How to improve your monitoring for free?

You have probably noticed the growing number of online media, such that millions of blog articles or news are published every day around the world.

So if you’re a freelancer or SME trying to keep tabs on your brand, it can be difficult to keep tabs on everything in this noisy digital world.

Creating an alert manually may work for a while. However, this is not in no case a long term solution.

But do not worry. You can automate this entire sleeping process using a handy tool called Google Alerts. In this guide, we’ll look at what you need to get your alerts up and running.

Google alerts: why is it important to configure them?

A Google alert allows you to receive notifications to your email address or phone number.

You receive them when new information is published on a search engine matching the keywords you have chosen.

Google Alerts can help you monitor all types of topics relevant to your industry. Here are the main benefits of creating a Google Alert.

Brand Monitoring

Google alerts will allow you to stay up to date with what your prospects or customers are saying about you.

Monitoring your reputation is essential, you will instantly know the good and bad things that are said, allowing you to incorporate positive feedback or put out fires before they get bigger.

Competition monitoring

Knowing your competitors is just as important as knowing your own brand. You can quickly learn if they release a new feature or get positive/negative press.

Industry Monitoring

Google Alerts can also help you stay up to date with general trends in your industry. Be alerted to events, attitude changes or new arrivals as soon as they happen.

Whether you’re a freelancer or a small business, this information will help you keep tabs on your industry and fine-tune your marketing strategy.

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To get started, go to the Google Alerts website.

The interface is quite simple to use, but we’ll see each step. First, you need to enter the keyword you want to monitor:

Google Alert LeDigitalizeur
Google Alert LeDigitalizeur

If you’re not sure what keywords to watch for beyond your own business name, here are some questions to help you figure that out:

  • Who are the people or companies you often find yourself competing against?
  • What are the important keywords used in your industry?
  • What are your customers likely to be looking for? If your customers search for a keyword frequently, you probably want to monitor it.

To get real data on how often specific topics or keywords are searched, you can always turn to a tool like Google Keyword Planner or Ubersuggest.

An advanced trick for Google Alerts is that you can enter the same search strings you use in classic Google search

Here are some examples :

  • Google Alerts – only get alerts for content on LeDigitalizeur that includes the term Google Alerts.
  • “SEO Tip” – only gets alerts for articles that include the exact phrase “SEO Tip”.
  • “Guest post” + WordPress – only get alerts for posts that include the exact phrase “guest post” plus any WordPress variation.
  • SEO advice – consultant – only receive alerts for content that includes SEO advice, excluding the consultant subject.

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Configuring Google Alert Options

Once you’ve determined which keywords you want to monitor, you can set up Google Alerts (one at a time).

Enter your first alert in the box provided. If you are already signed in to a Google account, alerts will automatically be sent to your Gmail account.

If you are not logged in, you will need to enter your email address. But don’t create your alert yet.

First, you need to click on the “Show Options” drop-down menu to configure your alert:

Google Alert 2 LeDigitalizeur
Google Alert 2 LeDigitalizeur

A set of options should appear:

Google Alert 3 LeDigitalizeur
Google Alert 3 LeDigitalizeur

Google Alert: everything you can configure

Google Alert frequency: you can receive alerts immediately, once a day or once a week. For really important terms (like your own brand), you should choose immediately or once a day. For less important terms, you can set them to once a week so you don’t get overwhelmed.

Google Alert sources: you can choose the sources you want to monitor. If you want the broadest spectrum of mentions, you should leave it as automatic. But you can also limit alerts to official news sources, blogs, general web content and others. (for greater consistency)

Language : choose the language for the content you want to monitor.

Region : If you only want to monitor content from a specific country, you can choose it here. You can combine this with language settings to reduce the number of alerts.

Number of results: You can choose whether you want Google to alert you only for what they deem to be the best results, or for all results. Again, for your business, you’re probably going to use all the results so you don’t miss anything. But for less important terms, you can stick to the best results.

Send to : Here you can choose where these alerts will be sent to you.

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Previewing your Google Alert

Once you have completed all the options, Google Alerts will give you an overview of the type of content you will receive alerts for based on the settings you have chosen.

If you are happy with the type of content in the preview results, all you need to do is click on the “Create alert” button and it’s finished!

Google will start sending you alerts based on the schedule you choose. To monitor additional themes, simply repeat the process for those themes.

Google Alert: Editing or deleting existing alerts

If you want to edit or delete an alert at a later date, simply go to on the same Google alerts page. After adding alerts, Google will display a list of all your active alerts.

To edit your alert options, simply click the pencil icon (edit) to open the same list of options as before.

And if you want to delete the alert completely, just click on the trash can icon.

Towards even more complete monitoring

The major drawback of Google Alerts is that it misses a key channel in brand monitoring: social networks.

A lot of relevant conversations are also happening on social media. So, if you want to have the “Big Picture” of your brand and your industry, you really need to monitor both.

I won’t go into details in this article, but to monitor Facebook, Twitter or Instagram you can use a superb French solution: Mention.

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Google alerts in conclusion

Google Alerts is one of the fastest and easiest to use tools to track mentions and alerts. It’s also a 100% free tool, which is another reason why it’s a great monitoring tool.

If you want to have an overview of mentions, you will also need to find a way to integrate social media monitoring. But for basic monitoring, you won’t find a simpler tool.

Just make sure you don’t overload yourself with alerts.

Having too much information can be as bad as no information.

If you notice that you can no longer keep track of alerts because you don’t have enough time, it may be time to reduce your number of Google Alerts.