How can Google 'Alerts' help my SMB business?

Tuesday, December 26, 2006
Posted by Brawlin Melgar

by John Beagle

Google Alerts can inform you about your company, your competition and your industry. Essentially Google Alerts is a great intelligence gathering' tool.

Google Alerts are emails with new Google results for your search terms. Google currently offers alerts with results from News, Web, Blogs, and Groups. Here is a summary of each Google Alert:

Google News -Top 10 results of your Google News search articles that contain your search terms.Measure the effectiveness of or other PR web based news service. Even get news stories for future promotional efforts.
Google Web - Top 20 results from keyword web search. Good way to monitor your company web efforts as well as your competitions.
Google Blogs - Top 10 blog posts containing your key words. Find out what the 'grass roots' are saying about your company, product or competition. Measure your company blog efforts.
Google Groups - Top 50 Google Groups search. If you are involved in Google groups, you need your keywords.

Comprehensive - Best solution, Comprehensive includes all Google alerts in one.

How do I implement Google Alerts?

1. Create list of key words.
2. Choose email address for alerts.
3. Monitor alerts daily.

Key Word Advice
I have Google Alerts on company key person names, company businesses names including competition, industry terminology.

Here is an example:

You are in the restaurant business. You own Johnny's Chop Shop, a steak and chop restaurant

featuring the 27 oz Man Eater Steak. Your competition is Joey's Black Angus Barn. You are concerned that beer and beef prices are going to go up and you want to be prepared for any food or beverage cost increase.You want to keep track of trends in restaurants and entertainment.

Here are some search terms for Google Alerts, that I would use if I owned Johnny's Chop Shop:
"Johnny's Chop Shop"
"27 oz Man Eater Steak"
"Joey's Black Angus Barn"
"restaurant industry"
"bar industry"

With these and other key words, Johnny can keep an eye on what bloggers say about his restaurant, keep up to date on restaurant industry news, track website results and get ideas for blog or website.

Save Time
Used properly, Google Alerts is the most efficient way to track your business intelligence. The alternative is to search each term every day for new updates.  Spend less time researching and more time on making important and informed business decisions.