How and Why to Create Google Alerts

I’ve been using Google Alerts for about 2 years now and can tell you that they save me lots of time!

As a Sage Preferred Vendor, we work with many different Sage Partners who work with a variety of industries, selling an array of different products – from accounting software to CRM systems! To be proactive I try to stay updated on the latest news with all the products. So instead of spending a couple of days researching each product individually I set up Google Alerts to let me know whenever a news item, blog, video or discussion is happening based around the product name. The news comes to me instead of me to it! My suggestion is that anyone selling a product from a parent company should create a Google Alert using the product name to “listen” to conversations online about that product.

Another thing that I use Google Alerts for is content creation. I set them up for things that I blog about and present webinars about – I can read what’s new in the space and interesting blogs on the topics. That helps me brainstorm and think about new content that I can create around those subjects for our blog.

There are so many uses for Google Alerts, here’s what my pals here at Hall use them for:

Public Relations
Caitlin says that using Google Alerts is a great addition to your Public Relations campaigns as it can help you determine when certain press releases are picked up in the media. Monica also mentions that she keeps Google Alerts set up for the different clients that she works with. This can be helpful to catch any negative comments and proactively respond.

Hobbies
We have to have a little fun right? Andre really likes Omega Watches, in fact, he likes them so much he has created a Facebook page, Omega Timepiece News, dedicated entirely to news about the brand. He set up Google Alerts to get the latest news or chatter online sent directly to him to post on the page. He also wants to make sure the information he posts on the page is timely and even mentioned that once he posted news about Omega Watches before Omega Watches did! That’s pretty cool! Reputation/Brand Management
Lot’s of people here at Hall use Google Alerts to manage their reputation by setting up a Google Alert for their name – Sorry John Smith, this might not work as well for you. Amanda mentions also setting them up for her Twitter Name and for Social Media Breakfast Maine. She does note, however, that she realized it won’t work for all names, like Hall Internet Marketing. It was too generic and we received too much clutter related to things like “town hall meetings.” RC mentions that for low-level social monitoring, Google Alerts are a good way to manage your brand to see if people are talking about your company in those spaces.

Keyword Research
Monica has used Google Alerts in the past for specific keyword research to learn how certain keywords are used. She also says that they can be handy when you’re working on a link building campaign.

How to Set Up Google Alerts
They are super easy to set up – follow the screen shots below:

  1. First, go to http://www.google.com/alerts and log in using your Google Account.
  2. Then, type in your query or the word you’d like to set up an alert for, you can preview the results to see if you need to alter the word you typed in.
  3. If you get the desired results then you can continue on and select the type of content you’re looking for. You can choose between Everything, News, Blogs, Video, or Discussions. I usually choose “everything” but depending on what you’re using it for you might only want one, like news for example.
  4. Choose the frequency at which you want to be alerted: As-it-happens, Once a day, or Once a week. For public relations reasons you might need to be alerted as things happen but if you’re only staying on top of product news, then once a week will probably suffice. Choose what fits the specific scenario for you best.
  5. Google Alerts allow you to filter the results a bit; between Only the best results and All results. Basically this determines how many results you will get – you can choose the best results that Google thinks are most relevant to your query or you can get all the results that Google finds.
  6. At this point you’re pretty much all set, you just need to choose where you want the alert delivered to – your Google Reader or your email. Amanda usually dedicates a portion of her day to reading items in her Google Reader and finds it most convenient to have her alerts sent there. Since I am usually checking emails frequently throughout the day, it’s best for me to have them sent to my inbox. Again, it’s up to you and what will work best.
  7. If any of the alerts aren’t working the way you had intended you can easily log into your Google Account and manage them by changing how often they are sent to you or how you receive them.

How are you using Google Alerts? Use the comments section to share other ways that you are using Google Alerts!