Google Alerts are great things. They are also annoying things. Granted, I bring trouble on myself by setting copious amounts of Google alerts to track things that maybe some people don’t track. As you know, Google Alerts
were created as a way for new information to come to you, rather than you going to go find it. When Google indexes something and notices a change that centers around the keywords you select, you’ll get an email notification.
You can track the latest exploits of Lady Gaga, or find the latest topic mentioning latest technical trends, but I tend to use it for Branding Management.
The way Google works is that it sends out its bots to crawl pages, look for changes and report back to the indexing database to update everything. SEO is all about getting the right stuff indexed properly. But the other side to this is using it to find out how your brand is being used.
I have a client’s name set up in different ways. Every time the name is found, I get an alert. This proved amazing when the client started appearing in a discussion forum. Without the alert, the forum would have turned into a bash thread if I didn’t jump in with some “Online Reputation Management.” Last week, the client popped up in another thread where someone asked “Does anyone know the name of the chick in their new commercial?”
I had a Google Alert appear today with my client’s name referring to a local magazine’s profile for one of those online file storage sites which, for some reason, listed all their stored files. Apparently, it took 2 years for google to finally index this unnecessary information for the public, but what it showed was a brochure of my client’s that was more than two years old with outdated terms and prices. Armed with this information, I contacted them to delete the file.
They say keep your friends close, and keep your enemies closer. By adding your competitor’s names to your google alerts you’ll be able to track where they are advertising and the level of “chatter” people give them.
All this is to make the Google Indexer work for you and give you information to protect your brand … and exploit another.