Impact of site cloning on original web site

This post right here is probably the whole reason why I made all together, along with the fact I was going bonkers with “SEO experts” telling me that my site is the problem. No, it is not. They also sent me the following tweet and article, more then a few times:

Quote of Gary Illyes, google employee

No, that is NOT an issue. Clone / mirror site is definitely different and bigger than someone scraping few articles and few photos of your site, and it needs to be addressed as a different problem.

Also, from what I’ve experienced and observed, clone web sites will rarely get enough strength to actually rank better than the original site. Very rarely. True problem with full site clones is the fact that apparently, all content gets devalued and lost in cyberspace and original site sinks in the sea of web spam that clone sites have created. I would go as far as to say that clone sites are the best method of a negative seo attack that can be done.

The real issue is super simple – when your site gets cloned, it actually fails SEO step #1 – it is not an original anymore, and google detects it.

Since I’m using one of my sites as case study for this, I would just like to list a few facts about it, to avoid potential questions:

  • my site features original content, written by me and only me
  • my site is in fluent English, and I’d dare to say it has LOTS of it – thousands and thousands of sentences, tags, titles, headings, media..
  • my site never participated in any kind of link scheme or bought links
  • my site never received any kind of a manual action via google webmaster console
  • my site content cannot be classified as thin, not by a long shot
  • my site was not and is not heavy with advertisement, not by a long shot
  • my site users are actually very happy with the site, so user experience is definitely good
  • believe it or not, I’m not a newbie webmaster and I actually know how to make quality websites
  • my site is currently down from stable 10 000 google visitors (per day, and was growing), to roughly 500 or so, mostly brand name searches (per day)

There is one thing I do agree with those “SEO experts” – my site definitely suffers from some kind of algorithmic penalty, or as someone said – it is a quality issue.
Well, can’t argue that. It is a quality issue when your content goes from original to being present on xy clone sites. Of course it is a quality issue when you’re showing what several other sites have.

Problem is, with google neglecting the existence of this problem – this quality issue is unsolvable. There is NO WAY to actually report the clone of your website and have it removed from google index, and your content re-evaluated. While I’m typing this, I have around 50 000 or more of my pages indexed on various clone sites.

Fun fact #1 – First time I shut down a full clone of one of my sites was back in early months of 2015. Today, 2017, that clone site is down for almost two full years. I did a quick site: query on that domain and it STILL shows a solid number of MY pages, spoofed and indexed under it’s name. I wish I was kidding. Of course, I can’t even file a DMCA report for those pages, because I will get an answer from Google DMCA team that: “Upon recent review of the following URLs, we were unable to locate the content in question:

Fun fact #2– After explaining this whole clone issue, one so called SEO expert advised me (without actually bothering to visit my website), that I should work on improving the quality of my content, to improve it’s rank in google. – Do I even need to elaborate how pointless that is, considering that MY CONTENT IS MIRRORED IN REAL TIME on the clone websites as well? I’ll even explain it, in case it still isn’t clear: every sentence I write, every photo I add, everything gets instantly displayed on the clone site as well, as soon as I do it on my site, and of course, it all gets picked up by googlebot and indexed in google. My content becomes copied / duplicate / spam content from the second it is created

To summarize, and to give my final thought on the issue:
If google is seriously dedicated to quality and to fighting web spam, they need to address the issue of indexing entire site copies and dropping the value of originals, or at very least, provide some tool of assistance to affected webmasters (possibility to report such sites and have them de-indexed would definitely be the first step).



I will probably be adding more and expanding some articles on this site. All you see at this moment – is written today (24th November, 2017), typed from scratch as it came. Didn’t do a grammar or typo check so ignore any as you run into it. Stay tuned for more 🙂

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