When you do what I do every day, it is easy to forget that even the most ubiquitous webtools are not known by everyone. Google Alerts is one of those tools.
Google Alerts are email updates of the latest relevant Google results on the web based on the keywords or phrases you provide. It is deceptive in its simplicity, yet one of the most capable in its results.
Setup is fast and straight-forward and provides results as frequently as you desire. Here are the steps to becoming a Google Alerts expert:
- Create a list of keywords, names, companies and phrases that are of interest and value to you.
- Browse to http://www.google.com/alerts
- Complete the Create a Google Alert form for each of the keywords listed on Step 1 above.
- Type: really means “source” of the information. Comprehensive is most common, unless you are searching for results only found in one of the sources. An example would be “Chrysler” only in “Blogs”
- How often: Be careful here. Choices of “as-it-happens” or even “once-a-day” can become overload in a hurry if you have a dozen keywords and an active category. I suggest to start most of your Alerts on weekly and modify from there.
- Deliver to: Pick your email address preference from the email addresses you have available in your Google account, or if you have bought into the Feed methodology, selecting Feed is a pretty slick way to go.
Once you have completed the form for each of your desired search terms you can manage all of your alerts on one page by adding “ /manage“ to the end of the URL above, or by clicking on the “click here to manage your alerts” option on the main page-left side.
Some tips for more effective management of your result and suggested uses to consider:
- Use different email addresses to send different search results to. Business email address for direct business searches. Personal email address for searches of your name, etc. Maybe a weekly Feed option for those terms that are more focused on general industry news, research you are conducting or career management information.
- Keeping current on your competitors and industry
- Stay current on your favorite sports teams
- Be in the loop with news from your hometown
- Staying on top of where your own name and online profiles are being referenced including LinkedIn, Facebook and other social network sites.
- Don’t overlook the Google Alerts Help tab at the bottom of the Welcome page. Most any question you can imagine has already been answered there.
Google Alerts is one of the most basic Webtools available. It can be beneficial for a broad range of interests and needs, and once again…the price is right!