One of My Favorite Secret Weapons
Google Alerts is a favorite tool I’ve been using for about a year now. This versatile, simple and
easy to use tool not only helps for building links, but it is also great for relationship building, content ideas and development, research, finding industry or topical news and so much more…
I should note right away that I learned about this tool during a conversation I was having with Eric Ward (link building god) about building links for a contest I was running. He mentioned it to me as a way to determine if my press releases had been picked up. I quickly realized the power of this free and easy to use tool, now I’m going to share the secret powers if this nasty little weapon with you…
To understand it’s power you first need to know what it does, so let me show you how Google Alerts works.
How Google Alerts Works
What It Does
Simply, Google Alerts sends you an email notification when NEW web sites appear at the top of Google search results for any keyword you specify.
Ohhhhh I can hear your cerebral wheels spinnin’ already…. But first:
How To Set Up Google Alerts
- First, you need to sign in with your Google account. If you don’t have one, get one and learn everything Google wants you to know, here: www.google.com/support/accounts.
- Then, you input a SEARCH TERM (keyword or phrase) you want to be alerted about.
- Next, you select what TYPE of search results you want to receive alerts from. You can get ‘alerts’ for results from:
- web search
- blog search
- Google News
- Google Groups
- Google Video
There’s also an alert you can choose the ‘Comprehensive Alert’ that will provide the results from web, news, & blogs all together (but categorized). Alert items (websites) are selected from the top ‘X’ results in these numbers/categories: 10 for blogs/news/videos, 15 for Google Groups and 20 for web search.
- Next, you select how often you want to be alerted.
- By day
- Finally, you input the email address you want to be notified at, and after clicking ‘Create Alert’, you’re done!
The 10 Google Alerts Secrets
Here are the secrets that will allow Google Alerts to be one of your best internet marketing weapons:
Secret #1 - Find posts to comment on for link building
Using the main keyword(s) your site is about, use BLOG ALERTS for finding posts related your blog or website, so you can post comments to get links from ‘related’ websites. Some blogs implement the ‘nofollow’ tag, but as Eli from BlueHatSEO says “I think we’re being lied to about nofollow. Consider this the call out :)” when asked by Aaron Wall, “Have you ever felt a search engineer was lying about something? If so, have you ever called them out on it?”.
Hmmmmm. I hope I haven’t started something here. Um, YOU SHOULD ONLY COMMENT WHEN you can add to the discussion, not JUST to get links.
Secret #2 - Build relationships with other bloggers, get links
Use industry or niche keywords with BLOG ALERTS or GROUPS ALERTS for relationship building in your niche, industry or area of interest. Finding bloggers and colleagues of like mind helps to build your network. You may get added to blogrolls. You may need a new supplier, a new contractor or a new colleague in a position of influence, and each of these people will have a website. Relationships = links.
Secret #3 - Get great content ideas
By using industry or niche keywords with COMPREHENSIVE ALERTS, you will find lots of ideas for writing that next post should writer’s block ever set in. See how others are writing about your topic. Are they using keywords that will get them into the SERPs, and get them traffic? How are they phrasing things? Also, many of the posts you read from the alerts will lead you to even more resources for ideas to write about.
Secret #4 - Research a new topic to write about, find references, & link potentials
So, you know what you want to write about, BUT you don’t have enough meat for your post… You need to know more. You want good solid references when making your post, and you’ll link to them. And they may link back to you, if you’re nice to them.
Secret #5 - Stay on top of industry news, get links
By using industry or niche keywords with COMPREHENSIVE ALERTS, or just NEWS ALERTS, you will learn about new advances in your field or industry, and this will allow you to be one of the first to post about it, garnering you links from others who use you as their reference. As well, the more you stay on top of your industry, the more you’ll be seen as a guru, & the more links you’ll get.
#6 Find videos for your blog/website, provide valuable content
As everyone knows, TV’s will be extinct in 5 years, and you’ll have a neural-link-monitor built right into your frontal cortex. My point is that videos are becoming more and more popular as a widely accepted and preferred way to communicate news and education across the weeb.
Using VIDEO ALERTS you can find great videos about your industry or topic, and increase your content’s value, quicker. Embeddable videos on your blog are a helpful way to promote the person who produced the video, as well as to provide immediate content access to references you make in your post (about the video, or use the video to support your post). Posting other’s videos on your blog is a great way to get them exposure and subscriptions for their ‘channel’, and just may get you a link back from them in appreciation. Also, funny or stupid videos get links from those who relate. Really.
Secret #7 - Instantly know of your top rankings
Want to see if your new SEO efforts are paying off? Did your site get picked up?
Use the keyword phrase you want to rank well for with COMPREHENSIVE SEARCH or just WEB SEARCH and set your ‘How Often’ selection to ‘As-it-happens’. Wait to see if your site shows up in the alerts. Refine your searches by adding your domain name or a secret word you’ve included on your page.
Secret #8 - Know Thyself
Try using your own name, your company’s name or your domain name as a keyword. By doing so, each time you, your company or your website is mentioned in an article or on somebody’s blog or forum, you’ll be instantly aware! Knowing what others are saying about you is invaluable information for public relations and SEO.
WEB ALERTS using your domain name as a keyword will tell you when someone might not be linking to you when they should - or could be (a simple request may solve that). Also, if you’ve just issued a press release, NEWS ALERTS with your company or domain name are a great way to track if your press release is being picked up by news websites.
Secret #9 - Stay on top of competition
Try using the names of your competition to see when they publish new articles or when someone posts about them, or even just to make sure that you’re not getting left behind in the wake of a new development that your competition is aware of.
Secret #10 - Keep informed of industry educational resources
Use the names of training and tutorial websites as a keyword to keep you informed as to when they’re offering new courses that you can take to expand your repertoire of skills and stay competitive.
Play with this tool to get a feel for how it can best suit you, and you’ll quickly see that this is an SEO tool to use regularly - you’ll wonder how you ever did without it.
I’m sure I’m just scratching the surface of what this tool can be used for. What other ideas do you have?
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