Since we put so much of ourselves out there on the internet, it is important to manage our online presence carefully. I recommend that my clients use Google Alerts to keep updated on where their names and businesses are coming up online. Last summer, I had the unfortunate experience of having someone make serious accusations about how I conducted myself and my business. Unfortunately, they took to the webiverse to do so. The only reason I knew this was happening was because I had used Google Alerts to notify me anytime someone mentioned my company name. Since Second Self was mentioned in the blog post this person wrote, it popped up in my daily Google Alert. I was able to respond to this public flogging in a relatively quick manner. I hate to imagine what might have happened if I hadn't had Google Alerts looking out for me!
Google Alert works on a very simple premise: alerting you anytime something is added online with the words you decide to monitor. All you need to do is go to www.google.com/alerts, sign in to your Google account (if you don't have a Google email address, you can create an account with your regular email address quickly and easily) and follow these easy steps:
- Type in what search terms you want to be alerted about (personal name, business name, news item, etc).
- Choose what sections of Google you want searched for these terms (i.e. News, Blogs, Video, Discussion or Everything...I recommend everything).
- Decide how often you want to be alerted (once a week, once a day or as it happens).
- Choose how many results you want to have sent to you ("up to 20" or "up to 50").
- Enter the email address you want these alerts sent to.
You'll start receiving your Google Alerts almost right away. It is important to remember that the Google Alert is set up to search for anything online that contains those words in any part of the article, blog post, news item, video, etc. For instance, with "Second Self" as one of the search terms I use, I will receive an email with links to anything that contains the words "second" and "self", whether they are mentioned together or separately. That means I can receive links to things that have absolutely nothing to do with my business at all. But, it's easy to determine pretty quickly if I should ignore it or click on it. And I'd rather be safe than sorry.
I highly recommend setting the Google Alert to either be sent as it happens if you're monitoring something like your business name or personal name and once a day or once a week if you're wanting to keep up on a news item or other topic. By using the "as it happens setting", you will be able to see how quickly your blog posts are indexed by Google. There are several reasons to use Google Alerts. What a great tool to keep track of your online presence!