Take a look below and you’re going to see our best tips (don’t worry, they’re free) that we find truly crucial for a serious business to be considering – Our Top 10 Best Uses for Google Alerts.
Quick Update – More Uses…
[Update 5/23/2019] – This post was originally released on our review site, Seocompetitors.com but has been so popular we wanted to add it to the mix here as well.
We talk about it below, but one of the most popular uses for Google Alerts right now is using them to aid your blog curation strategies for your site. Content curation is a specific approach to content authoring that involves quoting from authority sites, linking back to them and editorializing around those quotes. Now, we can’t explain it all in a two paragraph explanation here, but Content Curation is one of the most tried and trued 100% white hat methods for significantly increasing blog authority and relevance. In this “RankBrain” era, it is one of the most effective SEO strategies and is very scalable and even easily outsourced.
Firstly, Monitor Your Content
Technology can be a double-edged sword. One one hand, it makes things far simpler than ever before, but that also means that it is simpler for content thieves and hackers to do what they do. This is why you need to stay alert and watch over your business or you might wind up with things being taken away from you. So first let’s cover a couple of simple tips that we recommend for monitoring your site and being sure that nothing strange is happening.
Sites that contain a significant amount of unique content must value that content highly so stay vigilant or you could get that content stolen. This subject is a little bit tricky. There is RSS, screen scraping and syndication out there now so don’t be shocked to find your content all across the web. Some of what you see is going to be a legitimate use of the content you own, but not all of it will be and since there is no enforcement body to look out for your interests, you’ve got to police things yourself. There are more sophisticated and elegant solutions out there, but we have decided a simple approach works best.
We use Copyscape.com and check our content there from time to time. That will only be effective if your volume of content is relatively low. If you need to do this for hundreds of posts then you are going to have to find a more sophisticated tool. Copysentry is a monitoring program from Copyscape that only costs $4.95 per month and monitors your site’s content weekly – it’s cheap and a smart investment.
Google Alerts Help Your Site Grow and Help You Guard It Too
The second tip we’re offering is easily one of the simplest, but it is a tactic that is not used as much as it should be. A lot of folks have no idea it exists: Google Alerts. Google has a service that lets you set up “alerts” that monitor certain things and send an email to you or an RSS if they crop up. That might sound a little vague – but that’s what makes it effective, the flexibility of the tool!
You can set an alert that will keep an eye on any search phrase you want to. For instance, if you want to have an alert sent to you any time your site’s domain name is “mentioned” in any of the content indexed by Google, you can. Every mention triggers an alert sent directly to your email inbox. This is a very smart way to keep track of your reputation online. If a customer of yours posts a nasty review of your site or product, or even if they post glowing praise, you will be notified because you have an alert set up.
When you start thinking outside the box, you are going to see the power of Google Alerts. We want to show you some great ideas you can use to get the most from Google Alerts right now.
Top 10 Ways You Can Leverage Google Alerts
Keep Tabs on Your Domain
While this is a very basic idea, it is also an extremely beneficial way to use Google Alerts – to monitor your reputation and your brand’s presence online. However, you need to think outside the box here. A site that mentions you when you never even asked them to may well be a great site to get in touch with and ask about exchanging guest blog posts or maybe they would be a smart place to buy some advertising from. Allow the alert to “plant and seed” and start coming up with ways you could use it to benefit your site.
Keep Tabs on Your Name
These days, Internet Reputation Management is a fairly substantial industry. You can do this on your own just by keeping track of your name and your reputation on the web. When your name comes up, you can spring into action. For businesses branded to a name or professionals who use their name in business – such as dentists, lawyers, chiropractors or doctors – this is incredibly important to pay attention to.
Watch Over Keywords
Google Alerts is a great way to watch the keywords that matter to your site. For example, say you have a keyword that is of utmost importance to your site. Set up an alert for it and keep track of who else is chasing that keyword by watching who is linkbuilding for it. Talk about an easy way to scope out your competition! Let’s go even further, though. Let those alerts be a source of inspiration for you as to ideas for blog posts that are worth writing because they are news or a topic related to your keyword. Monitoring your keyword this way is going to show you related keywords that could be used in article content or even in titles of content. Take a look at your alerts and see if any sites you come across would be good to partner with or maybe buy advertising on.
Find Out When Google Indexes Your Content
You need to realize that Google Alerts can be set to monitory any complex search string you input. There are many advanced parameters Google can search with like “info”, “site”, “allintitle” and a variety of different modifiers, too. You can get creative with the Alerts you set up and use them in unique and beneficial ways. One of these ways is making sure you get alerted once a piece of content you are waiting for the indexing of finally is indexed. Just use the “site:domain.com/url” syntax and you will be sent an alert once that URL is indexed by Google.
Keep an Eye on Your Competition
We believe this is equally important to watching over your name and your site, too. Those that keep a sharp eye on their competition’s brand name and their sites will find a lot of different information that can help them shape their business into a more profitable one, either by replicating techniques or implementing new strategies. In taking a look at who mentions them and how they are referenced, you will start to gain insight into the strategies they are using for marketing. Remember that you are free to include the “site:” directive in a search so that results are limited to only those on a particular site you care about. If you want to keep an eye on what your competitor is blogging about, this is an excellent way to go.
Keep Tabs on Your Efforts in Linkbuilding
You’ll find that Google Alerts is extremely useful for monitoring the effect of article submissions and other types of content specific linkbuilding. When you have control over the content, you can use the keyword phrases from the content to see how effective the distribution ends up being. When you are building a database of links pointing to your site (we encourage this!) then you can monitor those alerts and keep track of the links you find internally so that they stay indexed as time progresses. Here’s a little trick you can try: set an alert for author pen names you use for different strategies so you can track each strategy separately.
Keep Tabs on Related Discussions
Want to find some excellent related backlinks? Make an alert that will monitor discussions for a related keyword phrase and when it comes up, go “join in” on the discussion and leave a relevant comment with a link to your own site. This allows you to locate discussion threads and sites that are active and related to the niche you serve, plus they are already highly targeted to the keywords you’re after. Google Alerts can be set up to monitor everything, blogs, discussion, news or other information categories. This way you can adjust from narrow to broad to find what you want to monitor.
Discover Topics You Can Blog About
This is super simple. Everyone gets the dreaded “writer’s block” once in a while and when this happens you may struggle in deciding what you should blog about even though you know you have to keep publishing content for Google to find and index. Use the “or” operator to set up a complex search string for an alert that will use several of your primary keywords. Perhaps even easier is to set up several different alerts for your top keywords – whichever way you do it, you will get info that is related to your topic and gives you crucial inspiration that is you can either write about or “reply” to in a post of your own. This is one excellent way to get new content on your site with ease.
Discover Local Information and News
Lots of people know about a few of the basic search operators such as “allintitle:” or “site:”, but there ware way, way more of these and one that is a super smart idea to use if you want local content is the “location:” operator.
Advanced Programmatic Evaluation
While this isn’t something everyone will want to do, it is possible to leverage Google Alerts to track a variety of situations that might morph over time by programmatically outputting a particular phrase that you have set an alert up to watch over. While this is more complex than we are going to cover in this article, the basic concept is that you can use advanced search qualifiers Google provides together with custom programming to monitor certain situations in real time. If you get creative with this, you could build a system that is automated and uses alerts to do do certain things automatically when a notification is sent via Google Alert or even RSS. For instance, you could programmatically scrape your Alert generated RSS feeds to find “questions” in discussion groups that you would be able to provide an answer for.
Google Alerts is certainly a very potent weapon to include in your arsenal of tools, but just like any other tool you can over do it. We recommend trying out some simple alerts and then get more complex with your monitoring in a gradual way. If you get precise with the search strings you make use of then the results are generally going to be better. Ties into the “garbage in, garbage out” mantra that programmers are known for saying. Take your time and refine your searches so that the results you get, in terms of alert, are high quality.
Did we miss any great Google Alerts tips we should add to this list? Please let us know by leaving a comment below.