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Case Study – Keyword Research For Penguin Penalized Site

Keyword Research

In my previous post Recovering a Penguin Penalized Site, I talked about how to do a backlinks audit of your site and also how to disavow all the hacked links. Today I am going to show you how to do keyword research for a local business.

Keyword Research Process

This is a local business website with a lot of competitors. By default, everyone will be following the same process as mine by using Google Keyword Planner to research the main keywords. After that you can use a longtail keyword tool such as power suggest pro to go for more longtail keywords.

There is nothing wrong with this keyword research process, but actually there is a disadvantage in this process. You won’t know which keywords you are targeting will give you the leads or sales until you rank top 5 in Google.

Most of the time if you do a lot of keyword researches for a local business, you can roughly know which keywords will give you the sales and leads. What happened if you need to make sure the keywords you are targeting will give you the sales?

Reverse Keyword Research

Reverse Keyword Research Process

By default, Google Keyword Planner is able to reverse your competitors’ keywords, but it won’t release the whole data to you!

Reverse Keyword Research Process 1

Go to Google Keyword Planner, then enter your competitor’s URL on ‘Your landing page’. Remember to select the country you want to target.

Reverse Keyword Research Process 2The next step is select ‘Keyword ideas’. Do you notice that your competitor might be ranking high in 993 keywords found on this site. Google Keyword Planner only shows you the keywords, but it won’t show you the ranking or search impression.

If you think this is good enough, you are wrong. Let me show you how to reverse your competitor’s site to see what is ranking for them.

Reverse Competitor Keywords & Ranking

SEMrush is created by SEO/SEM professionals for SEO/SEM professionals. By using this tool, you will be able to :

See competitors’ best keywords
Discover new organic competitors
Observe position changes of domains

semrush example

Try to use this example website (, we know the site had an increase of 39% search traffic. Now let’s click on Organic research to see their keywords.

semrush example1

SEMrush reported that the site is ranking for 70 keywords and the number 1 keyword is serviced office is driving 20% of their search traffic and the CPC (click per cost on adwords) is $16.12 per click. By looking at $16.12 per click we know that based on adwords people are bidding for that keyword. This prove that the keywords is driving sales or leads to them if not the price won’t be $16.12 per click.

By using SEMrush, you will be able to reverse your competitor keywords and also look out for more longtail keywords in which your competitors is ranking that might interest you.

So I had done the reverse engineering keyword in my case and this is my current ranking. I will be targeting 22 keywords for this case study!

current ranking

The tool I am currently using to track my ranking is It is a quite accurate tool to report the ranking.

For the next update on Case Study – Recovering a Penguin Penalized Site, I will talk more about backlink strategy. Stay tuned.


    Hey Joseph,

    Nice reading this tutorial about how to do keyword research for penguin penalized site on your blog

    I have been able to learn from this detailed and explanatory tutorial.

    I will apply this strategy to one blog that was penalized few months ago.

    Take care and have a nice day ahead.

    -Oloyede Jamiu

  • wkhojoseph

    Hey Jamiu,

    Thank you for the drop by! More tutorial like this will be posted soon!

  • Mervyn Smallwood

    Thanks for this. I’ve only been using Google AdWords Planner up until now. This has shown me how other keyword research tools can help me get more accurate information. Thanks also for sharing with us what tools you are using.

  • wkhojoseph

    Hi Mervyn,

    Thank you for dropping by. Yes this new process of mine will let you get more accurate data of which keywords worth the time and money.