For every one of our clients we set up a Google Alert to monitor Google links to the site, and to measure when Google actually includes a new site page into the Google search engine data.
Recently we received a Google Alert for a client’s website that seemed strange. Let me start by saying that we do not provide hosting for this client, but we are hired by the client to provide design changes from time to time. The hosting is provided by another organization.
The Google Alert we received was showing pages offering various items for sale on various pages on the client’s domain. Items such as sunglasses, sandals, etc. They seemed like somewhat normal products but they didn’t fit with the client’s web site, so we checked the link – and yes, there it was.
I thought there was a chance I had the domain letters mixed up in the Google Alert, so I checked my Google set up. It was correct. I checked the FTP server – and yes, those pages were there, posted earlier in the month to the server.
So I called our client to find out if she knew about the pages – which she did not. Clearly the server account has been compromised, and we talked about how it could have happened, and that she needed to talk to her server company directly about it. And delete the unwanted files.
The main point I want to make about this is that we would not have known about this and would not have been able to let our client know about this without using Google Alerts. It’s an easy service to use, and you can use it to find out about new postings about ANY URL, or subject, or your name, or whatever. You simply have to create the Alerts here
and you’ll receive them via email on the frequency you wish to receive them in. Very small amount of work for what can be useful intelligence delivered to you.