Review: HitTail - learn about your long tail and get more search engine trafficWay back in late 2007 I discovered an innovative tool called HitTail which impressed me so much I wrote an article about it. It was in its infancy but a superb tool for bloggers - who were an influencial emerging demographic at the time. Now, 4 and a half years later it has changed owners and is seemingly better than ever, so they've been in touch asking for a review.
What is HitTail?
It's an analytics tool primarily but while things like Google Analytics give you a broad overview of how the site is performing across dozens of metrics, HitTail focuses on one particular element with a single objective.
HitTail intends to show you the long-tail for your website, in order to help you understand key topics you should write more about.Confused? Let me rewind a bit.
Popular keyphrases vs. the long tail
HitTail (HT) tracks and analyses all the keywords and keyphrases which have led your visitors to you, but while most tools focus primarily on the most popular terms HT tries to show you something else. Consider the concept of "keywords" as an iceberg. The popular keyphrases are the most visible bit, the one that everyone pays attention to, whereas the majority of the mass is under the water - this is the long tail.
It's the recognition that people use a lot of different words to reach the same content, so phrasing changes and the vocabulary used is really varied. You might receive 40% of your traffic from the top 10 phrases on your site, but that's still 60% coming from less obvious ones. HitTail tries to help you visualise what these are.
On Seopher.com HitTail showed that the top ten keywords were 26.1% of all search traffic, while the long tail was the other 73.9%. Obviously worth considering then.
The app shows you a full visualisation of the top 350 keywords:
But it then follows with the disclaimer:
Don't misunderstand this chart; your useful long tail terms begin where this chart leaves off!
Keywords are impossible to manage in a long list like this one; that's what the entire HitTail site is based on. That's why we developed our algorithm, to pull out the keywords that matter and put them into your suggestions tab, helping you spend your time most effectively.
We present this chart only to make the point about the relationship of your "head" keywords to your tail.
There's another tab for your keywords, where you can see a full paginated view of the keyphrases people have used to find your site.
On this page you can click on a keyphrase to move it to your "suggestions".
What the algorithm does well is analyse which combinations of words are appearing in the long tail with the most frequency, these are then "suggested" to you. A suggestion is it's way of telling you that by writing a piece of content specifically about this subject you'll attract more direct search traffic.
Clicking on a suggestion moves it to your "to-do" list - which is, rather obviously, a list of keyphrases you are yet to turn into an article.
One-click Purchasing of Articles
Something I think is a wonderful concept is the addition of this "order" functionality on the suggestions page. Working under the premise that not all writers have the time to generate meaningful posts about topics flagged by this system, you can click on the "order" button to commission a copywriter.
The turnaround for this is 2-3 days for about 400 words at a cost of only $19 USD. Hardly breaking the bank is it?
I love this tool. I'm a firm believer in doing one thing well rather than many things poorly and that's exactly what HitTail embodies. It does one thing very well indeed. It not only helps identify ways for you to get more natural search traffic but potentially helps you overcome some writers block.
Packages start at only $9.95 per month for a service that I've not seen offered as capably anywhere else. There's no contract, you can cancel whenever you like and there's a 30-day free trial, so what have you got to lose? Visit HitTail and see what you think.
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