With the power of the internet expanding every day, and the stream of information which it carries not pausing for a single second, it is very easy to miss out on important news stories and articles.
While it might be acceptable to miss out on this information if it is for personal interest or leisure, when the information could affect your business, you cannot afford to be out of the loop. This is where Google Alerts can help.
Google Alerts works as an effective monitoring tool that screens the web for any content featuring key words or phrases defined by you, and then delivers the results straight to your inbox. In keeping with most Google products it is free and offers a clean, simple-to-use interface.
The initial screen you will see after navigating to https://www.google.com/alerts will look like this, with a large search bar at the top of the page. Google will immediately search for any specific keyword or phrase that you enter into this box.
If the results shown seem appropriate to what you were searching for, you can now create an alert which will send all mentions of these search terms to your Google email address, depending on whether you are logged in or not. If these results are not quite what you were looking for, click the neighbouring ‘Show Options’ button to open a more detailed search form.
This allows you to define: how frequently you wish to receive Alerts; the Google sources you wish to search; plus the language, region and email address you want the Alerts sent to. Using these features it is possible to set up a tailored, highly effective, free monitoring service for yourself and your business in a matter of minutes.
Getting the most out of Alerts
Once you have a basic monitoring service set up, you can then set about getting even greater accuracy from Alerts by modifying the layout and style of the words and phrases you are entering.
Multitasking – It is possible to search for either, or any of a variety of words and phrases by separating them with ‘OR’, allowing a single search to cover a large number of different topics. This can be extended as many times as required (e.g. ‘technology PR’ OR ‘engineering PR’ OR ‘B2B marketing’).
Staying on message – If you know that your search term will bring up superfluous information, due to a common phrase or term, it is possible to trim your results by putting a minus (-) symbol in front of words you wish to avoid or filter out (in the example above, for instance, it is possible to look at information about non-Apple tablets by removing the search term ‘iPad’).
Here are a few more handy tips to help get the most out of Google Alerts:
- Search for an exact phrase by putting your search terms in quotation marks (e.g. “Publitek”).
- Broaden your search by including more general words, which might be related to the topic you are looking for, by using the tilde (~) symbol.
- Search for either or any of a variety of words or phrases by separating them with ‘OR’
- Use the star symbol (*) to fill in missing gaps (e.g. ‘chief * officer’) in your search terms, or else to find alternatives.
- Search within a particular site by prefacing your search terms with ‘SITE:’ and the URL (e.g. SITE: https://www.publitek.com/) will only find information from the particular site you have specified.
You can add as many of these as operators and symbols as necessary to refine your search.