Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Who Is Talking About You? Google Alerts Will Tell You

I just saw on Facebook that a resume writing colleague had been quoted in an article in a major business magazine. She said she was alerted to it when she saw traffic on her Google Analytics report. But Google has an even better tool for letting you know when your name is in the news -- and it's free.


Google Alert is the easy way to monitor what is being said about you online.

You “register” certain keywords and phrases with Google and Google Alerts will send you an email when there are new results with your search words and phrases.

To start, visit the Google Alerts website:

If you have a Google account, sign into it (using the blue “Sign In” button in the upper right-hand corner).



Next, make a list of relevant keywords and/or phrases you’d like to monitor. Suggestions include:

  • Your name (with all the various ways you use it) – for example, my Google Alerts include “Bridget Weide Brooks,” “Bridget (Weide) Brooks,” “Bridget Ann Brooks,” “Bridget Ann Weide,” and “Bridget Brooks, CPRW”
  • Your company name
  • “Resume writer” + (Your City/Town)
  • Your phone number
  • Your email address

If you use quotation marks around a phrase, you’ll get alerts when the search matches that exact phrase. If you don’t use quotation marks, you’ll get alerts that include the words separately.

Note: You may have to tweak the alerts if you’re getting too many or too few results.

Enter each phrase into the Alert box:


Enter one search term at a time. Don’t be concerned about upper or lower case — both will be searched.

If you are not logged into your Google account, you can specify the email address you want to have alert notifications sent to.


Click “Show Options” to further customize your alerts:


  • How Often. You can choose to receive notifications immediately (“as it happens,” once a day, or once a week.
  • Sources. You can choose to receive a notification depending on where your search term shows up. For example, “Automatic” covers any results found. You can also narrow the alert down to notifications when your keyword phrase is found on Google News, blogs, web pages, video, books, and/or discussions.
  • Language. Pretty self-explanatory. English is the default.
  • Region. This refers to country. “Any region” is the default.
  • How many. Your choices are “only the best results” or “all results.” The default is “only the best results,” but you can tweak this later if you’re not getting enough results.

If you are logged into your Google alert, you’ll also be able to choose whether notification emails are sent to your Google email account, or to a RSS feed associated with your email account.


If you’re logged into your Google account, once you select “Create Alert,” you will be taken to a list of the alerts you’ve already created. If you click on the “pencil” icon, you can modify the options related to that alert (i.e., change your settings).


Once you set up your alerts, you’ll receive emails (or RSS Feed notifications) when results are found that match your criteria. At the bottom of the email, Google will also give you links to Delete, Create, and Manage your alerts.


Read the Google Search tips page to learn how to refine your search even further:

You may find that you have to tweak and/or test your alerts for a little while before they work the way that you want them to, but the results are worth it the first time you receive an email notification about something that you didn’t know was out there.

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