A Quick Guide to Google Alerts

Google offers many flexible tools, designed to make our work more efficient. One tool that I have begun to use more frequently is Google Alerts, which in the past was relegated to notifying me of breaking news.

However, this tool is quite versatile, and can be used to maximize results from your blogging and business ventures. It is for this reason that we will explore Google Alerts in greater depth below, so that you can figure out how to build your brand through Google Alerts.

What is Google Alerts?

Google Alerts is a free web monitoring tool, which sends you email notifications regarding topics that you have shown an interest in.

E.g. if you are interested in the presidential race in your country, type that search term into the Google Alerts box. You will be notified of all news stories, blogs, and web pages that pertain to that topic.

How to Set Up Google Alerts

1. Go to Google Alerts. If you don’t have a Google Account you will need to create one.
2. In the Create an alert about box, enter the search term that you would like to receive notifications about
3. Click on show options

4. How often: choose your preferred frequency of alerts e.g. daily, weekly
5. Sources: choose where you want to get your information from e.g. news, books, discussions.

I prefer automatic, as it provides a wide range of results.
6. Language: select the language that you prefer
7. Region: select the region that you want the news from.

As a blogger, I choose Any Region as my audience is spread around the globe.
8. How many: choose whether you want all results, or only the best results.

I choose the latter, so that I don’t have to sift through irrelevant information.
9. Deliver to: chose the email address that you want the alerts to be sent to
10. Click on create an alert

How to Use Google Alerts to Build Your Brand

If you are reading this, then I can assume that you are looking for ways to build your brand and authority among your target audience.

So where exactly does Google Alerts come in? Well, Google Alerts is highly adaptable, and you can customize it to meet the needs of your growing brand.
You can use Google Alerts to:

1. Keep an eye on your brand

While this action might seem a little vain, it is actually critical to your reputation and brand. In this case, your brand can be your name or your company. By typing the relevant search term into Google Alerts, you will be notified each time your brand is mentioned or discussed.

You can then act on any information that you receive. For example, if your brand is mentioned negatively due to a bad customer experience, you can take steps to rectify the broken relationship so that your reputation is not ruined.

On the other hand, your brand may be mentioned by someone who enjoys the content, products, or services that you are offering. In this case, check whether they have added a link to your site, so that people who are seeing those positive comments can be driven to your site. If they haven’t added a link, contact them directly; chances are that they will be more than happy to link back to your site.

– Business Broken Down
– Davina Ngei
– davinangei

2. Observe your competitors activities

I heard somewhere that you should pay as much attention to your competitor’s brand, as you do to your own brand. Why is this? Well, when you know the actions that your competitor is taking, you can make strategic decisions, rather than reactionary decisions.

For example, if your competitor is receiving accolade due to a new product or service that they are offering, you can start planning ways of improving on their product/service, and offering it to your audience.

While this might seem a little shady, you should remember that there is nothing new under the sun. You learn from your competitor, and they learn from you. The winner is the person who finds the best version of the original idea, regardless of who thought of it.

Take Google for example; Google Drive was mirrored after Dropbox, Google Play is an imitation of Apple App’s Store, Google Places looks very similar to Yelp, Google Offers could be Groupon’s twin, and Google Docs seems like a replica of Microsoft Office.

(This is not an attack on Google, because all companies can be accused of copying their competitors in one way or another.)

Apart from observing and acting on your competitors successes, you can also observe and act on their failures. When you competitor flops, it is not a time to rejoice. Rather, this is a time to drive all their unsatisfied customers to your own products and services.

3. Examine how your content circulates

When you have a particularly excellent piece of content, then you need to leverage it as best as you can. One of the ways that you can do this is by joining any discussion that revolves around it.

What you should do is enter the title of your content in Google Alerts, so that you know when anyone is discussing it on their blog or on a forum. Join this discussion and add relevant points, so that you can further educate your audience and establish yourself as an authority.

Forums and discussions are also a good place to source new topics of content, and to engage with your audience.

E.g. For this post I will type ‘A quick guide to Google Alerts’ into the search box

4. Check on questions within your niche

As I have just mentioned, involving yourself in discussions regarding your content is extremely important. In this way you can answer any questions and clear up any misconceptions regarding the topic you have just written about.

However, audience engagement should be an ongoing effort i.e. you should not only be talking to your audience when you have a post to offer them. You need to connect with them on a regular basis. This is where Google Alerts comes in, giving you a chance to monitor all questions that fall within your niche.

So if your blog or business is in the travel niche, enter search terms into Google Alerts that include:

– How * travel
– Will * travel
– Can * travel
– When * travel
This expression encompasses a wide range of questions in this area.

Anytime someone asks a question that involves these terms, such as ‘how to find affordable travel accommodation’, you will see a notification. You can then go to the site/forum where they have asked the question, and then give them a quality answer.

You also have the chance to drop a link to a relevant post on your blog, in order to drive traffic to your site and convert browsers to subscribers.

The more you do this, the more people will see you as an expert in a particular niche.

5. Find guest post opportunities

Some people say that guest posting is dead, others strongly disagree. If you are in the latter camp, then you are probably looking for new guest post opportunities.

Google Alerts can notify you of any new opportunities in your niche, so that you can take full advantage of the chance to further promote your brand.

Business Broken Down is a source of information to small businesses. Therefore, the guest post alerts I would set up include:

– “Write for us” small business
– “Become an author” small business
– “Become a contributor” small business
– “Bloggers wanted” small business

6. Track Shoppers

When you are looking to make an online purchase, you will probably ask for input before you make your final selection. For example, if you want to buy a new mobile phone, you might ask for advice in a forum, blog, or even in a knowledge market like Yahoo! Answers.

As an e-commerce owner, you can take advantage of this by finding undecided shoppers and selling them your products. So if you are a mobile phone retailer, enter similar search terms into Google Alerts:

– Mobile phones * under *
– Mobile phone under *
– Cheap mobile phone *
– Best * mobile phone for *
– Buy mobile phone *

The best part about this is that you are targeting shoppers who are looking to spend money, not just browsers. Additionally, you can tailor the search to identify shoppers in your region, who are easy to contact and sell to:

– Mobile phones * Nairobi,
– London * mobile phone
– Beijing mobile phone *

7. Remain on top of the trends

If you claim to be an expert in your niche, then you need to be on top of everything that is occurring in your industry. Just imagine if you are a social media expert, and someone asks you what you think about Google’s decision to separate Google+ from Gmail and YouTube, and your response is ‘I didn’t know that’.

Ignorance when it comes to trends in your niche is a surefire way of losing your position as an expert. By using Google Alerts to notify you of any trends in your niche, you can remain a top resource in your niche. You can also use these alerts to let your voice be heard when it comes to a popular trend.

For example, Sensex is trending right now. This topic is about a staggering stock market crash that can have strong repercussions on the Indian economy. If your niche is finance, then this is the perfect time to write a piece on Sensex; what you think the impact will be on the economy of India and related economies.

If your piece is of high quality, it can go viral and draw thousands of visitors to your site.

8. Identify new niches

If you are a business looking to expand, then diversity is key. However, many niches are saturated and will not offer much in revenue or traffic, hence the need to identify new niches. This is not as easy as it seems, as it involves market analysis, and a whole lot of research.

However, with Google Alerts, this can be made much easier. To identify new and emerging niches, you can input similar search terms in the Google Alert box:

– Will * 2016
– New * 2016
– What will happen * 2016

Final Verdict

We have just talked about 8 ways to use Google Alerts for your blog or business. However, there are thousands of ways that you can take advantage of this tool; all you need to do is to think outside of the box.

So if you are looking to build your brand, establish yourself as an authority, increase your revenue, and boost your traffic, then the 8 tips above will push you in the right direction.

Before you leave drop me a comment and let me know which tip you are already using, or which tip you plan to use. Don’t forget to share this with your friends, and sign-up for the newsletter so that you can be the first to receive updates regarding Business Broken Down (just like Google Alerts).

Thank you for stopping by, and have a great week. I’ll see you next Monday!

22 thoughts on “A Quick Guide to Google Alerts

    1. Hi Chrissa,

      I’m glad you liked the info. Come back as many times as possible, maybe next time I’ll offer a kid-friendly version- it’s never too early to start learning about Google Alerts 🙂



  1. I am using google alerts but i never thought, it can be used in this direction. After readin this, i just realised that small things are base of success and can be very bery important.

    Keep posting such an impressive posts.


  2. Hey Davina! Some really useful tips there using Google Alerts. I have only set up 3 standard alerts that I get daily, but the idea of ” Examine how your content circulates” is something I hadn’t thought about! Thanks for sharing!


    1. Hi Deb,

      I’m glad you found the tips useful. The best part is that these alerts are easy to set up, so you can do more than one at once. Good luck with your content.



  3. Hi Davina

    I’ve never thought of using Google Alerts with such vigor. I love all the suggestions you’ve made for the various situations you discuss.

    I also need to come back to re-read this with a clearer mind (not because of kids); I’ve been busy in front of this computer of mine for hours already so the eyes and brain are tired…


  4. Thanks so much for such an informative post! I’ll definitely need to bookmark this to come back and reread as you’ve providing a ton of very helpful details!


  5. Hi Davina,

    Great post. I’ve used Google Alerts in the past but not in anyway as well as you describe!

    Thanks for adding extra help to an already useful service.



What do you think?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s