Connors Communications’ reputation for world-class SEO has won us some very exciting clients, and recently, I’ve gone out to a client’s site to personally become the SEO consultant. That’s right, the creator of HitTail is also a gun for hire. This makes sense when you realize that HitTail was really an “extraction” of a larger system that’s used privately for Connors’ public relations clients. When Connors came to understand the broad application for part of our tools, and the rising popularity of the notion of the long tail, thanks to Wired Magazine’s Editor, Chris Anderson, we decided to hit the metal while it was hot. Connors did after all work right along with GoTo.com to help establish the very pay-per-click industry itself, which Google has subsequently adopted and turned into the fastest growing segment of online advertising. We know these things, and can recognize when the time for a particular new technology has arrived.
It is in this spirit that we “extracted” HitTail from our client services, the way Ruby on Rail’s creator, David Heinemeier Hansson, extracted ROR from the BaseCamp product. The best frameworks are not invented, but they are extracted from already successful products. The same way 37Signals lets people use BaseCamp for free—even without having to be Ruby on Rails programmers themselves—Connors is letting everyone use HitTail for free. Of course, we need to make money too, and along with a free superior product, we will be introducing not-free, even more superior features. We truly believe 2007 is the year of natural search, and we are faced with the conditions for the perfect storm. The fact that Jefferson Graham’s article on natural search made it into the very mainstream USA Today is the most recent example of such evidence.
But what of me being an SEO consultant, and the future of HitTail? Easy—this is the fire in which future unexpected features are forged. Who better to invent a better mousetrap than someone overwhelmed by mice? So as the SEO engagement ramps up, I find my thought processes being brought back to the basics. I ask myself what do we know about the sites that must be improved? What do we know about the search results these sites are currently enjoying? What of the technical layout of the site do we know? And how might the site change in the future, so that any decisions I make have years of life left in them—no matter what? You see, the enemy is “scrap-and-rebuild”, because for every company that goes through this process, another company is building upon their last success without interrupting their momentum. The challenge is one of continuity amidst transition. The challenge is one of knowing enough of the right things amidst limitless mountains of data. The challenge is absorbing all there is to know, without going crazy, and somehow coming out of it with a list of precise, action items that I myself can carry out so that I don’t interrupt the normal flow of business.
This is the type of SEO services you get from Connors Communications, the creators of HitTail. While other SEO consultants gradually guide you towards PPC, compel you through a “scrap-and-rebuild” process, or slap a recommendations document in your hands, Connors speaks the technology architecture language of separation of concerns. We can actually tie into almost any back-end content management or publishing system, and install a perfectly optimized presentation layer, thereby preserving all your investments. Such strategies can produce massive short-term gains in driving new natural search traffic, breathe years of new life into old CMS systems, and buy a lot of time to make sure the transition to a new system is being done for the right reasons and at the right cost. This is not typical SEO, and we are even hesitant to call it that for fear of the baggage that it has already. But until some other name is chosen, we need to go on the record that some of the best SEO right now is going on out of a boutique public relations firm in New York City. Who would have guessed.