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Monitoring your business or competitors using Google Alerts

Posted By: Thomas Shaw, 8:18pm Sunday 18 January 2009    Print Article

Google Alerts is a free service that sends search results directly to your email box or feed reader. Many people use Google Alerts to track keywords related to their business, their name, corporate identity or anything else that they might want to be notified of when a page using the keywords are spidered by Google. This kind of service is usually refered to as "Media Monitoring" and there are many different types of companies and products available in the market.

Google Alerts will send you e-mail when new entries are added to the top 10 to 50 search results (depending on the category of alert) for the specific search term you ask Google to monitor. Currently, Google provides 6 different Alert capabilities, and you'll probably find a need for all of them at some point.

Don't assume that a Google Alert is going to let you know about EVERYTHING on the web, because you won't have the time to personally review each entry in the search results. When was the last time you did a search that returned fewer than 1,000 search results? It will only let you know about specific things within the specific parameters described above.

What will a Google Alert do for you?

  • Businesses use Google Alerts to track competitors, potential customers, trademarks, copyrighted material, and many other things. Job seekers can find many uses also.
  • What's "out there" about you that a potential employer might find? Hopefully, you know what's there now. Set up Google Alerts for your name, and Google will let you know about new items that show up in the top search results on your name.
  • Interested in a specific employer or competitor? Set up a Google Alert for the business by name, and Google will let you know about new items in the top search results for that company.
  • Interested in a specific industry? Set up a Google Alert for the industry, and Google will let you know about new items in the top search results for the industry.
  • Wonder what your friends, former colleagues, current or former boss, etc. are up to? Set up a Google Alert for each of those names, and Google will let you know about new items that appear for them in the top search results.
You get the idea - track whatever is important to your job search and to your reputation. This is an amazing free monitoring resource that I use to access information about:
  • The industry I work in and trends in the market
  • My competition and marketing strategies they are implementing
  • Research about market trends in my clients industry
  • Reviewing the strength of my clients brand
  • Researching my clients competition
  • Accessing statistics to use in presentations, reports and articles
  • Identifying potential joint ventures and strategic alliances
  • Discovering new business tools
  • Research for my blog
  • Content for my clients
I recommend you try out Google Alerts for a few weeks just using your own name, business name and names of your key products to see what the buzz is all about.

There is a paid monitoring service called Buzz Numbers which offers a more compressive product covering a wider content mediums.

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