are playing here, and that you don’t take it too personal. Keep up that nice attitude and keep us informed :)

  74. Mara says:

    Thanks for sharing this, Spencer, & for making it such a useful learning exercise for us all.

    Let me add my own experience here, as of yesterday, re a small niche affiliate site targeting a KW that gets 2400 exact match monthly global searches. I started this site in March, with a domain name “Guide to [KW]“.
    A couple of weeks ago I discovered a site with domain name “[KW] Guide” – registered early April. That site has been powering ahead of mine, and yesterday I saw it had the #1 place for the KW (mine is now #10) – with NO BACKLINKS at all (that I could discover). The site owner has not copied my content, & maybe it is just a coincidence that he got exactly the same idea as me (well, why should he copy me? It’s not as though my site is an amazing success!). Anyway, even though he hasn’t copied my content, I’m still a bit miffed he is ahead of me so easily….. but that’s life. So how did he get to #1? In this case, I have set up G+ authorship while he has not, so I’m not so sure this is as much of a factor as it is made out to be (though I have not been active in G+, so that might make a difference). The only thing I could discover is that his site is really well optimised for on-page SEO – it’s rather thin content, only 3 content pages (+5 legal/support pages), not as bad as some, but with pretty minimal info on about 5 sub-topics. He has the keyword in both an H1 and an H2 header, and about 5 times in the first 2 sentences. The images are not KW optimised. But he does have a YouTube video on the page – not his video, but relevant to the topic. It looks to me as though those factors do carry a lot of weight with Google, so I’m off to find a YouTube video for my page & see if I can optimise the on-page SEO a bit more (I thought I had done this, but obviously not well enough!) Anyway, I see that your copycat has a YouTube video, and I am guessing this has been a big factor in helping him rank.
    Putting aside my indignation about the unfairness of it all (LOL) it is extremely useful to have all this info about what works in SEO these days, so hope my own experience adds another useful perspective to the mix!

  75. James Kenny says:

    Doesn’t this mean that they are doing better SEO than you? Or maybe this is to be expected, since you shared your process for this site.. It could also be a a testament to what you’ve taught here..

    Please don’t do a podcast on this.

    Thanks.

  76. Spencer,

    I just played around with your new widget on the homepage.

    “WWEEEEEEEEeeeeeeeee!!!”

    That was fun. There’s no way this guy will stay ahead of you for long with his boring widget.

    You may now get some sleep.

  77. Steve says:

    That was awesome, Spencer – the way you handled this and turned the whole thing into an educational piece! That’s what makes this real life study so worthwhile! Keep up the great attitude!

    Also just goes to show that the ideal is to rank for many keywords – even for a ‘focused’or ‘niche’ site.

  78. Lisa Irby says:

    Copycats suck but I agree that you will probably outrank them again. Even if you don’t, it still makes for a great blog post to prove your strategies work.

    I’m just starting to use your LTP software for my new niche site. To be honest I hate keyword research but your tool is quite addictive. lol

    I’ve known about your blog for some time (through Sunil of Extra Money Blog) but never took the time to explore your work. Glad I made the time.

    I hope you get your rank back but I love your attitude about it.

    Cheers!

  79. Reg says:

    I hate copies and therefore
    1, rel=author plugins and link the site to my google+
    2. Use copy right click plugins to stop copying
    3. Don’t use RSS feeds which are just prime for auto bots to post as you feed

    Really annoying mate that people who lift work outrank

  80. Gary Yeardley says:

    I agree with Tung above. The competitor outranked your site because of no of referring domains + the spammy links definitely wont be helping.

    Appears to be some sort of black hat package. Probably sape or similar. His site will not last too long!!

    I’ve been attacked by negative seo many times. Mostly in competitive niches. It’s shocking that it’s so easy to wipe out a site this way. I believe these spammy links should not be counted. I guess this is why they introduced the disavow tool.

    Personally I wouldn’t leave it too long to start disavowing those dodgy links. I had to do this everyday and each time I did I noticed an improvement within hours. Otherwise you may risk being pushed down or even your site penalised because of these links. It will be an algorithm penalty first before any manual penalty and it can take a long time to come back from my experience.

    Great case study Spencer and good on you for sharing all this info. Obviously if you hadn’t in the first place you may not be in this situation. But well worth it for experience and a useful blog post.

    Keep us posted on how the site goes

  81. Chris says:

    I’ve been following this project closely and I’d like to bet your copycat competitor won’t stay above you for long. I’m not sure if anyone else has mentioned it as I haven’t read all the comments, but I would add an engaging video (like he has) to increase your time on site. Thinking about it, that is the one factor that could really be making a difference. Google compares the two sites which are pretty similar content wise but sees one where visitors stay longer. Definitely a logical thing to try.

  82. Mounir says:

    It’s good that you have kept your traffic.

    But I’d be interested in knowing the traffic lost for the exact keyword best survival knife , because direct traffic coming right from your blog isn’t really that targeted. Okay maybe one of the readers might check your website and click on the amazon affiliate link and buy something later that day.

    But that’s not the point about building a niche site focused around a special keyword.

  83. Ben Hanna says:

    Hi Spencer,
    First I want to say Long Tail Pro is fantastic, and well worth the defo worth it for anyone serious about nIche Sites.. My comment is a bit off topic but I thought i would ask you here as Its the latest post…How important is Advertiser Competition to you when creating a site? I have a few sites I would like to create on things that I have a passion for, but they always seems to have a low Advertiser competition Rank ,though some have a nice CPC and everything else suggests they could rank well with a bit of effort.

  84. Chetan says:

    Hi Spencer, I think most of the comments covered what I feel too. I think you don’t need to do anything… just keep pushing more content & you will be back on top. I only hope that you will not be discouraged by this event & never do a case study again! It sucks to pump out so much value for us & get attacked/copied by others.

  85. Mark says:

    Hi Spencer,

    Looking at the backlinking profiles of both sites, I have a question:

    Do you think it makes a big difference over what period of time you build the backlinks to your site?

    For instance, would you say that building 30 backlinks (web 2.0 / social / forum comments mostly) in 3 days is overkill and could result in a penalty for the site?

  86. Johnny says:

    Hi Spencer!

    This people is a dbag… You are making an excellent work here, and this idiot doesn’t respect this at all.

    Please don’t give up your good work, me and all of your readers are very proud of you, and I hope, your new strategy will beat out this *******.

    Regards, Johnny

  87. Chris B says:

    I remember when Pat Flyn got his security guard site ranked, someone copied his site style in many ways.

    I think Pat contacted them and they soon went away, but not sure. You would have to ask Pat what happened and how he dealt or responded with it all and whether he did contact them or not.

    I think it’s funny that the copy cat has called himself Paul Knife!

    Fingers crossed the douche bag doesn’t dilute all the quality traffic and most importantly goes away or at least comes up with his own style and content!

    Stay cool Spencer 8|

    Can’t stand it when people can’t manage to do their own homework or come up with their own ideas.

  88. Leroy says:

    Spencer

    I am impressed with the way you have handled this situation. It is very diplomatic and you also chose to use it as a lesson and analyze the reasons why the copycat’s search ranking surpassed yours for the KW.

    I did a search on copycat and found an article on stackoverflow.com which seems to discuss this problem (I could be mistaken about the lingo though). You can read it here:
    meta.stackoverflow.com/questions/131846/report-sites-that-use-se-content-without-following-attribution-rules-here

    The key thing I note from that discussion is that Google now has a form for reporting ‘scrapers’ that appear above the originals in search results.

    The form is here:
    docs.google.com/spreadsheet/viewform?formkey=dGM4TXhIOFd3c1hZR2NHUDN1NmllU0E6MQ&ndplr=1

    Perhaps you could look into that and give that a try?

    I certainly will continue to read your blog to see how you overcome this bump in the road.

    Cheers
    Leroy

  89. mark says:

    I have just found your other sites and you are having good rank during 2012,but then the rank down now its zero and that site still exist.

    My question is all your niche site is like this ? We will have good rank in the first stage(1st year) and later it will go out of the Google ?

  90. Tom says:

    Hi Spencer,

    Hi Spencer

    I see my comment from yesterday was removed. I spent time on that comment and all of it was genuine and sincere. Including how i, and my girlfriend purchased long tail pro – i can send key numbers and purchase dates if you like.

    Would like to know if i broke any commenting rules because being new to niche sites want to partake in some of the discussions here. And my comments were only 100% supportive considering the malicious copypreneur.

    Thanks,
    Tom

    • Mark says:

      Tom, I wouldn’t worry about it. I had some comments disappear for a day or two and then re-appear a day or two later. Not sure why this happens but I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s the same thing happening here.

    • Spencer Haws says:

      Hey Tom, I read your comment and actually responded. You actually commented on a different post – so its still live where you put it. Here it is: http://www.nichepursuits.com/is-my-niche-site-a-victim-of-negative-seo/#comment-38084

      You must have mistakenly thought you posted that comment on this post. I would never delete your great comment!!

      • Tom says:

        Hey Spencer,

        You are right. I apologize. I thought i had posted to this post and was reading all the posts you linked to here in this post and thought i was on this post when commenting but was on the other post.

        Thanks for the response.

        And thanks for all this great information and case studies. This week i will start reading you original posts on the survival knife study.

        Thanks to you and the great community you have here! And thanks for letting me know my mistake.

        Happy pursuits -until later,
        Tom

  91. Interesting article Spencer !!

    Have you seen this site ….http://coldsteelsrk.org/

    This looked very similar to your site including the theme and header image. This looks a macro niche site

  92. Nick says:

    Hi Spencer,

    As you mentioned it’s a good thing that this happened, now we have proof that number of links doesn’t matter much.

    And it’s a good thing we have a copy-cat competitor, it makes this case study even more interesting, ‘How to deal with copy-cat competitors’, and I appreciate your attitude.

    By providing all this invaluable information free of charge you are providing a huge help to newbies, I highly appreciate it, thanks a lot Spencer!

    (Somebody should build a stature of this guy, really!)

    • Tom says:

      I agree. And now another one with practically same header. But the fact this has happened (I guess it happens more often than i think – being new to niche sites), and that Spencer addresses this in this post, with some detail, is really invaluable to me as a novice.

      To ‘borrow’ and to ‘copy’ are 2 different things. Lesson learned.

      Obviously this is because of Spencer’s status and site is public. These attacks are a small price to pay for this free study offered to public. Their 15 minutes will be over soon.

  93. Valerie says:

    Spencer, I hope your copy cat is smeared with a thin layer of oil and not used for a long time!

  94. Mike says:

    I’ve also learned that making niche sites public might not be the best thing to do. I’ve seen my content copied, spun, and there are plenty of low quality sites, filled with barely comprehensible English, that outrank me. The top-ten sites are truly and breathtakingly awful. Their back links aren’t natural either, so the algorithms continue to struggle to sniff out quality sites.

    As I go forward with any niche sites, I’m keeping them to myself. If I talk about them on my own site, they are getting code names!

    Good luck with staying on the front page, Spencer! I would think LTP and similar products are your long-term cash cow!

  95. James says:

    Sorry guys. I am skeptical that “Paul” is the guy in the picture much less a newbe. How he landed at number one showed a little bit to much sophistication. Just my opinion.

  96. Kate says:

    Yikes! This would be a perfect reason to shut the project down and stop sharing with us, your readers, but I am glad you are taking it in stride instead. I’ve learned so much from your site and I am currently working my way through LTP Classroom. It rocks! Thanks so much for all you share with us!

    • Shutting down Niche site project? Not really :-)
      Spencer has over 200 more niche sites. He has revealed just one site here.

      More over, we are really grateful to him for being so generous and helpful in sharing what he is implementing.

  97. Hesham says:

    I believe that Google Authorship has an impact here. I have read this interesting case study from Jeff Sauer and I would recommend you reading it. Spencer, we trust you and I am sure you will gain first spot very soon. jeffalytics.com/google-plus-search-authorship/

  98. Lucas Vu says:

    Hi Spencer,
    I am sure you will do just fine with your experience and the way you analyse the issue.

    I currently am building my 1st niche site( not survival knife lol) and learning a lot from you. I find your niche site series very informative as it involves both successes and difficulties you encounter. By sharing this, you have taught us all many things. Please keep updating.

    Thanks

  99. Samir says:

    Hello Experts,

    I am in midst of dilemma to finalize the Niche site.

    I am having confusion between 2 niche keywords that i have found decent search volume and below 30 Keyword competition from Long tail Pro…

    Niche 1 : Furniture Keyword

    Avg. CPC – USD 4.05
    Local Searches -4400
    Global Searches – 4400
    Advertiser Competition – 97
    Keyword Competion (Long tail Pro) – 27
    Niche Keywords – 3 words

    Niche 2: Job Vacancies for a Niche
    Avg. CPC – USD 0.95
    Local Searches – 6600
    Global Searches – 6600
    Advertiser Competition – 59
    Keyword Competition (Long tail Pro) – 22
    Niche Keywords – 5 words

    Somehow i am inclined to Niche 2 ,
    1- As i can relate the pain areas well. As even i am currently in 9-5 Job :)
    2 – This can be a go-to portal for ppl in long run and help them in small way to change their lives.

    I would need you sincere suggestions on this…..

    • Spencer Haws says:

      Niche 2 sounds better; because niche 1 sounds like an ecommerce keyword. I would confirm that the local searches are EXACT match…(Make sure the volume is there).

  100. Tom says:

    Hey Spencer,

    Hope there will be a few more posts or data on the copy sites and the current one that is number one – for now.

    Data on what they did (google author) both white, grey or black hat to get rank to further case study. I know you wanted a week to review before any action.

    Cheers

  101. Brian Dean says:

    That’s a bummer, Spencer.

    I actually had something similar happen to me recently: I showed people a YouTube video I was able to rank for a tough keyword in Google. A few weeks later I noticed a massive uptick in other videos vying for that keyword. I guess it’s something that’s inevitable when you share real-world results!

    But like another commenter said, you have the long-term advantage of knowing your stuff (and knowing how to execute it). There have been hundreds of people trying to take on Pat’s security guard training site, but none have been able to do it. I think it’ll be the same here: I can’t imagine anyone ranking above you over the long-term.

  102. Interesting story, I hope you could be able to get back your ranking. Though I find this will going to be a tough battle since you have most likely the same domain and from ordinary people’s point of view I think they’ll legitimately believe with who they first see on the search which will probably cut your traffic.

  103. Jason says:

    What’s the deal? Now the copycat is taking up the first three positions with the same domain!

    I’ve been noticing a lot of anomalies in google searches where crappy sites with crappy link profiles are ranking well.

  104. It’s especially sad when people do this to sites that have lots of original content but that Google has penalized. There are moments of joy though when they forget to remove the link :)

  105. wole says:

    wow its very fuuny and enlightening to see this, first we saw how spencer dominated a keyword in 62 days and many were amazed at that, but ut was a public site and am sure spencer saw it coming, we saw paul coming from nowhere to outrank spencer, at least now we know not only spencer has the magic stick..lol.. but lets not take it personal, it was a case study, a PUBLIC NICHE SITE, thats why we dont make our sites public, so that many who may be better than us dont target our keyword and outrank our main money sites. am sure spencer doesnt get this much on his private niche sites..

  106. Rameshwor says:

    Brother, I feel bad for you really. You always try to help others learn how to be successful and give away exact road map to success. You are a nice person to give away such ideas and apparently you are the one who gets slapped sometime by Google and sometimes by unethical copyright violators. But you will gain the momentum again I am pretty sure coz you are a warrior and never gave up!

  107. Nicholas says:

    Hi Spencer

    Just a quickie to re-affirm that this person has copied your site.

    If you take a look at the privacy-policy page on the other site, you will see that he has not cleaned up the wording properly.

    Under the heading “DoubleClick DART Cookie”, your web address is still there. Unfortunately, it’s not a link back to you.

  108. Inyoung says:

    Hello,

    I am from Korea. I just watched Pat Flynn’s video on how to use your product Long Tail Pro. I also just bought the product at a discount from his affiliate link to see if I can build my perfume blog so I can make some extra income besides my hotel job. I really love perfumes and I think I have a good word.

    I don’t understand what he talks about when he talks about Juice Links. How important are these juice links compared to the page authority or normal page links ?

    • Spencer Haws says:

      Juice page links are more important that normal page links. These “juice” links are designated by SEOmoz as carrying more weight or being do-follow…that actually pass ranking “juice”. You should still look at Page Authority for sure.

  109. Norm says:

    Hey Spencer,

    Sorry to hear that someone copied your site but in someways it reaffirms your ideas of that your research was the key to the entire part of the project.

    By choosing the right keywords, even if you choose the same one as others you can rank for it.

    Ultimately the next influence is who got the best SEO technique currently out there.

    Thanks Spencer for sharing your niche. Dont fret about these people, there will always be copy cats.

    My own clients that I coach often copy my examples whether it is my template, design etc. or even chosen niches. O well the cost of business.

    Dont stop what you doing mate, doing an awesome job. Just like Pat you are an inspiration.

    Norm

  110. Tisha says:

    What can be said about this problem? Really very bad. I am a foreigner and not fluent in English, but when a site is created by me, I’ll try try as much as i can. I think you can inbox them and requires them to changes contents. Than all,do your plans and make it better. Wish you success!

  111. I’m not entirely sure what the problem is =\

    As a teacher you put yourself in a certain position and students will follow your example.

    Granted some are more creative and intuitive than others but still.

    I see a new clone of my blog using a different persons name every week – its no threat, just a compliment.

    Plus they still have to compete with me ^^

    I look forward to the day where one of my students becomes my teacher :)

  112. Iain says:

    What an interesting teaching opportunity Spencer.

    It just goes to show you how important links are, or in this case not important.

    Like you always say it is all about the keyword process not the linkbuilding.

    It will be interesting to see how the future plays out.

    Great post Spencer.

  113. Ted says:

    Hi Spencer, I just bought LTP Platinum, when I use competitor analysis, it always showing “analyzing competition xxxx” and not going, or should I go for a proxy?

    • Spencer Haws says:

      Ted, there should be no issues. No proxies are needed. However, please file a support ticket at longtailpro.com/support so our support team can help you out.

  114. Darren says:

    Hi Spencer,

    Thanks for the post and your continuing great attitude on this case study.

    It is sad that some folks think that they can just completely rip off some else’s hard work. However, as you say, if your content is better you should benefit in the long run.

    The crazy thing is it shows that Google still doesn’t really know how to rank certain pieces of content properly and distinguish authorship and ownership unless you sign up to their stupid Google+

    There is one funny thing to come out of this – the copycat’s name is apparently “Paul Knife” – ha ha ha! Oh dear, keyword stuffing is still working it seems.

    Keep up the great work Spencer…this case study has given me a much needed burst of inspiration to get back to my niche sites.

    All the best,
    Darren

  115. Ninika says:

    Same problem is with Me. When I Thought to start a niche site, I discussed with my friend and he copy without telling me. Now, he is Gaining traffic more than me on same niche. What can I do, suggest me

  116. Travis says:

    Sometimes all you can do is to just control what you can and don’t worry about these other idiots who try to copy you. Quality always trumps fakery.

    Anyways, when shall we expect this months income report?

  117. IND says:

    Currently I use wordpress default theme and my site in top 1 page and I need to change the theme .Do you think chnaging theme will affect my position

  118. IND says:

    The theme which I am going to use have lot of features such as Fully Responsive,Retina Ready,Star rating including google authorship and fully optimised for mobile.How do you see this changes ?

  119. Phoebe says:

    Really good read and a great website. Will look around and read more.
    I have about 8 domains and all parked and pretty much lost on what to use them for right now.
    I think Niche websites are the way to go and I will put being a coupon affiliate aside- the market is saturated.

  120. Wow thanks for a great article! Just found your blog from the adsense flippers podcast and it’s SOO nice to have some real mean in a blogpost!

    Cheers mate

  121. atc says:

    Now you slipped from second to third…… :(

    https://www.google.com/search?q=best+survival+knife&gl=us&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8&aq=t&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official&client=firefox-a#client=firefox-a&hs=PUl&rls=org.mozilla:en-US%3Aofficial&sclient=psy-ab&q=best+survival+knife&oq=best+survival+knife&gs_l=serp.12…0.0.1.5651.0.0.0.0.0.0.0.0..0.0…0.0…1c..15.serp.dCRr0_mO5dQ&psj=1&bav=on.2,or.r_qf.&bvm=bv.47244034,d.bmk&fp=540a12e3ce1cc2f4&biw=1024&bih=665

  122. atc says:

    within 10 minutes ,you are in 4th.Are you taking necessary steps ?

  123. Eric says:

    Looks like you’re back in the number 1 spot.

    At least, that’s what I’m getting when I search for your keywords.

    Great…

  124. atc says:

    Yes but not in US.Most of the sales from US.He is still at 4th and 5th in US.But in other areas he is 1,2 & 3.

  125. Monique says:

    Spencer, we appreciate what you do and what we learn from you – so thank you that you keep on doing it!

    And thanks for being a great example of how to learn from whatever comes your way. A great attitude to have in online business and in life :-)

  126. George says:

    Hello,
    What about penguin 2.0. As I can seeyou have not been affected so using layerd links it’s ok?

    George

  127. Tom says:

    The copycat site was at #10 last night and now no where to be seen.

    This confirms Spencer’s estimate from last week. To wait it out before reacting quickly…

    Still makes me wonder what happened to rise so fast and then fall off the web. Something isn’t right…

    Thoughts? Did this guy pull his site?

    ( the copycat site has only added to the value of the case study for me )

    • Spencer Haws says:

      I haven’t looked into his site too much, but I suspect his links pushed it up; but the quality of the articles on his site were really poor. Perhaps a Google quality filter noticed and he got penalized.

  128. Riza says:

    Hey Spencer,

    I applaud you for the composed demeanor you are showing all through out this article. I mean, it can hurt your lungs if someone copied your content. Sad, but instead of it negatively affecting you, it cultivated in you a determination to become better at what you.

    How about Google Authorship?

    By the way, Penguin 2.0 didn’t affect you, huh. Congrats!

  129. Darren Thompson says:

    I think the true value of what the copycat has proven and you touched on it briefly in your article is the system for building a niche site that ranks well and quickly works and your results were not a fluke or random chance – and this has been verified by the clone of your site. There are millions of potential key words out there and just as many niche site opportunities.

    Based on your ” formula ” a dedicated niche site builder could produce $250k annual income by simply building 70 sites over a one year period – approximately 1.5 sites per week.

    With that said – this is quietly the first true way that I have come across in 15 years of being online – to find a near mathematical certainty that a business process will yield results and not be at risk of being blacklisted by google

  130. Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. Not that it would make one feel any better. Copy-cats are everywhere. Top selling non-info products often have a useful life-span of 2 to 4 months before imitators flood market. It’s the on-going debate between filing for IP property protection versus getting onto the shelf or into cyberspace quicker.

    You could copyright the website. The now famous case between Sequoia Capital and ComVentures. Sequoia redesigned their website and copyrighted the site. ComVentures redesigned their website at the same time, and copied a few of the maps and content – trivial stuff, but Sequoia sued ComVentures for infringement.

  131. Henry says:

    In Nigeria, the copy cat is in position 5. You’re in position 2 and the number 1 is news. discovery. com/adventure/survival/top-5-survival-knives. htm.

    With respect to the junk links you received, I suggest you use the Google disavow tool to clean it up.

  132. Robyn Howard says:

    Hi Spencer,

    Thanks for putting this article together. I was wondering about copied content and what should be done if your content is copied and you want it pulled down from another site. What should you do?

  133. Ali says:

    This “copy cat” is the reason that people tend to become very vague when mentioning their business idea/niche. Good job on having a positive outlook.

  134. Great attitude Spencer ! Attitude is everything !

    Thank You for educating me !!

    That selecting the correct Domain Names, Keywords and building tons of strong back Links with relevant great Content, will always prevail well enough so as not to worry about copy-cats !

    Meanwhile you are always upgrading all these attributes on your website !!

    God Bless ! ciao, Johnny

  135. I agree with everyone and well stated Darren Thompson !!

  136. Stephen says:

    Well, after checking out your “competitor’s” site I think we can safely say that good grammar is not weighted very heavily in the algorithm to rank sites.

  137. Nate says:

    Hey Spencer, you can count be among the Pat Flynn converts, but I found your site this month because I’m researching how to do *lasting* SEO, and this post illustrates perfectly what I wanted to know, what I love about niche sites, and what annoys me.

    On the down side, it seems like it’s becoming a bit of a scarcity context. I listened to your podcast about the health of niche sites and the stock of the company that owns eHow, and don’t doubt it’s still a growth industry, but let’s just say it’s no longer an *unexplored resource*.

    The thing a lot of people have been bellyaching about – the continued improvements in algorithms – are actually, to me, a positive sign, because it means that sites like yours (and, hopefully mine) that seek to earn by providing useful content, and which gain valuable links for that reason, will have staying power, while “black hat” sites like your copycat will not. Related, the fact that “negative SEO” is even possible is a hallmark of how far we’ve come.

    I am interested in one thing, and if you don’t have time to respond perhaps your readers will, and that’s where to draw the line between copycat and improvement. I agree a site that adopted your same keyword and ripped off your site design (albeit with far lower quality) is Black Hat.

    What if, however, someone does what I’m trying to do, which is to find a keyword (using LTP – thanks very much;) where there are *existing* sites like your copycat site – with equally low quality content – and try to knock them out of the top ten *not* by copying, but by building an authority site that will actually serve the needs of searchers better than these content farms?

    I’m pretty concerned that my sites be White Hat, but I feel that targeting lazily built sites by building a great site that will serve as a resource for its readers, and using White Hat SEO, should be fair game.

    Any thoughts?

    Thanks for the great posts and can’t wait to work my way through more of them!

  138. Patrick says:

    Spencer,

    Thank you for sharing all this information with us. It is very valuable.

    I can only say: great things or ideas get copied. People copy you because you inspire.Consider it a compliment when people copy your ideas.
    In the end, the copy may interfere some time, but the original is almost always better.

    Although, if I would copy something, I would not just copy it, but also improve it, make it better and add more value.
    Since you are in the making money blogosphere, and you are an Internet celebrity you will always have this problem. That’s why you make 1 site public and keep 10 private :-)

    I am very curious how many people are going to try to beat Pat Flynn with his food truck site…

    Anyway, love your work and your insights and thank you for sharing it

    Patrick

  139. Aliaksandra says:

    I follow Pat Flynn, so I knew about your website through his blog. so today I discovered a copy cat that actually links to this post from his profile! what is wrong with him? I believe that he is trying to promote himself at your expense.
    P.S. I actually didn’t read any of his posts until you mentioned poor quality content.
    “Before we begin I want to emphasize that what follows are just a number of important attributes about Bushcraft knives.” what a shame!

  140. Manu Chavz says:

    Wow, this is a great article, and that’s too bad that your site was copied.

    In the end, the first and original site always keeps on top, like yours did, because you are the one putting in the effort and work into it.

    Plus, you have a very good blog. Props to you and always the best of luck.

  141. Ian says:

    I’ve been building this website i just posted with, for a client. Now i see a penalty, but this is a niche just like your website so hopefully should get over to page 1. now copying a website is one shameful act. The fellow should be crazy.

    one thing that i wanted to mention for your niche site, try a new comments page, this is what i did for this hanuman chalisa site. This should keep your page SEO in good shape, comments would just dramatize the effect of keywords, but maybe not so with your site. feel free to email me, and we can maybe network to use resources mutually.

  142. Jason says:

    You can’t copy awesome people.

  143. Andrew says:

    Hey Spencer, I’m doing some review post at the moment so I wanted to take a look how you compiled yours, so I came across the copycat website and for a moment I was like.. wait ..was it with “BESTsurvivalknife.. or without :)) its a copycat .. and a “good” one and he’s proud about that.. he wants to become a marketing rockstar.. thats nice :)
    well… do you still question yourself where you got your negative SEO from? :)
    He mentions in his blog post his using fever for link building.. I think I know what for :))
    Being original is so hard nowadays.. well, really?!

    And I think you and everybody else learned a lot from this experiment..

    All the best!

    • Spencer Haws says:

      My site is BESTsurvivalknifeguide.com. I have been outranking the copycat for a month or 2 now. I’ve been consistently number 1 or 2 in google, while he is now down at 8 or so.

      • Andrew says:

        I know your website, Spencer, that’s why I’m telling that I was surprised by how much it was copied. I think one o the reason you’re back on the rack is the new Google Authorship. It took Google a bit ti figure out everything but your back. And of course the content quality. Readers for sure spend more time on average on your article comparing to some lower quality stuff.. I noticed myself that after I rewrote one of my articles, the things changed dramatically.Average time on site went from a few seconds for 3 minutes.. Adsense earning went 100% up… Quality content is what sets you up in front of competition.

  144. Fred says:

    Hello Spencer,
    Great analysis by the way. Now you are back on top. Yehh!!!

    My question is, how did you get so many backlinks to your niche site? Are you using any tools for that or is that all manual? Hopefully you do not mind me asking.

    Thanks

  145. Hi Spencer

    I realize I’m late to the party but I just recently discovered your blog and am enjoying and learning much from it.

    Just to let you know I did a short little piece about your post on my BadRiting blog – “You Should Be Smeared With Oil” ;)

    Thanks for everything you’re doing here – you’ve got a new fan!

    Phil

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  147. JB Leep says:

    I was thinking about various ways to partner up with you as others have, of course. Since I am in France, I did a google.fr search for « meilleur couteau de survie » and located http:// couteaudesurvie . info/, which is, of course, a French copy of your website. (Among a bunch of others.)

    Comme on dit, l’imitation est la forme la plus sincère de flatterie.

    Keep up the good work. I have always, in 40 year of entrepreneur work, that you win by providing a better product with better service, which is what you, Spencer, are doing in all aspect of your business.

  148. Morgan says:

    His site seems to be fading slowly away now.

    Not surprising based on what I see on the site.

    http://website.informer.com/survivalknifeguide.net

  149. I just discovered someone’s copied my site too. Their articles are pretty well written, but I can tell there are some phrases they took directly from mine. And my domain was registered in July, their’s in December. Hoping mine holds as the better site in Google’s eyes!

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