How & Why to Use Google Alerts


Probably the most underrated tool among business professionals, Google Alerts is a fantastic, free tool that lets you stay ahead of the game in regard to trends and the latest research within your industry.

It can also help you monitor who is talking about your company across the web. This allows you to quickly engage customers and reviewers as well as facing up to any criticism quickly.

You can set up an alert about anything.

So whether you want to be emailed when your favourite shop has a coupon code available or your dream job is available- Google Alerts can be useful to the individual too.


Effectively, it’s like having a PA who is overly efficient at keeping you updated. Although, if not managed properly this PA can prove an annoyance with the constant updates.

Luckily, you can set the frequency at which the updates reach you.

So if you’re not keen on receiving alerts ‘As it happens’ then you can choose between getting updates ‘At most once a day’ or ‘At most once a week.’

You can also regulate the frequency by specifying the quality of the results you want to receive. The two choices here are ‘Only the best results’ or ‘All results.’

To further refine your results you can select to only receive updates from a specific region, in certain languages and even get the option to select the source of each update. I.e. Blogs, News, Web etc.

Whichever options you do choose you will find Google Alerts an incredibly useful resource.

Obviously, there are pros and cons to refining your search such as the possibility you may miss something if you refine the parameters of the search too much.

But the sheer volume of relevant posts often means that you will want to refine your terms.

You can also help target the things you are specifically interested in by including more keywords in the search bar.

For instance of these two searches: ‘social media’ and ‘Study or research and social media’ the latter is the most fruitful in regard to delivering relevant, hot off the press results.

Often, the results that the ‘social media’ alert provides are articles that have been written based on the results I have already seen in the ‘Study or research and social media’ alert update.

So it’s worth playing around with key terms and thinking a little bit more in-depth about what exactly it is you’re hoping to derive from the results.

Here are a few tips for creating relevant results:

  • Stay specific words such as study and research will help deliver just that
  • Use quotes around multiple words for results which include both together: “Social Media”
  • Use a minus (-) sign in front of words you want to be left out
  • Use site: to limit your search to specific sites e.g.
  • Use “and” in-between search terms to specify that results must include both “research and social media”
  • Use or between words to specify that results can contain either word “Study or research”