Did you know that you could do passive SEO using Google Alerts? An inspiring fact is that this tool can notify you every time something is mentioned on the web and this something can literally be every name or term that you will set up. Curious? Then let’s get going and I’ll show you exactly how to set up Google alerts and how to use this tool to grow your business.
What is Google Alerts?
Google Alerts is a free tool that enables you to track specific terms or phrases within the Google network. In other words, this service monitors every web page on Google in order to find mentions that contain specific keywords you wish to keep an eye on and immediately notify you about them.
You can use Google Alerts to save time when there is a specific topic you wish to follow and want to be the first one to know about the latest news and updates. Also, this tool can bring you huge benefits in terms of business prospects and soon I’ll tell you more, but first, let’s figure out how to set up Google Alerts so you could start using and testing it right away.
The Easiest Way to Set Up Google Alerts
Note: You can only use Google Alerts if you have a Google account. That’s why in case you don’t have it this is the perfect timing to get one.
1. Navigate to google.com/alerts
2. Type in the specific search term you wish to track
3. Click on “SHOW OPTIONS”
4. Choose HOW OFTEN you wish to receive alerts
The options here are:
- At most once a day
- At most once a week
5. Select SOURCES or types of sites where the search will be focused on
The options here are:
Note: If you’re not sure, opt for “AUTOMATIC”
6. Choose LANGUAGE which Google Alert will use to find relevant mentions
Here, you can choose a specific one or opt for the “Any language” option
7. Select REGION where the search will be conducted
The same as with the language. Choose an exact region or opt for the “Any region” option
8. Choose HOW MANY search results you are willing to receive
The options here are:
- Only the best results
- All results
9. Add an email address where you wish to receive alerts
10. Click on “CREATE ALERT”
Here’s a quick example of a Google Alerts’ setup that will eventually track mentions of the rank tracker called Wincher:
And that’s basically it. Quite simple but super beneficial.
How to effectively use Google Alert?
I’ve already mentioned that you can use Google Alerts to monitor anything. So why not set it up to track mentions of your company’s name. This way you’ll be able to track when other sources are using your brand’s name in their content and check whether they’ve provided readers with a link to your site. This is, in my opinion, one of the huge benefits Google Alerts can provide you with because:
- to rank high on Google you have to take care of the number of high-authoritative sites linking back to you because search engines consider these links as a top factor that influences your positions in SERPs. That’s why implementing Google Alerts will be beneficial when tracking unlinked mentions, reach out to authors and get those precious links;
- to make it easier for users to navigate to your site when they get interested in what you are doing and wish to figure out more. Unfortunately, if the link is missing, the chances of them separately googling your company is extremely low.
Monitor Negative Reviews
Google Alerts can provide you with an incredible opportunity to track negative reviews about your business. This way you will be able to react fast and smooth the situation. To do it just use your [brand name] + intitle:review
Note: Don’t stop only on tracking your own bad reviews but also use your competitors in the niche to know exactly what their customers are unhappy with in order to reach out to them or show that you don’t have these issues going on by creating particular content about it.
Spy on Your Competitors
Monitoring your main competitors with Google Alert will show you what marketing tactics they’re using. This way you can “steal” what techniques are working well for them and rethink your ongoing strategy in order to be ahead of the competition.
Here, you can do even more and track whether some sources have mentioned a couple of your competitors but not you. You can do this by setting up [competitor’s name] + [other competitor’s name] – [your company’s name]
These tactics can be beneficial in many ways. For example, if the source has mentioned some of your competitors but not you, maybe the site owner doesn’t know that your company even exists and this can potentially open a new horizon of opportunities for you. Reach out to them and meet. Anyway, even if there was some particular reason they kept ignoring your brand, you will be able to get additional feedback from the authoritative website, which is always good to know.
Guest post opportunities
This technique is well-known so keep in mind that pitching might be tough. If you want to get guest post opportunities using Google Alert, this is extremely simple. Just type in [topic] + intitle:”write for us” and [topic] + “become a contributor”.
Simple, right? From here you can go even further and start experimenting in order to find opportunities that don’t wait there on the surface for you to easily find them. For example, you can start tracking [topic] + “guest post by”
Satisfy your potential customers
People are always looking for answers to their questions online. So why not use it to your advantage? This way you’ll be able to be exactly where people need your help and it will be easier to build trust and credibility for your digital footprint. If you want to try this technique, just enter [topic] + site:[forumname.com] + intitle:(who|what|when|where|how) and that’s it. You will receive an alert every time someone in your niche will ask things online.
Note: If that’s hard for you to find a specific forum, feel free to use Quora. For example, seo + site:quora.com + intitle:(who|what|when|where|how)
Track what your competitors are posting
This way you won’t ever miss any competitors’ blog posts and will be aware of what information they’re spreading and topics are targeting. Let’s take Wincher again as an example. If I were their competitor and wanted to be the first one to know when and what they’re publishing in their blog, I would use the following tracking term – site:wincher.com/blog
In case you would wish to track multiple competitors, feel free to type in site:[website1]/blog OR [website2]/blog
At this point, you can play around and experiment with variables. For example, if you are interested in a specific topic on your competitor’s blog, you can set up Google Alert to do that too. Just add the name of the specific topic + site:[website’s name]/blog
seo + site:wincher.com/blog
Google Alerts is your go-to tool when it comes to tracking what is happening on the web. That’s totally understandable that it’s impossible to keep an eye on everything manually, but why not use an instrument that will create an opportunity for you to do it?
Implementing Google Alerts into your marketing will keep you up to date while tracking all sorts of mentions about your company and your competitors as well. This way you’ll be able to use this information to your advantage and if you’re flexible enough to react quickly to changes and updates, success is inevitable!
Yana is a digital marketing professional with a proven experience in all aspects of the creative process: conceptualization, planning, and execution. Currently, she is a content manager at Wincher, a rank tracker.