How to Set up Google Alerts (and Use It to Grow Your Business)

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From Ahrefs Blog:

Do you want to monitor the web for mentions of your name? Or perhaps your business? Or maybe even your competitor? Google Alerts can do this.

It’s simple to use. You enter a word or phrase, and you’ll be alerted by email whenever Google finds new mentions on the web.

. . . .

But Google Alerts is useful for more than just boosting your ego. Tracking mentions related to your business or brand can unveil opportunities for link building, brand building, collaborations, and more.

It’s a free tool that’s well-suited to beginners. But, despite being owned by Google, it doesn’t catch all web mentions.

How do we know? Because we have a web monitoring tool called Ahrefs Alerts. When we ran a small experiment to compare the number of results found by each tool, we found that, on average, Ahrefs Alerts returned 2,376% more results.

. . . .

How to set up Google Alerts

  1. Go to
  2. Enter a search term to track. Google Alerts will display a results preview as you type.
  3. Select “Show options” (below the search box). Choose how often you’d like to receive alerts: once a day; as it happens; once a week.
  4. Choose a source for your alerts: web; blogs; news; etc. If you’re unsure, leave this as the default “automatic.”
  5. Choose a language and region.
  6. Choose how many results you want to see: “all results,” or “only the best results.”
  7. Choose a delivery email address (this is where Google will send your alerts).
  8. Select “Create alert.”

. . . .

No matter how hard you work to keep your customers happy, you can’t please everyone.

Because of this, negative reviews can be a problem for all businesses.

Monitoring brand mentions should uncover negative reviews. But if your business gets mentioned a lot, these can be easy to miss. It is, therefore, worth setting up a Google Alert just for reviews.

For that, you can use: [brand name] + intitle:review

This will alert you to any new reviews of your business. Some of which may be negative.

. . . .

Spying on your competitors can unveil marketing tactics that you can use in your business.

. . . .

Plus, if a site is mentioning and linking to a competitor, they might also be willing to link to you.

. . . .

If a page mentions multiple competitors but neglects to include you, it presents an opportunity to introduce you and your business to the site owner.

. . . .

Most businesses publish new blog content on a regular basis, including your competitors.

Keeping an eye on what the competition is putting out there can help you to discover new topic ideas for your blog. It also keeps you in the know, should they publish competing content.

. . . .

Using Google Alerts, then, is a much better option.

Link to the rest at Ahrefs Blog

For visitors to TPV who are not familiar with Google Alerts, they operate just like a Google Search, but are running all the time.

If you use Google to search for your pen name to learn who and where you’re being mentioned, using the same search terms in a Google Alert will keep the search running continuously and email you when your pen name initially appears in a new post, website, etc.

PG has been doing something like this for many years using Google Alerts and, before that, LexisNexis (for whom he worked for three unhappy years, but from whom he obtained free access credentials that lasted for over ten years after he quit). He just counted and learned he is currently running 41 Google Alerts on a variety of topics.

As the OP indicates, these tools can provide a lot of good and actionable information about who is talking about you online and what they are saying. For example, readers of your books might appreciate a short thank you email from you if they mention you or one of your books on a blog.

PG does recommend some good sense and caution so you don’t give the impression you are operating an all-seeing eye that hovers over the internet. “My automated online surveillance system just discovered you posted a bad review and I demand an immediate retraction,” is not the effect you’re looking for.

7 thoughts on “How to Set up Google Alerts (and Use It to Grow Your Business)”

  1. Unfortunately, there’s an off-Broadway actress and theater owner named Elise Stone, and 100% of the Google alerts I get for “my” name are really for hers.

    And I grew up annoyed with my mother for giving such an odd first name. :::sigh:::

  2. Google Alerts used to work really well for me until a few years ago when it went off song, and now only lets me know when I’ve written a blog post. I’ve often wondered what happened.

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