Saturday, July 15, 2006

Using Google Alerts to Help Your Business

Adam McFarland over at iPrioritize was kind enough to let me post one of his articles here on using News Alerts to help your business.

News alerts can be valuable if you are trying to stay abreast of your Network Marketing business.

Hope you find the information helpful:

Using Google Alerts to Help Your Business
By Adam McFarland of (c) 2006

At times it seems that Google releases more new products and
services than we can keep track of. From Google Calendar and
Google Video, to Google Base, Google Finance, and Google Trends,
it can be overwhelming just to remember what each one does. One
of the oft overlooked hidden gems in Google's enormous offering
is Google Alerts. Within minutes, you can be signed up for
email alerts that can give you and your business a leg up on
the competition. Alerts can be used to spy on competitors, keep
track of what people are saying about your business, or follow
an important news story.

How Does It Work

Google Alerts sends you an email each time a new page for your
chosen term makes it in the top twenty results on Google's web
search. You can also have the alert check Google News and/or
Google Groups. To sign up for a Google Alert, all that you need
to do is visit the Google Alerts homepage
(, enter the search term, type of
alert (search Google News, Google Groups, or the web), frequency
of emails (daily, as it happens, or weekly), and your email
address. You can set up alerts for as many terms as you like
using a Google Account. So why would you want an unlimited
amount of alerts? Because as a business owner, you have a lot
to keep track of and very limited time to do it.

Spy on Your Competitors

Every business has a competitor. More likely, you have several
direct competitors and several more indirect competitors. While
regularly checking out their websites is an important part of
the process, it doesn't provide a whole picture. A competitor's
website is very much crafted to the image that they want to
portray to their customers. This is great if you want to know
what their latest sale is or how much their new product costs,
but it isn't likely to feature a negative review in last
Sunday's newspaper.

That's where Google Alerts comes in. By simply setting up a
News, Groups, and search alert for each of your competitors, you
will know what other people are saying about your competition –
both the media and consumers, both good and bad.

Keep Up To Date on Your Industry

Equally as important as what people are saying about your
competition is what people are saying about your industry in
general. If there's a negative PR swing against violent video
games, and you just happen to run a video game store, you will
probably be affected. By receiving alerts on important key
words related to your industry, you can be on top of any sudden
changes and react accordingly. By the time your competition
realizes what's happening they will be scrambling to catch up
to you.

Track Yourself and Your Business

It goes without saying, if it's important to know what people
are saying about your competitors and about your industry, it
would stand to reason that it's important to know what people
are saying about you. I have Google Alerts on both my name and
my business name. I know that they go hand in hand - if one
is getting slandered you better bet it will hurt the other. By
receiving alerts, you can be on top of anything negative
relating to you or your business, and hopefully nip any problem
in the bud before it grows too large. On the flip side, there's
nothing better than receiving an alert where someone praises
your business. Those are the types of things that you want to
make sure are on the PR page of your business website.

Get News Stories for Your Site or Blog

I own a site where I do weekly news updates about what's going
on in the industry. Some weeks, there are tons of news items to
choose from, other weeks it's hard to find anything. In
addition to the regular industry news sites that I check to get
information, I have Google Alerts set up for each of the key
terms. You'd be surprised how frequently a unique story from a
local newspaper pops up in Google News. Many times these
stories haven't been seen by my competitors and I am able to
"break" the news to the online community. This works well for
blogs too – if you have a daily blog about being an
entrepreneur, having an alert for the word "entrepreneur" can
fetch you several quality stories each day to help inspire fresh

In this increasingly competitive business world, you need each
and every leg up on your competition that you can get. Used
properly, Google Alerts can be an extremely efficient way to
track what's going on across the web. The alternative would be
to search each term every day for new updates. Who has time for
that? Spending less time researching enables you to spend more
time on the things important to your business.
Adam McFarland owns (iPrioritize ) – simple
to-do lists that can be edited at any time from any place in the
world. Email, print, check from your mobile phone, subscribe via
RSS, and share with others.

No comments: