Web Monitoring Software Wars – TalkWalker Alerts vs Google Alerts


best web monitoring softwareWeb monitoring software tools like TalkWalker Alerts & Google Alerts are extremely powerful and have a number of practical applications, but they are often overlooked.

If you aren’t using one right now you are missing out big time – oh they are free to use as well!

Basically they monitor the web for certain key phrases and send you an email or update an RSS feed when it finds a new result.

It might sound pretty basic but there are endless ways you can use free web monitoring software across all of your online marketing campaigns.

In fact last year I won The Best Of SearchEngineJournal.com 2012 Award that you see in the header on the blog with a post about how to set up Google Alerts.

You can use web monitoring tools for a bunch of things such as-

  • Link building
  • Driving targeted traffic
  • Monitoring brand/competitors
  • Monitoring questions in your niche
  • Monitoring content distribution
  • Finding new guest post opportunities
  • Monitoring link building footprints
  • Monitoring site security
  • Monitoring shoppers
  • Regional based monitoring
  • Discovering new niches

Learn how to do all of that & more without spending a penny with this more detailed tutorial.

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Talk Walker Alerts vs Google Alerts

For a long time Google Alerts was the king of web monitoring software. As Google indexed new URL’s you would get alerted if they matched your alerts settings.

However over the past 6 months or so people started to notice that things weren’t quite as good as they used to be and were getting less and less alerts.

Towards the end of March we saw the launch of a rival service called TalkWalker Alerts which has a near identical look and feel to Google Alerts.

talk walker alerts vs google alerts

Which Is The Best Web Monitoring Software?

To decide which one is best I decided to setup identical alerts across both services for the following keywords-

I set these to email all results, once a day and collected the data from May 20th-June 10th.

Google Alerts Setup

google alerts setup

TalkWalker Alerts Setup

talkwalker alerts setup

I then went through every email and extracted every link segmenting them by keyword and service.

The full data set is available to download at the end of this post.

The Results

I decided to analyse the data in a number of ways to see which service performed best.

Number Of Emails Sent

The experiment ran for a total of 22 days and across that period the services sent this many emails-

Google Alerts takes the victory on this sending 17 more alerts than TalkWalker Alerts.

Number Of Links Found

Where things change though is the number of links found overall. I extracted every single link from each email which shows-

As you can see TalkWalker Alerts delivered significantly more results than Google Alerts.

But that is not necessarily a good thing – a lot of them might be irrelevant or junk.

Duplicate Results

Out of the 2,131 links found – Google Alerts found 331, whereas TalkWalker Alerts found 1,800.

What is interesting out of all of those results, only 40 of them were found by both services.

This means there was only a 1.87% overlap between the two services.

Keyword Mentioned On Page?

To test how relevant the results are I decided to see what % of pages actually included the exact target keyword on page.

This was either in the title, meta description or within the page content itself.

In total TalkWalker Alerts delivered 1,465/1,800 URLS (81%) with no mention of the exact key phrase.

Whereas Google Alerts delivered 157/331 URLS (47%) with no mention of the exact key phrase.

Indexed URL’s

I also wanted to see just how many URL’s were actually indexed by Google.

If a URL is indexed by Google this is a good quality metric to look at – because well, if its good enough to be in Googles index, it must be high quality right… ^^

Google takes a clear lead here with a total of 80.36% of the URL’s reported in it’s index compared to just 53.89% of TalkWalker Alerts.

In Summary

So let’s wrap it up with a quick summary of the statistics-

It is clear that both services perform pretty well and do exactly what they say on the tin.

However from the data above while TalkWalker Alerts found significantly more links – only 18% of those mentioned the exact key phrase.

Further to that 46% of the links found by TalkWalker Alerts were not present in Googles index.

Choosing A Winner

Picking a winner depends on the goals you want to achieve.

If you are looking to monitor for mentions of your brand, business, site, competitors and so forth I would suggest using Google Alerts & TalkWalker Alerts.

This is because out of the 2,131 URL’s returned by both services, only 1.87% of them were duplicates. Using both services allows you to cast a much wider net.

If you are looking to just setup alerts to build links, engage your audience & drive targeted traffic as described in this tutorial – then you probably want to stick with Google Alerts.

It provides much less noise and a much higher % of indexed URL’s which are perfect to use for link building and driving traffic.

Advanced Tricks n Tips

Now you know which one you need to use – you just need to set things up!

Please see this much more detailed tutorial which shares a whole bunch of tips n tricks you can use Google Alerts or TalkWalker Alerts for.

Also take a look at my tutorial that teaches you how to engage your audience directly with your content – you can use both of these tools to help you out there as well!

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You can download the source data for this test here.

61 Responses

  1. 6.11.2013

    Nice! I’ve been using Google Alerts and a combination of RSS and IFTT to keep an eye out for mentions for my domains and name as well :)

    As always, Matt; Nicely written :)

  2. 6.11.2013

    Hey Matthew — Have you looked at mentionn yet? Would love to see a comparison of above data to mentionnn. Thanks!

  3. 6.11.2013

    Great update! I love the breakdown that you show between the two services. I just wish GoogleAlerts had not done so well. LOL I would love for an underdog to completely push them out of the way.

    • June 12th, 2013 at 8:32 am

      Well TalkWalker did perform very well – just depends what your goal is!

  4. Zevi

    Hi Matt, great post as usual but I think you’ve just lost the Bouzaglous’s for any future SEO for them!

    • June 12th, 2013 at 8:32 am

      Hahaha I could help them a whole lot online but they wouldn’t listen anyway ^^

  5. 6.11.2013

    Awesome article, I will surely try Google Alerts and see what happens. Thank you.

  6. 6.12.2013

    Nice this is a good way to track whats going on with the seo world and build your authority.

  7. 6.12.2013

    Great information! I was wondering whether one service was better than the other.

    BTW, what did you use to make these charts?

  8. 6.12.2013

    Thanks Matthew, Another awesome post. I personally love google alerts and praying that they don’t close it like they did for google reader and other prior services. I am heading over to the advanced tips section!!

    • June 12th, 2013 at 8:30 am

      Well if they do close it, we still have TalkWalker =D

  9. 6.12.2013

    Another awesome post, Matt! I haven’t noticed that you can see that much of stuff from only a alert service (maybe since I haven’t known how to use alert properly). Thanks a lot for mindful tweaks..

  10. Mark

    I love Google Alert but never heard of TalkTalker. Definitely worth to try. Great review and learned again today. Thanks.

  11. 6.13.2013

    TalkWaker Alerts is new to me so I have not used it and I don’t have experience with it. I write a regional political blog and used Google Alerts and Yahoo Alerts to get the latest on the subject on my interests.

    Here is my experience with these both services.

    Google Alerts

    Gives quite good information but does not crawl major news papers and high end news websites. However, it does crawl blogs.

    Yahoo Alerts

    Crawls very limited number of sites and blogs. It also does not crawl high end news papers. Also, not very much blogs. So I stop using Yahoo Alerts.

    If anybody is aware of any other service I would appreciate sharing here with the community.

    • June 18th, 2013 at 8:47 am

      Hi Akbar,

      Wow I can imagine in your niche these kinds of services are a life saver!

      I haven’t tried Yahoo Alerts but thanks for the heads up on your experience!

  12. 6.14.2013

    Good stuff. I’ve been using Google Alerts for some time but was unfamiliar with Talk Walker. Great to have something to compare Google Alerts against.

    Another excellent bit of research and presentation. Thanks.

  13. 6.14.2013

    Have you heard anything about Google closing Google Alerts?

    In March 2013 there was a good piece on Mashable “Is Google Alerts Dying.” Seems to be some concern about Alerts going down the same path as Google Reader (and various other Google services over time)?

    Would be a bummer if they did. I’d miss Alerts much more than Reader.

    • June 18th, 2013 at 8:41 am


      I haven’t heard they are closing but there have been a few articles like Mashables concerning the declining results – its those posts that inspired this test :)

  14. 6.17.2013

    Another great article.

    One thing you have not mentioned, and it might just be the particular alert phrases that I’ve been using, is that TalkWalker produces results from websites in other languages where as Google Alerts doesn’t. I find that around 40% – 50% of the websites that are sent through from TalkWalker are in a different language.

  15. 6.19.2013

    Killer post here. You took all the work out of choosing the right tool depending on what areas are most important for your online business. Thanks Matt.

  16. 6.26.2013

    For the “keyword mentioned on page” metric, if you include the keywords in quotation marks, it will only send you results that have those exact keywords in them (at least with Google Alerts, I’ve never tried TalkWalker).

    BTW, how did you create those fancy charts?

    • June 29th, 2013 at 8:55 am


      Thats a good point! The charts are created with Google Charts

  17. Umee

    As usual fantastic work Matt!


  18. 11.9.2013

    Digg Reader and Google Alert is still good one to feed the contents from others.

  19. 1.2.2014

    Google alert is not that good in finding the url’s, will definitely try talkwalker.

  20. Jesse Aaron

    Dangit Matt you’re some kind of wizard…I installed talkwalker yesterday – you must have some kind of telepathic power O.o Anyway, great write-up, I’m using both and have found specific query results (i.e.; “brand mention” +[niche]) to turn up a lot of duplicate in TW but like you hit on, there’s more variety than Alerts so combined we get a larger scoop of results.

  21. 8.6.2014

    Great post will have to check out Google Alerts

  22. 8.13.2014

    You again shared great post and you are really genius.

  23. Shamshul Kamar

    Thanks for a great post

  24. 10.23.2014

    So I’m curious…
    You use alert-sites like these as well as BuzzBundle. How do you avoid overlap?
    Or do you set alerts for other things while using BB as an engagement tool primarily?
    I’m a relative noob, and I’m super lucky I found your site before running off on a crazy link-building binge. Your Top 100 experiment has inspired me.
    I want to begin using free web monitors to find and engage my target audience, much as you describe in another post. My challenge is to not spend money until I’ve made money through my efforts.
    With that said, how would you handle transitioning from only GAlerts, TalkWalker, Mentionn, etc into BuzzBundle? Would you change the alerts you get to monitor for future content ideas while focusing on BB for driving traffic to current posts?
    There’s soooooo much information. Argh!!!

    • October 24th, 2014 at 4:46 pm

      Why does it have to be one or the other? Why not all?

  25. 1.28.2015

    Thanks for this Matthew

    At the moment I’m using Google Alerts and Content Gems, which is performing pretty well for me – but I’ve been looking to try something else to add into the mix.

    It’s good news that GA comes out of this well (cos it’s free!), but I’d not heard of TalkWalker Alerts before so I’m definitely going to give them a go.

    Thanks again!


    • January 30th, 2015 at 7:09 pm

      Let us know how you get on – I haven’t used content gems before

  26. balu@ get recharge plans

    Nice tutorial , Helps me lot to increase my blog taffic

  27. 3.22.2016

    Awesome post Matthew. Google alerts is still the go. :)

  28. 3.30.2016

    You’ve done it again, another excellent breakdown on the tools end. I don’t remember if you looked into it in your MOZ, Majestic, AHREFs smackdown, but theres probably some missing overlap there as well?

    • March 31st, 2016 at 11:54 am

      I never looked at the overlap in that same detail as I did here

  29. Detik Berita

    I like your posts.

    • August 2nd, 2016 at 8:37 am

      Thanks Detik!

      • Detik Berita
        August 2nd, 2016 at 11:51 am

        Your post is very helpful for bloggers to earn money from the site have personal.

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