In this post, we’ll look at Google Alerts and how to use them today. We’ll also look at several alternatives worth a look.
Google Alerts are simply automated messages sent to your Gmail account whenever Google indexes web content or content changes that included your selected keywords or keyword phrases. This is a free tool provided by Google. You can choose to include several keywords to narrow down the search alerts or even put your keywords in “quotes” to even further narrow down the relevancy.
Google Alerts is very easy to setup but you do have a few options such as how often to receive the alerts. Common keywords will generate an endless stream of alerts so I normally chose the ‘daily‘ option. Another option Google gives you involves the volume of the alerts by selecting “All results” or “Only the best results“. You can set the type of content you want to be alerted of by Everything, News, Blogs, Video, and Discussions.
Google Alerts Just Won’t Die
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If you’ve been using Google Alerts for a while, there was a time (2011/2012, I think) when those little notifications we grew to rely on just seemed to stop without explanation. Then, without official notice or explanation, the alerts started up again but sporadically. Google Alerts are alive and well today, but not nearly as reliable as they once were.
15 Ways Google Alerts Help Bloggers
Google Alerts are automated messages sent to your Gmail account whenever Google indexes web content that included your selected keywords or keyword phrases. Google Alerts are a free tool provided by Google. You can choose to include several keywords to narrow down the search alerts or even put your keywords in “quotes” to even further narrow down the relevancy.
Google Alerts is very easy to setup, but you do have a few options such as how often to receive the alerts. Common keywords will generate an endless stream of notices, so I typically chose the ‘daily‘ option. Other options Google gives you involves the volume of the alerts by selecting “All results” or “Only the best results“. You can set the type of content you want to be notified of by “Everything, News, Blogs, Video, and Discussions.”
Here are a few ideas on how to put Google Alerts to work for you as a blogger:
- Keep up with your niche.
- Track your competition.
- Stay on top of news and development in your field.
- Discover new content and topics.
- Track your brand and name.
- Find new and upcoming keywords.
- Find scrapers stealing your content.
- See how quickly your content is being indexed by Google.
- Discover relevant blogs and websites.
- Build your network within your niche.
- Find new social and bookmarking sites.
- Be the first to know when your keywords are in the news.
- Find new places to add backlinks for SEO.
- Determine which keywords are saturated with competition.
- Find backlinks to your site from content and article marketing.
There you have it; Google Alerts are a fantastic free tool for bloggers. The options available help reduce the volume of alerts you receive. You can always go in and adjust the settings, add new alerts, or delete old ones in a matter of seconds.
Caution: Don’t be too general when creating your alerts. Popular words and/or terms such as, “Presidential Elections” or “Nascar,” will flood your inbox very quickly.
Track Your Blog’s Niche With Google Alerts
You can keep track of keywords you use by having Google alert you whenever it’s referenced on the net.
For example, if your niche is Cat Furniture, you can have Google Alerts look for the term “Cat Furniture,” as well as related keywords like scratching post, kitty condos or litter box furniture.
I’m sure you can see how knowing where these keywords and key phrases are being used can help you in building and promoting your blog.
Google Alerts can give you an idea of how popular certain terms in your niche are. They can help you keep tabs on your competitors or use the information to aid in SEO (Search Engine Optimization). You can also find related sites and blogs to network.
You may be surprised at how often the alerts help you think up new topics to blog about.
Google Alerts Aren’t Just For Email Alerts – Send Them To A Feed
Do you hate email as much as I do? At least, when it becomes overwhelming. I’ve been doing a pretty decent job as maintaining “inbox zero” several times a week and daily keyword alerts would get in the way of that.
I set-up Google Alerts to email me when my name, company names, or websites are used. Those are easy reads and take up very little time.
However, for a common term or phrase such as “blogging tips,” which I do want to follow, I can’t have those alerts clogging up my inbox. Here’s the trick:
I use Feedly daily to read the feeds I’ve subscribed. So setting up a feed for my Google Alerts is a no-brainer.
When setting up your Google Alert, open the “options” tab and under, “Deliver to“, choose “RSS feed“. Once created, Google will display a link (via feed icon) to that RSS feed. Now copy that feed URL to your favorite feed reader. Bam, you’re in business!
Google Alert Alternatives
Talkwalker – Talkwalker is very similar to Google Alerts. Talkwalker also has the option of turning off the email alerts and using a RSS feed.
I should mention that my Talkwalker alerts come in so rarely; I almost forgot I have them setup. In fact, Talkwalker has only sent a single “Hot Blog Tips” alert in 2016. I have received, however, six newsletter style emails so far this year. I haven’t seen a Talkwalker alert for “Brian D Hawkins” or “hotblogtips” since November, 2015.
I wouldn’t rely too heavily on Talkwalker for an alert service.
Mention – Mention is another alternative and more reliable than Talkwalker – in my experience.
I have a free Mention account that gives me 700 mentions and 3 alerts per month with 30 days of archived mentions. That’s not very much. Here’s the thing, though – I don’t see the free option for new accounts anywhere on their website. The free membership is either hidden or no longer available. Here’s the pricing page.
Twilert – Twilert is a paid service only but does have a 30-day free trial. I can’t vouch for or comment on this service because I haven’t used it.
Here’s the description on Twilert’s home page, ”
Get realtime alerts via email when your brand names, keywords or hashtags are mentioned on Twitter
IFTTT – Perhaps the most exciting content/media monitoring service is the one you haven’t made yet.
I am, of course, referring to IFTTT (If This, Then That) and the vast number of recipes already created with the potential for many others.
Listing and linking to IFTTT Recipes would take an entire post so let me point you to the best article I’m aware of on the subject, at least for bloggers and marketers – The Ultimate List of IFTTT Recipes for Marketers.
Did I miss anything?
Do you have any other effective monitoring tools? What are you using to track competition, your brand, your influence, and reach?