Although Google Alerts have been available for quite some time, many individuals and businesses are still ignoring the branding benefits that the tool can offer. This could be because companies are too preoccupied with other strategies, they don’t understand how Google Alerts work, or they have a false understanding of how they work, but the tool is actually quite easy to use and implement into your current branding strategies. Social media and link building is only growing, so it’s important that you know what is said about your company on both fronts.
How Google Alerts Work
Google Alerts work to do just that—alert you to a time when something is mentioned on the Internet. The service is free and allows you to type in any word or phrase that you wish you track online; most companies start with their company name and eventually branch out to track their competition or a few of their keywords. Google Alerts will then send you an email that lists all of the links where you can find that word or phrase.
The tool also offers a few different choices when you get started:
• You can dictate what types of results—blog posts, news, video, discussions, or a combination of a few—that you want emailed to you.
• You can determine how often you want to be alerted—once per day, once per week, or as the word or phrase is used.
• You can select if you want to see all of the results Google Alerts finds or just what they deem the “best” results. The majority of businesses like to see all results and then do the filtering themselves.
Signing up for Google Alerts only takes a few seconds to setup, and it’s easy to go back and add an E-mail address or another word or phrase to track. You can visit the Google Alerts homepage to get started.
Top Ways to Utilize Google Alerts to Help Grow Your Brand
Using Google Alerts to your advantage is all about knowing what to look for and what to do with the results. Below are some of the ways this tool can help:
1. To determine who is linking back to your website.
This is the biggest advantage of using Google Alerts. Knowing who is linking back to your website will help you form connections and talk with those who are aware of your company and interested in what you personally have to say. This can be crucial to growing your brand and increasing your visibility amongst audiences that really connect with your company.
2. To keep track of who is linking back to your competitors.
Your competitors offer similar products and services, so seeing what websites and people are linking back to your competitors will give you another opportunity to make connections. After all, if they like what your competitors have to offer, wouldn’t like what you have to offer? It’s simply another way to find those interested in your industry active enough to link back.
3. To track keywords and help you determine the success of these keywords.
Your SEO department or team certainly spends quite a bit of time analyzing different keywords for your company to target, and Google Alerts are a great way to help monitor these keywords. See where the links are being found, whether or not they appear successful, and whether or not you can keep up with the competition.
4. To open up guest posting and link exchange opportunities with similar websites.
If you can find a website that is linking back to certain keywords or discussing a major topic in your industry, this is a perfect opportunity to ask for a backlink in exchange for a guest article. The best way to do this is to setup a Google Alert to show you blog results, and then you can see if any blogs are talking about something that you may be able to expand upon.
5. To see if you have been hacked or your content has been copied.
Although not the most popular use of Google Alerts, it does work well for those who are paranoid about a website hack. This tip comes from SEOptimise that says, “rather than entering a simple keyword, set up your Google Alert using site:yourdomain.com” and then add different words that you WOULDN’T want associated with your site.
Have you ever used Google Alerts to help grow your brand? What did you find most helpful? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!
About the author: Amanda DiSilvestro gives small business and entrepreneurs SEO advice ranging from keyword density to recovering from Panda and Penguin updates. She writes for HigherVisibility.com, a nationally recognized Search Engine Optimization Company that offers online marketing services to a wide range of companies across the country. Connect with Higher Visibility on Twitter to learn more!