Using Google Alerts for Intelligence Gathering

Google Alert is an underrated and often overlooked free keyword tracking tool from the search giant Google. It was first released in February of 2003 with the name 'News Alerts'. It can be found at;
Once a 'Google Alert' is setup for a particular query (keyword or phrase), Google will constantly email you new search results for that keyword or phrase. You can select the frequency at which you want to receive the keyword tracking emails. However, it is best to setup Google Alerts frequency to 24 hour intervals, unless you are working on a mission critical project that requires real-time reporting.

Why Should You Use Search Alerts?

  1. Follow A News Story - Keep track of a developing news story.
  2. Competitor Intelligence - Stealth track their brand mentions or activities.
  3. Understand an Industry - Know the latest improvements or advancements.
  4. Reputation Management - Monitor brand citations and get alerts for brand mentions.
  5. Get Latest on Celebrity and Sports - Follow your favorite celebrities of sports teams.
  6. Cheaper Shopping Opportunities - Interesting eh? Read on to find out.

You can use the information provided by Google Alerts in a variety of ways - building backlinks, find like-minded people in your industry, make new contacts and establish relationships, monitor your niche or stealth track your competitors to drive traffic to your website/blog. The possibilities are endless.

So, let's learn how to set up a Google Alerts Campaign from scratch. If you don't already have a Google Account - Please, for the love of God, get a Google Account.  

Setup Your First Alert

You obviously need to go to Official Website and input a keyword or query into the search field. Google will show you some of the recent 'news related' results for the same.

Once you hit the enter key, Google will display the recent updates related to your keyword.

Then you may punch your email into the field and hit the Create Alert Button.

Google Alerts gives you a range of options to tweak or laser target the updates you want to receive. For example, if you are looking for alerts regarding "Niagara Falls Deals" that are strictly based to United States, then you can choose so. Click on the Pencil Icon next to your email on the next page and you will see a list of tweaks like the image below.

Tweak these settings to your heart's content and Voila! Your Google Alert is setup. This process hardly takes like 3-5 seconds, and you should make it a part of your work routine. Hop into your email account and redirect all emails from Google Alerts into a separate folder. You can name it Alerts, or your Keyword or whatever you like. This will prevent your Inbox from becoming a spam haven. From now, get the latest scoop from around the Internet, delivered to your Inbox and about the things that matter to you.

Using Google Alerts for Online Reputation Management

Setup Google Alerts for “Your Brand Name” for the following keywords

  • 'Your Brand Name.'
  • 'Yourbrandname.'
  • 'Yourname.'
  • 'Your name.'

So whenever someone mentions your name or your brand name on the Internet, you will be alerted in real time, and you can jump directly into a conversation and track what people are saying about your brand.

Using Google Alerts for Stealth Competitor Intelligence

Just like you can monitor what is being said about your brand, you can do the same about your competitors. You can even set Alerts for the “Keywords” that are most relevant to your industry to find out which brand is getting mentioned along with the keyword mentions on the Internet.  

Setup Alerts for long tail queries or questions that your customers might be asking. Though it won’t be every day that you receive updates about the same, but when they do, you can be the first person to voice your expert opinion thereby establishing a deep-rooted brand authority. You can also generate limitless traffic to your website by setting up Alerts for a wide variety of questions in your niche that you may have the answers to.  

Using Google Alerts for Shopping Spree

Say you are looking to buy a second-hand car or maybe a cheap laptop in Ontario. You can setup alerts for:

  • "Cheap Laptop Ontario"
  • "Buy Cheap Laptop"
  • "Year Old Volkswagen Ontario (Replace it with the relevant brand you are looking for)"

Be the first person to react to best deals on the Internet with Google Alerts.

How to Keep Yourself Update with Google Alerts

Let’s face it - No matter the pressure in our lives, we must have the presence of mind to stay updated with all the Global News, Local News, National News or even Industry News. But, while all these things are important, what is most important is being up-to-date about the latest changes in our industry.

If you want to excel in your Industry, you need to be ready to talk about anything even minutely related to it and all the news and trends in your niche should be at the back of your fingers. You never know when the situation might arise, and you would find yourself helpless, or being unable to take part in a discussion, simply because of the lack of knowledge could make or break the situation for a prospective deal or career.

Ideally it would be best to setup Google Alerts for 5-6 Keywords (the ones that matter most to your business). Schedule these updates to be triggered once every 24 hours and make it a point to read or skim through the interesting ones during your morning coffee or any other time that you schedule for it.

Note: Where most beginners go wrong in this step is, they setup Google Alerts for a ton of keywords even general ones. This triggers a tsunami in their mailbox, and things get too complicated to follow because there are too many updates. Just setup a few, but meaningful alerts for keywords that you expect to be active in your Industry - this should do the trick.

Alternatives to Google Alerts

There are many alternatives to Google Alerts, but I have used most of these services and Yes! Some of these are far better than Google Alerts but are paid alternatives.

  • Mention (
  • TalkWalkerAlerts (
  • Buzzsumo (
  • Giga Alerts (