What is a Google Alert?
Google Alerts is a free tool that sends you an email whenever a specific term appears in a new search result. You can set up alerts to send you info about anything from news topics to sports teams to your business.
Google Alerts for your business are a great way to keep an eye on any mentions of your business name online. They can also help you monitor for copyright violations.
What should I set up Google Alerts for?
This will depend on your business, but I highly recommend the following Google Alerts:
- Your business name (and any variations of it)
- Your website’s domain
- Your copyright line
- Your most popular resources (or those you frequently find shared online)
You can use search operators to limit your Google Alerts to more specific searches. This will help cut down on the number of “false positives” that you get in your email.
- quotation marks – by using “Chalk & Apples” in my alert, I only get alerts for the entire phrase, not every time the word chalk or apples is mentioned.
- site: limits your search to results within a particular site. Your alert would look like this –
site:websiteurl.com "search term"
- filetype: searches for uploaded files with a particular search term. If you want to monitor a certain PDF resource, you’d set up an alert like this one –
filetype:pdf "resource title"or for more generic results, you can use
filetype:pdf "your copyright"
How do I set up a new Google Alert?
Setting up Google Alerts is quick and easy! Just go to https://www.google.com/alerts and log in with your Google account.
If this is the first time you’ve logged in, you’ll probably see two suggestions: your name and your email address. Go ahead and click the plus sign to add those.
Then, just type in each of the other search terms you want to get alerts for in the top bar (one at a time).
You’ll see a list of recent search results, and you can use those to make sure you’re typing the right thing.
You can click “show options” to change any of the settings you see above, but I leave mine set to the defaults.
When you’re ready, just click “create alert” and you’re all set.