Have You Tried Google Alerts?

Google Alerts webpageTrying to keep track of the latest information on a topic you’re interested in can be a daunting task. There are so many blogs to visit and posts to scan just to find something that might be relevant. The more niche your interest, the more time this can take, and the more frustrating it can be to sift through information to find what you’re looking for.

What if that information came to you?

Sure, sure, you could subscribe to specific blogs and have those delivered to your inbox. But you miss the random story that a major news source does. Or new blogs that pop up. Or that one story from a blog that focuses mostly on other things. Or you get inundated with info from your favorite source with info but much of it isn’t relevant.

Enter Google Alerts.

Google Alerts allow you to define the topic you’re interested in and get links to relevant, fresh information whatever the source delivered to your inbox. You can control whether you want immediate messages, daily messages, or weekly messages. You can also be as specific as you need to be on what will trigger a message. For instance, if you want alerts for the word “buffalo” you’ll wind up getting notifications about American Bison as well as Buffalo (New York), the Buffalo Sabres, Buffalo wings, and Buffalo Bill, among others. If you’d like to narrow that down to simply the large animal, you could set your alert to trigger on both the words “buffalo” and “bison” but then also add a list of terms you’d like to exclude by using a minus sign in front, such as “-buffalo wings,” “-Buffalo Bill,” etc. You can expect to refine your alerts over time to get them focused in on exactly what you’re interested in.

In addition to tracking topics, Google Alerts are often used to track companies, products, sports teams, entertainment, or even jobs that people are interested in. As you sign up to create Alerts, Google will present a list of suggestions of things it thinks you might be interested in. And it’s often quite accurate because, hey, it’s Google. It also suggests an Alert about you – you know, so you kind find out when and where you’re being mentioned on the web. It’s like stalking yourself!

You can have as many or as few Alerts as you’d like. Try starting with one or two until you determine how much traffic that will bring your way. You don’t want to overrun your inbox! Some topics may require significant “tuning” while others could be just right straight out of the box. It’s a personal choice that you can control.

Often Google is thought of as a way to go out and roam the web for information. Google Alerts turns that around and brings the web’s information to you.

How Google Alerts Work
You can get email notifications any time that Google finds new results on a topic you’re interested in. For example, you could get updates about a product you like, find out when people post content about you on the web, or keep up with news stories.

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