Google Alerts are a fast, free, and easy way to monitor specific topics that people are talking about online. If you haven’t set these up, consider doing so. Here’s the 411 on what you need to know.
What are Google Alerts?
Google Alerts will tell you when a specific topic that you identify is mentioned online. For example, you can set up a Google alert for your company name. When your company name is mentioned somewhere on the web (e.g. an article posted to a newspaper’s website), Google will send you an alert with a link to the source.
It’s a great way to monitor conversations that are taking place about your company, about your products, about specific people, about your competitors, and about specific topics related to your industry. For example, if you’re a consultant who sells business mentoring software, you could set up a Google Alert around the phrase “business mentoring.”
What are the benefits of setting up this service?
The benefits are many:
- You can easily keep up with conversations about certain topics without having to do searches on your own. You can then take part in the conversation (e.g. respond to a blog post, tweet an article you’re mentioned in, or do damage control after a poor review).
- You don’t need to do any heavy lifting…Google constantly scans its indexed pages for the phrases you identify. This saves you time.
- You don’t need to spend any money since Google Alerts is our favorite price: free.
- You can create as many alerts as you want, and you can easily manage your alerts (e.g. you can adjust the topics you’re following or adjust when they’re delivered to you).
How do I set up Google Alerts?
- You’ll need a Google Account. Either set that up or sign in.
- Go to http://www.google.com/alerts
- Fill out the five fields: search query, result type, how often, how many, deliver to
It’s that simple. From that same screen, you can also manage your alerts once you create them.
Here’s a video tutorial as well:
Do you use Google Alerts? Have you found them to be helpful? Talk about your experience in the comments.