I already have an authority site, so that helped, but I was able to figure out early on that there was an online controversy brewing about what was going to happen with the asteroid. Would it hit the planet or not? Legitimate researchers knew that it wasn't going to hit, but I also knew there would be people trying to freak out the public.
We wrote a series of articles debunking the myths and providing legitimate information about the close pass. I also targeted a huge number of keywords that I knew people would be searching for.
How did I do that?
I used a template. Another object that had caused a similar freakout a couple of years ago. I knew all the keywords people used to search for the previous asteroid, and so I used them for the new one.
You can do the same thing. If you want to know what people are going to be searching for in the 2012 Olympics, just look at what they searched for during the 2008 Olympics. You're going to see a predictable set of queries.
And when the next asteroid makes its Earth flyby, which it will, I'll be ready.