At any given moment, millions of conversations are happening online. New information is continually being published on websites, news sites, and social media streams, and some of that information is related to subjects you are interested in.
Is there a simple and easy way to find out what is happening in your niche or industry that can save you time doing research? Yes, there is. It’s called …
(You can monitor the web for new content with Google Alerts)
Google Alerts is a free, simple and useful tool for keeping up with the latest news and information about all kinds of topics, staying informed about people and companies, and monitoring what other people post about you and your business online.
Google Alerts is not only great for managing your reputation online, but also for automatically sourcing information about people, companies, or any subject you need to know about.
With Google Alerts, you subscribe to a keyword or topic and you’re done. Whenever Google’s bots (Googlebot) index a new web page, news update, press release, blog post, a video, tweet, or any other indexable content related to that topic, you will automatically receive an email or RSS update.
Google Alerts – A Step-By-Step Guide
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 just one username and password. If you use Gmail, post videos to YouTube, run a pay-per-click advertising campaign with Adwords or own a GooglePlus page, then you should already have a Google account set up.
(Use your Google Account to access services like Google Alerts)
You can still set up Google Alerts without accessing your Google Account, but this will give you fewer configuration options (e.g. you can only receive email alerts, not alerts via RSS).
After logging into into your Google Account, access the Google Alerts tool by entering the following URL into your browser:
Step 2 – Set Up An Alert
Set up an alert for any topic, business name, person, brand or website you want to track. You can keep track of product brands, names of employees, celebrities, investors, influencers, competitors, etc. There are no limits to how many alerts you can set up.
(Set up as many alerts as you like with Google Alerts)
Step 3 – Set Up Your Preferences & Save
You can specify the keyword(s) you want to receive alerts 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 should begin receiving alerts as set 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)
This brings you to the Google Alerts screen. Enter 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.
Deleting Google Alerts
You can delete any alerts you no longer want to receive …
(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 to receive alerts via email, you can configure rules in your email program to send alerts automatically to one or more folders. This will help keep your alerts organized and easier to track and sort through.
If you choose to receive alerts via RSS feed, you can use a feed reader to view the information on your smartphone or mobile device.
Once you have set up alerts, you can monitor information about keywords, brands, the competition, etc., or create content in your chosen topic.
How To Publish News Items From Google Alerts On Your Blog
You can publish news items directly from Google Alerts on your WordPress your WordPress 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 display news items from Google Alerts as a blog post, do the following:
Configure 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 blog, or come in as ‘drafts’ that you can review and publish.
Publish Google Alerts News Items On Your Sidebar
To repost 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 tutorial has been useful. To learn more about using social media management tools to monitor social signals, see this article: WordPress Resources - Social Media Monitoring
"I have used the tutorials to teach all of my clients and it has probably never been so easy for everyone to learn WordPress ... Now I don't need to buy all these very expensive video courses that often don't deliver what they promise." - Stefan Wendt, Internet Marketing Success Group