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HitTail is unique when it comes to keyword tools. Instead of giving you a search box to find new keywords to optimize for like most keyword tools do (think Google Keyword Planner, WordTracker, Keyword Discovery, etc.), HitTail analyzes your existing website traffic (using a little script or plugin you install on your website) and automatically suggests keywords it thinks you have a good chance at ranking for. It even claims to be able to show you the “not provided” keywords hidden in Google Analytics. How good is HitTail really? Find out in our review. We’ll give you the low-down on the pros, cons, and pricing plans available through HitTail so you can determine if they will help your traffic grow.
How Does HitTail Work?
The key concept behind HitTail is that it helps you find keywords based on your existing website traffic. Most of the time these will be long tail (ie. highly specific) keywords that people are searching for and reaching your site with but that don’t have much competition and that you could rank higher for by simply publishing a post with those keywords as the focus for the topic. How does it do this? Hit Tail syncs up with your Google Webmaster Tools account and imports your keywords from there. It then uses its proprietary algorithm to find the “low hanging fruit”, or long tail searches with extremely low competition, that you should be able to rank for quite easily.
A Way to Get Around “Not Provided” in Google Analytics?
Hit Tail claims to be able to get around the “not provided” keyword reporting limitation in Google Analytics. What is this? Once web browsers implemented the “Do Not Track” protocol, users were given the option to have their web activity, including keyword searches, hidden from services such as Google Analytics. This became the default setting in some browsers, at which point the majority of keyword data in Google (up to 90% or more) became “not provided,” thereby severely limiting the data sample accessible to webmasters.
Webmaster Tools, on the other hand, does capture these keywords, but without vital information such as referral sources and conversion tracking that Google Analytics provides. HitTail is attempting to fill this gap by importing Webmaster Tools (WM Tools) keywords, keeping them indefinitely (with Webmaster Tools, your keyword data is only stored for 90 days), and analyzing them to help you find potentially profitable niches.
Another way around the 90 day keyword storage limitation and the 48 hour reporting delay in WM Tools is to sign up for SerpBook, analytics software that tracks the ranking for keywords you specify and stores the data indefinitely (prices start at $5/month). You can view charts and see ranking positions for the major search engines (Google, Yahoo, Bing), and you can plug in data on your competitors. Reporting is in near real-time (15 minute delay), so you can spot hits to your top ranking positions almost immediately.
How Good Are HitTail’s Keyword Suggestions?
HitTail will use your WM Tools data to provide keyword suggestions it feels are high search/ low competition (the more stars, the more promising the keyword according to Hit Tail). Our experience with this part of the service is that while some of the keywords are useful, there’s also a lot of junk you’ll need to sift through, including keywords you’ve already addressed. Numbers we wish they provided side-by-side in this interface is the average monthly search volume of the keyword from Google Keyword Planner, as well as your ranking position from Webmaster Tools. You can also dig your own suggestions out of WM Tools for free- we recommend going down to some of your lower impression, highly specific long tail keywords and seeing where you rank. Usually addressing a low competition keyword phrase with a quick article or forum topic can boost your ranking position quickly. One potential advantage of HitTail over this approach is that it also includes Google search data from around the globe, as well as other major search engines. And – it stores your keywords indefinitely, whereas WM Tools only stores your data for a rolling 90 days.
How Useful is Long Tail Keyword Data?
Long Tail keywords are more specific and therefore generally have less competition. While these keywords individually have less searches, in aggregate they can add up to as many or more searches as a more general keyword phrase with more competition. For example, with this article we are targeting the keywords “HitTail Review.” These are more long tail than “HitTail” (which has more searches but is also a lot more competitive), but less longtail than “HitTail Review 2014.” While it might be easiest to rank for the latter, that term is so specific and niche that it’s not searched for enough times to warrant an article (and there’s the fact that that particular example uses a time sensitive keyword (2014), and traffic may drop significantly after that year). Further, a collection of long tail keywords can actually help your tougher to rank for keywords rank better (because the search engines see you as being an authority on the topic, since you’ve written so much about it).
So we know long tail keywords can be powerful. But how useful is HitTail in this regard? Here’s an example of what you can see:
In orange you see your top ten keywords, and in green your long tail keywords. This is aggregate data collected since you opened your HitTail account.
HitTail Installation and Setup
Setting up HitTail is very easy. You sign up for an account and then simply install a tracking script (code snippet) on your website so HitTail can gather your keywords. If you’re on WordPress, there’s a plugin that makes this even easier.The interface is extremely user friendly. You can see a listing of your suggested keywords, mark them as acknowledged, or move them into a “To Do” basket.
HitTail Professional Writing Program
HitTail also has a professional writing service where you can get a 400 word article on the keyword in your basket for $19. How good is the article quality? Not bad we’ve found. It’s unique and original content. It’s important that you give clear guidelines however as to what you want, and don’t expect in-depth research to happen. This is more for simple, short, surface level type writing (long tail articles typically won’t be long and detailed anyways).
Okay, how much does HitTail cost? Below is a table of their pricing plans. The amount you pay actually depends on your website traffic as well, something that they don’t mention (but I’ve included in our table below). If you exceed a certain number of unique visitors per month, you will be automatically upgraded (they do give you a grace period of one month however, in case you decide you don’t want to pay extra).
HitTail Pricing Table
|Monthly unique visitors allowed *||4,000||10,000||30,000||80,000|
|Google keyword imports|
|Supports all languages|
|One-click custom articles|
|Export keyword data to Excel|
|Email alerts for keyword suggestions|
* The cost for unique visitors above 80,000 is $9.95/ 15,000 visitors.
What do you think?
HitTail’s claim is that you will see a guaranteed increase in your organic traffic rankings. The 21-day free trial will let you put this claim to the test.
Have you tried HitTail? Do you like it or hate it?