Do you have any idea what is being said about you online?
I was shocked the first time I Googled myself to discover results from a fun run I’d done years before the Internet even existed came up as a front page result for my name! It wasn’t so much that the results were bad (well they were passable) but that the club had gone to the effort of putting them online years after the fact which shocked me.
And yet this is happening more and more every day. Libraries are digitising all their old records, newspapers are putting back issues online as searchable digital archives and local running clubs are scanning old newsletters to add them to their local website.
In all of that information you and your business are probably going to be mentioned whether you know about it or not.
But how do you keep informed on these mentions? After all, who’s got the time to keep searching the web for mentions about themselves and their business?
How can you stay alert to what is being said about you online?
Well, there’s one company who not only has the time, but also the expertise to do just that – yep our old friend Google has come to the party once again with a product called Google Alerts.
- To use this service you will need to be logged into your Google Account and then go to https://www.google.com/alerts.
- From here, type your business name into the search box. It doesn’t have to be case sensitive, but if you want to search for a particular phrase you do need to put it within quotation marks – for example “That online stuff”.
- Then click on Show Options to set up how and how often you’d like to receive an alert. The default options for that email are shown below. To change any of them, simply click on the arrow next to each field:
- Once happy with the settings click on Create Alert to save the changes. You have now set up an automatic search query which will diligently keep any eye out for any time anyone mentions your search term online.
- You can add as many alerts as you like – for your own name, products or services that you sell, even your competitors names – and get notified every time the term comes online.
- To change an alert or add a new one at any time in the future, simply come back to the Alerts page (www.google.com/alerts) and make your changes.
So what to do with that information once you get it? Well, that’s entirely up to you. I tend to use my Google Alerts for:
- engaging with people who mention me and/or my business online whether that’s a positive or negative mention.
- monitoring the ways people use certain Google products to improve my knowledge of those products and then sharing that knowledge here with you.
- monitoring changes Google makes in Google products so I can stay on top of product changes.
Your use will vary but I highly recommend at least engaging with people who’ve taken the time to mention you/your business online. Just remember whilst knowledge is useful, knowledge without action is useless.
Want more help with anything I’ve talked about today? Get in touch and we can have a chat about how together we can make technology work for you and your business.