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How To Monitor Your Online Reputation With Google Alerts

  |   Business Tips, PR, Reputation   |   23 Comments

How to monitor your online reputation with Google Alerts. A step-by-step guide to setting up alerts so you can protect your business, blog, or personal brand. | Olyvia.co

 

Tell me truthfully: do you ever think about monitoring your online reputation?

 

I know a lot of you probably hear me say that and think that sort of thing is for Fortune 500 companies, Angelina Jolie, and Presidential hopefuls.

 

And yes, you would be right…

 

But I wouldn’t be doing my job if I didn’t tell you that you’re also dead wrong.

 

That’s because monitoring your reputation on the interwebs is not just for the already powerful, rich, and famous.

 

Please believe me when I tell you that if A) you exist in this world and B) hope to have any sort of successful public presence that brings in an income or other opportunities (I’m talking to you entrepreneurs, business owners, freelancers, bloggers, actors, artists, authors, models, executives, and those who have a career of any kind), you need to know what’s being said about you on the internet.

 

What I’m going to share with you today is an easy, free way to start doing that using Google’s alerts capability.

 

It’s not a full-fledged, comprehensive option for catching everything that’s said online, but it will get you started. I think you’ll find it helpful, and (good news!) it’s not going to require any real maintenance from you once you set it up.

 

(Though I would go back and tweak them every so often as you or your brand develops.)

 

Here’s my step-by-step beginner’s guide to monitoring your online reputation with Google Alerts:

 

 

STEP 1: GO TO WWW.GOOGLE.COM/ALERTS

 

Be sure to sign into the Google account that has the email address you want to use to receive your alerts.

 

Then go to www.google.com/alerts.

 

You will land on your personal Google Alerts homepage:

 

Google Alerts homepage

 

 

STEP 2: TYPE IN THE KEYWORD(S) YOU WANT TO MONITOR

 

Look for the white box at the top of the page that says, “Create an alert about…” That’s where you’re going to begin typing your first search term!

 

This keyword (or phrase) is the term you want to be alerted about when Google finds it somewhere on a blog, in a news article, on a public forum, and so on.

 

It’s super important that you create alerts for — at minimumyour name, business name, email address(es), and domain name(s).

 

(If you’re a bit lost on keywords to include, don’t worry. I’ll go over more ideas for your alerts in Step 11.)

 

For my first alert, I’m entering my first and last name:

 

How to begin creating your first Google Alert

 

 

STEP 3: CLICK ‘SHOW OPTIONS’

 

Next, you may want to customize your alert. (I often do.)

 

To do this, click the “Show options” text to the right of the blue Create Alert button.

 

You’ll see a list of things that will help you create a better alert:

 

Options for your Google Alert

 

 

STEP 4: CHOOSE HOW OFTEN YOU WANT TO RECEIVE YOUR ALERT

 

The first option lets you decide how often you want to get an email from Google telling you they’ve found something matching your keyword(s).

 

You can choose to get them as they happen, once a day, or once a week.

 

Depending on the the importance of your particular search term, you may want to choose “As-it-happens” so you can jump right on top of something potentially destructive to your reputation.

 

For my purposes, I’m choosing “At most once a day.”

 

Frequency of your Google Alert

 

 

STEP 5: CHOOSE WHICH SOURCES YOU WANT GOOGLE TO MONITOR

 

Google can track News, Blogs, the general Web, Video, Books, and Discussions (like forums or comments) for your alert term(s).

 

If you choose the default “Automatic” option, they’ll choose the best results from all of the sources.

 

I usually do this, but sometimes I’ve found that they miss things. (Pesky Google. 😉 )

 

So I’ll be checking all of the sources individually to see if it makes a difference.

 

Sources for your Google Alert

 

 

STEP 6: IN WHAT LANGUAGE DO YOU WANT TO RECEIVE YOUR ALERTS?

 

You’ll get alerts for search results in the language you select, so now is the time to decide what you like best.

 

I’m going to stick with the default of English:

 

Language of Google Alert

 

 

STEP 7: CHOOSE WHAT REGION GOOGLE MONITORS FOR YOUR ALERT

 

Google can monitor only one country for your keyword(s), or they can monitor multiple/all regions.

 

I typically leave it at “Any Region.” However, if you’re strictly a local-only business, you can choose the area that is most relevant to you.

 

Region of your Google Alert

 

 

STEP 8: PICK THE AMOUNT AND QUALITY OF RESULTS YOU’LL RECEIVE

 

In an effort to reduce the frequency and amount of results you may receive in your inbox, Google has a “Only the best results” option that tries to decide the most relevant (aka: highest quality) results for your search terms.

 

While computers are pretty smart, for certain search terms I’d rather sift through them myself than let Google decide what I want to see. 🙂

 

So for this keyword I’m going to choose “All results.”

 

How many results for your Google Alert

 

 

STEP 9: CHOOSE WHERE YOUR ALERTS WILL BE DELIVERED

 

Google can send your results to your email or an RSS feed.

 

I like receiving emails, so I’ll choose the email associated with my Google account:

 

Delivery of your Google Alert

 

 

STEP 10: CREATE THE ALERT!

 

Now click on that big blue “CREATE ALERT” button annnnndyou’ve done it!

 

You should see your alert listed on the Google Alerts homepage:

 

Your first Google Alert is finished

 

You can edit the alert by clicking on the gray pencil, and you can delete the alert entirely by clicking on the gray trash can.

 

And see my picture with the email address next to it? You should have one, too. If you just click on the “+” icon, it will add that email address as an alert also.

 

(Do that now!)

 

 

STEP 11: FINISH ADDING THE KEYWORDS YOU WANT TO TRACK

 

Google is generous and lets you track up to 1000 alerts, so you have almost endless options for monitoring what’s being said about you online. Definitely take advantage of it!

 

In addition to the must-haves I described above, you’ll also want to consider tracking:

 

1. Common misspellings of your name and/or your business name

2. Your business name and a highly relevant keyword describing your business

3. Exact phrases pertaining to you or your business (taglines, your unique one-line bio, etc.)

4. Social media handles (with the @ if applicable)

5. The names of your products, services, courses, and e-books

6. Your business address and/or phone number

7. Former names (maiden, married, etc.)

8. Your business name and a complaint term or phrase

9. …And so on.

 

Here’s the start of my Google Alerts list:

 

 

Create multiple Google Alerts

 

 

EXTRA TIPS FOR USING GOOGLE ALERTS:

 

1. Use quotations around a group of words if you are always looking for them to appear together.

 

For example: “Macbook Pro” or “Veuve Clicquot”

 

2. Use the site:operator formula to restrict your search to certain websites.

 

For example: Spanx site:forbes.com

 

3. Use a minus sign (-) in front of words that you want to exclude.

 

For example: Olivia -Palermo

 

Now, your mission? Go set up your Google Alerts right now — or, if it’s been awhile since you did it, go do a quick review your keywords.

 

(I am willing to bet that you’ll find at least one or two you’ll want to change, others you can add, and some you’ll want to delete altogether.)

 

And, if you found this guide to setting up Google Alerts helpful, would you share it with people who you think would love it, too?

 

Click to Tweet: Do you know what others are saying about you online? Learn how to monitor your online reputation with Google Alerts!

 

Thank you SO much!
Erika Madden

(Chief Olyvia)

 

 
The free 21 day ecourse that creates pro online impressions for business owners!
 
 

  • Thanks for this tutorial. I had this set up for me, but when I tell other people to do it, they don’t understand, so I will link to here.
    Because of an alert like this, I found out early 2014 that someone was selling my “free” templates. It was another pro photog. I contacted them thinking that something was fishy because they were big enough that they probably would not do that. Come to find out, that photog had hired a designer for the product project, and the designer had taken all my Lightroom templates and slightly renamed them. Wow. He took the product down immediately. THIS ALERT thing is important!

    • Thank you for passing it on to others, Jill. Your experience is EXACTLY why it is so important to monitor what’s being said and done online as it pertains you and your brand. Thank you for sharing that story, as hopefully others will read it and learn from it (before it happens to them).

      It’s sad what others will do to your stuff on the internet, and, unfortunately, no one is immune. Even very small blogs can be ripped off or slandered online.

      I appreciate your comment. 🙂

  • Maritza Diaz

    I have definitely done this for past clients in English and Spanish markets. It’s a free and useful tool I think many people forget to do.

  • Done! Thanks so much! I had one alert and it was for my old blog name. All better now! 🙂

  • I had alerts set up for my name (and variations) but had never thought of using it for popular blog post titles or product names! Thank you!

    • You are so welcome, Naomi! And thank you for sharing the post, too. As always, you are an incredible supporter and I’m grateful for you.

  • Jean

    Glad to see this as I had set mine up a while back and this was a good reminder to review and tweak. In the past the RSS options would go straight to Google Reader, but since they’ve done away with that product, I’m not sure I’m getting those alerts…hmm…will need to look into that to see if I get them into Feedly. Thanks again!

  • Great post! I think Google Alerts are invaluable. I’ve been alerted to some dodgy website use because of ones I have set up.

  • Julie Harris

    Another incredibly awesome post! Seriously through, Google is like the digital superhero of the modern business owner, it you know how to take advantage of all its super powers of course. And thankfully you do, and you always, so lovingly, share your brilliance with us!

    I really loved your point about making sure to also look for mis-spellings of your name, especially if you have a somewhat unique business name or spelling of your name. Just because it doesn’t come up the first time, doesn’t mean there’s not a bunch of other results, relating back to you, but are just slightly off in spelling or punctuation.

    It’s so important to stay on top of our reputations, online and offline. As professionals, it’s part of our job responsibility to monitor the responses we get from our brand’s experience. It’s one of the best ways to know what works from what doesn’t work. Thank you for the step by step guide to setting up our own search. You are too amazing!

  • Romanescu Laura Sinziana

    Hello Erika! Thank you for this post, is really helpfull for me…also the 21 Day Detox…I have been blogging for half year on a wordpress.com platform and a just purchased my own domain just today…after spending lot of time reading great stuff redarding profesional blogging, starting with your blog and free e-book!
    Thank you for your help…I can wait to make all 21 Day Detox!
    Regards,
    Sinziana Romanescu

  • SO I’m so glad I did this, I entered my social media handle and saw that I had been mentioned as a winner somewhere a few weeks ago and completely missed it! I’m excited to use the alerts for more uses than just that, but always a plus!

  • Done! This was very helpful, thanks for the easy tutorial about setting google alerts up 🙂

    Monica | monica-galvan.com

  • Hazel Asoy

    Thanks for this 21- day detox Olyvia! 🙂

  • (Just finished Day 1 of #detoxmybrand – woo hoo!) This was super helpful Olyvia! I’d done this a while ago (for a different blog) and you’re right – there was a lot that I had to refresh and add to. Your screenshot of your own alerts was super helpful in guiding me on what types of things to include. Looking forward to the rest of the detox series!

    • It’s amazing how quickly things can change w/ our online “stuff,” isn’t it? I know that I need to update mine for all my new workbooks, the Detox course, etc! (Hmm, maybe it’s time for me to do detox again myself? …I think so!)

  • Andrea Robinson

    Great explanation. I’ve found my Yahoo google alerts are much more efficient, google alerts on gmail really misses a lot. Anyways, the setting button, which delivery option is best or could we not choose either and still get alerts as they come in?

    • I didn’t have any set, so mine came in as they happened! So it’s up to you; if you are getting a lot of alerts, the digest option may be best. 🙂

  • Thank you very much! This is fun, I’m loving the 21 day detox and it brought me here 😀