Google Alerts isn’t a new concept – the company launched this service in 2003 to help searchers monitor the web for new content. Companies use it to monitor mentions of their business online, including what target audiences say about products, services, competitors, and more.
But what does this monitoring have to do with content marketing? Ask yourself:
- Are you having trouble coming up with up-to-the-minute content ideas?
- Do you need help determining which angles other marketers haven’t already covered?
- Are you looking for “out of the box” ways to take advantage of relevant keywords?
Outside of keyword research, setting up Google Alerts is an excellent way of achieving those goals while simultaneously identifying patterns in trending topics.
This guide discusses what Google Alerts are, why you should use them for content marketing, and tips for making it all fall into place.
What Are Google Alerts?
Google Alerts is a service whereby you can track any topic – and I mean that literally – each time content changes. When you set up alerts, Google emails you a summary of search activities around the keywords, phrases, and topics you saved when setting up alerts.
Setting up alerts is straightforward:
- Visit Google Alerts
- Enter a keyword or keyphrase in the box that reads, “Create an alert about….”
- Click “Create Alert”
Then, each time Google finds updates about the keywords or phrases you entered, you’ll automatically receive an email.
Why Should You Use Google Alerts for Content Marketing?
Google Alerts is a free tool that gives content marketers an excellent opportunity to receive alerts when their company, target keywords, or other mentions show up on the web. Here are three reasons why using Google Alerts for content marketing is a good idea:
It’s impossible to see everything happening online – or remember to regularly search for your company’s name. Things come up, schedules fill, and adding this to your to-do list seems to fall off your radar.
Why is this an issue?
When someone mentions your company – for any reason – you should know. It doesn’t matter if it’s a current or prospective customer, your response matters. For example, if someone had an issue with your products or services, other customers want to see how you handle the situation.
Reputation management also extends to showing current and prospective customers that you actively engage. For example, if someone recommends your offerings on their blog or social media channels,
Track the Competition
How often do you keep track of what your competitors are doing? If you say, “not that often,” you could miss opportunities. I’m not talking about replicating what they’re doing. Instead, use Google alerts to determine what they’re doing – and how you could do that better.
- How competitors are managing their content marketing strategies
- Tools they might be using for their campaigns – so you can track down higher-value alternatives
- How they engage with their audience – so you can identify ways they could be doing it better and implement them in your strategies
Do you and your team struggle with coming up with new ideas? Do you feel like you’re banging on the same drum all day while the competition blows you out of the water? You’re not alone – it’s impossible to think of every possible idea and topic trend, no matter how many brainstorming sessions you have with your team.
Automating ideation using Google Alerts takes away much of that frustration. Set up alerts for your team’s saved searches to receive automatic updates, news, and other topics within your industry. Alerts push “newest mention” search results from blogs, forum discussions, news, videos, and other content to your inbox.
Tips for Using Google Alerts for Your Marketing
We’re all busy – and, for that reason, having something affordable (in this case, free) and easy to use is a priority. These alerts benefit company owners, freelancers, marketers, social media managers, and more. Here are some tips for embracing Google Alerts for your content marketing efforts:
Gathering Topics and Other Ideas
Let’s dive deeper into how content ideation and Google Alerts work. While you might be receiving alerts for industry news, social media discussions, and brand mentions – it’s also crucial to understand how that relates to gathering ideas.
For example, are there questions about your niche, industry, services, or product offerings your target audience is asking more often?
Use alerts to:
- Identify new or more in-depth questions your target audience is asking
- Create pillar pages or advanced content pieces offering high-level answers to the questions you see asked most often
- Watch for regulatory changes within your industry to report on or create updates to existing content for
Setting up Google Alerts for your top-performing keywords gives you insights into how competitors use them. That’s important because this tracking allows you to:
- Track how these keywords might evolve according to changes in your industry or target audience
- Identify secondary (or other related) keywords to incorporate into your strategies
- Reveal new niche or industry opportunities
Finding Influencers and Writers
Sometimes finding the right writers or influencers within your industry is tricky – especially if it’s a niche industry. Use Google Alerts to identify which writers cover or influencers talk about topics relevant to your industry.
If you want to watch specific writers or influencers to see how often they share content focusing on your industry or keyword efforts, set up an alert using their name. This strategy also identifies who is writing for or talking about your competition.
While Google Alerts are easy to set up and are a “set it and forget it” monitoring solution, keep in mind that you won’t receive analytics, reports, or social listening results. You can track brand name mentions, but there are no analytic results on how often that happens. As far as social listening goes, there’s no option for setting up alerts for social media platforms – you’ll need to use other social listening tools (like HubSpot or Social Sprout) to achieve that goal.
If you need help creating a content strategy, refining your editorial calendar, or understanding how Google Alerts can help with your content marketing, contact our team today!
How do I use Google Alerts for marketing?
Set up Google Alerts for brand-related terms, topics, and other keywords. Use this strategy to create alerts for brand awareness and to track competitors.
What is the best way to use Google Alerts?
Use keywords relevant to your industry, but avoid common or generic keywords (you’ll receive too many results – not all of them valid), and limit search results using filters.
How do I use Google Alerts for SEO?
Create alerts that include relevant and exclude irrelevant information, topics, and other search results to boost SEO efforts by following these tips:
- Improve search results by enclosing keywords inside quotation marks
- Remove irrelevant keywords by placing the minus sign before search terms
- Identify searches containing common misspellings
- Create multiple configurations of common search inquiries