Why Does Neil Patel Steal Content and Is it Unethical (or Bad for SEO?)

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Updated June 7, 2018
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Why Does Neil Patel Steal Content and Is it Unethical (or Bad for SEO?)


Tim Brown

Tim Brown is the owner of Hook Agency, and strategic marketer focused primarily on driving traffic and leads for small businesses and construction companies.

Have you ever had your content stolen by Neil Patel?

Are you curious what the SEO or ethical implications are for stealing content?

I have first-hand experience with having my content ‘stolen’ by Neil Patel – but I wasn’t as angry as some of the folks in the tweets below – I’ll tell you why I wasn’t angry, and what other content thieves might be getting out of these kind of shenanigans.

I recently ran across this tweet from Alex Birkett – who I think was more than just a little curious about what content process Neil Patel’s content team goes through in it’s content factory. (No one care’s how the meat is made until they realize one of their toes is gone – or in this case ranking for something you were were ranking for – using your content.)

Some people took the ‘badge of honor’ thing and ran with it:

 

But likely – it’s not actually Neil Patel himself as Peep Laja of Conversion XL alludes to:

 

It’s hard not think this isn’t part of the culture he’s creating though at his agency / and on his website – even if he didn’t write it himself, based his emphasis on stealing:

 

 

So is Neil Patel just addicted to the promotion he receives from outrage?

He doesn’t seem to be bothered much by a bunch of other marketers tweeting at him – commenting on his promoted Facebook posts, and other things we throw at him.

My experience having Neil Patel ‘steal’ my content

I recently saw a backlink from Neil Patel come through on my site – and found my image being used from my ‘SEO Graphs for 2018‘ post (we were branded as Tim B Design last year) – but I’ll tell you why I wasn’t outraged…

 

Neil Patel Steals Content

 

I put it up there to attract use, and backlinks!

So let’s separate this kind of stealing – from the kind that attracted the general mistrust and anger from SEO experts on Twitter above. Does real content stealing, screenshot use etc – 1. Is it ethical. 2. Does it mess up your SEO. 3. Does it mess up your brand reputation.

1. Is it ethical?

Probably not. Any time a large group of people agree that your going beyond the ‘established norms of content recycling’ – as in your not just using a few stats or studies – you’re copying the whole tone, trajectory and take-aways from someone else.

That being said – I’m a firm believer that ‘everything is a remix’ so if it’s not quite so gratuitous we need to recognize ‘are our ideas really THAT original to begin with?’

2. Does it mess with your SEO?

Duplicate content can hamper your SEO efforts – and most sites that are posting duplicate content are not really benefitting much from it anyway, they just want to look smart. There is pretty good evidence that in small amounts copy that’s been posted on two different sites, can receive more Google attention on the more established site in some cases, even if it wasn’t the first to post it. So thus – the conundrum with Neil Patel stealing content.

It probably doesn’t hurt him much at all from an SEO perspective, especially where the content is ‘remixed’, and Google really doesn’t seem to care at all about images being re-used on a different site – from my observations that never seems to affect rank negatively AT ALL.

But does that mean if you have an authoritative site, and you steal content from a site with less authority you get off scott-free? No – which brings me to my last question:

3. Does it mess up your brand reputation?

Unequivocally yes. 

Although Neil Patel is probably not promoting to dyed in the wool SEO experts- (he seems rather to be promoting more entreprenuers, wantrepreneurs and marketing generalists with the types of content he puts out on average), these SEO experts can poison the well for him being as proliferated as he might like.

His bread and butter – products and services may be used by those other than the ones criticizing him above – but the wide variety of SEO experts (one might even say influencers) I see panning this ‘copy + paste + modify’ content approach would suggest his short-term gain may be lead to a long-term negative effect.

If you believe controversy leads to visibility – and visibility leads to fame and fame at all costs is a solid strategy…. perhaps this content copying Neil’s team does makes sense.

I think overall though – he’ll want to make sure he doesn’t piss off the folks he’ll be speaking at conferences alongside – lest he’s relegated to the same genre as Tai Lopez. Who’s approach I’m sure is lucrative – it’s just very… lame.

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Tim Brown

Tim Brown is the owner of Hook Agency, and strategic marketer focused primarily on driving traffic and leads for small businesses and construction companies.

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