Today’s article will focus on leveraging Google Alerts for traffic and blog growth.
In fact, chances are you’ve already heard of Google Alerts – but are you using this amazing service to the fullest?
How to Set Up a Google Alert
Before we begin, let’s quickly go over the basics of setting up an alert. The options you’ll see are practically self-explanatory:
- Visit Google Alerts here
- Type a word or phrase to be alerted about. Use quotations for phrases, such as “Digital marketing”
- Click “Show Options” to configure your alerts. This includes your preferred language, region, email frequency, among other settings.
Once configured, you’ll receive alerts (email notifications) to your inbox or as a browser-based RSS feed. The following steps will dig deeper into the types of alerts you can set up.
Hint: Creativity is key!
Pro tip: I suggest storing alerts in its own separate inbox folder. Your default inbox may otherwise feel overwhelming with constant alerts, depending on how much you leverage the service.
Google Alerts = Build Relationships and Connections
The primary purpose is to get to know fellow bloggers in your field through useful blogging tools like Alerts, along with anyone who mentions you (or your brand) in general.
Think about a new article that specifically mentions your service or a new comment that asks about something you can easily provide. These alerts give you a golden opportunity to pursue these leads and turn them into readers or customers. How neat is that?
While we’re at it, this other article further discusses tools to track your competitors while also building relationships.
Keep Up With Niche-related Topics
In all honesty, Google Alerts should always be part of your overall blogging strategy. You’ve already set up a mailing list, social media profiles, and continuously publish fresh content.
Why not go the extra mile and truly stay connected with every aspect of your industry?
For example, a health blog could benefit by setting up several alerts specifically tailored to that niche.
Beware, however, as enabling alerts for generic words will inevitably trigger too many notifications (and tons of useless entries, too).
So, while an alert for “fitness” might be too generic, you might want to be more specific with something like, “speed up your metabolism” or “bikini beach body.”
Get creative with this; you’d be surprised by the results.
Pro tip: You may also want to combine Alerts with Google Trends, which is used to spot popular topics around the web (note that these are usually short-lived and not evergreen).
That being said, you could occasionally insert a trending phrase into an article as long as it’s a natural fit. For example, “What the US 2020 election taught me About Marketing.”
Use Alerts As An RSS Feed Replacement
Not every blog provides an RSS feed, which makes alerts pretty useful for connecting with the blogs you wish to follow. In fact, you can even customize them to only receive specific topics from a blog (as opposed to every topic by default).
To receive every post within a blog, simply type its URL as a new Alert, like this:
*Replace the above values with the actual blog link where articles are published.
To only receive specific entries (such as titles that mention SEO) configure an alert like this:
intitle:SEO + site:website.com/blogpage
Pro tip: Use this feature to be one of the first commenters on new blog posts, which also allows you to provide valuable feedback.
Monitor and Elevate Your Brand
Everyone knows that Google Alerts is useful for essentially “searching yourself.” But you can also take things further…
Keep an eye on unlinked mentions: Content writers will often mention your blog but won’t necessarily link back to you. In this case, email these authors and politely ask them to add a link to the term or phrase they used.
These writers are already familiar with you, so it’s likely they won’t ignore your email.
Casual talk about your brand: Do you provide a product or service? Or maybe someone has started a public discussion about you in general? Alerts are a great way to stay informed and even join the conversation, if necessary.
This also helps improve your brand in the event someone talks negatively about your product or service.
Pro tip: Don’t just set up alerts for your main blog URL. Think of other relatable terms like:
- Your full name (in quotes)
- The name of a product or service you own
- Your email address
- A common misspelling of your brand
- Monitor Competitor Mentions
This is a great way to build backlinks over time, not just establishing friendships with fellow bloggers.
For example, let’s say you run a foodie blog that regularly focuses on recipes. You may then set up an alert for the following:
- “Competitor blog name” [insert the name or blog URL of your competitor]
- “The name of an author / competitor”
- “Best food blogs”
- “Best foodie blogs”
- “Best blogs for food lovers”
(Plus any other term that fits your niche)
Chances are someone will publish new articles using the above phrases, but your blog won’t necessarily be mentioned. Use this golden opportunity to ask the author for a quick mention with a backlink.
Also, remember that bloggers generally like to produce the biggest or most diverse lists possible. So you’d be doing them a favor by helping with the addition of one more entry to their list.
Monitor Guest Post Opportunities
Did you know you can also leverage Google Alerts to find guest posting opportunities? As many of you know, guest blogging is a strategy that never goes out of style.
So, consider setting up alerts for one (or several) of these terms:
- Phrase + intitle:”write for us”
- Phrase + intitle:”become a contributor”
- Phrase + intitle:”submit a guest post”
- Phrase + intitle:”guest post by”
A good example of this might be, “Digital marketing” + intitle:”write for us” to receive opportunities based around digital marketing blogs.
Google Alerts Alternatives
While this service already does an amazing job, you may prefer an alternative as Google Alerts has been known to dismiss certain results.
Some alternatives include:
Note: Some of the above are premium services.
While Google Alerts is great at finding random mentions around the web, you might want to use something like SocialMention or Keyhole.co to search social media references. Those guys are simply more thorough in this regard.
Google Alerts may actually feel overwhelming if you’re monitoring too many mentions. Keep this in mind, as you may inadvertently hurt productivity in the process.
If you absolutely wish to maximize its potential, I strongly suggest you hire a virtual assistant to handle much of the outreach and day-to-day monitoring. Feel free to check out Fiverr or Upwork, as you can certainly find someone for a reasonable price.
Best of luck!