Who is Connie Connors?

The question often comes up, what is the relationship of HitTail to Connors Communications? At the most recent NYTech Meetup, Scott Heiferman, the founder of Meetup asked the question, and partially answered it himself, describing Connie Connors, the founder of Connors Communications, as the PR firm that helped launch and bring public such companies as Amazon.com, Real Networks, Priceline and others from the Dot Com era.

Perhaps most notably in regard to HitTail, Connors was the public relations firm for GoTo.com in the early days, before it became Overture, and later, Yahoo! Search Marketing. This is significant, because Connors helped introduce pay-per-click to the world, fighting the “Church and State” uproar that broke out from mixing paid and natural search results. Today, this is the staple of Google’s business, making industry insiders joke that GoTo.com taught Google how to make money.

Connors continues as a public relations firm, specializing in helping clients drive quality prospects to your website, based on the next step in the evolution of online marketing. HitTail was just an “extraction” of this larger product, which today continues to serve a hand-full of hand-selected Connors clients. In this picture, you see Connie Connors at the latest Wall Street Journal / Walt Mossberg D Conference with some friends.

Connie has incubated the HitTail company within the walls of Connors Communications, using it as an “overture” to the world–demonstrating how modern public relations firms have something to offer everyone. So let us know what you’re up to, whether you’re vying to be one of the handful of clients that Connors takes directly, or one of the tens-of-thousands benefiting from our free to moderately priced products.

You’re never to small to be part of something big. And you’re never so big that you couldn’t be doing even better.

About Mike Levin of HitTail

I know I need to get back to blogging on significant long tail marketing subject-matter (I’ve got my HitTail ToDo List), but I’ve been so busy. I could however not resist sharing this article with all of you, written by Conversation Agent, Valeria Maltoni. I met her a couple of times, first at Seth Godin’s launch of The Dip, and second at Darren Rowse’s (of ProBlogger) second Meetup here in NYC. It’s sort of like a six degrees post, but tells a bit about who I am.

SEO is Sexy, Ask Mike Levin at HitTail

How to Learn Programming in the First Decade of the New Century

If you’re intimidated by tech gobbledygook, turn back now. If you’ve always wanted to join the ranks of the tech-speaking, app-spinning inner circle, then please cautiously continue. With this blog topic, we’ll be diving real-deep, real-fast, and breaking this topic off from the HitTail blog real soon, so it doesn’t weigh down the HitTail message of driving more traffic to your site for free.

With that preamble disclaimer done, here we go…

I plan on making the ultimate, free, portable, flexible rapid open source development platform possible, able to be understood and utilized by the largest population possible. I plan on sharing the experience witht he HitTail audience (for starters), and eventually the general Marketing/Programming world.

I’ll be using it for professional and personal projects alike. It will replace what I currently use, and refer to as my “Generalized System 3” (GS3). And I’ll explain my choice of PHP vs. Python vs. Ruby vs. Lisp vs. JavaScript vs. Java vs. .NET, etc.

But before you get too excited about a big programming language shoot-out, please know I’m probably going to use Ruby, and maybe even just extend Ruby on Rails (ROR) in an obsolescence-resistant fashion. What makes this endeavor different from every other ROR tutorial is the granularity with which I’ll be documenting the process, and how the finished product will probably be able to be carried around on a keychain, or perhaps as a continuously running webserver on tomorrow’s mobile phones. But it will definitely able to be run as a virtualized instance on any of today’s mainstream hardware/OS platforms, making it of immediate use (PCs, Macs, Linux, etc.). It will be the killer, ultimate, free, be-anywhere, do-anything programming buddy—cool enough to let you spin scalable enterprise-class apps, and show-up the “take-six-months-to-write-a-spec” crowd.

This new generalized system and agile development framework is likely to be used on places in the HitTail site, as well as for Connors clients. In the spirit of David Heinemeier Hansson and 37Signals, I’ll be sharing the process, and much of the code with the world, in the hopes of creating a lot of corollary excitement surrounding HitTail. In the spirit of Paul Graham (Lisp) and Hansson (Ruby), I believe strongly in the merits of a language and agile framework as being a source of extreme competitive advantage.

It’s hard to say precisely where I’ll go with this project, but the first baby-step starts out here (in describing the project), and I will tap the power of my existing GS3, which provides a baby-step documentation framework, and a minimum-model for what the new stuff should support.

So, this post starts a long and interesting journey, which is more of a side-project to HitTail than directly HitTail-related. While it’s not precisely HitTail-related, this is currently the best soapbox I have, and therefore the place I’d like to get it started. And I plan on rolling out a tutorial style I hope will sweep the Internet, called “baby step tutorials”. True baby-steps are possible on the Internet in a way they’re not in other media like books, because to document every little step would kill too many trees with paper. But with .html files, it just pumps up page views and makes me more money if I run advertising. So, it’s a double-win. I document with insanely granular detail.

This process should be of interest to programmer-wanna-be’s of the sort that fill the ranks of Marketing departments around the world, who are generally intimidated by the choices, tools, and discussions that surround getting started with programming. Have you looked at the selection of books in the programming section of a Barnes and Noble or Borders lately? It’s crazy! I’ll explain along the way why this is, and what the “most right” choices for the “least-programmer-like” people are. The average citizen can be a programmer today, with minimum fuss. You’re not on the bleeding edge anymore. Programming’s easy stuff.

And unlike previous attempts I’ve made at doing this, I’ll do it right this time. The reason that it will not be an aborted attempt this time (I’ve had false starts in the past) is that I’ll be leveraging the power of my already created GS3 as a blue-print, plus the best of what’s out there today, plus I have HitTail’s momentum and celebrity to ride. I now know what it means to finish things and do them right.

The public will be able to observe, interact, push me forward, and tweak me in certain directions as I go.

While this blog post kicks it off, I will use the comment field underneath to link into the non-blog pages, where this will reside.

Benevolent Design Confluence & My Life Straw Revelation

So, I haven’t blogged for awhile, but it’s not for lack of material. I sometimes think I could blog as a full-time job. So bear with my as I pack maybe a month’s worth of thoughts and serendipity-packed experiences into one long, excessively rambling blog post. It MAY be worth it for about 1 in 10 of you.

My to-blog list on my phone has about 100 items, and just as I’m prioritizing them, a new item trumps the entire list, such as my weekend visit to the National Design Museum on Museum Row in New York City. I was walking along Fifth Ave. with my girlfriend, and noticed some cool billboard graphics of things like collapsible canoes, filtered life straws working off ground water, and a whole bunch of kooky huts and shelters in the garden behind a wrought iron fence.

After a moment of prodding from Rachel, as she identified this as “my thing”, I was hooked, paid the price of admission, and rushed into the garden.

And I was delightfully rewarded when I discovered an actual OLPC (one laptop per child) in one of the global village huts. It’s sort of like Etch-A-Sketch had a baby with the Sony VAIO, and had Al Gore for a nanny. The exhibit was called “Design for the Other 90%”. I was like a hog in mud. I saw water tanks that unraveled like wallpaper from a spool (sooooo obvious, but no less cool). I saw tiny semi-permanent shelters with loft beds that could be constructed in a half-day. I saw a line of products from something called Moneymaker, which lets you make bricks from native mud plus tiny portions of concrete. And I saw a host of water-pumps and filtration devices to ensure that you both had your water, and that it was safe to drink.

Basically, I saw the future catching up with the present. It’s not all about hybrid cars incrementally bringing out-of-control energy consumption of us privileged 10% under control. But it’s about improving the lives and bringing happiness and the ability to bring upper-states of Maslow’s hierarchy of human needs to the world–in my mind, maybe the noblest endeavor in human history!

So, this is my element. I’m a frustrated mechanical engineer who realized I should have gone into “applied engineering” who actually got into graphic design as a sort of cop-out. Drexel University’s design arts program in Philadelphia was awesome, and I studied under one of the most talented people I ever met, but it was admittedly advertising-oriented graphic design–and not industrial design, applied engineering, and certainly not one of the super-noble branches of engineering, such as “closed systems” that will ensure the survival of the human race (by giving us viable ways to get off the planet). Alas, I am but a mere graphic designer, who managed to cobble together enough programming skills to make HitTail. And now, I’m seeing the whole world that I shut myself off from by taking the path of least resistance.

So, is this a lost dreams bellyaching post? Not at all! This is an “it’s never too late” post–because HitTail is an interesting intermediary project between graphic design and tangible social good. HitTail allows people around the world to pursue their dreams, and work towards becoming the best in the world at their niche specialty. I’m currently going through the unique experience of clawing my way out of the ticky-tacky little box (watchers of Showtime’s Weeds will get the reference), and into the society of people who get things done and make a difference.

I visited my old haunting grounds last week when I visited the opening of Seth Godin’s book tour, for his new book, The Dip. Seth enthusiastically detailed how many of us should go the entrepreneurial route, and in doing so, try to be the best in the world at some particular thing. Seth made passing mention of Chris Anderson’s book, The Long Tail, which cleared the way for HitTail’s mainstream emergence. And I wanted to make the point about how the “best in the world” concept dovetailed perfectly well with the longtail concept, because first you choose a place in the long tail of underdeveloped businesses, then you become the best in the world at it, turning an otherwise pittance of profits into a plethora of perpetual proceeds.

So, I asked Seth a question when it opened for question and answers, and when it came my turn and I introduced myself, Seth proclaimed he was a fan of HitTail, and invited me to tell the room about the site.

Wow, what a kick!

To have Seth Godin, one of the biggest marketing gurus in the world, to publicly proclaim himself a fan of a site that nothing more than a good idea a year ago. On that merit alone, this is a blog post that needs to be written.

But wait, there’s more!

While I was in Philadelphia on the Walnut Street Bridge at the World Cafe (Seth’s venue in Philly), I decided to slip into Drexel’s Nesbitt Design Arts building (now the Antoinette Westphal College of Media Arts & Design) and walk right into a few classrooms to see if I could drop in on some of my old college instructors. And low and behold, on my first attempt into the first room, I discovered a classroom of students wrapped up under the tutelage of John Langdon, the fellow getting his 15 minutes of fame (soon) from the ambigrams in Dan Brown’s book, Angels and Demons. This was (shamefully) the first time I saw him in 15 years, but our repertoire was picked up instantly, as we had stayed casually in touch over email. I learned that I missed the premiere showing of the Helvitica documentary by one day. It was a big deal, and one piece of serendipity that I missed in this amazing few weeks.

Now keep in mind, this is against a backdrop of HitTail winning first place in a venture capitalist show-and-tell hosted by Alan Brody of iBreakfast, where we took first prize and won a chance to present at the next VC contest. Plus, we were short-listed onto the potential winners of an international innovation contest being held by one of our high profile clients. So, I’m flying pretty high right now.

My trip back from Philly to New York was ironically rushed to meet a Philadelphian in New York, Josh Kopelman. Now Josh, the founder of Half.com, subsequently bought by eBay, is something of a hero from where I come from. He’s a Wharton Business School graduate who actually followed the dream on the fast path out of college. I saw his building go up by the side the PA Turpike, every time I drove on my way to Scala. I spent about 8 years of my life attempting to pursue the dream at Scala, while my contemporaries like Josh were actually doing it right. It’s never too late to learn. And one success leads to the next, leads to the next. It’s the first one that’s the trick. And the details of what you do later in your life, don’t have to have anything to do with the details of your first venture.

But in the case of HitTail, it’s not a bad thing if they do.

Because my very first real successful venture is about helping people improve their own lives. And who would have thought that the end-result of a career in graphic design would have led to anything in the least-bit altruistic? Which is reinforced by the concept that the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum lays claim to applied engineering under the auspices of design! The world is slowly turning in my direction, and I’m slowly turning in the world’s direction. And the confluence of design, engineering, and the all-around betterment of life for “most” of the people on the planet is a nice trend. And I see in my mind a nice continuous development of HitTail into the dream-machine. Today, HitTail tells you what to write about in order to increase your sphere of influence. Tomorrow, HitTail pairs you with your entrepreneurial partners to actually achieve your dreams and improve the world.

But it’ll take a few years to get there. For now, I’ll be happy issuing writing suggestions and increasing HitTailers’ personal spheres of influence. But the message of this blog post which I still have to deliver in a clear fashion is the same as the message I delivered to Sandy Stewert’s class (who I visited right after John Langdon’s).

Design is everything. Humans design. It’s what we do. And whether it’s graphics, interiors, industry or chip layout, it’s all pretty much the same. Design, combined with the willingness to cross disciplines, coupled with a sense of benevolence, appropriateness, and positive optimism can lead to a very appealing future-scenario. Such scenarios, I believe, are only being heralded by a select few, such as Nick Negroponte of the OLPC initiative, turning him into something of a hero to me. But there are others out there, doing the same from a much lower profile, and more “applied engineering” vantage point. These are people who really make a difference–such as the person who made the life straw–perhaps the ultimate example.

Free Hits

I was recently challenged to sum up HitTail in 2 words. Sure, we bring you free traffic, which leads to higher overall potentially qualified sales prospects, and ultimately customers. And HitTail becomes one pillar of a marketing campaign designed to ultimately free you from pay-per-click advertising networks, like AdWords. And I’d love to talk about the “end results” of a healthier company that employs cross-engine optimization tactics that will outlive any particular search engine.

But after long pondering, and a 2-word limit, I’d have to say…

Free Hits!

SEO, VC & Blogging – Comparing Events, Crowds & Comfort Levels

I attended Darren Rowse’s ProBlogger meetup in NYC a few weeks back, and met almost everyone in the room. And he took over almost an entire floor of a popular New York City bar. I was totally comfortable and in my element, as folks like Keith Levenson of Vibrator.com went around popping promo stickers on people’s shoulders. I was like “yeah… I can personally meet everyone in this room.” Keith pretty much set the tone.

Then a few weeks later, I attended a Venture Capitalist event at a prestigious Union League sponsored by Red Herring. It was the Monday before Search Engine Strategies, and I was trying to get into social mode (sometimes difficult for me). High on ProBlogger, I felt it would be a breeze. Brrrrr, was I wrong. The button-down’d VCs were decidedly NOT the same profile as the rabid blogorati of the NYC area. And my education into how to work dramatically different crowds began. Not that it was bad. Just that it’s not “me”. I guess if it was, I’d be a VC and not one of the Web developer / executive cross-overs types that they like to fund.

I struck it off very well with the cross-over crowd, such as Laird Popkin, the CTO of Pando, a P2P torrent-like file sharer, with whom I could talk tech. Equally engaging was Angelo Valenti, an Executive and Entrepreneurial Coach, who immediately identified me as someone needing coaching, and gave the invaluable advice to play the “billionaire card”. Those who look most out of place are often the ones with the best ideas and most money. They don’t know you from a Web 2.0 billionaire. Use it. And if you wanted to play the Sesame Street game “which one of these is not like the other,” there was the aventurista, Sarah Tavel, who turned out to be a VC AND a blogger. So, there were some nice highlights.

And of course, the host, Alex Vieux, the publisher of Red Herring, was an absolute pleasure to meet. But the majority of the room was an inscrutable mystery to me. I guess that’s why I’ve hitched my apple cart to Connie’s wagon.

And finally, there was SES, which while I only attended one day (Thursday), turned out to be one of the most auspicious events I ever attended. It’s amazing the difference between being someone and not being someone can make. If I was a nobody at the VC event, and I was a pseudo-celebrity at the ProBlogger event, then I was half-way in-between at Search Engine Strategies. Fortunately, Danny Sullivan, Lee Odden, and a few of the other panelists knew me. But this mainstream marketing crowd curious about how to use search most decidedly doesn’t know the “in the know cool sites.”

Working the SES crowd was harder than ProBloggers (really our sweet spot), but WAY easier than the VC crowd. There’s no intro like: here’s a tool to build your natural search traffic. Oh yeah, it’s free. The auspicious part was that I was meeting people left and right who I worked years previously to meet. I coincidentally met Neil Patel, “blogmaster” behind Guy Kawasaki’s sites, who I’ve been in touch with on and off for years. This was from a random walk-up intro to a panelist, who in-turn recognized my name! I’d love to go on and name everyone, but let me just shout out to Stan Barett and Marshall Sponder, the look-alike’s who don’t know eachother, but whom I see at the same events, and sometimes have to wait until I hear an English accent before I say “Hi Stan” or “Hi Marshall”.

Bottom line lesson of this blog: every event is like a life form manifestation of the event’s host and their audience. Some you take to, as if they’re old friends. Some are just tough to figure out. And some just take a little warming up to.

Findability

HitTail is about findability in light of enormous competition. In the old world, where finite shelf space, finite broadcast channels, finite column inches, the mega-hits pretty much shut out small business. But even in those days, small business still thrived on a local level.

The Internet changes things in allowing you to collect the disparate and desperate, condensing and concentrating it into some decent business, where there was no business before. And even such a viable business, no matter how lucrative it is on a personal small business level, doesn’t even show up on the radar of big business.

This is why Chris Anderson’s opinions about the long tail hold true, just as the opposing voices of Lee Gomes and Dave Taylor. The opinion that the top 2.7% of Amazon’s products produce 75% of the revenue is completely consistent with long tail teachings. Why? Because the long tail demand curve is 1/X. That means that the popularity of products at the head of the curve are ENORMOUSLY popular. Indeed, it approaches infinite.

It’s just that the equally infinite diversity of non-popular products/services are not denied their markets. No matter how tiny the business in the long tail seems in comparison to mega-hits, it’s nice business nonetheless. And it’s all about findability. That’s how the Internet has changed things. That’s how Google has changed things. Finite shelf space, broadcast channels, and column inches have been replaced by infinite product supply and infinite findability.

And the best way to ensure your findability is to put yourself in the path of existing search patterns with some predictable keywords, then watch what happens. What you’ll discover is countless additional keyword variations. The collective guessing power of the wisdom of the crowd dwarfs any single person or group’s ability to guess. Therefore, with the right tools, you can start with simple, competitive findability, and spiral outwards with less competitive, but more diverse keyword phrases, and “flesh out” the mesh of your findability net.

Ajax Datagrid with Database

OK, this post about Ajax Datagrids is for the geeks. I’ve done plenty of posts discussing why HitTail is so amazing as a blogging tool, but only occasionally have I addressed the phenomenal feat of displaying all the world’s logfile data in real-time.

Why do more Web apps not do this? There are several reasons, but one is how massive the data is. I mean, it’s very massive. We’re already letting you step in real-time through hundreds of millions of records, with HitTail less than a year old. Before long, when you click that “next” link, you’ll be navigating database consisting of billions, if not trillions of records.

And it’s all in real-time: next, next, next. Prev, prev, prev. First, last.

And just to flex our muscle, we even go as far as to highlight the keywords for easy visual perusal, and hyperlink them for easy visiting.

This is all done in one simple, elegant Ajax datagrid.

I don’t think we’ll tell you how we’re able to accomplish this, while so few others have. Suffice to say, SQL is not your friend. Web application development tools, particularly the integrated development environments (IDE’s) with record sets, are not your friends. Even agile development frameworks with active records, such as Ruby on Rails, is not really your friend.

To make a box capable of manipulating and letting you navigate such massive amounts of data in real-time with such performance requires thinking outside the box. Early-on, I tried describing how we’re doing this to a few respected colleagues, and SQL has made the database programming community so myopic, that it may be impossible to program incredibly high performance record-stepping applications that don’t require huge record sets and cursors, therefore ruining scaling. The technique is called the indexed sequential access method (ISAM), and it’s broken on the Web. In fact, it may have never hit the Web (as far as I know), and HitTail may be the only known example (someone correct me).

So, what’s behind HitTail? An enterprise database like IBM DB/2? Oracle? Sybase or Informix?

Open source like MySQL, Postgress or Ingress?

Or perhaps a true ISAM database like BTreive (underlying Pervasive)?

The answer may surprise you.

Much is not what it seems in the world of databases, where the ability to construct a high performance Ajax datagrid is more a state of mind than a particular platform.

You have to throw out everything you know, then successfully deal with a whole new set of problems.

If you’re a tech geek with a blog or website, and want to play around with the aforementioned ajax datagrid, then simply register for HitTail. Put the snippet of code on your website. And start surfing the set of records which, among the hundreds of millions of other records, are yours alone.

Need SEO Help?

NOTE: I notice a lot of traffic coming into this article from StumbleUpon. Since writing this article, I’ve changed the targeted keywords of HitTail from “long tail” to “keyword tool”. So, read the article below in that light. 

How good is Mike Levin at SEO?

Before I joined Connors, and before HitTail, my notoriety in the SEO community came from one thing: a systematic and public demonstration of working a website up to the top of search results across all search engines for a competitive 2-word combination. This was back in 1999, before it was such a highly sought-after talent.

I’m doing it again with a client I can talk publicly about, because that client is ourselves (HitTail). I will tell you about the first, back in 1999. Then, I will tell you about today.

The phrase back then was multimedia software, and this pitted me against the likes of Apple, Macromedia, Quark, ULead, Diamond and others. It’s also as MP3s were on the rise, and the definition of multimedia was shifting. The term was difficult to target, to say the least.

I conducted this demonstration at JimWorld’s Virtual Promote, a.k.a. SearchEngineForums.com. It was the first of it’s kind, and is still going on today. Most SEO’s were secretive with their higher-end techniques. But I laid it all out, and went as far as spelling out how internal link structure was best achieved with a series of pages with previous/next arrows linking them up. It wasn’t long after that that Moveable Type, and later TypePad, started doing exactly that.

And right there in front of everyone’s eyes, I raised Scala Multimedia to the top of the SERPs in AltaVista, Lycos, Inktomi, DirectHit, InfoSeek, and all the other engines that had their own unique separate databases at the time. Think about that. I was using sustainable long-term, cross-engine techniques back then that have lasted right up to this day. The results survived the switch-over to Google, Yahoo, MSN and Ask. But I didn’t stay at Scala to maintain these stats. None-the-less, if you check, you’ll see they’re still on the first page of Google and MSN after all these years (about 7).

This is when I discovered there were two-fronts on which to attack keyword strategy. First, is the aforementioned ever-so-sexy benchmark keywords. They’re what everyone KNOWS people are searching on, and for which you MUST come up high. They often include the company’s name, the name of the products, and the keywords that are obviously related to the industry.

The second type of keywords are what are coming to be known as “long tail keywords“. Back then, I simply knew them as “actuals”. You can guess the benchmark keywords, but you can never guess the actuals. The collective guessing-power of the world dwarfed any groups ability to brainstorm all the keywords that are important. But likewise, ignoring the underperforming, but promising keywords–actuals that were not positioned well–was leaving money on the table.

And so nearly 8 years later, the concept of optimizing the actual keywords leading to your site (albeit underperforming) has finally come of age. And it’s getting associated with the economic concept called the long tail, as it is being popularized by Chris Anderson’s book of the same name.

Now, what’s the keyword I need to target today in order to find our audience?

Long Tail ??? !!!

A term that’s being targeted across the blogosphere? A term that’s used in the title of a best-selling book? A term that’s suddenly in a hailstorm of competitive chatter? Granted, it’s not a keyword like mortgages or Brittany Spears. But it is competitive none-the-less, and much more similar to the type of challenges faced by businesses across the world.

Well, we’re not at the top of Google for longtail or long tail yet. But we’re at the top of page 2 of results for both terms. That’s from-scratch, in under 10 months. The site has a Google PageRank of 6. Combined with all the buzz that surrounds HitTail, these are strong indicators that we’ll be on the first page of results before long.

And we will have again demonstrated Connors Communications’ ability to systematically target, and work to the top of natural search results, difficult keywords.

And this is with little-to-none link building. Did we link bait? Well, you be the judge. More importantly, we wrote well on the topic. We made a viral video. We chose the correct publishing platforms (for our own sites).

So much for targeted benchmark keywords that are critical to the company. But what about all the rest of those keywords that matter too? How about systematically working ALL keywords that are both important to a company AND possess search traffic to the top of natural results?

Well, that’s not merely a key part of my offerings.

But, we also made HitTail so that the world can do it too. And don’t forget to check out yesterday’s post about the XML transformation SEO capabilities. We’ve got the big guns.

Today, Blogging Software. Tomorrow, The World.

Sometimes HitTail skeptics think that ALL HitTail is advocating is writing well using blogging software. Yes, that’s how we recommend that the mainstream marketer or everyday blogger get started. Your funding permitting, we would love to have you onboard as an SEO client, where we employ some of the following techniques…

We perform XSL-to-HTML transformations from corporate asset data sources. We call this the slice & dice presentation layer (SDPL), and it’s one-of-a-kind in the industry, wherein we install a completely new “presentation layer” to your existing content management system. In this way, we can optimize your site using the most cutting-edge techniques of the day, and re-optimize as often as necessary to keep pace with the changing state of search. Booyah!

Another technique we use is the “blogification” of any website. The idea here is that blogging software has SO MUCH of an edge over traditional content management systems, that we work our clients through a series of projects to level the playing field. They include search friendly URLs, archive pages, internal link structure, on-page elements, RSS feeds, ping notifications, and all the rest of the artifacts that make blogging software so potent.

And yet another technique we use is social media optimization (SMO), in which we become as much of an expert in our client’s space as the client themselves. In this way, we can monitor every development in the blogosphere (and online in general), anticipate every pitfall that a client is likely to encounter, and proactively address it before the problem even hits. At worst, we’re fixing problems before they’re hours old.

Yes, we do some kick-ass things at Connors, and HitTail is merely our overture to the mainstream world of marketing, who are chomping at the bit to get started with natural search. Blogging software in combination with HitTail is simply a convenient way of getting things started.

Through HitTail, we are establishing regular relationships with hundreds-of-thousands of people. Of these, some will be happy with our basic (indeed, FREE) offering, while others will upgrade. A small few will become direct Connors clients, as Amazon.com, Priceline.com, Real Networks, Disney.com, NationalGeographic.com, and many more have.

So, if you’re thinking we’re saying “blog it and forget it”, we’re not.

Instead, we’re saying “Hi, it’s great to meet you. Try this. It’s free.”

A friend of mine put it to me like this:

Q: Do you like raisins?

A: Yes.

Q: Do you like delicious?

A: Yes.

Then, you’re going to love this.