In 2005, I was working for the CEO of a global corporation, and I spent a lot of time with the public relations department. That’s where I first learned about a wonderful tool called “Google Alerts.” While this service has been around for years now, I find it surprising that many professionals still don’t use it. But Google Alerts can play a vital role in your public relations efforts.

There are four ways I use Google Alerts every day. First, they’re a great—and free—way to monitor your online presence. Who is talking about you, your business, your book, or your services? When you set up Google Alerts for “your name” (in quotes), everyone on your staff, the title of your book (again, in “quotes”), the service will let you know any time you come up on a web site, blog, or article.

Second, Google Alerts can help you keep up with your competition. Are there others doing similar work that would be good for you to know about? Set up alerts for your top five to ten competitors.

Google Alerts can also keep you abreast of fresh content related to your field. If a new book is published about your area of expertise, you want to be among the first to hear about it. An alert with your professional field and the “book” option (see below) means that you’ll know when a resource becomes available. Then, if you’re like me, you’ll either order it immediately, place it on hold at your local library, or decide that reading an online review from a trusted source is sufficient!

Finally, Google Alerts generate items for you to share in your social media platforms (Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest, and so on). I’ve found that being the one to tell others about a great new resource is almost as good as creating the resource yourself. And, if you’re like most of my clients, you don’t have time to troll the web for articles every day. Google Alerts, delivered right to your inbox, will keep you in the loop on the latest and greatest news and articles from your field of expertise, which you can then pass on to others.

Setting up Google Alerts is easy. First, log in to your Google account. Next, click on From here, you can type in your search query and specify what kinds of links you want to be alerted to. You can determine how often you want to be alerted, and you may also choose whether you want “only the best results,” which are those that are deemed to be most relevant to your search terms, or “all results.” Finally, you will choose how you want to be notified—by email or in your Google feed.

While there are online media monitoring services you can pay for, they can be very costly, and for companies whose internet footprint is not large, Google Alerts are sufficient, cost-effective means of self-monitoring your online presence. Moreover, in my experience, most paid services seem to use many of the same matrices that Google uses anyway.

So take a little time to experiment with Google Alerts and discover how this free tool can keep you aware of your web presence and informed on what your competitors are up to, increase your social media productivity, help you find resources to sharpen your expertise, and give you things to share with your social media followers.

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One Response to Monitoring Your Presence On the Web

  1. google alerts is such a vital part of how I and my team manage our business and personal brands. second it highly!