July 12, 2008

Blogging Tip #7: Increasing Search Traffic With HitTail

I have been using HitTail on this blog for over a year now for long tail keyword data, and I have found it a very useful method for increasing search engine traffic. This tip focuses on how to use HitTail for this purpose. Don't worry if some of these terms are new to you - it is much simpler than it sounds.

HitTail is a long tail keyword marketing tool. Huh? Think of it this way: HitTail helps you tailor your post content in such a way that you are better positioned to attract traffic from search engines like Google. According to the HitTail website,
HitTail reveals in real-time the least utilized, most promising keywords hidden in the Long Tail of your natural search results. We present these terms to you as writing suggestions that, when used as the topic of new site content or blog posts, can boost the natural search results of your site. It's that simple.
HitTail shows you in real time the search terms that are bringing people to your blog, extracts the underperforming keywords, and presents them to you as suggestions for future post topics. If you utilize these topic suggestions, you attract more readers from search engines. You can certainly read more about what HitTail does on their site if you are interested, but I am going to move on. You really do not need to understand the ins and outs of what it does to benefit.

Like many tracking tools, HitTail needs to be up and running on your blog for awhile before you'll get much out of it. I would recommend installing it and then forgetting about it for at least a couple weeks, but this will depend on the sort of traffic you are getting. On high traffic blogs, it won't take that long. On lower traffic blogs, you might need a month.

After some time has passed, log in to your HitTail account. The Search Hits tab will be active, and this is where you see real time incoming traffic. If you click on the Keywords tab, you'll see the search terms that are bringing visitors from search engines to your blog. But the tab we care most about is the Suggestions tab. This is where HitTail is displaying those underperforming keywords that you should consider including in your posts. Not only can this help to improve your traffic from search engines, but the suggestions can provide you with some good post ideas.

Time for one final suggestion. If you are going to use HitTail, you want to be able to evaluate whether it is actually increasing your search engine traffic, right? If you've been using Google Analytics to track your hits, this is easy. At the lower left corner of the View Reports screen, you'll see a pie graph in which you can see how your traffic from search engines compares to that direct traffic and referring sites. To evaluate how HitTail is working, jot down the number of hits from search engine traffic. This will give you a baseline against which you can compare the same number after a month or so of using HitTail. Just remember that HitTail doesn't do the work for you - it merely offers suggestions which you still need to utilize.

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