Setting Up Google Alerts

Did you know that you can set up Google Alerts to be notified when any information containing your name or company is used online?  If someone has posted information about you that may be damaging to your brand contact them immediately and ask them to remove it.

Paula Wynne, author of 'Create A Successful Website' and Pimp My Site, advises home business start-ups on the benefits of Google Alerts.

This happened to me, but it wasn’t damaging, just embarrassing. Someone lifted an article about an award I won and added it to a section of their site called ‘Women and Sex’.

My Google Alert ‘alerted’ me and when I saw the piece they had used I sent them an email advising them that I didn’t mind them using the article, but since the story had nothing to do with ‘sex’ could they please place it in a more appropriate place.

Needless to say, they wrote back apologetically and changed my article to appear under the ‘Women and Careers’ section instead.

If something like that happens to you, don’t get ticked off. Instead consider that you are getting publicity in front of their visitors and hopefully they will click to your site, which is a great way to build your traffic. So, just write a polite email asking for changes to be made.

Also, be aware of your articles being used without your name being credited.  For example: when I send out a Press Release or article, I always set up a Google Alert and then I see where the release or article is being used.

I once spotted that someone had used an article of mine without crediting my company or my name, so I hopped into email mode, wrote to them and politely pointed this out and asked them to kindly credit my company and give us a link. This was changed and again they apologised.

Another great way to use Google Alerts is to spy on your competitors and hear first hand when other sites refer to you.

How To Set Up Google Alerts

There are many products available to you under one Google Account. If you don’t have a Google Account yet then set one up now.

You will be able to link your Google Analytics (coming later on) with Blogger, YouTube and all the other nifty tools on Google’s smorgasbord. As we go through each section you will learn more about your Google Account and it will slowly come to life right under your fingertips.

Take these easy steps to set up a Google Alert, which can be daily, weekly or as-it-happens. They update you with the latest relevant results based on your choice of keywords in the alert.

Step By Step Guide

  • Go to www.google.com
  • Set up new account
  • Enter all your details.
  • Google then sends an email to verify you exist
  • Choose which products you want to include and set each of them up individually. Then set up a Google Alert with your name or company as shown in this screenshot.
  • If you already have a Google Account you can start by clicking here.

Okay, what's next? And what you do with Google Alerts? Find some great ways to use this clever trick Google has given us home business start ups.

Cool Ways To Use Alerts

  • Monitoring a news story
  • Keeping up to date on your competitors or your industry
  • Following your favourite celebrity or event
  • Keeping tabs on a sports team
  • Find out what competitors are up to
  • Manage your alerts by adding more or deleting old ones

In A Nutshell

See where your articles are used and check references to your name and your company.
You can even set Google Alerts up with your keywords to see how others are using those keywords, although this is a cumbersome task to trawl through each day. Been there, done that!

Want to see more guides like these? Why not have a read through some of the many other articles on starting up your home business?

Our Start Up Business Advice section includes articles on how to name and host your home business website, how to set and acheive goals, how to find a home business mentor and many more. 

Paula Wynne, author of 'Create A Successful Website' and Pimp My Site, advises home business start-ups on the benefits of Google Alerts.

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