Keyword Tool

SEO Tools Apr 6, 2007

It’s undeniable. Keyword tools are everywhere, and everyone’s spinning their own version and working them into their pay-per-click campaign marketing dashboards. Third party tools harvest keywords from second-tier search sites, such as InfoSpace’s WebCrawler. First-party tools incorporate Yahoo results into Panama and Google results into the AdSense fetures–known as keyword inventory tools, with the added bonus of reporting keyword traffic stats and monetary value. And some keyword tools even do their own crawls, harvesting keywords off of competitor’s sites, search results, APIs, or yank them right out of the datastream, in cooperation with participating ISPs.

Yes, there are unlimited numbers of ways to come up with keyword lists to help with your natural and paid search campaigns.

But we like ours.

It’s simplistic in its conception, to the point of strange.

Yet it’s effective in practice, to the point of unfair.

And that technique is harvesting keywords right from your website’s own logfiles. But instead of merely pulling “the long keyword list” as so many analytics products allow, we pair down the list with at least two passes, so you don’t have to.

And for anyone whose done serious keyword research, you can appreciate how much time this saves you. You get YOUR BEST LIST of keywords to target before you even export anything to Excel.

Think about that for a minute.

If you don’t get it, forward the link to this article to someone in online marketing who you trust, who you think might get it. Ask them how creative and time-saving they thing this is. Ask them how it might improve your online marketing campaigns, and indeed, your life–by giving you time back for your families, hobbies and friends. Think how it could make your boss love you, those around you admire you, and take you one tiny step closer to being indispensable.

Exactly HOW does this radically different keyword research work flow happen?

We take the precious time that keyword geeks are flushing down the toilet by saving all their log files forever, running complex Regular Expression matches against them, ensuring that the work it suggests isn’t duplicating work you’ve already done–and we distill it all down to one little Suggestions tab.

That’s a long way of saying: “We tell you what to write about.”

When the story of HitTail first broke, co-founder of Wired Magazine, John Battelle, was a little dubious about this “telling you what to write about stuff”. And what good editor and writer wouldn’t be? It sounds like one more spam-promoting tool to shift even more power into the hands of disingenuous bloggers just making a traffic-grab to increase their AdSense beer money.

But we held firm, by not creating an API that would allow spam-mash-ups. We held firm, by teaching our users about quality and distinctive online voices resulting in long-term reputations. We held firm by practicing HitTailing ourselves, demonstrating how just because you know you’re going to get the traffic by mere virtue of smart headline selection, doesn’t mean you can fill a page with garbage. We held firm by positioning it as a tool for reputable bloggers and small to medium sized businesses (SMBs) striving to get and keep customers directly, instead of yet-another-SEO-tool for AdSensers.

So here we are, as the one keyword tool that consistently gets mentioned side-by-side with Google Analytics as the one must-have piece of tracking code. If you’re only going to run two things to help improve your website, then those two things should be Google Analytics and HitTail. And that only makes sense, because would Google ever provide you a keyword tool that would increase your natural search performance, and bring down the cost of your AdWords campaigns?

Of course not.

One response
  1. Anonymous

    Hello Mike,
    Doesn’t HitTail also report visits that are the result of a pay per click ad? If so, it seems that the data we see on HitTail is a little skewed. Any advice on how to make the best of it?

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