Here’s how to set up and use your Google Alerts account:
1. Brainstorm a list of terms and keywords you want to track. You list should include the following: your name, your company’s name, names of your products or programs, the name and/or company name of your competitors, keyword terms pertinent in your industry or to your business, names of “moves and shakers” in your industry, and names of potential joint venture/strategic alliance partnersDon’t worry about brainstorming absolutely everything in this step. Google Alerts makes it simple to add additional alerts as you need them.
2. Create a Google account. You can do so at http://www.google.com/alerts by following the sign in links, which will eventually bring you to a page where you create a new Google account. If you already use Gmail or some other Google service, you should be able to sign in to Google Alerts using that account info.
3. Create your alerts. Sign in to your Google account and begin to create your alerts. Here’s how to create the most effective alerts:
–Use quotation marks to surround your term, like “marketing coach”. By doing so, Google will alert you to only those pages making reference to this particular term.
–Choose the once-a-day alert which you can then review at the start of each day. Once a week is too seldom, and getting them as they happen will overwhelm you with email.
–Choose the most thorough search option, the Comprehensive option, in which Google searches the news, websites, blogs, and groups.
4. Add additional alerts later. I like to see where the info that I write ends up. Because I write a new article each week and submit it to article banks, I enter the article title as a Google alert to be notified when it’s placed on someone’s site or blog. I also add other keywords that I think searchers might use to find my site to see if my site is listed when it comes to those terms as well as to see what other sites come up by using those terms.
5. Scan the results. The amount of email that you receive will dramatically increase when you sign up for Google Alerts, so create a filter or rule in your email program to move all the alerts to a special folder for later viewing rather than clogging up your email inbox. Briefly scan the results and more thoroughly read the listings that appear to be most relevant. Because Google Alerts now searches blogs, many of the blog postings noted in your alert will look nonsensical because many bloggers have created blogs of keyword-crammed entries that are completely meaningless for you. Unfortunately, if do much marketing online, it’s only a matter of time until your name, company name, or name of an article that you’ve written appears on someone’s keyword-crammed blog.