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Friday, November 17, 2006

Google Alerts - Do You Use Them Like This?

Google Alerts are vital for anyone who runs marketing and PR on the Internet.

So, What Are Google Alerts?

Google Alerts first surfaced in 2003.  One of Google's engineers tired of checking a news site for the latest developments on Iraq.  So he created some code that allowed him to enter a search term and everytime it was detected in the first so many Google news results he was emailed. 

Initially it just looked at news and now the alerts cover the following different types of content:

  • Blogs
  • Groups
  • News
  • Web

An example search term could be something as simple as your own name. In fact I've set one up to do exactly that. The search term is simply "Jim Symcox" and I've been emailed 24 times on that search term alone in the last 5 months.

Why Use Them In Marketing?

Google suggests the following as good uses for Google Alerts:

  • monitoring a developing news story
  • keeping current on a competitor or industry
  • tracking medical advances
  • getting the latest on a celebrity or sports team

In addition I'd suggest using them to track the following:

  • Checking what other web sites and blogs say about you
  • Articles you've written
  • Articles your clients have written
  • Specific keywords you've used for your web sites
  • Press releases

You can enter the article titles and any time they're used on the web you'll get an email notification. In addition if you're concerned that someone is going to rip off what you say you can plant some key unusual phrase, or two, in your article and set up an alert for each unusual phrase.

Tracking keywords you've used on your web sites means that you'll be notified of other content using the same keywords. That means you can keep an eye on competition and can also spark new ways of using the keywords on your sites.

Again tracking press releases using titles and a key phrase means that you can see where a press release is used.

This can also flag press releases used in off-line press if they have an online site like The Daily Mail, The Times or the New York Times and provided they use your key phrase verbatim.

In summary the major benefits of Google Alerts are:

  • checking what's happened to your message
  • Sparking creative ideas for further marketing communications
  • Checking what's being said about you, your product and your competition

"The Coolest Guy on The
Planet Google Alert"

If you've read some of my other posts you'll have noticed that I've talked about the coolest guy on the planet competition for search engine optimization gurus.

Well I'm also into the competition and to keep an eye on what's happening for that key phrase I use Google Alerts!

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