Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Google Alerts - how to use them for your blog or website

by Greg Cryns

Google Alerts can be one of your most valuable tools if you are a blogger or a website owner. Once you sign on, you will receive instant email notification when something happens in your niche or on any topic that interests you. Simply, you get alerts when you subscribe through Google's News, Blog or Groups programs.

To begin receiving the Google Alerts you just sign up at the Google Alerts home page. If you do not have a Google general account, you will need to set one up there. Then, you tell Google the TYPE of alert you are looking for (News, Blog or Groups). Then you click the "Create Alert" button. Google then starts the ball rolling when new items appear in its system. You can also tell Google how often to send the new results. (daily or "as it happens").

Pick a topic that reflects your blog or website. There is almost no limit to topics. More popular topics include news items, medical and technology advances, celebrity, entertainment and sports. You could even choose to monitor the activity of your competitors.

Once you get rolling you can tweak your results by asking for topics using different keywords. For example, if you are promoting recipes, you could ask for "pizza recipes" or "sauce recipes". Try more specific or more general keywords and watch the results.

Try Google's Advanced Search page to refine your results. If you find the result you are looking for there, copy and paste that result into the main search page.

If you find you have too many results coming into your email box, just delete a few. It's easy through the interface on the Google site.

You are allowed to make up to 10 Google Alerts at a time. But you can log out and come back immediately to enter more alerts. The maximum you can have is 1,000. Trust me, if you have over 100, you have too many going at once unless you can set up another email account for that purpose only.

Another nice feature of Google Alerts is that you can set your language preferences.

Other ways to use Google Alerts: monitoring a developing news story; competitive intelligence; learning about celebrity activity;sporting events.


You can refine your searches to pick up new and useful information from specific magazines like Time Magazine, for example.
google source:time

Let's say you want to know when another blog links to your blog:

To track your personal or business name, just put your name in quotes. i.e. "Tom Jones" or "Speedy Typos"

If you are working on a project or sector, use the quotes technique if you want a narrow search.

Be specific -- If you can use many words to describe what you are looking for, try it out. You could improve the relevance of the results. For example, if you want job descriptions in Chicago, use "Chicago legal jobs" instead of just "jobs" or even "law jobs".

I own a website about Chihuahua dogs. I am subscribed to Google Alerts to find interesting and often funny stories about that breed. When one pops throught that I like I just copy and paste the link into my website. I also own a website for "work at home" people. I look specifically for "work at home" because I know that is the most often used key phrase in my niche. I will often turn up interesting news about business start-ups and bankruptcies.

Are you concerned about plagiarism from your website? Copy a short and unique sentence from your story into Google Alerts. If that sentence is used, it should turn up quickly.

Be creative. For example, try "Uncle Sam" to find briefs for local and federal government cases.

Experiment. Try putting "Top 10" or "selling" into an alert. You might be surprised and enlightened by the results.

Remember, Google covers 5,000 news sources. You could put the names of your clients and friends into Google Alerts and be notified of an important event for them. This will help you become an unforgettable person in their lives.

About the Author

'Greg Cryns is the owner of many marketing websites including:
Wahm Search Engine: http://www.wahmsearchengine.com
Social Network Marketing for smart people! http://www.squidoo.com/goaffiliate
Work At Home Profiles: http://www.workathomeprofiles.com

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