Any individual or business can quickly and easily set up Google Alerts.
It’s one of the many free and useful online tools Google offers to anyone on the web. It’s easy to set up alerts to monitor your own online presence and keep a close eye on the topics and search terms and queries most important to you and your business.
Creating a few key Google Alerts is simple, effective, and free — so you can stay on top of real-time mentions, media coverage, new content, and more, all without having to invest in an expensive monitoring service.
But a surprising number of B2B marketers and salespeople either missed the memo or simply don’t know how to leverage this simple yet powerful tool for its full value to your business.
Sound Like You and Your Company?
Google Alerts setup is easy and requires minimal effort. We’ll show you how to get started in a few simple steps toward the bottom of this post. But before you dive in and start to create alerts, it’s helpful to understand how you’ll want to apply what you learn from your alert emails to fully leverage this underutilized surveillance tool.
How can Google Alerts help shape and inform your B2B marketing strategy? Because it provides insights into actual terms and queries users enter into the search engine — and because Google search is such a vital part of research and the B2B buyer journey — creating Google alerts allows you to:
Monitor mentions of your brand and products
Respond quickly and effectively to negative online reviews
Add and share links to positive press or product and service reviews
Keep an eye on media coverage of your company
Stay fresh with the most important industry topics that affect your business
Watch your closest competitors, too
Here are five of the most impactful ways to leverage Google Alerts across your B2B inbound marketing program, from basic nuts and bolts to creating in-demand content:
1. Monitor Your Newly Indexed Content
As every good marketer knows, the online content you create builds the foundation of your inbound growth marketing program. It’s the best way to be found in organic search. So set up and manage Google Alerts to keep tabs and know exactly when your newly published content has been indexed by Google’s search bots.
To do this, you simply track your company name, the web page URL, or the title of your new blog article.
2. Social Monitoring and Listening
You invest a lot of time and effort into establishing and maintaining your social media presence. But if you’re not listening, you’re only participating in half of the conversation. Setting up alerts can help you get visibility into mentions all across the internet, keeping a pulse on virtually every conversation where your alert terms are invoked.
By monitoring industry forum sites as well as social sites like Reddit and Quora, you can identify opportunities to engage within your subject matter area. Leave a thoughtful comment on a forum or someone else’s blog or answer relevant questions in industry groups on social media sites. You can increase your brand visibility and demonstrate thought leadership in your industry.
By setting up alerts for these fundamentals, you can be looped in quickly when they come up:
Company name, along with subsidiaries, divisions, and strategic partners
Product brand names and service-marked specialty services
Executives and key personnel (such as PR contacts)
Important new business and sales targets
3. Link Building
Link building is a fundamental practice for businesses that blog. Keeping track of which sites are linking to your content helps you understand what sites and organizations are helping generate your website traffic.
When you track a title of a blog post and receive an alert, for example, check to make sure your company gets proper credit for the content. Also be sure they link to your original article. Without a link, you won’t reap the full SEO value.
4. Keyword Monitoring
Creating alerts for your most important keyword queries can help you keep tabs on the ways other people use your keywords. This can help you track keyword evolution, secondary and related keywords, and even new industries and niches that could present fresh business opportunities.
By keeping an eye on mentions of your top keywords, you can also stay abreast of what your closest competitors are up to, and stay vigilant for efforts to overtake you on your top-performing keywords.
Below, you can see an alert preview for the topic of inbound marketing. It shows appearances of the keyword phrase in the Google News Alerts.
5. Content Ideation
As you receive Google Alerts to relevant industry news stories, keyword trends, online conversations, brand mentions, and more, it pays to start a running list of new content ideas. You might identify a need for a new pillar page or advanced content piece to answer recurring questions you see in circulation. Regulatory or other news related to your industry could spark fresh ideas for blogs and social media posts.
The vastness of the internet means Google Alerts can help you make the most of an almost limitless source of useful, relevant content ideas for your inbound program.
How to Set Up Google Alerts
Not sure how to get started with Google Alerts? It’s easy! These simple steps will help you create your own customized Google Alerts. To start, you’ll need a Google account.
Enter the search operator — that is, the search term you want to be notified about (e.g., company name, executive name, product, industry topic, competitor, etc.)
Select “Show Options”
Choose how often you’d like to be notified and fill in other requested information
Enter the Google inbox or RSS feed you’d like to send the alerts to
Hit the “Create Alert” button
PRO TIP: If you already use a Google email address, it’s a good idea to set up separate inboxes to automatically sort and deliver alert emails. That way, they won’t interfere with your regular daily work emails.
Google Alert Hacks, Insider Tips, and Tricks
A few extra keystrokes can help you optimize the value of your Google Alerts. Define your search queries even further to cast a wider net or eliminate notifications that don’t relate to you or your company with these search parameter refinement tips:
Add quotation marks (“”) around your desired search query, to tell Google to use the exact terms, in order, to get only the best results
Enter a minus sign (-) before the word or phrase you want excluded (e.g., Charles Schulz -Snoopy). This tells Google which alerts to track and which to avoid. The same holds true if a product or company name is very similar to an entity in another industry
Include common misspellings of your search terms. Google does a pretty good job of detecting and automatically correcting misspelled words, but it’s a good idea to cover all your bases, especially when terms are very specific
Add a tilde symbol (~) before a query to search for relevant synonyms related to your topic
Add an asterisk (*) in your query to get more diverse results that may still be relevant to your subject
Google Alerts is one more tool you can use in your company’s marketing toolbox, with tremendous potential to inform your strategy, understand your buyer personas, interact with target audiences, and much more. If you’re looking for even more tips on leveraging the power of brand monitoring and engagement, check out this page, Social Media for Business: A Guide for Complex Industries. Click the link below to check it out and get your own copy.
Posted by Megan Hansel Megan was most recently a marketing assistant at Neuroscience Group. She brings experience across a broad range of marketing functions for employers in healthcare, B2B industry, and finance. Her experience includes research, digital and social media marketing, podcasting, graphic design, e-commerce, and customer care.