Social Media Listening: Google Alerts

by Julie on July 27, 2009


We spend a lot of time on this site talking about outreach – using Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, your blog, etc. to send out your message and create a network. That’s the ‘talking’ part of this program.

But it’s also very important to listen, here’s why:

  • If someone says something nice about you or your product, you want to thank them
  • If someone says something not nice about you or your product, you want to address or fix the problem
  • If someone mentions you or your company or your industry in a blog, you want to respond and chime in

But how do you know if someone’s talking about you? Google Alerts offer you an easy way to be notified when someone talks about you. It offers regular updates for as many terms as you’d care to put in the system. For instance, you might want to add your name, your company, specific keywords, the link to your blog or website, etc.

Creating Google Alerts

You’ll need an account on Google if you don’t have one. Once you’re on the inside, go to ‘My Account’ and scroll down until you see your products – you can add and delete this at will and there are many useful applications. It’ll look something like this:


Click on Alerts and type in your search term, type (where you want Google to search), how often you want to search and where you want the information sent (an email address).


And then press, ‘Create Alert’ and you’re good to go. Back on the ‘My Account’ page, you can also click ‘Manage’ next to ‘Alerts’ and you’ll get a screen that lists all of your current search terms and the ability to change the term, type, frequency and email at any time.

As soon as your search term is found by Google, you’ll receive an email with the following information:


Notice that there’s a live link to the mention of the search term and the ability to remove, create or manage alerts. This Google Alert told me that Chris Brogan and Copyblogger’s Brian Clark posted one of my blog articles on Twitter. That’s the kind of thing you’d like to know.

Search Term TIP: If your name is John Doe and you add that name to Google Alerts as is, you will get notified every time the word ‘John’ or ‘Doe’ is mentioned. To only receive updates for ‘John Doe’ – you must put the entire phrase into double quotation marks, like this: “John Doe”

Image credit: Vernhart

Leave a Comment