I can not be happier that the chatter on the Internet is starting to call HitTail a must have SEO tool. There seem to be a lot of people who are using other techniques to write for the long tail, usually some combination of site analysis tools, spreadsheets and blood and tears. So I believe more than ever this is filling a previous unfilled need.
There are various features, concerns and refinements I will be addressing over the coming weeks and months. Foremost is the privacy statement. We need to put something official together, so you all feel very comfortable putting the code on your site. Unlike analytics tracking code that will leave strange gaps in your trending, you can add or remove HitTail code as you like! So, experiment away–but it does work best if its on every page of your site.
There has been lots of feedback on the demo, generally unanimous praise in breaking a difficult concept down to “oh, of course!” level. I’m told it’s as much a key piece of the website as the app itself. But I’ve got some bugs to work out even on that. It “locks” a lot of the important information of the site up in Flash, bad for SEO, and it’s a 5MB download, and it doesn’t start playing right away for everyone, and it uses the old logo. So, this is where some of my attention will be focused soon.
There is definitely the contingency of people who just don’t see the benefit, or don’t see it as any different from analytics. I remind them that it is a writing topic suggestion tool and not analytics. I am not opposed to adding visuals and graphics, but in the end, this is about producing one very short list. Because of the extreme simplicity and counter-intuitive nature of that, it’s just lost on some people who desire the information-heavy report screens of analytics software. This isn’t about producing reports, but about taking action that will clearly SHOW in those reports… action you would not have otherwise known to take.
Then, there is the contingency of people who grep their log files. More power to you guys–I’m one of you! I know the power of RegEx and writing your own algorithms. To them, I say, continue doing whatever works for you. This will be about mainstreaming it for marketing departments across the world, who don’t have those same capabilities. I actually started out as an in-house Webmaster deep in the company bowels carrying out techniques that I considered impossible for anyone outside the company, and has therefore a mission do exactly that.
So, it is my hope that HitTail will be the must have SEO tool of the year. I’ll be listening to and responding to the chatter on the Internet, taking every concern into account. Sometimes, I’ll have to put aside suggestions over the principle of not spending an ounce of time duplicating functionality of the flooded analytics software market, and focusing instead only on those features that stimulate you into doing the most effective spot-on writing to attract qualified audience and customers. This is not about interpreting long reports. It’s about simple statements like: “If you do A, then B will follow.”