How To Set Up Google Alerts Like A True Internet Marketing Ninja


For those of you who missed it, last week I published a post called ‘The Ninjas Guide To Google Alerts‘ over at that showed you how to set up Google Alerts keywords the right way.

SEJ is one of the biggest digital marketing blogs and is in the top 5k sites according to Alexa. The guest post got exposure to over 600,000 monthly unique visitors as well promotion to 22K Twitter followers and 29K Facebook fans.

At the time of writing the post has been shared over 500 times and has 42 comments. The most popular post on SEJ in July only had 247 shares and 1 comment so its good to see that the post has been well received by the SEJ community in comparison.

How To Set Up Google Alerts

In my opinion Google Alerts is the most powerful tool any online marketer has available to them. However it is also one of the most under utilised tools out there.

All Google Alerts does is notify of new results via e-mail or RSS based on the search queries you enter.

That might sound a bit simple but it is a seriously powerful way of leverage brand, authority, traffic and sales. If you have overlooked Google Alerts in the past it’s time to sit up and pay attention.

The Google Alerts set up process is quick, easy and costs nothing other than a few moments of your time. Once you have set up Google Alerts, it will continue to work for you day in day out.

How To Use Google Alerts Effectively

In my guest post I share all the Alerts I use personally so you can see how to use Google Alerts for business easily.

It covers the following topics-

  • Monitoring brand
  • Monitoring 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
  • How to set up Google Alerts keywords
  • How to manage Google Alerts

Click Here To Read The Full Post


SEJ reader Kaushal Shah (from left a comment on the guest post that has to be one of the most ingenious ways to set up Google Alerts for yourself. Full credit for the below goes to Kaushal.

Measuring Content Quality

When you create Google Alerts you are given two choices. You can choose to receive Only the best results or All results for your given query.

Essentially Google Alerts gives you a ‘high quality content only’ filter and you can use this filter to measure the quality of the content in Google’s Eyes for your own site.

Kaushal setup 2 alerts for his domain like this

One of the Google Alerts set up options is to deliver Only the best results and the other Alert is setup to deliver All results.

Google Alerts set up

The theory is that when he publishes a post, if it gets delivered by the Only the best results Alert he has setup then Google must consider the post as high quality content.

How clever is that?

The Sky Is The Limit

The sky really is the limit when it comes to your Google Alerts set up. If you can search for it, you can monitor it. If you get creative with your Alerts there are no end of possibilities!

WARNING: Steal Your Competitors Search Rankings, Traffic & Income

How Will You Use Google Alerts?

I would love to know how you use Google Alerts in your online marketing efforts.

Do you have a unique way of using it that I haven’t mentioned?

If you don’t currently use it, make sure you set up Google Alerts for everything I have shown you in this tutorial – you won’t regret it!

80 Responses

  1. Jason Theofilos

    Nice work Matthew. I hadn't read the post on SEJ, so thanks for the heads up, hope the traffic/subscribers get a big boost for you (by the way he's taken the link to your site out of the main article, but left an extra '>').

    • September 10th, 2012 at 11:39 am

      To be honest it didn't generate that much traffic at all but I will be doing a follow up post comparing the guest post results to having the first comment on a popular article.

      Yeah I noticed that and sent it over to the editor, just waiting for it to be updated.

  2. Anonymous

    every day I open the blog to see whether any new article or content but no luck nowadays :(

    • September 19th, 2012 at 4:43 pm

      Hi Alson,

      I've been working hard on the background/preperation work for some new posts/case studys. for example high pr aged domain vs new domain, ranking a site with just blog network posts and so forth :) Also I got invited to do Terry Kyles Sunday SEO last minute last week which delay the video for the week.

      The last video in the tiered link building series will be done before Sunday :)

  3. 10.4.2012

    How were you able to setup multiple alerts for one term. ie the site:domain when I try to do it in G iam being told the term is already in.

    • October 14th, 2012 at 3:38 pm

      Use a different account ^^

      • June 24th, 2013 at 10:10 am

        Nice tip this one…

        I actually used the same account and set one using the Google Account notify via email (best results) and the feed for (all results) that way I keep the content in the same account and still be alerted to both.

        Fantastic post, and I know I have caught it late but I still wanted to write a comment to show my appreciation and to say thank you for inspiring me to use this in ways I never even thought about.

        • July 16th, 2013 at 8:01 am

          Yeah that is a nice way of plugging it together, good thinking!

  4. 3.21.2013

    Hi Matthew – just spent an eye-opening (not to mention wallet-oeforepening !) 90 minutes looking through some of your posts and comments… Why have I not found out about you before ! Wonderful stuff – thank you !
    My problem is this – I know that Google Alerts are enormously powerful – and FREE ! – and I intended to use them to drive the RSS feeds for a new WP plugin to semi-autoblog a new site… However, the alert feed from Google is not actually an RSS feed ! What I mean is, for example, if you extract news articles using G.A. the post title can be unintelligible (strange character strings can appear if there are special characters in the original item (like double quotes) ) and if (it doesn’t always ! ) it extracts an image, it only forwards a thumbnail version.
    So – to cut to the chase – do you know of any available software that can convert a Google alert into a “proper” RSS feed item ? The WP plugin sellers really don’t seem to want to help me with this !
    I would be very (eternally ?) grateful for any help !

    • March 27th, 2013 at 11:27 am

      Hi Roger,

      Hahaha that made me laugh thanks for the comment =D

      To be honest I’m not really sure how you could resolve that – perhaps a custom script that takes the source data and scrubs non standard character strings and outputs a new rss feed?

      Probably cost $20-$30 to get coded on odesk?

  5. 3.26.2013

    Only three comments on this post haha.

    I just put up a quick post about using G alerts to monitor spam indexation. Backlink for you sir.

  6. Temesgen

    Matthew you are such a hero lol…you assured me that it is possible to be a good blogger and make a living out of it ….. your tips are such inspirational

    Thank you

  7. seomedellin

    Great post Mathew as always.

    Thank u i didn knew talkwalker great app.

  8. Vahid

    Today I double checked my feedly to make sure I’ve subscribed for your RSS .

    Thank you for your informative posts .

  9. 8.20.2013

    What are you doing now that Google Alerts no longer delivers to RSS?

    Is there an RSS version that works these days?

  10. 11.21.2013

    Thanks for giving us a heads up on the article I don’t know much about google alerts but after this I think I got my next blogging homework assigment

  11. James

    Great stuff, this and the Tynt suggestion are set up now, brilliant work.

  12. 1.7.2014

    After some checking, looks like Google Alerts doesn’t pick up alerts from forums, or at least not as much as from blogs. I’ve noticed that WordPress blogs and news sites appear, while things posted on forums do not. Have you seen this as well?

  13. 3.5.2014

    Thanks for giving me a stimulus concerning Google Alerts, I have been using that for a while but I I need to use it more creatively, so yep another great tip.

  14. 3.5.2014

    Hi Mat, Great Post as always.

    But isn’t that exactly was Buzz bundle dose, or am I missing something?

    • March 6th, 2014 at 8:02 am

      Yeah BuzzBundle is a much more developed version of this

  15. 3.7.2014

    Hey Mat !

    I’ve learned something new, was a pleasure to read your article .

    Kind regards form Albania ;)

  16. 3.13.2014

    I agree with you Matt that google alerts is one of the underrated tools that you can use but has a lot of potential. I have to say that I experienced this once when I was working with a company and I was able to find some viral topics which people want to find and made a video about it. In 3 months I had it on the first page of youtube and had 10k views without a boost.

    • March 13th, 2014 at 10:16 am

      Yeah it’s a great way to stay in tune with your market!

  17. 4.2.2014

    Hi Matt, Thanks very much for this post, it’s very useful for me. I don’t know about Google Alerts but after reading this I will definitely set up Google Alerts for my own.

  18. 4.16.2014

    Thanks for the post Matt.
    I never thought that footprints works with G alerts.

    Got some new info right here :) Ty

    – Eymard

  19. 5.7.2014

    I use GA for:
    1. My Brand Name and My name- to know what the web is speaking about me
    2. Travel Guest Post- As I am from tourism industry so GA on travel guest post offers good quality content which I can use later-on and sometimes a guest post opportunity.

    3. My Competitor brands- To know what quality web page has gone live from their end.

    4. This is new- .edu- I got some .edu sites from where I can get some .edu indexed links on my site like this –

    Plus I totally agree with you that sky is the limit when it comes to GA. So will love to hear more from you on this topic.

  20. Jatin Chhabra

    Yeah and I didn’t mentioned it earlier that I founded your blog via GA. Alert was “Tier Linking” :)

  21. 6.4.2014

    I tested a few sites with 3 to 5 pages of 500 words and then having a autoblog using google alerts, even though the rss feed pulls just over 200 words, im ranking on the first page for 5-9 of my keywords in most cases. Users also love it as not everyone knows how to set up an rss feed or use GA

  22. 9.17.2014

    Matt – do you know a means to chart the history of google alerts on a topic you are following to look back at spikes in activity to understand what was happening at that time?

    • September 18th, 2014 at 1:57 pm

      Hmm I don’t but I guess you could do that with IFTTT and Google Docs maybe?

  23. Chris Dill

    Wow, that tip for measuring content quality is a killer! I immediately set up alerts for all of the domains I publish on- awesome stuff. Thanks!

  24. Tony

    Hi Matt,

    Thank you for your ninja google alert information, is ther any wordpress plugin

  25. John Stover

    We use GA to monitor our clients brand and names (specifically for rep management). We do use Buzz bundle for this as well. The other way we use GA is for outreach – finding links, blog comments ect.

    Great post Matt! Sometimes it’s good to be reminded to go back to the basics;)

  26. 7.8.2015

    Very interesting read about google alerts.
    we have been using them for a while to keep our clients informed about business news on the west coast.
    Your article intrigued me, the specific heading “Regional Based Monitoring” how is it possible to set something up that would inform you of the person looking for a “laptop” in a specific area.


    • July 8th, 2015 at 10:50 am

      ‘laptop new york’

      Although you would be better off using Twitter search with the proximity feature and something like HootSuite to monitor those search results.

  27. 10.18.2015

    Hey Mathew, back again. I am just addicted to your blogs i love the way you write them and present them and the information is amazing. Thank for you so much information. Secondly i have 2 questions if you don’t mind answering them please. What plugins or tools do you use for these lightbox email capture pop ups and how have to managed to get that slide down email capture thing on your website?

    • October 19th, 2015 at 9:44 am

      Thanks Zarak – That would be ThriveLeads

      • October 21st, 2015 at 3:58 pm

        Thank you Mathew. I wanted to ask you 2 more things, first is how do you make those thumbnails of your other videos appear on your youtube videos and secondly youtube has closed a few of my channel for section 4 H and i really did not use any bots or something to increase views and all the videos followed the community standards. I feel its my competition doing stuff to my videos because i am very good with ranking youtube videos in minutes without using any tools or bots for views or anything. How can i keep my channels safe from competition doing something?

  28. 1.6.2016

    What a wonderful post. You deserve all the credit. It’s an eye opener. Thanks

  29. 3.7.2016

    Cheers Matt, went over to Search Engine Journal and the full article on Google Alerts was great! Clearly illustrating helpful SEO tools and tactics as always.

  30. World Web Marketer

    I saw this post 2 weeks ago and started using Google Alerts and surprisingly my traffic went up. What a powerful tool.

    Thank you for this great tip.

  31. 3.27.2016

    As an author, I use goog alerts to monitor other authors and topics e.g. “Asimov” and “Poe”.
    Also -obviously- to monitor myself and my author brand+name e.g. “Book title”, or “myAuthorName”.
    Thanks for the Tips Mathew – they’re awesome!

    • March 29th, 2016 at 12:18 pm

      Some great extra usage examples there Eric, thanks :)

  32. 4.5.2016

    thanks for share, this amazing info

  33. Phil Gregory

    Hi Matthew,

    I was unclear as to how Google alerts would tell me what people were searching for

  34. 7.7.2016

    Great tips, thanks. I’d set up Google alerts for a couple of things but didn’t really see the value… now I do!!

  35. 7.27.2016

    Matthew, another great post. I use google alerts to follow what is going on with trench boxes. It is a great service by Google. I too would like to see the alerts be an rss feed.

  36. 9.3.2016

    I’ve been using alerts for quite a few years, but never in as many different variations as presented. What you wrote years ago, still relevant and valuable today! Thank you.

What are your thoughts?

* Name, Email, Comment are Required