Google Alerts

Have you ever wondered what people are saying about you online? A little-buzzed service from Google allows you to get a preliminary overview of new content published about you. This service, called Google Alerts, is completely free and sends you emails only when it finds a new publication mentioning a word or phrase you have chosen to follow.

Sign Up

Signing up for this service is relatively simple, provided you already have a Google account. Simply point your browser to http://www.google.com/alerts and login or sign up. You will then be presented with a form to fill out with a variety of options. Once you hit save, you’ll be all set and signup will be completed. You will then receive alerts at your desired time intervals (our is ‘As-it-Happens’).

Settings

Google AlertsOnce you navigate to the alerts page and have signed in, you will see a form like the one at right. We recommend that your first Alert be for your brand name. So for us, we would enter “PogoPlus” in the search query field. We also really want to know everything that people mention about us, so we’re going to leave “result type” as everything. Don’t worry, this won’t be too overwhelming.

From our experience working with small businesses, there isn’t a whole lot being written up about them on a regular basis. Because of this, we recommend selecting “As-it-Happens” for the How Often field. On average, we probably receive about one email per week per client with this setting on. Oftentimes, these alerts are still what we call false positives – or don’t really apply to the business. But it’s nice to know the alerts are actively working.

For the last two fields, ‘how many’ and ‘deliver to’, select the results and email that work best for your business. The difference between “best results” and “all results” is in how sensitive the filter is. The “all results” is best for businesses with unique queries – in this situation that would mean a very unique name. For most other businesses, “best results” should work fine and will send you updates only when all words in your query (the whole name of your business) is present in the new online publication.

Repeat & Relax

Perhaps the best part of Google Alerts is its passive nature. After filling out the form for you business name and any other keywords that are relevant (product names, trademarks, etc), there is very little that you need to do. New alerts will come into your email box you provided just like any other message. When you get these emails, simply click the link included to see the new content. If it’s good – don’t worry about it. If it’s bad – give us a call!

Happy searching!

Written by

David is an avid social entrepreneur and Boston sports fanatic. He founded Diversified Data Technologies way back in 2009 and stuck around to see it grow. His party quarks include unnecessary dancing and being an overly hospitable host. When looking, he can be found capturing the twitterverse at @DLanphear, being professional on LinkedIn, or bouncing around town with Foursquare.

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