With so many services (both free and paid) promising to help you grow your online business and make it thrive, it can feel overwhelming sometimes. If you so much as build a site on one of the popular hosting services, you’re showered with offers for everything from design to content and marketing. It all seems so important and yet a little daunting.
Running a business, especially in the digital realm, requires you as an entrepreneur to wear many hats and change them often to stay on top of things.
In this article, I will talk about one of the features offered by Google that can be genuinely helpful, is easy to set up, and requires little to no maintenance: Google Alerts.
How to set up Google Alerts
As I’ve mentioned before, this is very easy. The first thing you need is a Google e-mail address. Then:
- Type google.com/alerts in your browser
- Enter the search item you want to be notified about (your company name, a product name, an industry topic, a competitor name, etc.)
- Select “Show Options”
- Choose the frequency with which you’d like to be notified and fill in any additional information you are requesting
- Enter the Google inbox or RSS feed you’d like the alerts forwarded to
- Hit the “Create Alert” button, and you are done!
It’s best to add quotation marks around your query to get the most specific results – if you do this, Google will only look for those words in that particular order, so you won’t be notified about something that is not of interest.
Another useful tip is to also add common misspellings (if they apply to what you are searching). This is just to make sure you get all information on a query that is highly important to you.
Newly indexed content
The main objective of content creation as a marketing tool is for your business to be easily found in organic searches. You can set up alerts to know exactly when your recently published content is indexed by Google.
You can achieve this by tracking your company name, the page URL, or the title of the blog article, video, webinar, white paper, or whatever piece of content you’ve uploaded. By tracking the title of your piece, you can easily see if other sites republish your content.
The alerts help you check if you are given proper credit and thus increase the SEO value of your published content.
Company and product mentions
Setting up Google Alerts is the easiest way of tracking company mentions or e-learning products in real-time. You will know when these come up in articles or blog posts but also in social media conversations – and these ones you should join because that’s how online engagement works.
It’s a bit trickier if you want to track all of your online course mentions. Since there’s no cost, that’s not an issue, but depending on how many items you set in your alerts, you’ll have (possibly overwhelmingly) more or fewer e-mails in your inbox, so take that into consideration.
It’s very important to keep updated with all that is happening in your industry, but it can also be very time-consuming. The amount of information that goes online daily is huge, and it can be quite a challenge to sift through all of it.
Setting up alerts around key industry phrases that are most relevant to you ensures you’ll constantly get curated updates on the topics of interest. You can also see when something that is right up your alley is trending online and choose to join the conversations.
Even leaving comments on a blog article you liked or a video you found useful can increase your reach and online reputation.
Just as you need to be aware of what’s going on in the industry, you should keep an eye on the competition – even if it’s not a cutthroat business environment, it’s still a good idea to know where you stand compared to everyone else.
You don’t have to be as thorough with this as you are with your own business or online course mentions (because with those, you might want to respond or return the service), so you can set weekly or bi-monthly alerts based on the competitors’ brand names. Again, you don’t want your inbox flooded with these notifications.
A century ago, busy business people had trusted advisors who skimmed the newspapers and other sources for the most relevant developments. Today, Google Alerts is a simple and free way of getting all of that, no need to hire someone to do it for you.