How To Monitor Your Online Reputation With Google Alerts
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:
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 minimum — your 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:
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:
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.”
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.
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:
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.
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.”
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:
STEP 10: CREATE THE ALERT!
Now click on that big blue “CREATE ALERT” button annnnnd…you’ve done it!
You should see your alert listed on the Google Alerts homepage:
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:
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?
Thank you SO much!