Among all the Google products, Google Alerts is perhaps one of the least known, but definitely one of the most powerful. It taps into Google's endless crawling of the web—done to power its search engine—but flags up terms as they're indexed, not when you get around to looking for them. Think of it as Google results coming to you.
Google Alerts is very popular among PR firms. They charge a lot for a free feature that you can use yourself. Instead of wondering if people are talking about your or your business, you can sit back while it comes straight into your inbox.
Google Alerts is one of the easiest ways to monitor online mentions of your company in real time. The minute your content is indexed by Google's search bots, you're notified by email. In addition to mentions in online articles and blogs, you can also be notified of mentions in social media conversations.
Similar to tracking company mentions, it's smart to also track your specific product names or product categories. Since they’re free, go ahead and create as many alerts as you want. However, think about how often you want to receive these alerts to avoid overburdening your inbox.
At some point, your company's executive team and other key personnel will be mentioned online. It only makes sense to track alerts on their names as well. This helps you manage your company’s reputation and that of your key leaders. It also helps you manage online engagement opportunities and shows others in your industry that your company is paying attention.
Not sure how to get started with Google Alerts? It’s easy! These simple steps will help you create your own customized Google Alerts. To start, you’ll need a Google email address.
Go to www.google.com/alerts
Enter the search term you want to be notified about (e.g., company name, executive name, product, industry topic, competitor, etc.)
Select “Show Options”
Choose how often you’d like to be notified and fill in other requested information
Enter the Google inbox or RSS feed you’d like to send the alerts to
Hit the “Create Alert” button