Surveillance of the Web with Google Alerts
A great way to extend your ability to listen and keep tabs on the market is with the use of Google Alerts. With this free service, Google will send you e-mail updates whenever new content gets added to the web that you are interested in. Just enter in the keywords that relate to your industry, and you will receive the relevant alerts.
This is useful for many reasons. Enter a competitor name to track news updates, blog posts, and website additions. You can do the same for your own company name to see what people are saying about your brand. Enter words related to products or services you sell so that you can not only track what the industry is doing, but discover new competitors or potential partners that you haven’t been aware of. Or use the alerts to track job and business opportunities; they are great for getting the heads up on sales leads. You can even use them to track what is being said about people, like company executives.
The one problem with using the Google Alerts system by itself is that if you are tracking many different words and are receiving a large amount of alerts, it becomes a logistical nightmare to try and keep tabs on all of them. Lucky for us, there is a wonderful free service provided by AlertRank that provides for the classification, ranking, and sorting of all of your Google Alerts. This makes it possible to use Google Alerts in an efficient and effective manner; if you haven’t checked it out yet, head over and sign up for a free account. I would also recommend reading through the 5 part series on how to use the system so you can take advantage of all the advanced features.