Not long ago I blogged about Crazy Egg Website Conversion Tests, which I thought was a pretty neat little tool.
One of our readers suggested trying HitTail, which is certainly not the same thing, but is very, very useful for anyone trying to learn something about a website’s visitors. It is a long-tail keyword research tool.
While I am logging in to HitTail, I should explain that this requires placing a little snippet of code in the template of your website, to capture every visitor landing on every page of your site. Now that I am logged in, let me describe to you what I see…
The first view “search hits” shows the last 15 visitors from the search engines and the exact date and time..real time coverage of the crowds moving through this website (except the blog; I just realized that I did not place the HitTail code in the blog template, so I will add that to my to-do list). For each visit, the search URL is provided, clickable so that I can visit the actual search (to see where my website ranks for that search, for example). Hmm…a search for SEO tips at Google and it appears we are #4. Not bad! Note that the keywords searched are actually highlighted so that it is ever so much easier to see than in regular log files.
I switch now to the “keywords” view, and the same information is provided in even easier to read format, listing each keyword and the engine it comes from. This time if you click on the keyword, you can move it into the “suggestion” view, for later consideration.
My favorite mode is to use the Excel option, so that I can manipulate the data, group some of the long tail search terms, and mark them in various ways. From a practical perspective, it seems that a lot of people are getting to my site using queries with the words “hire” and “looking”. So if those search terms are getting me traffic, and I am only in the top 20 somewhere for those search terms, maybe I could tweak my pages, build a few keyword-targeted links, and increase my traffic measurably.
I should note that the account is free, but HitTail also offers paid subscription services for enterprise websites and those who want to crunch some serious numbers. But for the average website owner, the free subscription will do fine.Written by David Leonhardt
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