Gain Insights, Courtesy of Google

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It is sometimes the most simple of things that get me excited. Case in point: Google Alerts. If you are operating an online business, you must have Google Alerts setup – especially in our social media driven environment. Most people are familiar with how Google Alerts work and know how to set them up. If not, visit: http://www.google.com/alerts. You’ll need a Google Account in order to set up the alerts.

Many people I have spoken with tend to use only basic keyword searches for their Google Alerts. This is very helpful for competitive intelligence, watching products trends and performing reputation management; however, there are additional and more powerful ways to use Google Alerts. My favorite method is using an operator like “link:www.mysite.com.” This provides an alert from Google any time another website, blog or social media site (that Google can index) links to the www.mysite.com. Using Google Alerts in this manner provides multiple advantages including:

  • It is an excellent way to gauge who is linking to you and the context around the link.
  • Monitor your social reputation to avoid being taken of-guard by negative publicity.
  • Join the conversation happening about your domain by commenting on blogs that reference you or your website.
  • Discover what anchor text is being used to back link to you and why.
  • It gives you an opportunity to contact the person and create a relationship with them for future marketing purposes.

Just go to Google Alerts: http://www.google.com/alerts and add the following operator into the Search terms box: link:www.yourdomain.com, choose (1) comprehensive, (2) once a day and (3) enter your email address. You will receive an email whenever any new link(s ) are found by Googlebot going to your domain. Although the timing of the alert is dependent on Google indexing the incoming link, it typically happens fast enough to be responsive to blog posts. Bloggers may be amazed how quickly you respond with a friendly comment and contribution to their post linking to your site.

You can use additional Google Alert operators by visiting this blog. As with many Google services, like Google Analytics, if you know how to enhance the service, you can develop some incredible tools.

Two other fantastic tools have been recently launched by Google that also provide keen insights for marketers: (1) Google Ad Planner and (2) Google Insights for Search.

The Ad Planner tool is currently in beta and currently requires registration and a corresponding acceptance by Google to access the beta program. My business associate requested access last week and it took Google roughly five days to grant access to him. In general, ad planner is similar to Compete.com and Quantcast in the data is provides on various sites across the web. It can be a very powerful tool when used in relation to managing and optimizing campaigns within Google’s content network. By thew way, if you haven’t noticed, Google continues to make some excellent headway into a more sophisticated content network offering with the integration of “placements” into the content network dashboard. Note: I am not completely sold on the accuracy of the traffic data presented in Ad Planner. For some of my web properties, Ad Planner showed roughly 2 to 3 times less visits than reported in Google Analytics. But this is not uncommon for third party metrics and as with data – it is more important to follow the trends than the absolutes.

Google’s Insights for Search tool is an expanded version of Google Trends and Google Trends for Websites.  No registration is required.

Google is doing an excellent job opening up their data warehouses for marketing purposes. It’s a bit daunting to imagine the amount of data Google is storing but at least we are given access (to some degree) to use the data for our own commercial benefit.

About the Author

Kevin Gold is Director of Internet Marketing at iNET Interactive, a social media company operating prominent online communities for technology professionals and technology enthusiasts. Kevin is a frequent contributing author to multiple publications including Search Marketing Standard, Practical eCommerce, DIRECT, Entrepreneur.com, ConversionChronicles.com, About.com, and On Target (Yahoo! Search Marketing newsletter).

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2 Comments

  1. Google alerts has continued to be a very effective tool for online reputation management and brand management. Thanks for this article!

  2. Google Alerts should be used by any online company that is serious about competitive and reputation monitoring/analysis. I use GA for close to hundred keywords and operators, but it never gets tiring watching out for stuff in near real time.