How to Use Google Alerts to Monitor Your Brand and Track Interests

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Google Alerts is one of the quickest and easiest tools you can use to track mentions and alerts. It’s also 100% free, which is another reason it’s a great first stop. If you want to efficiently promote your brand, you need to listen to your audience. Google Alerts can help you monitor all types of content relevant to your business. Whether you’re a freelancer or a small business, these insights will help you adjust your business strategy to the market.

There are several things you can monitor with Google Alerts:

Brand monitoring. Alerts will let you stay up-to-date with what your customers or clients are saying about you. Monitoring your reputation is essential – you’ll instantly know both the good and bad things that are being said, so you can incorporate positive feedback or put out fires before they grow.
Competitor monitoring. It’s just as important to stay knowledgeable about your competitors as it is for your own brand. You can quickly learn if they release a new feature or get any positive/negative press.
Industry monitoring. Alerts can also help you stay up-to-date on general industry trends. Get alerted to events, attitude shifts, or new entrants as soon as they happen.

Once you’ve figured out which terms you want to monitor, you can set up alerts. We advise you to set up one alert at the time, so you don’t get lost in data.

For setting up Google Alerts, you need a Google Account. Once you have signed in to your Google Account, alert updates will be automatically sent to your email. After you’ve done so, you can set upan alert about practically anything. It’s also convenient to know that Google Alerts also have the content preview option.

How to set up Google Alerts?

1. Go to http://www.google.com/alerts/
2. Sign in if you have a Gmail account. If you don’t have a Gmail account, you can just start filling out the Google Alert form.
3. Enter the search terms you want the Google Alert to track, separated by commas. You can edit this later if you find you have too many or too few terms. If you’re not sure what to track, start with your name and your blog’s name. You may also want to include keyword phrases related to your brand and your niche.
4. Choose the Type of results you want Google Alerts to find and share with you. You can choose from the following:

— News
— Blogs
— Video
— Discussions
— Books
— Everything (so you can track it all)

5. Choose how often you’d like to receive your Google Alerts. I like to receive mine once a day or even once a week simply because I’m trying to cut down on the time I spend checking e-mail. However, if you’re tracking a timely project or news story, you may want to choose as-it-happens. Likewise, if you’re just keeping tabs on something that mildly interests you, but isn’t critical, you can choose once a week.
6. Choose how many results you want to get. You can receive “only the best results” or “everything” depending on your needs.
7. Choose where you’d like the Google Alerts delivered. If you have a Gmail account, you can receive them via Gmail. If you’d rather, you can receive them via RSS or another e-mail account.
8. Click the Create Alert button and finish.

Google Alerts is a great free tool that lets you stay ahead of the game in regard to trends and the latest research within your industry but make sure you don’t overwhelm yourself with alerts. Too much information can be just as bad as no information. If you find yourself skipping alerts because you don’t have enough time, it may be time to pare down your keywords.

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