Why is the visibility of competitors on Google increasing?

Jacek SmogurJacek Smogur
Published: 25.09.2019
9 minute
There are times when your competitors’ visibility for keyword phrases in Google suddenly increases, and your rival runs far ahead. Already with the basic version of Senuto you can easily check the increases or decreases of competing domains, and sometimes draw conclusions about their causes. You will also prepare a simple strategy based on the principle of “do as others do, only better.” After all, as Napoleon used to say, “the world’s greatest speaker is success.” In this case, it will be the success of the competition. .

Why the confusion – the reasons for the jump in visibility of competitors on Google

. . There can be many reasons for sudden ups and downs in the visibility of competitor sites. It is often difficult to classify them without following them closely and regularly. Moreover, drawing conclusions often requires a multi-faceted analysis. This in turn often needs to be supported by at least some residual external information, such as merging company policies or the introduction of a new global service. To identify other reasons for sudden increases, a simple visit to the site is enough. . The invisible hand of the market, however, can often be spotted with the right tools, basic data analysis and logical thinking. Senuto will help not only to observe changes in the visibility of competitors, but also to discover their causes. .
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Algorithm changes

. It hasn’t been known for a long time that “updates to Google’s algorithm are made almost daily“. Of course, these are usually minor changes, while sometimes a year there is a larger update that creates more confusion. Perhaps the most notorious recent changes were introduced by the so-called Medical Update, which shook up the broader health portals last year. . On the one hand, it caused huge drops in popular portals, on the other cascading increases in the visibility of some competitors’ sites. Although it’s been more than a year since the algorithm modification, and Google has made a number of adjustments, it’s still a textbook example of how big changes in visibility, and thus domain traffic, can cause a “factor from above.” . The quickest way to find out about Google’s algorithm changes is to watch foreign industry portals like Search Engine Journal or Search Engine Land. Social media sites like, for example, the Polish group SEO/SEM Poland, as well as Google’s official Twitter profiles like Google Webmasters can also be sources of information. . Also, thanks to Senuto w you can check for recent algorithm changes dedicated to specific industries. You can do this by comparing several thematically similar domains or thanks to the visibility ranking option, which will show you which sites have gained and which have lost recently. If, on the other hand, you want to see if a wider number of domains have been affected by the changes, you will find the Changes in Search Engine report helpful. There you will see how the search results changed from day to day and whether a larger number of domains recorded sharp increases or decreases during the period under review. You can read more about the functionality of this tool in a neatly described guide. Search Engine Changes report. (Source: app.senuto.com)

Effect of Medical Update on domainKnownLekarz.pl

.     Often changes in the algorithm can be detected easily by comparing the visibility of competitors in the same industry. In Senuto, all you need to do is in Visibility Analysis add an additional domain you want to compare against.

Effect of March update action on art domains your-art.pl and swiat-obrazow.pl


Merger of two domains

. . Consolidation of two domains is a guarantee of swirling visibility. In this case, domain A, in whole or in part, is redirected to domain B. The entire domain, meaning all addresses, or part of it – specific categories, products, blog posts, etc. – can be transferred. Most often, a domain merger occurs when one entity is taken over by another. . A drop in visibility for the top 3 and top 10 phrases of domain A caused by a redirect to domain B will not reflect in a 1:1 ratio on the increase in visibility of those phrases for domain B. There are many reasons for this: such as whether the redirects were done correctly, whether they lead to a counterpart with similar or identical content, whether the sub-pages to which the redirects lead are properly optimized, etc. . The combination of domains can therefore often explain both sudden increases and decreases in visibility. Of course, conclusions will depend on the specific case. . Often you have to dig a little deeper for information on the connections of specific domains. Information about a merger or combination of limited liability companies can be found, for example, in the National Court Register . . We can verify the changes in the simplest possible way – by visiting the domain of the absorbed brand. Most often we will be immediately redirected to the new portal or be informed of the changes.   Senuto, on the other hand, will show whether a competitor has gained or lost from a domain merger. All you have to do is in the Visibility Analysis add a second domain and analyze the resulting graphs..

Santander’s acquisition of BZWBK – redirecting the entire domain from bzwbk.pl to santander.pl

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Saturn and Media Markt merger – sub-page redirect with Landing Page left at saturn.co.uk


Transfer from subdomain to main domain

. . Migrating from a subdomain to a root domain can cause sudden jumps in visibility in tools. An analogous situation can occur if you move a subdomain to a subpage or vice versa, which is often the case with stores or blogs – website.com/store and website.com/blog.

Transferring the store from the subdomain sklep.tribecco.pl to the head domain tribecco.pl

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Service owned by a major brand

. . Large brand sites are governed by their own rules. Scale of operations, brand recognition, regularly expanded assortment, activities in traditional media – all this makes the really big players grow regularly from the first days. . Growing visibility also translates into new domain associated with the main brand. The impact of brand recognition on a new service can cause a surge in visibility from the first days of operation in the market.

Intensive increase in visibility of lidl-sklep.pl domain from the moment of indexation:

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Significant website redesign or SEO optimization

. . Under this term can be explained any changes carried out in the template and sub-page structure, drastically increasing the amount of content on categories or blog, speeding up the site, UX improvements, implementing newer technology. In a word: optimization. . While usually a significant redesign of a site is associated with a high probability of periodic declines, massive content publishing – assuming it is of high quality – most often sees significant increases in the short term. . If we follow the competition and notice changes on the site, the visibility of the competition can be verified in the Senuto Visibility Analysis how the modifications have translated into the visibility of the controlled domain. .

Traditional media advertising campaign

. . It’s a bit of a slippery subject, because you’d be hard-pressed to find a marketing company that currently runs advertising campaigns without considering the Internet. So it’s hard to study the direct correlation of such activities solely on online visibility. However, it is possible to draw some conclusions based on residual information. . The impact of a traditional media advertising campaign can best be seen by the increase in domain visibility for branded queries. With the Positions and using the “Keywords” filter, you can analyze what percentage of the overall visibility is accounted for by phrases that include the company’s branding.

Applying the Keywords filter for the lidl.pl domain to extract phrases containing the phrase “lidl”


Other reasons for increased competitive visibility on Google

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Expanding your offerings

. . Introducing new products or creating additional categories and describing them extensively are common reasons for surges in organic visibility. . If you’re familiar with a competitor and their offerings, the fastest way to check changes is to visit their site, while you’ll get more data using the Growths/Declines report. With Senuto, you’ll learn specific data on the phrases for which a competing domain has gained or lost visibility in recent weeks. You may also find the Daily History and Monthly History charts useful to see when a site gained visibility for a specific phrase. .
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Putting a blog on the site

. . Although the trend of having a dedicated blog is a good few years old, there are still many stores that are not taking advantage of the potential it brings. Starting a blog post page and publishing articles most often results in a big boost in visibility, especially for phrases from the long tail. . Of course, as in any case, much depends on the quality of the content itself, size, optimization, etc. Nevertheless, the introduction of a blog on the site may explain why the competition has rapidly “bounced back” in the charts. .

Why is the visibility of competitors on Google increasing? Summary

. As the well-known slogan goes, “competition doesn’t sleep.” Such an explanation, however, will not convince any customer who is losing his own money by the increase in the visibility of competitors. So it is worth reaching out to Senuto not only for monitoring or selecting new phrases, but also to use this tool for simple analysis and preparation of a counter strategy to catch up with the opponent. . Of course, the examples presented are just the tip of the iceberg, and there can be many more reasons for sudden increases such as acquiring strong links or changing web hosts, etc.    
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Jacek Smogur

Jacek 5 lat temu zaczął przygodę w małej agencji SEO jako pozycjoner, a od 2019 roku pracuje jako Specjalista SEO w Verseo. Z czasem wkroczył również na szerokie wody środowiska reklamowego Google Ads i w obu tematach czuje się obecnie komfortowo.

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