Google Alerts

Google Alerts is competitive intelligence gathering made simple.

You tell Google to monitor the Internet for content relevant to you and as new web pages are indexed, you get an email telling you about them.

http://www.google.com/alerts

Just with searching in the search engine, you have to be a little clever about how you set your alerts up.

I recommend a tightly focused topic which can be:

  • You
  • Your competitors
  • Your customers
  • Your industry

Use inverted commas to help create exact matches.

Asking for an alert on Paul Simister will be triggered by pages with Paul and/or Simister – it’s too wide.

So my alert on my name – which is how I pick up if someone has recommended me or my ideas in a blog – is “Paul Simister”.

It’s an unusual enough name to get away with as I have a passing interest in other people with the same name.

If I wanted to narrow it down and focus more on me than others with the same name I would set up mores specific alerts using extra words I would expect to be associated with.

“Paul Simister” + coach

“Paul Simister” + profit

since any web page with my name on it which is about me, may have sentences like “Business coach Paul Simister wrote in a recent blog…” or “Paul Simister has created a new small business membership site called Your Profit Club for ambitious business owners who…”

Get the idea?

The same principles apply if you want to monitor your competitors, your best customers and any big target customers.

If I wanted to get Google to monitor for trends in the coaching industry, I would ask for

coaching + trends

and see what came though in the first few emails.

If they were dominated by life coaching and sports coaching, I’d amend my Google Alert to

coaching + trends + business

Make it too narrow and specific and you won’t get anything but too general and you’ll be sent too much rubbish.

http://www.google.com/alerts

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