Google Alerts is a fantastic free tool that is often overlooked even by SEO savvy business owners.
Yet, it can bring great results and requires very little effort in setting it up. In this article I would like to outline the best ways you can utilize Google Alerts to grow your business, have better SEO results, and be extra prepared when facing competition.
Company and product mentions
Adding a Google Alert to track any mentions of your brand is a must. You want to know what reviewers of your products or services think of you, and even if you gather reviews on a specific platform (for example reviews on Google, Amazon, eBay – all depending on the type of your business), there still might be places out there where people talk about you, which could provide very valuable information to you as a business owner.
Jane Wilkerson, an owner of a pilates studio shared that tracking customer reviews using Google Alerts helped her find out more about her studio’s location and whether it’s convenient for her clientele.
She shared that “when people talk to you after a class they don’t typically mention things like parking space and distance from school from where they pick up their children afterward. But once they are in the quiet of their own home, they go online and share their thoughts, which are so valuable for me as a business owner. Based on the review feedback I was able to scout a new location and it immediately affected the number of people attending my classes”.
If you sell specific products or services, it’s also a great idea to create Google Alerts for each one of them.
Beyond that, it’s recommended to track your social media presence. There are dedicated platforms for that, but if you are just starting out, or simply want to use a free tool available, you can create alerts for things like your Twitter handle, Pinterest, or Instagram identifiers, among others.
Keep track of backlinks and Google search indexation
Experienced marketers recommend having a blog on your website, as well-indexed content allows you to move up higher in organic search results when people google you, your product, or your business in general.
If you do have a blog, Google Alerts can be very helpful, because you can create one for each blog post URL, and be notified once it has been indexed by Google. You will also get alerts every time your content is republished or linked to. If you notice that your content has been quoted without proper citation, you can easily track the quoting source and ask them to receive proper credit, which will also greatly benefit your search engine presence.
Another helpful thing you can do using Google Alerts is tracking all mentions of the key people in your company. They can be mentioned by others in the industry, including your customers, those who look up to you, as well as your competitors. Knowing what is being said helps you stay on top of your online reputation, and can even lead to building important partnerships.
Competition can play a vital role in driving your business forward. By analyzing the online presence of your competitors you can often draw important insights about what works well in your industry, and what doesn’t. It would be helpful to know, for example, whether a certain pricing strategy attracts more attention, and you can do that by creating bi-weekly or monthly alerts to keep an eye on important updates and mentions of your competitors in the industry.
Keywords and trends
Last but not least is using this monitoring tool to stay alert on the latest trends. If there’s a trending topic in your industry, make sure to follow the conversation around it. You never know when a potentially important partner, collaborator or customer is reading what you say, and you certainly want to be aware of the latest trends when moving your business forward.
Start by creating several alerts on what you consider to be trending topics in your industry, and see whether they are in fact as trending as you think. You might be surprised when you see that things you considered as relevant might not be attracting that much attention, all the while some other trends might emerge that you weren’t aware of.
This category should be revisited often, as trends change. Even if you won’t end up commenting on what you are forwarded to, staying in the loop will help you while you plan your next steps.
Setting up Google Alerts
Follow these simple steps to start setting up your own customized Google Alerts. It’s important to mention that you will need a Google email address to do it.
- Open www.google.com/alerts
- Type in the name of the item/person/blog post title/URL/social media identifier that you would like to get alerts for.
- Click on Show Options.
- Choose the frequency of notifications, as well as other customization options.
- If you have a team of people working on the online presence of your brand, it’s recommended to use a generic corporate email (such as sales@, marketing@, etc.), as opposed to a personal one. This way you will be able to get important alerts even if a member of your team responsible for them is away.
- Create alert.
Google Alerts can be a true game-changer for many business owners, looking to scale their online presence, learn more about the current trends in their industry, stay on top of all online mentions of their brand, as well as any mentions of key people in business, and any products they market. It’s recommended to revisit your initial setup every month or more often in order to create a truly helpful, invisible online assistant, working for you 24/7.