For years I’ve used numerous Google services, but until I read Day 10 of 31 Days to Build a Better Blog, I didn’t know much about Google Alerts. It’s another great internet productivity tool with a variety of uses.
Google Alerts allows you to get either a feed in your blog reader or an email in your inbox whenever Google locates your chosen keyword(s). You can choose to search in the news, on blogs, in videos, or a number of other places on the web.
Since I already use Google Reader, completing this assignment was easy and convenient. Rather than set up alerts to fill my inbox (spam is already doing a great job of this, thank you), I chose to subscribe to feeds.
I set up a number of alerts. Most were keywords in my blog niche. In addition I added a few “vanity” alerts, that will notify me of any references to my name or blog names/URLs. It’s a bit like the old celebrity clipping services, but fast and free.
As I monitor these feeds, they will need to be modified to give me the info I really want and need. Much like refining a google search, I’ll need to hone in on the specific information that will be helpful to me and useful to my readers.
I also looked into a few of the other alerts suggested — Technorati and Twitter alerts — but chose not to use them at this time. I’ll focus on Google Alerts and research the others more if either of those services seems helpful.