Be prepared with Google Alerts!

Ever wanted to monitor the internet for specific information so you can keep up to date on a particular topic? For anyone who wants to keep check of reviews about your practice, check your online popularity, or keep up to date with a current trend or search an event or competition, then a solution for you is Google Alerts. What is it?

Google Alerts is a service that allows you to track when a topic you are interested in appears on the internet.  Google Alerts generates a specific search based on criteria that have been provided by you.  It collates this information and then sends the results to your email account.  Think of it as your own private search engine that reports to you on a regular basis. 

So how do you set it up?  Easily with the following steps:

1. Type Google Alerts into your web browser search engine, or go directly to www.google.com/alerts 

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2. Enter the topic or name you want to receive an alert about.  When you type this in, you will see underneath that Google Alerts will automatically start searching for you.  If you are not getting the results you wanted, you could tweak your topic or name at this stage to see if you get better input.

3. Enter the email address that you want the Google Alert to be sent to.  Click CREATE ALERT button and you are away.  To refine your search, you can opt in and out of some options. 

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Source Type: lets you choose where Google Alerts looks for your information.  You may choose from blogs, videos, discussion or books.  The default setting is to search everything.

How Often: this allows you to decide how often you would like the results delivered to your nominated email address.  You can choose either once a week, once a day or as-it-happens.  This last option will email you literally as things happen, which might be harder to manage in your email account depending on how frequently the query appears.  This might get annoying, so I would suggest opting for once a week, to begin with.  The default option is once a day.

How Many: This setting allows you to choose between all results and only the best results.  If you choose the later of only the best results, Google Alerts will filter your results based on relevance to the topic you have entered.

You can enter more than one Google Alert topic and can modify them at any time simply by logging in again to your account.  Remember when you sign up for a Google Account, you don’t have to be using Gmail.  Enter the email you regularly use for your notifications.  Later on, if you choose not to follow certain topics, you can delete them by signing into Google Alerts again and deleting your topics you no longer wish to receive information on.

There are lots of avenues that you can use Google Alerts for, so tap into your creativity.  Here are five suggestions to get you started: 

Track your favourite author

Check in on favourite topics...

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Use it to job search...

 

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Track what the web is saying about you

and even use it to keep up to date on what you competitors are doing.

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