A tremendously interesting post appeared on our forum casting HitTail as the heir apparent to the Overture keyword suggestion tool. Wow, we are flattered. Dr. Howell goes on to state “That kinda relevance is what made Goggle the giant it is today.”
That leads me to ask: how does our keyword tool – HitTail fit into the greater state of the search industry?
Now, I don’t usually comment on the financial state of search in the HitTail blog, but it’s required as to speculate how HitTail fits into the big picture.
The pay-per-click part of the search industry is in fluctuation for various reasons. The annual nearly doubling of the paid search market is reportedly slowing down. The nearly 50/50 split between the share of this market is reportedly skewing towards Google. This combines to put the squeeze on Yahoo, which despite being beat on by Wall Street in recent months, has beat their expectations for fourth quarter earnings.
Marketing people deciding what to do with their budgets is causing the fluctuation, and the result is a lot of investment money deciding where to go. Is Google now the only keyword game in town? Is Overture obsolete, and did Yahoo make a mistake re-labeling it Yahoo Search Marketing, and disallowing the bidding on “under-the-traffic-threshold” long-tail keywords for years? Is this a giant recalibration of marketing budgets in light of marketing finally understanding this “series of tubes” thing we call the Internet?
Yes. That’s it, exactly. Keep in mind: marketing people are recalibrating budgets. Now bear with me while I go through another paragraph of exposition.
In manufacturing, there’s something known as the value chain. The value chain is where raw component materials acquire more value as they go through the manufacturing process, until they’re worth significantly more to the end customer than the raw materials that went into them. Google’s value chain is the considerable traffic that they arbitrate. And it’s completely built on the good will of its users. If the users decide to stop searching in Google, then Google’s product, their traffic, looses its value. So, Google must keep this traffic, and tends to do so by keeping their product simple (thus appealing to the mainstream), and the results relevant (thus keeping people from investigating other search options). And relevancy is maintained by not insisting that EVERYONE pay to be in Google’s search results.
Therefore, Google has a need for pages that should be rewarded in their natural search results. Google is striving to reward SOMEONE based on SOME criteria. This will continue. The demand for natural search results is assured.
This whole discussion of the value chain is necessary in order to demonstrate why natural search listings have a long-term future. Otherwise, Internet search becomes like the Yellow Pages, but without the free listing—a big book of advertisements. Natural search results are not going away, because they are a necessary part of the manufacturing process that adds value. You might even say that natural results are Google’s most important ingredient in their value chain.
HitTail is big, because it is the path for just about any marketing Joe to conquer their own little piece of natural search turf. This is increasingly being called “niche marketing”, based on the premise that doing well in a niche is easier and quicker than doing well in an already crowded market. This tackle-the-niche concept applies to keywords as it does with economic markets. HitTail is just about the only formularized way to go about tackling natural search, in a sustainable, long-term fashion. So, HitTail is potentially big. HitTail is, in the terms of Geoffrey Moore, in the path of the tornado. HitTail is, in the terms of Malcolm Gladwell, at the tipping point. In the terms of Chris Anderson, HitTail is the first long-tail keyword tool targeting the new shape of business.
We’re ramping up to sustain the increased traffic as the collective marketing wisdom settles upon the fact that 2007 is the year of natural search. We know this is going to happen, because when you go researching longtail keyword tools, or any such concept, all paths lead back to us.
Yes, we practice what we preach, and look forward to becoming one of our own best success stories.