There is a never ending stream of information being created on the Internet. Therefore, it can often feel like a daunting task to track what is being said about your local business at any given time. The trick to staying on top of this flood of information is to have technology work for you. Google Alerts is a great way to schedule a regular update on specific terms or names being mentioned on the Internet.
Google Alerts take just moments to setup, and your local business can have multiple alerts. In fact, currently, Google indicates up to 1000 alerts can be created!
Google describes Google Alerts as “emails sent to you when Google finds new results — such as web pages, newspaper articles, or blogs — that match your search term. You can use Google Alerts to monitor anything on the Web.” Further, not only do you define the search terms, but also other factors including:
- How often you want to get search results
- What content type you are seeking (for instance news or blogs only)
- If you want to receive all related content or just the best matches
As wonderful as technology is, it is important to remember it is only as good as the user. Therefore, it’s important to spend time during your Google Alerts set up to ensure you define your alert term(s) as precisely as possible. Google Alerts Help page does a great job of explaining some of the ways you can ensure your local business defines its search as narrowly as desired. For example,
- Use quotation marks to group search terms or to define the term exactly. For example, if you’re seeking an update on Ann Tailor, input “Ann Tailor” so your search excludes results for Ann Taylor.
- Use a minus sign to exclude a type of search or a term. For example, if you want information about shoes, but don’t want to get results about Nike shoes, you can exclude it from the search by typing shoes – Nike.
Once you have your Alerts well defined and setup, it’s import to remember you’re going to need to set aside time on a regular basis, perhaps daily, to review and as necessary respond to the information about your local business you’ve found in the Alerts.
It’s also a good idea to evaluate your first few Alerts to ensure you’re getting the type of information about your local business you’re seeking. If you’re getting a lot of extra unrelated information, it’s likely you’ll need to revise your search term. Alternately, if you’re not getting much information, evaluate if you’re using the wrong term or are defining your search too narrowly. Once you get your Alerts honed in, however, they will be a great time saving tool for your local business.
Chris Marentis founded and is the CEO of local internet marketing company, Surefire Social.