Trying Out HitTail

I have just gotten approval to try out a new (to me) piece of software called HitTail. As a condition of trying this out, I agreed to write about it. This article is the first in what will be a series about the HitTail software.

Even though they are allowing me to try it out at no charge, I intend to be totally honest in my review. If it stinks, I’ll say so. If it’s the best ever, I’ll tell you that as well. Let’s start with some orientation, especially for those readers who aren’t geeks like me.

Background

As a sexagenarian, not only have I gotten a lot of fun out of that word, but I have also been through a number of career fields. My current career – even though it’s a “retirement” job – is as a web developer.

Basically, I build websites. I started off building them for non-profit groups, then for myself, then for friends, now I do it as a business.

For those of you who are interested, my website building business website is at www.DMillerWeb.com.

The Need

I’ve learned a lot of things as my business has grown, and one of them is that clients who ask me to build their websites are frequently very interested in having those websites show up on search engines.  They usually want their site to show up on the first page, which is understandable.

However, making this happen is a very competitive effort, because it seems EVERYONE wants their business to show up on the first page, and there simply isn’t enough room for everyone to be there.

An entire industry, and a career field of specialists has grown up around this effort. It’s called SEO, or Search Engine Optimization. The entire focus of this SEO industry is to help the client’s website show up with better rankings in search engines.

If you visited my business website (link above), you’ve seen I’m pretty good at building and designing websites. However, I am NOT an expert in SEO.

The Danger

I learn more about it every day, and I’ve learned enough to know that there are a ton of scam artists out there, eager to take your money and promise you better search engine rankings, but very few of them do what they say they will.

There are, of course, some reputable companies out there who do this and do it well, but they usually cost the moon. It’s not unusual for one of these highly rated companies to charge $2,000 a month or more for their service.

Therefore, I’ve been over a barrel. When my website clients tell me they want their websites to “be on the first page of Google,” I have to tell them to watch out for the legions of scam artists, but to have it done by a reputable company could cost more than a good used car.

The Dilemma

Meanwhile, I’ve been studying what it is that makes for good ranking with the search engines.

Why is it, when I had a client who was the ONLY mosquito control specialist in Madison, Mississippi, that when I typed “mosquito control, Madison, MS” into a search engine, the first TEN listings I see are for companies from out of state? That didn’t make sense to me.

Also, I have learned that the legions of scam artists out there have been trying to figure out how the search engines rank websites to decide who is listed first and who falls to several pages down the list. These scam artists try all kinds of tricks and ruses to make their own websites rank at the top, whether they deserve to be there or not.

Consequently, the gurus at the search engine companies keep changing the way they figure these things. They want to be sure that the websites listed at the top of the list deserve to be there, and don’t get there by “cheating” or gaming the system.

One of the main factors in ranking website is something called “Keywords.” A keyword, as I tell my clients, is whatever someone might type into a search engine when they are looking for what you are offering.

For example, “Mosquito Control, Madison, MS” would be example of a Keyword. Because it’s more than one word, some might call it a “Long tail keyword.”

Keywords are the main way a search engine’s calculation formula decides what a site is all about.

There is a place in the hidden header code of a website where the site builders can say what the keywords are, but scammers have abused that section so badly that the search engines rarely if ever consider it any more.

In any case, proper use of Keywords is one of the major things a website builder has to do if the site is to have any kind of ranking at all with search engines.

But what exactly is meant by proper use of keywords? Until now, there have been as many answers to that question as there have been people to state their opinion.

A Possible Solution?

Enter HitTail.

I was reading another blog post recently, trying to learn more about how to make my clients’ websites better, and came across a reference to HitTail, who makes a product that will tell you about your keywords. They showed very exciting statistics about what they could do for a website, and I was quite interested.

I learned that they would let me try it out for no charge, if I would write a review of their software.

Well okay, then! I agreed, they agreed, and now I’m about to install it and use it for my business website.

Now you have the background, how it is that I got to this point. Stay tuned for some posts on how this works.

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