Google Alerts are a massively underused tool in marketing. I asked the last three marketing managers I spoke to if they used them (my commitment to market research knows no bounds!), and none did. Hardly statistically significant, but not a surprise. So let’s see what Google Alerts are, and how we can use them.
Google Alerts are “email updates of the latest relevant Google results (web, news, etc.) based on your queries”, as Google itself explains. So whenever something gets added to the web with your chosen search term, you get an email linking to it. Sign into a Google Account, then visit the Google Alerts page:
Setting up one or more Google Alerts is simple from here. If nothing else, at least start monitoring mentions of your company. That’ll instantly give you the world’s best cuttings service, for free. But Google Alerts can do so much more, starting with link-building opportunities. For example, let’s say you have a decent article on your site describing how a blue widget works. Set up a Google Alert for “how blue widgets work”, or variations on that, and if anyone ever asks the question online, you’ll get a notification. Naturally, you’ll visit the site and provide a link to your article.
There’s a lot more sophistication available for your searches, including AND/OR operators, wildcards and the like. Searches can be quite sophisticated. You can filter out certain sites (such as your own) using the “” and “site:” operators, like this:
how blue widgets work site:www.example.com
There are plenty of good articles online about using Google Alerts effectively. It should be an essential part of your marketing toolkit.