Right now, there are billions of information transactions happening online. New content is constantly being published on blogs, social media networks, and news sites, and some of that information is related to subjects that matter to you.
Is there a free, easy and simple way to find out what is going on in your industry or niche that will save you time doing research? Yes, there is, and it’s called …
(Google Alerts – free web monitoring service)
Google Alerts is one of the simplest and most useful tools available online for keeping up-to-date with news about all kinds of topics, staying informed about people, brands and companies, and tracking what what is being said about you and your business online. Google Alerts is also free.
Google Alerts is not only useful for managing your reputation online, but also for receiving the latest news about people, brands, companies, or any subject you are interested in.
With Google Alerts, you just subscribe to a keyword or topic and you’re done. Whenever Google’s indexing robots crawl a new web site, blog post, press release, news update, a tweet, video, or any other content related to that topic, it will automatically send you an email or RSS update.
How To Create 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 haven’t got a Google account, create one. Google lets you access many free services with one username and password. If you use Gmail, post videos to YouTube, run Adwords or have a GooglePlus page, then you should already have a Google account set up.
(Log into your Google Account to set up your Google alerts)
You can still set up Google Alerts without a Google Account, but this will give you fewer configuration options (e.g. you can’t receive Google Alerts via RSS, only email).
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
Set up alerts for every topic, business name, person or website you would like to track. You can track brands, names of employees, celebrities, influencers, competitors, investors, 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 – Set Your Preferences
You can specify the keyword(s) 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 Alerts – preferences)
If you want to narrow where Google sources the information for your alerts, just select an option from the drop-down menu …
(Google Alerts – sources)
You can also specify the delivery time of your alerts in your settings, and if you want to receive all alerts in a single email …
(Google alert settings)
You can change these settings anytime.
You will begin receiving alerts as per 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)
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 stop receiving alerts by deleting them from your account …
(Google alert 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 from Google after unsubscribing.
If you would like alerts to be sent via email, you can configure rules in your email application to redirect alerts automatically to one or more folders. This will help to 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 access the information on your smartphone or mobile device.
Once you have set up your alerts, you can monitor information about topics, brands, the competition, etc., or start creating content for your business blog in your chosen topic.
How To Display News Items From Google Alerts On Your WordPress Site
You can repost news items directly from Google Alerts on your WordPress your WordPress site 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, create an 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 publish 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 information has been helpful. To learn more about using social monitoring tools to monitor social signals, see this article: WordPress Tools - Media Tracking
"Wow! I never knew there's so much to learn about WordPress! I bought one of the WordPress for Dummies three years ago, such authors need to be on this course!" - Rich Law, Create A Blog Now