I was asked what Google Alerts, also referred to as Google News Alerts, are and how to set them up and use them.

First, let me explain what Google Alerts is.

Google Alerts is a free service offered by Google whereby you will be sent a notification email whenever Google discovers a new or updated webpage that contains certain keywords (search terms) you’ve specified.

How does this compare with a normal Google search? When you do a normal Google search Google will return you the results from existing web material that contains your keywords. With Google Alerts you are telling Google to notify you whenever it finds new material on the Internet that contains your search terms (keywords).

Here are what Google Alerts useful for.

  • You can set up Google Alerts to find out who is talking about you on the Internet, you do this by creating a Google alert with your name as search terms.
  • Google Alerts are good to see who is talking about the topic of your interest. Create some alerts with your topic of interest as search terms.
  • For website owners, Google Alerts are useful to find out who is linking to your website. Create some alerts with the URL of your website as search terms.

Here is how you can set up some Google Alerts:

If you already have a Gmail account you are ready to use Google Alerts, if you don’t have a Gmail account you’ll have to sign up for one.

First, log in to your Gmail account, then go to http://www.google.com/alerts

Type in your keywords in the Search Terms text box with your keywords between inverted commas “” and create your first Google alert, voila! Then wait to receive your first alert.

Note, you can have as many alerts as you want.

Action Steps

  1. Create your first Google Alert with your Name as search terms.
  2. Create your second Google Alert with your website’s URL as search terms.

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