A site called StomperNet has recently been sending a boatload of people my way, and when I went to investigate, I discovered a website run by Andy Jenkins and Brad Fallon, two old salts from the SEO community. It looks like their thing these days is seminars and a forum about building and promoting websites. They graciously granted me access to the forum to see the HitTail discussion, where I once again encountered none other than Dave Taylor singing our praises. Let me reiterate my thanks to Dave as a major advocate, and thanks to the StomperNet community. Anyway, this post is mostly about sharing some of my answers that I provided in those forums with the whole world.
> I am trying to figure out – is this much different from the info you can get from Google Analytics?
There’s a few things that make HitTail keyword tool different. I could probably write forever on it, since it is very philosophical. Specifically, if keywords are not deemed to be valuable sources of suggestions, then we don’t record it. But in a nutshell…
1. HitTail records fewer or different keywords than Google Analytics because HitTail only records the first hit of a session. This has the result of filtering out all the search, click, search, click activity that come from both the site owner doing tests and competitors (you know what I mean). This makes HitTail keyword lists a truer picture of the real keyword “life” of a website.
2. HitTail only records each keyword from each source once. Therefore, once it records “blue widgets” from www.google.com, it will never record it again. It may record it from Google India or Sweden–but not .com. This results in a keyword radar system where everything shown is a new and important event on your website, and the overall keyword activity on your site appears to go down. If you see a new keyword appear, it’s the first time it EVER led to your site since you turned on tracking. This makes HitTail’s signal to noise ratio excellent.
3. If a keyword doesn’t look like it’s going to be useful for finding new “pay-dirt” terms, then HitTail doesn’t record it at all. This includes very long phrases, like with 7+ words. The likelihood of such an exact phrase occurring again is negligible, and certainly nothing you would like to optimize on. Similarly, if the keyword is too short (competitive), like one word, HitTail won’t record it.
So there you have it. HitTail doesn’t attempt to record everything, but instead tries to distill it down to just what’s most important for optimization in a way that “gets into the minds” of your genuine prospective customers and audience.