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The Power of Google Alerts

Google Alerts

Have you ever wanted to know what’s being published online about you this week, today, or maybe even right now? Well you don’t have to worry anymore. And no, you don’t have to continually keep surfing all the nooks and crannies of the web to find out. It’s much simpler than that, all you need to do is setup a Google Alerts.

So what are Google Alerts? According to Google itself:  “Google Alerts are email updates of the latest relevant Google results (web, news, etc.) based on your choice of query or topic.”

From my perspective, it’s a way for me to keep track about what’s going in regards to myself on the internet. I can find out when new posts about me (Stephane Grenier), my blog (FollowSteph.com), my book (Blog Blazers), or even my company (LandlordMax) appear. It’s great to be able to keep up with everything that’s being posted about you!

But it’s more than that, and herein lies the power of Google Alerts. Not only are you able to find out when things are being said about you so that you can know, and possibly react, but you can also get Google Alerts about any keyword!! That’s a huge benefit!

For example, if you’re website is about “Dog grooming”, wouldn’t it be awesome to get all the latest webpages Google indexes into it’s search results for “Dog grooming”? If it’s a blog post maybe you can contact the author, add to the discussion by leaving a comment, and so on. If it’s an existing discussion on a forum, maybe you can join in and participate. Just be careful not to spam whatever page you get alerted to, it will eventually come back to you. The key is that Google Alerts can alert you about new discussions and articles related to your keyword/niche, which in turns allows you to join those which interest you. How great is that?

And here’s an extra little trick. You can also setup Google Alert’s for your competitor’s names. The reason this is interesting is that it allows you to have an idea of what they’re up to. And you might find some interesting tidbits of information here and there that you can learn from. But overall, it’s a great way to keep track of what your market niche is doing.

So if you haven’t already setup Google Alerts, I strongly suggest you do. They’re great and extremely easy to setup. Even better it’s free! You’ll definitely get your time’s worth. And if you’ve already setup Google Alerts and you’re using them, please feel free to share your story of how you’ve benefited from them.

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  •     Scott Kane
    · February 20th, 2009  · 10:28 am  · Permalink

    Geez, Steph. Don’t tell the competition about this!

    Serioulsy, they are very useful. I have around twelve setup for a variety of keywords. Turns up many useful little bits and pieces.

  •     Steph
    · February 20th, 2009  · 12:25 pm  · Permalink

    Hi Scott,

    Although you’re lightly saying it, I actually did think a lot about it before publishing it. At least for checking up on your competition 😉

    It’s cool to hear you have a dozen keywords setup. That’s above most people I know. Congrats!

  •     Scott Kane
    · February 20th, 2009  · 7:07 pm  · Permalink

    Hi Steph,

    It’s something I’ve used for a number of years, hence my higher than average usage I guess. I found it invaluable during the 2007 Federal election here in keeping track of press reports during my campaign, what the other candidates in my electorate were doing and so on.

    Now of course it’s setup more inline with my product. But it’s the same theory.

    Another cool use is for keeping track of zero day crack/torrent/keygen releases of our own software products. Fore warned means fore armed and it’s a lot easier to invalidate the pirates by changing the code so that the vunerability to the app’s security is removed, moved or otherwise altered.

  •     Steph
    · February 21st, 2009  · 2:32 pm  · Permalink

    Hi Scott,

    I never thought of using Google Alerts when running for office. Great idea! I’d assume Barack Obama used it too since his staff seemed to be so technically literate.

    Another awesome idea of looking for cracks and so on. I never thought of it as such. I have alerts for “LandlordMax” which generally brings those into view too, but it would be nice to have it separated (almost like a priority). Thanks 🙂

  •     Scott Kane
    · February 23rd, 2009  · 11:31 am  · Permalink

    Dunno if Barack Obama used it or not, but I know I would. It’s faster I’ve found than any other method and frequently you get the alert before it’s in Googles “main listings”.

    WRT alerts for cracks etc. It’s an old trick, the crack sites are heavily spidered, as are torrent sites. So you can usually get a patched re-release of your software before most downloaders get a chance to try the crack. If you time stamp or “kiss” the creation date of the binaries of your app it can be fun seeing pirates label the crackers “lamers” when the new crack “fails”. 😉

    Another good use for the alerts is building SEO. Getting updates on potential keywords etc gives you an idea what your market place is doing in terms of competition and also partnering with complimentary products.

  •     JWRmedia
    · February 25th, 2009  · 2:42 pm  · Permalink

    I love using Google alerts myself. It helps me to keep track of what’s going on with my different websites around the net and keep an eye on my backlinks.

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