We all know and understand the importance of gaining competitive intelligence. Depending on your industry, any number of competitors can "spring up" out of the blue and challenge for online property and top of mind awareness. The question becomes how do we have time to keep on top of all of these competitors? Well one simple method is to make use of Google Alerts.
Google Alerts are email updates of the latest relevant Google results (web, news, etc.) based on your choice of query or topic. With Google Alerts you can monitor a developing news story and
keep current on a competitor or industry leader. Here's how they work:
- You specify a search term
- You select the type of alert that you would like. There are five types of alerts as described by Google
"A News alert is an email aggregate of the latest news articles that contain the search terms of your choice and appear in the top ten results of your Google News search.
A Web alert is an email aggregate of the latest web pages that contain the search terms of your choice and appear in the top twenty results of your Google Web search.
A Blogs alert is an email aggregate of the latest blog posts that contain the search terms of your choice and appear in the top ten results of your Google Blog search.
A Groups alert is an email aggregate of new posts that contain the search terms of your choice and appear in the top fifty results of your Google Groups search.
A Comprehensive alert is an aggregate of the latest results from multiple sources into a single email to provide maximum coverage on the topic of your choice. "
- You determine the frequency of the alert (once-a-day, as-it-happens, or once-a week)
- You provide your email account where the alerts will be sent to
- You select the "Create Alert" button
- You will receive a confirmation email. Simply click the link and way you go
For B2B marketers Google alerts can be handy when researching competitors or key factors within the industry. The trick with Google Alerts is to specify a query that will return relevant results. For example, when you are looking to create an alert for a competitor, instead of typing their name in you might want to type in their URL (or both). Ex. www.competitorname.com. If for some reason you notice that you are not getting relevant alerts, simply refine your query, check to ensure proper spelling is in place and reduce the number of words in the query.
You can add, delete or modify your Google Alerts at any time. To manage your alerts you'll need to create a Google account. Once set up, there are a number of great features that you can use with Google Alerts including subscribing to alerts in multiple languages.
There are a few restrictions with Google Alerts. You can create a maximum of 1000 alerts (why you'd want more I don't know). To use a new address with your alerts you have to delete the existing ones and set them up again with the new email address.
For more on Google Alerts click here.