The internet is a marvellous place which has revolutionized the way we work, live, and buy. It’s never been easier to get your message out there and you can log on and have almost any piece of information you could ever want right at your fingertips in no time. However, the ubiquity of the web also means that negative reviews or critical articles about your business can easily spread before you even realize they exist. It’s every small business owner’s worst nightmare: go into work one day and discover that you’ve become a trend on Twitter or a laughingstock on the news.
You don’t have to stay in the dark about your business. It’s good to have a profile on review sites like Yelp and TripAdvisor, but those won’t help if a disgruntled customer writes a rant about you on their personal blog. It’s extraordinarily important to keep up to date about what people are saying, good or bad. To that end, Google Alerts (and other services) can be a lifesaver.
Setting up Google Alerts is very easy. Head over to https://www.google.com/alerts, input your desired subject, and set your options:
How Often: you can choose between being notified as things happen, once per day, or once per week.
Sources: Choose to just receive alerts from News, Blogs, Web, Video, etc—or get everything from all sources (recommended)
Language and Region: Restrict alerts to just one area, or get them from all over the world
How Many: If you just want the highlights, as curated by Google, then choose “Only the best results”. Otherwise, hit “All Results” to see everything that’s being said about you.
So which alerts should you set up? Your business name is obvious, but you may also want alerts for your name, the top key search terms for your business (ie “kayak rental Oregon”) and even some of your competitors so you can keep tabs on the conversation about your industry. You never know what opportunities will turn up!
There are other alert services like Mention, which provide advanced analytics and reporting tools, but Google Alerts is an easy and free way to keep track of what’s being said about you and your business. When you’re always in the loop, you’ll be able to use news and mentions to your advantage and mitigate any issues before they start.