Digital Marketers and Bloggers is always on the lookout for effective and powerful tools in order to be more effective and always one step ahead (a mile would be the right phrase !!!) of our competitors. In today’s world of digital marketing, “Doing the Right Thing at the Right Time”, will yield you better results. Google offers a free service called "Google Alerts" that marketing professionals MUST use to monitor yourself and your competitors. The service emails you when new web pages are published that are relevant to the search keyword or search phrase you enter for the alerts. In the era of Content Marketing, this is one such tool which can be very handy.
I will not explain how to set it up or configure it, you will have to figure that out by googling and you will find several well explained articles, wasn’t surprised to see many digital marketing friends not taking advantage of this powerful tool.
"What I do with this tool, just few things I would like to highlight"
- Track my companies, use your business name and personal name (particularly useful for well-known personalities, authors etc). Monitor what people are saying, good things or bad things about you online? This is your opportunity to thank the good ones and address the bad ones if any that are being published online.
- Set up an alert for your website URL without the www. This will help you find out who is linking to your website and talking about your website.
- Understanding your competition. Who is doing the best job online in your sector? Create alerts for their name, track them and learn from them. This will help you with your online strategy and open up new opportunities.
- Industry Information. What is the latest news and developments in your industry? This is very useful for getting ideas for blog posts and news articles to add to your website and to talk about on social networking sites.
- Existing clients. Do you need an excuse to touch base with an existing client? Maybe they have just had a recent product launch or won some recognition. Send them congratulations or tell them about the good or bad things that are being said about them online.
- Another important usage is to check if the websites and blogs, I handle are getting indexed? Simply create an alert, Every time a blog post or an article is published and indexed, you will get an alert. If not, you need to check with Google Webmasters and submit a sitemap.
- If you are into commenting, guest blogging, article marketing, presentations and video marketing to promote your blog, Google Alerts will help to track backlinks. Whenever your blog link appears anywhere on the blogosphere, you get a notification from Google.
Setting up and managing Google Alerts is simple, quick, and easy. The hard part is matching the settings to your consumption comfort. You’ll know if you’re receiving too much information or not enough. The best way to own Google Alerts is through constant Trial & Error and refining your search query settings and frequencies. You will soon find the alerts that really suit the information you find useful. Some will inundate you with far too much information which will take forever to wade through. Delete these and concentrate on the good ones.
Don’t get bogged down by the emails in your inbox. We are all in the danger of being swamped by our ever growing inbox. With too many alerts this can become even more of a problem. Make sure you direct you alerts to a separate folder and get into the habit of setting aside a couple of hours a week to go through them.
No longer do you need to rely solely on Google Alerts to keep up to date on news, social media trends, or even information on your brand or of your competitors. Here are some of the alternatives I have used and would suggest you to try.
- Talkwalker Alerts
- Mention (not used yet)
- Meltwater News (not used yet)
- Social Mention
- Yahoo Alerts
- Hyper Alerts (not used yet, but now I believe its a Open Source)
- Uber VU (not used yet)
- Buzz Stream
Before I sign off, I would like to give another tip to new budding digital marketing colleagues, who are desperate to get some traffic to websites you manage. Now, you might be still wondering how exactly these Google Alerts will get you precious free traffic.
As you see, Google Alerts itself isn’t a traffic source and it doesn’t mean that you cannot get some new visitors to your website with this free service.
Here are just some of the ways you could use Google Alerts to drive traffic to your website:
Set up an alert using your competitors’ names as a keyword, then see what traffic strategies they are currently using. Set up an alert for all the internet marketing gurus you admire or like and then replicate their traffic tactics. Set up an alert putting in the keywords you try to rank for on Google.
Be sure to select “blogs” and now you will receive all the new blog posts. You can visit each blog and leave a comment, with a link back to your website. See how easy this is! You can simply relax and wait for backlink opportunities to be sent to your email address.