Google Alerts: Why You Should Use It

Today, I received a Google Alert for an article that incorrectly listed a circuit court judge as a Supreme Court justice. Because Google Alerts delivers real-time results for news articles, I received the article not long after it was posted online. Because this is a pretty blatant error, it was important to correct it.  I quickly sent an e-mail to the publication notifying them of the error with a link showing that the information was incorrect. In a matter of minutes, I received a response back apologizing for the error and letting me know that the correction had been made on the Web site. Thanks to Google Alerts, I was able to quickly resolve the issue. Had I waited for our clipping service to pick it up, hours could have gone by before we noticed the problem.

Google Alerts is a great tool for monitoring your brand, industry and even your competitors. Because it is free, Google Alerts is especially useful for small businesses that might not have the budget for more comprehensive clipping services. It’s also easy to set up. Below is a screen shot of the set up page.

Google Alerts sign-up screen

  • Use quotations for exact results. If you want to receive alerts with your company name, be sure to set up the alert with quotations around search term. For instance, setting the search up as “ABC Company” will ensure you get more accurate results.
  • Sign out of Google. If you are signed into your Google account, the Alert is set up to send it to your Gmail account by default. If you want to use another e-mail address, you need to sign out of your Google account.
  • Select “as-it-happens” for real-time results. Notice the filed that says “How Often”. The default setting is once a day. However, if you want to get real-time alerts, select the “as-it-happens” in the drop-down menu.

Once you have the alert set up, you can modify the search terms if you aren’t getting the desired results. Now, the key is to monitor the e-mails and be responsive should you discover inaccuracies of negative information about your company.

How do you use Google Alerts? What other tools do you use to monitor your reputation online?

About Laura Click

Laura Click is founder and CEO of Blue Kite Marketing, a Nashville-based integrated marketing firm. In addition to being the lead blogger on the Blue Kite blog, Laura is a proud Mizzou alum, avid runner and dog lover. You can connect with Laura on Twitter at @lauraclick, on LinkedIn or Google Plus.