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Using Google Alert for Your Small Business

written by: Sylvie Colette•edited by: Jean Scheid•updated: 1/25/2011

Google Alert is helpful in keeping track of one’s business developments. Using Google Alert for your small business monitors competitor activities and tracks developments in a particular industry.

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    Understanding Google Alert

    Among the many tools Google offers for small business owners is Google Alert and it ranks fairly high as offering substantial services to the business owner. Once set up, Google delivers daily email notices about the use of certain phrases. Google Alert will ensure one is in touch with all online discussions about the company, latest developments in one’s area of business, competitors’ activities, and a host of other relevant business information. Google Alert Screenshot 

    Screenshot credit courtesy of Google.

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    Setting up Google Alert

    To begin using Google Alert, follow these simple steps:

    • Go to the Google Alert Signup page and note the ‘create a Google Alert’ box on the right-hand side.
    • Enter in the first box the selected search terms such as relevant industry, competitor activities, business clients, products and services, company name and names of people connected to the organization.
    • Enter the types of alerts needed in the second box, such as; News, Web, Blogs, feeds, or any business information like client details and products and services.
    • Enter the frequency of alerts in the third box – from ‘as it happens’ or once a day or once a week.
    • Enter in the fourth and last box, how the alerts are to be delivered whether via RSS feeds, or as email message.
    • There is always the ability to revisit your settings to amend, delete or even create new alerts.
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    Usefulness of Google Alert

    • Regular updating on any topics, events, products or other business developments.
    • Monitoring of one’s professional interests online by tracking the entire web for various topics.
    • Spy on competitors, receive market feedback on small businesses and products and generate critical leads for your business.
    • By using their Web Intelligence technology, you can search for new content across the entire web by monitoring billions of web pages indexed by Google.

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    Why Sign Up for Google Alerts?

    There are many good reasons why business owners should sign up for Google Alerts:

    • By signing up for an alert using one’s personal name, business name, or website URL, one can find out who and what is being discussed about their business and facilitate clarifications.
    • By signing up for topics that relate to one’s business, the user will instantly become aware of news pertaining to one’s area of business interest as well as any other critical information.
    • One can drive traffic to one’s website from people who subscribe to Google Alerts on similar subjects.

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    Advantages of Google Alert

    Google Alert is designed to send users an email message each time a new page for the selected term makes it to the top twenty results on Google's web search. One can set up alerts using their Google account for numerous terms based on desired results. In today’s free market economy, there is hardly any business without competitors. More than likely, a business will have several competitors.

    It's truly great to know what is happening as far as your competitors go. And, it is also equally critical to know what people are saying about your industry in general. By receiving alerts on important key words related to your industry, one can be prepared to meet sudden changes, keeping competitors off-guard.

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    Additional Information

    In this Internet age, small business owners not familiar with tools like Google Alerts will be at a serious disadvantage. Basically, Google Alerts allows the business owner to set up alerts for any word or phrase. Whenever a new web page is indexed with that word or phrase your will receive an alert from Google.

    This is a practical and convenient way to track what is happening to one’s business. Google Alerts is completely free for anyone that has a Google account.