I never ceased to be amazed by the number of people who either don’t use, or don’t know about, Google Alerts. Available to all of us for free since the dawn of time, Google Alerts send an email whenever something matching a chosen search term is added to the Google index. So at a minimum, I assume everyone has a Google Alert set up for their name, their company name, the names of senior management, the names of their main products, the names of competitors, etc., right?
On their own, Google Alerts can be a fantastic source of intelligence, and an superb PR monitoring tool. However, they can also be useful in SEO, allowing you to spot mentions on other sites which don’t include a link to you, but could easily have one added for the price of a phone call. You’ll need some powers of persuasion to get website owners to start mucking around with old pages to add links to you, but far less to get them to add a link to one they’ve just published: the sort of thing you get from Google Alerts.