Google alerts are a great way to get real time alerts when new content and links are discovered by google’s search spiders, it’s a simple idea but can really be used in a lot of interesting ways, here’s some suggestions on how you can leverage this free Google utility tool for running an efficient SEO, Social Marketing or reputation management campaign.
- site: YourDomain.com-Is a handy command we use to see also how many pages Google has indexed, so say you had a site with 1000 great blog posts or 10,000 ecommerce product pages, it’s extremely important and helpful to know how many of those pages are actually even indexed by Google that have a chance to even rank and come up at all when people search. A good SEO campaign will work hard to get most if not all of your site’s pages indexed and visible and ranking.
- Discover Link Opportunities– Link building is hard enough, make your life a little easier for yourself and setup alerts that let you know when a page presents itself that you could request a link or build content for in exchange for a link etc related: what does Google think is related to the site – related:www.YourSiteOrCompetitorsEtc.com
- Monitor your back links- setup alerts to watch the links you and your top 10 competitors are getting via. [ site to YourDomain.com ] command, not including the brackets Tip, I recommend also using Yahoo’s site explorer tool and commands as they seem to show more backlinks then Google’s equivalent “site to” command formerly known as Link:YourDomain.com command. See when someone links to you with this, is your link building viral twitter campaign generating new back links to your site or not? For best accuracy use the yahoo site explorer tool to see back links, you can setup alerts too in yahoo. *The link:yourdomain.com command is pretty innacurate it’s really a random sample of links pointing to a site, Google doesn’t want you to see all of your competitors back links, and they don’t have server space.
- Monitor competitors – new products, ideas, financial changes – competitive intelligence, monitor their brand do an alert for their company name or domain name and discover what methods they’re using to build links, and syndicated content and more.
- Monitor Your Brand– You could use the free Google alerts for this, but there some really nice social and brand monitoring tools and services out there now that can do this and more usually. Just make an alert for your company name, or domain name etc to see whenever your company or site is cited online.
- Content Ideas– Setup alerts for phrases you’d like to rank and need to build content for, get new ideas for content when you see what new things are showing up or what other sites have content you need to build.
- Time range– You can also in the advanced Search narrow down by date and other factors as well
- See when a new page or blog post, Press Release etc. has been crawled and indexed -Just type in a unique snippet of words or whole sentence from your page or post like this “And so this is a really unique sentence in my blog post”, this also helps give you an idea of how many sites picked up your press release in real time.
- related:YourDomain.com- what does Google think is related to your site a competitor site or good link site you want to find more like – related:YourDomain.com
- Localize It– For all the methods above you can also focus in on a local area this is important for Local Search Optimization, it’s a good ranking signal to have strong local links from the city etc you want to rank for i.e “Lawyer New York” if you have links from places like the NYC chamber of commerce etc.
- Reputation Management Alerts- Find Negative Feedback or review about Your Products and Services so you can address them and manage your online reputation more efficiently.
- Find Blogs, Forums and News– to help find blogs, forums, news sites you so you can join the discussion and could leave comments ping back and track backs on, or create guest content for them etc.
- Stay on top of industry news, get links- Be the first in the loop to pick up on industry news etc and find news and topics that otherwise be missed by your industry news sites
- Multi-media Search and Alerts– you can use these alerts and searches to help you discover new and interesting videos and images, slideshares, infographics, widgets, calculators, flash apps etc to embed and feature on your site and help strengthen your blog post, like the intro video on this post.
- Check for Duplicate content or copyright infringement etc, we monitor client sites to make sure nobody is just copying and pasting their home page etc and creating a duplicate, the fear is that the other site might end up ranking for that page and Google consider your site’s page a duplicate and not rank or include it in the index! Now normally this doesn’t happen but I have seen it before, but typically when a really weak site gets the content copied by a stronger site one that might get crawled frequently and has more trust and authority built up, the search spiders might see the content first on their site and consider it the original and authoritative version of the page not yours. You can also find duplicates within your site too, but we typically use other tools for that. So use the site:YourDomain.com command for this and go to the last page of the results and click on “See Omitted search Results” link and search again then as you go through the pages duplicates will be a little easier to spot, this of course is fine for small sites but for larger site we use our own specially developed tools and manually review the sites to address common duplicate content issues we run into daily.
- Some other misc uses that are interesting – have one alert set up for my town and state name, so I can see what’s being written about it. Alerts for people’s names and company’s names are interesting esp. if you’re doing reputation management for public personalities etc
If you think of some other useful ways to leverage Google Alerts please drop us a line and leave a comment, thanks!