Firing Up Google Alerts!

As you are starting your search engine and social media training, you most likely bumped into terms like 'mentions', 'likes' and 'conversations'. And most experts’ advice includes setting up Google Alerts for your business and the major keywords associated with your business.

 

Google Alerts is an easy way for you to stay up-to-date on the 'mentions', 'likes', and 'conversations' of your business. It could be all about your business– what people are saying about it and how they are saying it; all of those sites that are linked to it, quoted it, liking your business or even complaining about it. This is called “relationship management.” Or, it could be related to your keyword search terms that are associated with your business products or services.

 

Google Alerts monitors your relationship between your business and the people through social media and even your competition. And what makes it more powerful is that you can have all of this information on any specific keyword at any time of your choice sent right to your email address.

 

And to get started is easy as One Two Three.

 

Go to http://google.com/alerts where you will see a page similar to this:

 

Google Alerts

 

If you have a Google account, you should use it to sign in — and if you don’t, simply fill out the form that you’ll find on the Google Alerts homepage. They fields are as follows:

 

Search Query

Enter your preferred search keyword terms you want to track. Most Google Alerts Users suggest starting with the name of your business, or key persons who are likely to be quoted in the media or keywords relevant to your business. You can also string similar terms together here using the 'OR' operator. (eg. [“bookkeeping” OR “small business bookkeeping” OR “outsource bookkeeping tasks”])

Other examples are:

dolphins football – limits your search to dolphins that are not football related

salsa dance class – gives you the tasty kind of salsa

The Cat in the Hat Green Eggs and Ham – this would give you results with BOTH of these terms

The Cat in the HatOR Green Eggs and Ham – this would give you results for EITHER of these terms

 

Result Type

Choose from News, Blogs, Web, Comprehensive, Video, Groups, or Everything on type of search.

 

Google defines the following as:

A 'Blog' alert is an email aggregate of the latest blog posts that contain the search terms of your choice and appear in the top ten results of your Google Blog search.

A 'Video' alert is an email aggregate of the latest videos that contain the search terms of your choice and appear in the top ten results of your Google Video search.

 

The new types that were added are:

A 'Discussions' alert is an email aggregate of new posts that contain the search terms of your choice and appear in the top fifty results of your Google Discussions search.

A 'Books' alert is an email aggregate of new books that contain the search terms of your choice and appear in the top fifty results of your Google Books search.

A 'News' alert is an email aggregate of the latest news that contain the search terms of your choice and appear in the top fifty results of your Google search.

An 'Everything' alert is an email aggregate encompassing all options above mentioned that contain the search terms of your choice and appear in the top ten results of Google Search.

 

How Often

This depends on how often you will want to receive an alert. Google Alerts can send your alerts as soon as it finds a match to your search terms, as-it-happens, daily, or once a week. If you like to keep up with “breaking news,” select as-it-happens. If you’d rather take a certain time each week to review this, select weekly.

 

How Many

Try “only the best results” first and if you’re not getting enough returned content, expand it to “all results” to get any mention. But, for some keywords, be prepared for an overload of information.

 

Your Email Address

This needs no Google account. Any email address will do. But a Google account can give the convenience of having the Alert Management options.

 

When everything is filled out, click on the 'Create Alert' button. Google will then send you a confirmation email with a link to activate your Alert.

 

When you start receiving Google Alerts, some information might seem not particularly useful to you or it may be mixed in with the information that is relevant to your business—you can edit your search terms to refine the results that Google sends to you. Google users suggest using Google search limiters, like quotation marks, or operators like “AND”, “OR”, or “-“ to narrow the content of your alerts. You can visit this link to find more ways to craft your search queries.