Google Alerts is a notification service. The service sends emails when it finds new results—such as web pages, newspaper articles, blogs, or scientific research—that match the user’s search term(s).
When setting up alerts you can determine the following:
- How often you get notifications
- The types of sites you’ll see
- Your language
- The part of the world you want info from
- How many results you want to see
- What accounts get the alert
Google Alerts may not be one of Google’s most popular services, but it’s one of the most useful. Here are some ways you can stay up to date with Google Alerts:
Find out who is talking about you
Google Alerts allows you to listen to conversations you may not be aware of. Conversations that involve you, your brand or your employees. As you establish and maintain your online presence, it’s important to listen to what people are saying. You want to know if other sites are linking to you, quoting you, supporting you, or complaining about you online.
Stay up to date on industry news
The more informed we are, the more valuable and influential we become. The good news? You don’t have to possess superpowers to stay on top of it all. With Google Alerts you can set up industry keywords and or phrases and get updates as they are posted online.
Know what your competitors are up to
When you create Google Alerts for your top competitors, you are creating an automated stream of intelligence. A few things you can use this data for include:
- Discovering where competitors are building back links and where you can too!
- Learning about news-worthy moves your competitors are making
- Being informed when customers post about competitors and learn what they like/dislike
How to Set Up Google Alerts
Setting up Google Alerts is simple.
- Go to http://www.google.com/alerts/
- If you don’t have a Gmail account, you can just start filling out the form.
- Enter the search terms you want the Google Alert to track, separated by commas.
- Choose the Type of results you want Google Alerts to find and share with you.
- Choose how often you’d like to receive your Alerts.
- Choose how many results you want to get.
- Choose where you’d like the Google Alerts delivered.
- Click the Create Alert button and finish.
Google Alerts is one of the easiest tools you can use to track mentions and alerts. It’s also 100% free, which is another reason it’s a great first stop. Make sure you don’t overwhelm yourself with too many alerts. Too much information can be just as bad as no information. If you find yourself skipping alerts because you don’t have enough time, it may be time to pare down your keywords.