4 Ways to Use Google Alerts to Your Advantage

I’m a huge fan of Google Alerts. And, apparently, I’m not the only one.

For those of you who are not familiar with Google Alerts, it’s a handy-dandy system that Google offers, through which you can receive email notifications whenever a particular search term is used on a website. So, for example, every time someone writes about “author websites,” I am notified, and provided a link to read the article.

There are tons of blog entries out there explaining all the reasons to sign up for Google Alerts. Here are four that I think are especially helpful to authors.

1. Ideas for blog entries. How do you think I come up with all my ideas on what to blog about? Sure, some of them are from work with clients and some are from news in the industry. But a large percentage of them are from Google Alerts. I receive those emails and I get to read all about what other people are saying regarding author websites. I may agree with what I read, or I may disagree with what I read. Either way, it’s fodder for my blog entries. The same can be true for authors. Sign up for Google Alerts and be notified whenever someone mentions the subject matter of your book, Voila! You’ll now have something to blog about.

2. Staying on top of conversations about you. Chances are that, at some point, another website is going to reference you, your website, or your book. And when that happens, you want to know! You can then go and read what’s being said about you, and respond. When I mention an author in a blog entry, that author often posts a comment in response, thanking me for my kind words. If I happened to say something negative — which rarely happens — the author who signed up for Google Alerts would have the opportunity to rebut my claim. Either way, by signing up for Google Alerts, you will be aware of what’s being said about you and when.

3. Following your competition. What are other authors in your genre doing to promote their books? Sign up for Google Alerts and you can stay on top of their latest marketing efforts, website updates, etc… See what’s working for them and copy it!

4. Taking advantage of PR opportunities. According to Sherrie Wilkolaski of Infinity Publishing (a partner company of Smart Author Sites), “Using Google Alerts to get you better synced up with your local media and writers communities is a wonderful way to put yourself ‘in the know’ and keep you out in front of the completion and giving you a greater chance to be called on as the local author expert.” In addition, Sherrie adds, “It is typical to find other authors, bloggers and media personalities posting via their own sites and social media networks for authors to interview for future articles, interviews, etc.  It’s usually first come, first served so if you are positioning yourself as an expert in your field or genre, set-up Google Alerts to notify you. ”

Signing up for Google Alerts is quick and easy. Simply go to http://www.google.com/alerts and specify the keywords you’re targeting, how often you want to be updated, and the email address you want the updates to go to. Voila!

And, as always, if you’re looking to discuss developing or upgrading your author website, contact us today for a free consultation!