Alert: Using Google Alerts for SEO and PR

How do you use Google Alerts in your marketing?


Our commentary: I think many marketers are signed up for Google Alerts and use it for the obvious, but useful. I usually recommend setting up alerts so that you're emailed when the following are included on a newly published page and first indexed by Google:

  • 1. Your "brand"
  • 2. Your "brand" +
  • 3. Your "brand" +/-
  • 4. Your ""
  • 5. Any of the above for competitors
  • 6. Any of the above for key customers (B2B)

If you want to exclude your own site or any other site you can use the syntax

It's also worth remembering you can use negative's for example I use -books,-book since lots of retailers have pages featuring my books but I don't want to be alerted about those.

Here's an example of an alert I set up a while ago on my old site:
+"dave chaffey" -books -book -pdf -download

I was prompted to share this by an interesting new post on SEOptimise this week by Kelvin Newman which used Google Alerts with the Advanced Google syntax link: and site:.

Marketing implications: The suggestions in the post below which I felt are most useful are:

1. New links to your site or competitor sites using the Google "" syntax (which as Kelvin points out is flawed, but it will show more significant links)

2. Newly indexed pages on your site using the "" syntax - this may alert you to indexing problems if new pages aren't considered.

3. Alerts on competitor/customer/partner sites, again using the "" syntax - Kelvin suggests a press centre for example where you don't want to / can't track through an RSS feed.

Recommended link: Using Google Alerts for SEO and PR

How do you use Google Alerts? I'd be interested to hear your tricks.

Of course if you want to get serious and filter the mentions that matter, you'd need to check out the huge array of Brand monitoring software available today.

Share your thoughts

  • Nice article Dave.

    Two points I’d add:
    1. It can be useful to set up alerts for the names of any prominent members of your team (although I realise you’ve kinda made this point, albeit your brand name is also your actual name). i.e., the guys who monitor the online reputation for SEOMoz might set up an alert for ‘Rand Fishkin’, as he is often talked about online. By monitoring where this conversation happens, SEOMoz could take the brand message to the people.

    2. I use iGoogle to organise all my alerts, which makes it much easier to keep on top of them all than receiving countless emails. You can set an alert as an RSS feed rather than an email alert, then simply add this as a widget to your iGoogle homepage. I further organise this by having different tabs for different types of alerts, i.e. a competitor brand tab, a prominent employee tab, a product name tab etc.

    • Dave Chaffey commented on September 17, 2010

      Thanks for adding those tips Brian.

      And also to @Traversty for your suggestion to track links using Google Blog search and the link: syntax + its e-mail/RSS Google Alerts-style.

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