Google Alerts have been out there for several years now, yet many marketers don’t use this fantastic free tool as much as they could. It can be overwhelming, especially when you first start using it, but once you get used to it and discover how to filter the results, it becomes a priceless piece in your arsenal. In short, Internet Marketer Should Use Google Alerts to receive notifications whenever keywords you’ve previously specified appear in Google, i.e., when something new gets indexed. You can receive alerts by email, or you can read them in Google Reader – depending on your preferences, and you can organize them by folders for easier use.
Now let’s see what you can use it for – and why you should:
1. Internet Marketers Should Use Google Alerts for Backlink opportunities
Monitor all the keywords related to your niche; don’t be afraid to set up 50 alerts. As soon as another blog post, a question on Quora or Yahoo! Answers, a forum thread… anything comes up, you’ll know it, and you will be able to jump in, to leave a comment or an answer. Also, you can set up separate alerts for phrases like “guest post” and your keyword to find some new guest post opportunities.
Be sure to set up alerts for your name and your website (without www, just yourdomain.com) so that you know when someone mentions you. Then you leave a comment or say thanks – this does wonders for building relationships, not to mention new visitors to your site and possibly new customers!
2. Spying on your competition
By setting up alerts for your competitor’s name and website, you’ll see where they are mentioned and what strategy they use to drive traffic ad to build a brand. You may even pick up on some new strategy or something you haven’t thought of.
3. To find out if your site gets hacked
Set up a separate set of alerts with mentions of your website and malicious or negative keywords, like this: keyword1 OR keyword2 OR keyword3 site:yoursite.com (you can use the search box within Google Alerts the same way you search in Google, and add any search operators). There may be some “false positives,” but it’s worth knowing if something strange is happening, like content that shouldn’t have appeared on your website.
4. Ideas for posts
You can use alerts if you run out of ideas for your blog posts or stay on top of everything in the industry. By setting them up for the keywords related to your blog, you’ll know exactly what people are interested in and how the information is presented so that you can cover the news from another angle.
5. New customers
If you’re an owner of a local business or have an e-commerce website, think like a searcher: which questions would they ask? Then set up alerts for them, like “Where can I buy (product)” or “Who sells (product),” and you will easily find people who are searching for you.
Finally, we have another use of Google Alerts that works the other way around: using other people’s alerts in your favor. For example, many popular bloggers have Google Alerts for their name or website. So if you’ve made a great piece of content that mentions them or links to them, you can bet that within the next 24 hours, they will come to check your post as soon as they see their Alerts. This way, you can introduce yourself to fellow bloggers and possibly establish a relationship with them.
So you see, Google Alerts aren’t just alerting; they can be your way of conquering your niche. Set them up, sit back, and wait for the opportunities to come to you!