Google Alerts – A Free Media Monitoring Tool to Keep Marketers in the Know

diamonddog woman-with-dog-smiling-in-front-of-computer Google Alerts - A Free Media Monitoring Tool to Keep Marketers in the Know

Get the Latest News on What Matters Most with Google Alerts

Google offers an awesome library of free online tools, such as Google Analytics, Gmail, Google Docs, Google Alerts, and many more.  In this blog I am going to focus on Google Alerts, a tool widely used by marketers.  You will learn how this easy to set up and use solution will become invaluable for a variety of reasons.

What are Google Alerts?

Google Alerts is a free digital marketing tool that monitors the Internet for you based on keywords or keyword phrases that you establish.  It will track your search queries across websites, news sources, blog posts, videos, online books, finance trackers, and discussion forums. However, it does not monitor and pull content from social media posts.

With its Search Settings and Advanced Operations, your notifications can be customized for further granularity.  You can specify if you only want queries from certain sources, a specific region, or in a particular language.  Furthermore, you can determine the frequency of your alerts.  Notifications can be received as they happen, daily, or weekly.  You can request that all alerts appear in a single email too.  Besides frequency, you can also establish the time of day you would like to receive your alerts.  Finally, you can select “only best results” or “all results”.  However, Google does not clearly define how an alert is included in the best results category.  Once your Google Alerts are set up, you will begin to receive notifications and alerts to your email address.

The Many Uses for Google Alerts

Google Alerts is a flexible and versatile tool that can be used for many purposes.  You can monitor many keywords at the same time.  The maximum number of alerts at a given time is 1,000.  You can also change them as often as necessary.  Below are a few different use cases for Google Alerts:

1. Monitoring

Google Alerts are excellent for monitoring your competition as well as the overall industry.

  • Competition
    By tracking your competitors, you can stay informed about their brands.  The key data that comes to your inbox will help you to differentiate your business from the competition.  In addition, it may inspire you to come up with creative offerings that will provide even greater value to your target markets.
  • Industry
    Customers often want to work with leading-edge businesses.  With Google Alerts, you can stay informed about industry trends and adjust your business model accordingly.  Also, alerts for keywords may result in information about new up and coming competitors that were not on your radar screen originally.  Lastly, Google Alerts may turn up potential threats in the marketplace that could impact your business.  By being aware of these threats, you can develop an effective and timely counterstrategy.

2. Managing Your Online Reputation

In today’s digital world, 76 percent of consumers review a company’s online presence before visiting a business in person, making your online reputation critical to success.  By proactively monitoring not only your company name, but also the names of your key executives you can track what is being published on the Internet.  Any negative publicity can be handled swiftly, helping to ensure your good online reputation is maintained.  Positive mentions can be further publicized by you.

3. Tracking Press Release Activity

Unless you use a press release distribution service such as Cision PR Newswire, it can be difficult to keep track of where your press releases are published.  Often you are not notified by publications if your press release is published or if it has been used as the basis for another article.  The Google Alerts news tracking feature can help you to solve this challenge.

4. Writing New and Fresh Content

Creating new and unique content can be time consuming.  However, as we all know “Content is King”.  It is critical that your website show up on the first page of search because 75 percent of people never scroll beyond it.  In order to appear on that first page using organic search (not Google AdWords), fresh and original content must be posted on a regular basis.  However, it is not always easy to come up with new and different ideas for content.  This is where Google Alerts can help.  You can set up a variety of alerts about a particular topic as well as tangents subjects.  It is key to note that I am not advocating plagiarizing.  Even if the content owner does not know or even cares if you copied his/her content, Google does.  Google’s page algorithm will rank your website page lower.  These alerts should be used for inspiration, not plagiarizing.

Optimizing Google Alerts

Google Alerts are very easy to set up and use.  However, below are a few best practices to make them even more effective:

1. Selecting the Right Keywords

This is the first and most important step when setting up Google Alerts.  I advocate selecting very specific keywords that are relevant to your business and industry, helping to ensure your inbox is not flooded with unrelated content.  Your alerts can include a combination of keywords.  For example, you may set up a notification for website development +  strategic design.  Of course, your keywords should be reviewed regularly.  You can change them over time.

2. Scheduling Multiple Alerts

One alert is not going to return all the key information that is available online.  As mentioned, you can schedule up to 1,000 alerts, but I would recommend no more than 20 for a particular business at any given time.  If you set up hundreds of alerts, you most likely will not review them.  They will just end up clogging your inbox.  If you discover that an alert is not returning many or any results, then you should just delete it.  It is very intuitive to remove and edit alerts.

3. Incorporating Filters

Earlier, I discussed the various filters available for Google Alerts.  However, many times they are not incorporated when the alerts are established. These can be key, especially if you work with customers around the globe.  You will want to monitor content in these different regions.

Google Alerts – Don’t Miss Out on this Invaluable Tool

Google offers so many different tools, but Google Alerts, in particular, is very useful for marketers.  With so much going on in today’s digital world, it is difficult to stay current on competitors, the industry, and sometimes even your own brand.  If you would like to learn more about Google Alerts, please feel free to contact us.  We would be more than happy to help you receive the most out of this worthwhile tool.

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