Chinese SEO Just Got a Little Bit Easier

As of a few weeks ago, HitTail now supports Chinese characters and the major Chinese search engines such as Baidu and Sogou.

After many hours of toiling, tweaking and testing, we have worked out the undocumented kinks and are now live and supporting a handful of Chinese language domains (with more coming on board soon).

If you are a Chinese SEO or perform Baidu SEO, HitTail is now a viable option for your long tail keyword needs.

New Feature: 1-Click Articles

Whew…our most requested feature – being able to order a custom article for any keyword suggestion – launched yesterday. It was a lot of work but we’re excited at the prospect of being able to offer articles for any keyword suggestion.

We’re backed by a network of 80,000 writers with a wide range of knowledge and areas of expertise, but most importantly we’re committed to providing top quality keyword-focused and completely custom articles in 2-3 days (but so far turnaround times have averaged 24 hours).

Check out this 60-second screencast for a bit more about how it works:

HitTail Undergoing Maintenance

HitTail is undergoing some unscheduled but necessary hardware upgrades. This will only affect the ability to log into the HitTail user interface, and temporarly there will be no collecting of data. It will not impact how your pages are served. We plan to have it up and running again by Sunday.

Update: HitTail is back online and fully functional once again. Thanks for your patience.

Perfect Keyword Tool for the Recession

You’d think that after four years, the incredibly actionable HitTail keyword tool would start losing it’s appeal, but as it turns out, the tough economic conditions are actually just opening Marketers’ eyes to the wisdom of targeting the long tail. It’s an easy and systematic method of bringing in well qualified prospective customers and audience to your website without spending a dime.

Well, technically it’s $10/mo and your time writing.

But that’s the perfect way to spend your money right now. Dig in and fortify by producing copious perfectly optimized content. It will likely produce some new customers today, but when economic conditions improve, you will have performed the content-build already, and be positioned for a real take-off!

Our competitors know this, and are bidding in AdWords on our keywords. Ha Ha Ha! It’s nice to be acknowledged as the leader. Unfortunately, try as I might, I can’t find pricing on their website. I bet THEY’RE not $10/mo.

So stick with the actionable keyword tool leader, who is also the best priced. We want to be your best friend during this recession.

Corn Syrup, Mercury, Bees and CCD: The Long Tail of News

Forgive me for diverging from this blog’s normal topic of marketing, but I feel that the importance of researching the long tail of news cannot be understated and the following could be a good example of this. The following chain of events occurred from reading the news — not from using HitTail — but I think it just goes to show what can happen when you dig deep into data. Hopefully this is not lost on today’s investigative journalists. I hope one of you will find this story and research it further than I can.

This morning I read on a story buried on page 8 of my morning paper that mercury has been found in a large percentage of corn syrup. An hour later, I read a new column on the New York Times website about Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD) that is quietly ravaging American bees and endangering our food supply. CCD has been a mystery since its discovery in 2006. Yet today I noticed one key aspect that had been left out of prior reporting that I had read. Honeybees are fed on corn syrup while being moved between farms. Corn syrup that has now been found to likely contain mercury. While a minor amount to humans, this could be toxic to bees.

Part of the problem of CCD is that once bees are infected, they often leave the hive never to return. That makes diagnosing them difficult. Yet, according to Wikipedia, symptoms in mercury poisoning include include sensory impairment (vision, hearing, speech), disturbed sensation and a lack of coordination. Maybe the bees can’t find their way back. It probably also lowers their defenses, making them susceptible to other diseases.

Bee keepers, please try feeding bees on something else other than corn syrup. Reporters, keep digging in the long tail for potential news angles like this one. I don’t know if there is any correlation between the two stories, but both are important issues that independently deserve more press.

An Alternative to Internet Addiction

We at HitTail haven’t been blogging as much as we used to, perhaps because we too have fallen victim to the always-on 24/7 culture that has been simultaneously enabling yet paralyzing so many savvy Internet users. Although I do not personally use Twitter or Friendfeed, it is becoming an addiction to some like Robert Scoble. While he was the one mentioned on TechCrunch, I know others who use the service far too much to be healthy. I, for one, am happy just to post occasional updates and link to articles on Facebook. Yet I can tell even that small distraction has reduced the normal amount that I should be blogging.

Of course, we designed HitTail to be a little addictive, since it is one of the few truly real-time (dare I say, useful?) services. We love data, and the ability to access it via the Internet at any time. But we also know it can be addicting and paralyzing to sort through endless reports. That’s why we simplified analytics to just a few screens and combined it with a To Do list that you check off as you go, enabling you to act on that intelligence. And then we took it one step further, allowing an alternative way to get your keyword suggestions by RSS or Email so you don’t have to constantly log on to the site.

We feel it’s important that business tools adapt to our lives, rather than the other way around. So this holiday season, I hope everyone takes their eyes off the screen for a few minutes this time of year and enjoys the rest of what life has to offer. Don’t worry. When you want to get your latest Internet info, you can still get it sent to your other addiction — be it iPhone, Crackberry, G1, Treo, or Xperia.

Best Keyword Tool

Mike LevinHitTail is worth checking out if you’re looking for the best keyword tool, but it takes a decidedly different philosophical approach to website optimization than other tools. It’s based on the premise that on any given website, something is almost working for you. If only you could give it that extra little nudge to push it from, say, 3 pages into Google results to the first page. HitTail examines the traffic on your own site to determine where these sweet spots are using techniques that no one else in the industry uses–period. There’s always a few people who say you can get what HitTail is giving you through your own web log files. But the truth is that your log files are going to report the same hits over and over, distracting you with stuff you historically know and should be filtering out by now. HitTail handles this by turning your historical keyword hits as a filter against current keyword hits, making the list that gets shown to you only the new stuff. So even for high traffic sites with tons of traffic from all sources, HitTail is the most capable software at zeroing in on the all-important tiny details. Such a detail may be, this is THE FIRS TIME this particular word combination EVER led to your site, and you’re positioning terribly on it in search results, and merely by adding some content to your site about that particular topic, you will be able to catapult yourself onto the first page of results, and pick up several thousand times more traffic on that word combo than you are currently.

Sweet, no?

Paralysis by Analysis

Mike LevinIf you are faced with paralysis by analysis through your Google Analytics, Omniture, Coremetrics or other analytics software, and are looking for a clearly actionable to-do path from your data, look no farther than HitTail. Imagine installing one piece of tracking code, and immediately having writing suggestions start to be issued to you. You are never faced with an assault of reports that implies you should know what to do merely by looking at them. HitTail takes a very different philosophy, and that is to assume that you DON’T know what to do with your data. Instead, it explicitly issues writing suggestions for your consideration, with an easy way to “flow” them into your editorial calendar to-do list. From there, you can use whatever search-optimized publishing tool you like to create the content, and watch yourself achieve top-positions in the search results on that term. I’m doing exactly that here, and you’ll see the HitTail blog at the top on paralysis by analysis before long. Imagine being able to write with that level of confidence about grabbing a top-position. In this case, I’m doing the writing directly inside HitTail, having the post publish automatically to Blogger. Bam! In a few days, I’ll do publish a post on the next writing suggestion in my HitTail to-do list, because… I’m not suffering from paralysis by analysis. I know exactly what to do, because my tool feeds me action items and not reports.

Best Longtail Tool

Mike LevinIf you’re trying to understand how the best longtail tool for selecting keywords for new website content works, check out this flow chart. We used to promote this flowchart rather heavily on the HitTail site. Unfortunately, it’s been played down. But I encourage you to check it out to see how you can begin effective longtail marketing today.