Using Google Alerts To See What Google Sees

Google AlertsIf you’re like me, you’ve gone to Google (or another search engine), typed your name and clicked SEARCH.  After all, you never really know what’s out there if you’re not looking… right?  If you’ve got a business that’s on the web then it’s super important that people FIND that website… otherwise why is your site out there?

The one downside to doing a Google search is that you’re searching the index at that very instant.  There are millions of web pages being added to the Internet ever single day and in this age of social sharing we live in you simply never know when there’s going to be a new mention of you showing up in Google’s index.   In order to see when something “new” about you or your business you’d have to do that same Google search daily.  Fortunately, the good people in Mountain View, California will do that work for you…. for free!

Google will allow you to set up a Google Alert.  They are email updates that will send you the, “Latest relevant Google results based on your choice of query or topic.”  Essentially what this means is that every time Google gets a new piece of information on your query, they’ll let you know about it.

Visit the Google Alerts page at http://www.google.com/alerts to get started.  Once there, you can enter a term or phrase that you’re interested in and can select some options:

  1. Type (what Google’s look at for you) – everything, news, blogs, realtime, video, discussions or books
  2. How often (frequency of results) – as-it-happens, once a day or once a week
  3. How many (how much stuff do you want to get) – only the best results or all results
  4. Deliver to (how Google’s going to tell you) – enter your email

Personally, I have all my alerts set up with the following criteria:

  1. Type = Everything
  2. How often = as-it-happens
  3. Volume = Only the best results
  4. Deliver to = my email

You’re all set!  Now, when Google finds new stuff on web on you (or whatever you set up as your alert) you’ll be notified.  You can set up as many alerts as you’d like and you’ll be amazed not only by what’s out there but how quickly you’re alerted.   This is a great way to keep track of what’s being said about you, your company, competitors, or anything else you’re interested in.  I’ve got a whole slew of alerts set up for everything from my name to client’s competitors.  I’ve never been overwhelmed by the amount of alerts I receive.  If it ever does, you can go in and edit your settings to decrease frequency or delete them entirely.

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