December 18, 2017

Using Google Alerts to Get An Edge Over Your Competition

Google is a serious source of buyer traffic for each of our clients and making sure we squeeze the most out of every service Google offers only makes sense.

From the G-Suite platform Mac wrote about earlier this year, to Google Trends giving us an idea of what we could or should creating content around, there is tremendous value in free tools that even novice business owners can use to get an edge on local and national competitors.

There will be further posts on how to use individual tools within the stable of Google products, but for this week’s Momentum Monday, I’ll explain how you can go about using Google Alerts to effortlessly keep tabs on your your own brand, competitors, and overall movement in your niche.

Google Alerts: Mediocre Name, Critical Tool

google alerts

When I think of Alert, I think of two things.

The most northern, permanently habitable place in the world – and those annoying fire alarms that went off in residence during college. Despite the boring name, Google definitely has built a tool you can use to keep tabs on what’s going on with almost anything on the web.

With news and blog posts coming out literally every day you need to keep know what your competitors are doing, trends in your industry and new opportunities to connect with influencers and curate content.

You can do all this and still keep your sanity with just a few strategic and well thought out alerts.

Google Alerts basically allow you to be notified as often as you wish whenever new content that meets certain criteria or contains certain phrases is indexed or mentioned on the internet.

Using Alerts To Make Your Digital Marketing Campaigns Easier

Setting up Alerts is dead easy.

Simply login to your Google account and go to google.com/alerts. Any phrase you insert will be monitored and should a mention of these keywords, phrases or brands will trigger an email to your Google account at the interval you’ve specified.

Practical Uses For Google Alerts

You’re already getting tons of emails everyday, so setting these up so they provide the most value and don’t end up annoying you is key.

Here are my favorite alerts and how to leverage them, specifically for SEO.

Brand Mentions: This is easy – insert your brand, and get an email at the frequency you specify whenever your brand name is indexed. Monitor good and bad press, and take it a step further by monitoring brand mentions of your direct competitors.

Any mention of your brand that isn’t linking out to your site is an opportunity for outreach and to get a link placed.

For example if we found a blog or news site mentioning Momentum Digital, without directly linking out to us, we’d send a nice email letting them know our site is http://needmomentum.com and it might help their readers learn more about our services.

Links matter significantly as ranking signal even as we end 2017, according to Search Engine Land so any new indexed and relevant links you can acquire definitely make a difference.

Competitor Creep: The best defense is offense, and you can set up Google Alerts to make sure you keep tabs on your direct competitors marketing strategy online.

Moving into 2018 earned or acquired placements are just a reality, and it can be daunting keeping up with  these opportunities and making sure you capitalize on them all.

Plug your competitor into Google Alerts and get notified anytime they are mentioned in the news, a blog or any other indexed content. What are they doing to get media attention? What are they doing to generate buzz? Giveaways, charitable acts, even bad press – these are all opportunities to learn and replicate what seems to be working for your own brand.

For example, if you see another local business owner has been mentioned in the press as an authority on a certain subject or being recognized for his or her contributions locally, those are all opportunities that can be replicated. Reach out to news or blog sources and let them know you can offer the same insights and are available to comment.

I’ve even setup Google Alerts for my competitors first name in the past to see if they ever get mentioned for other reasons which I could leverage for links.

Content Curation: On a bigger scale, you’ll want to keep tabs on what the general trends are in your industry without manually digging around. Setting up alerts for certain commercial keywords can bring you opportunities for networking and content that you may not have found otherwise.

For Momentum, we love getting out and doing our Small Business Saturday series, so Google Alerts for phrases like opening in Philadelphia, opening in Philly, small businesses in Philadelphia do a good job of keeping us abreast of what’s new in the city and how we can help new businesses that are making a difference. Set them to once a week to avoid being annoyed and yes some results won’t be immediately actionable, but should still be an opportunity to network.

Setting up alerts for broad matched terms like local digital marketing also lets us find similar competitors who may be getting press and blog mentions, and we can always work on reverse engineering these to get ourselves links by creating similar or better content.

You can also use terms in quotes to further narrow down results. Google Alerts previews potential results so you can make changes in real time so you don’t end up with a bunch of potentially irrelevant emails.

Keeping Organized With Google Alerts

Email overwhelm is something every business owner deals with and I’m constantly trying to cut down on my notifications, and compartmentalize inbound messages.

Alerts should be set to as-it-happens under how often, but here’s the key. Setup a filter in your email client to put these Alerts aside in a folder and check them when convenient – here’s how to do it in Gmail.

These can then be handed off to an intern or marketing ninja and be followed up on systematically. Building a network like this can definitely help if you’re running a specific promotion and need a media push, but it starts with being proactive and knowing how to get your links and content out there fast.

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