Google Alerts – a free way to track your business online
Any business online should know what is being said about their company, brand, and/or CEO online. This information can be valuable to alert you to both negative and positive feedback so that you can promptly respond or recognize it. One way to do this is through Google Alerts. You can set up a list of important terms to track. Google will send an email detailing where you show up online.
Use Google Alerts to:
- Monitor the impact of your marketing and see who is linking to you.
- Build goodwill. See who is writing about you then follow up through commenting, writing an email, and thanking people where appropriate.
- Track your competitors.
- Follow your industry by tracking specific terms – this gives you ideas on what to blog about, what to create whitepapers about, identify trends, get ideas for press releases, and to stay up-to-date.
I have a Google alert on “OrangeSoda” and “Orange Soda” (but I stopped because it was all about soft drinks, not a variation on our company name) and various other topics I want to track online.
How to set up a Google Alert:
- Go to www.google.com/alerts
- Type in the terms you want to track (your product name, your company name, your CEO’s name, etc).
- Choose the “type” of tracking you want (just blogs, forums, etc. Comprehensive means track everywhere).
- Select how often you want email updates: daily update, weekly update or “as-it-happens” (which might be too many if your term is popular).
- You’ll get an email with a link and short summary of information that has appeared online for each term.
A tip from Duct Tape Marketing about Google Alerts: Track your URL by putting this in the tracking box: link:http://www.yourblogurl.com or link:http://www.yourcompanyurl.com(yourblogurl is of course the address of your blog and you can also put in your company web site URL).
You can manage your alerts – or refine them by clicking the “manage your alerts” link on the Google alerts page. It will give a list of all of your alerts which you can edit, delete, or change settings.
Be sure to put your term in quotes or it will probably be too broad and give every instance of the words, in any order. By putting quotes around terms it will just alert you when those terms come up in that exact order.
It’s amazing what you’ll learn with Google alerts – sometimes you’ll discover your employee’s have a personal blog and write about your business. You’ll find out what people really think of you or get suggestions or ideas. If you’re not getting many alerts it’s a signal you need to do more to build links to your site (like hire an SEO company to build content and links).