At any given point, there are billions of interactions happening online. New information is continually being published on news media, social media streams, and blogs, and some of that information is related to subjects that matter to you.
Is there a free, simple and easy way to find out what is new in your industry or niche that will save you a massive amount of time doing research? Yes, there is. It’s called …
(Google Alerts lets you monitor the web for new content)
Google Alerts is one of the simplest and most useful tools available online for keeping up with the latest news about all kinds of topics, staying informed about people and companies, and monitoring what other people are publishing online about you and your business. It’s also free.
Google Alerts is not only only a great social media monitoring tool for managing your reputation online, but also for automatically sourcing information about people, brands, companies, and any other subject you want to know about.
With Google Alerts, you subscribe to a keyword or topic and you’re done. Whenever Google’s indexing robots (Googlebot) crawl a new web site, blog post, press release, news update, a video, tweet, or any other indexable content related to that topic, it will automatically send you an email or RSS update.
How To Set Up A Google Alert
Let’s go over the simple steps required to start using Google Alerts:
Step 1 – Log Into Your Google Account
If you don’t have a Google account, create one. Google lets you access loads of free services with one username and password. If you use Gmail, post videos to YouTube, run an Adwords campaign or have a GooglePlus page, then you should already have a Google account.
(Use your Google Account to access dozens of services like Google Alerts)
You can still set up Google Alerts without accessing your Google Account, but this gives you fewer configuration options (e.g. you can only receive email alerts, not alerts via RSS).
Once you have logged into your Google Account, access the Google Alerts tool by entering the following URL into your browser:
Step 2 – Set Up Your Alerts
You can set up alerts for every topic, business, person or website you want to receive updates about. This service lets you keep track of brands, names of employees, investors, influencers, competitors, celebrities, etc. There is no limit to how many alerts you can set up.
(Create as many alerts as you like with Google Alerts)
Step 3 – Configure Your Preferences
Google Alerts lets you specify the keyword or keywords you want alerts sent for, how often alerts should be sent (as it happens, once a day, once a week), sources (e.g. automatic, news, blogs, web, videos, discussions, etc.), language, region, how many (all results, only the best results), and how to receive alerts (via email or RSS feed) …
(Google alert preferences)
To narrow the source of your alerts, just select an option from the drop-down menu …
(Google Alerts – sources)
You can also specify alert delivery times in your settings, and if you want to receive all alerts in a single email …
(Google Alerts – settings)
You can change these settings anytime you want.
You will begin receiving alerts as specified in your preferences …
(Google alerts – email alert)
Note that at the bottom of your email notification, you are given various options, including:
- See more results
- Edit the alert
- Unsubscribe (stop receiving the alert)
- View all your alerts
- Receive the alert as RSS feed
How To Set Up Google Alerts While Searching On Google
You can easily set up Google Alerts while browsing the web. Here’s how:
Go to Google News and type in your search term …
(Enter a search term in Google News)
Scroll down to the bottom of the page and click on ‘Create Alert’ …
(Google News – Create Alert)
Type in your email address and click on ‘Create Alert’ …
(Google Alerts screen)
If you elect to receive alerts via email, you will be asked to verify your Google Alert request …
(Verify your Google Alert request)
After confirming your request, your Google Alert will be set up and you will begin to receive alert notifications via email.
(Your Google Alert has been successfully verified)
You can return to the Google Alerts home page and create as many alerts as you want.
How To Delete Google Alerts
You can stop receiving alerts by deleting them from your account …
(Google Alerts – settings)
You can also stop receiving alerts by clicking on the ‘Unsubscribe’ link at the bottom of your emails …
(Click the Unsubscribe link at the bottom of the email)
Confirm that you want to unsubscribe from your Google Alert …
(Click unsubscribe to stop receiving Google Alerts)
Your Google Alert will be cancelled …
(Google Alert cancelled)
You will stop receiving alert emails on the topic after unsubscribing.
If you want alerts to be delivered via email, you can configure rules in your email application to automatically redirect all alerts to one or more folders. This helps keep your alerts organized and easier to sort through.
If your alerts are sent out via RSS feed, you can use a feed reader to access the information on your smartphone or mobile device.
Once you have set up your alerts, you can track information about keywords, brands, the competition, etc., or create web content on the latest news and updates in your niche/industry.
How To Publish News Items From Google Alerts On Your Blog
You can display news items directly from Google Alerts on your WordPress your blog as blog posts or as a ‘widgetized’ item on your sidebar.
Let’s take a look at both methods:
Publish Google Alerts News Items As A Blog Post
To repost news items from Google Alerts as a blog post, do the following:
Set up your site to post by email …
(Post to WordPress by email)
If you need help with this step, see this tutorial:
Next, set up your Google Alert to send to the email address you have set up …
(Create Alert and send to email)
Alerts will now be posted to your site, or come in as ‘drafts’ that you can review and publish.
Publish Google Alerts News Items On Your Sidebar
To republish news items from Google Alerts as a as a ‘widgetized’ item on your sidebar, all you need to do is set up to receive your alerts as an RSS feed as described earlier …
(Receive alerts as an RSS feed)
Next, copy the RSS feed link to your clipboard …
(Copy RSS link address)
And add the RSS feed to an RSS widget as described in this tutorial:
Your alert will display as a ‘widgetized’ item on your sidebar and the feed will update regularly as Google sources new items …
(RSS Widget with Google Alert feed)
Hopefully, this article has been useful. To learn more about integrating social media with WordPress, see this article: WordPress And Social Media – Useful Resources For Measuring Social Metrics
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