So, you checked your rankings this morning, and much to your horror, you’ve taken quite a hit from the Google Penguin update.
What your reaction was: “*spits out coffee* NOOOOOOOOOO!!!”
What your reaction should have been: “Sweet. How can I use this?”
That’s right. Now is the time to jump in, and use this to your advantage. Thinking in terms of your own websites and products is very linear, and you’re forgetting an extremely important and relevant point: If this happened to you, it happened to your competitors too. I’ll give you a second to clean up that spilled coffee, and let this sink in.
Remember: you have an advantage. You use SEOquake, and you probably use a tool like SEMrush. I use SEMrush, of course, so I’ll frame the discussion with examples from there.
The first thing I need to do is hop on SEMrush, and take stock of where everyone stands, pre-update. I’m going to export everything. Specifically, all of the organic keywords and all of the Adwords keywords for all of my competitors. I already know where I rank, of course, so that’s a moot point. Now, I have a documented and preserved roadmap of the status-quo, pre-Penguin update.
Next, I’m going to wait for SEMrush to refresh. This is going to happen in the next several days. Once it does, I’m going to go through all of my competitors, and export all of the new data. Now, I’m already going to start seeing a few holes. Someone once ranked for an important keyword, and now they no longer do. I might as well have just heard a cash register ring, and I’m going to jump on that keyword with reckless abandon. I’m going to do this to every relevant keyword I find that my competitors lost. I am now pulling ahead in this race.
Speaking of race, though – SEO strategy is not a sprint. It’s a marathon, and I’ve got to keep going because my work is far from finished. I still have much more I can glean from my SEOquake and SEMrush induced advantage. I’m going to wait for the SEMrush database to update again, and repeat the above process. And once it does, I have an even bigger arsenal of information giving me an enormous advantage over all of my competition. It’s rather simple, really:
- There will be even more holes, as the full impact of the update will in effect. Your competitors will likely be tripping over themselves trying to get a grasp of what’s going on. They’ll be handling this in a reactionary manner, while you are handling it proactively and using it to your advantage.
- You’ll be able to see which keywords they are fighting to get back. These will be the keywords most important to them, and the keywords you can focus on beating them on. If they ranked 1 for a keyword pre-update, 20 for it post update, and now are up to 15 – it’s a safe bet that they are spending time and resources to fight back in the rankings for it. You had the jump on it, though, because you watched this all unfold – you can just apply a little more pressure to stay ahead.
- You can look at keywords that fell from organic rankings for your competitors, and they have now poured money into Adwords advertising on. These keywords mean a lot of money to your competitors, and thus they should to you as well.
Yes, I know what your question is at this point. I saw your metaphorical hand raised. “Aren’t my competitors doing this, too?” Yes, they are, and that’s why you need to get on this ASAP. Unless you’re marketing ice cream in Antarctica, your competitors aren’t stupid. Heck, they might even be using the same tools as you are. That’s why it’s important to start now, get a grasp of what’s going on, and start planning your next steps. If you don’t have a competitive research tool, it’s time to look into one. I know I’m biased, but SEMrush not only has the largest, most accurate and most up-to-date database, but you can even get started for free. Just head over to SEMrush.com and click “Register Free” in the top left corner.
It’s not about fighting change – it’s about using change to your advantage.