Should You Be Using Google Alerts?

Old Alert Style

(Reposted from 2011 but still very applicable.)

As a web developer, I really appreciate Google Alerts. They make it simple for us to keep some tabs on what our clients are doing, and being impacted by, that is visible on the web.

We have a Google Alert set up for every one of our client organizations’ names and many of their acronyms. Of course, if your organization’s acronym is WORK, then either the additional search criteria for the alert has to be VERY specified or in some cases just ignored. We also run alerts for prominent names of leaders of our clients, specific issues of interest to the organizations, and other items.


There are obvious advantages to doing this. We can find out about new initiatives for our clients, or controversies threatening to flare up on the web. We find new databases and sites that list our clients, for whatever reason, and in some cases they are of direct value for our clients as a research tool. We get to know the environment of our client on the web well beyond their site. These are all good client-value benefits that are also customer service benefits, which means they are benefits for our company.

We are also trying to teach this process to some of our clients that currently do not look at themselves much on the web. For clients, they can set up Alerts to look at themselves, their marketplace, their competitors, their clients, their members, their funders, their staff. their events, their issues – they can look at their organizational environment in daily snippets of new items on the web.

It’s easy to do. Simply go to Google Alerts and  create an account at

and then you can enter as many words, terms and phrases as you wish, and have the results sent to you in email on a frequency of your own determination. You can cancel alerts when you wish. If you’re like me, you’ll probably expand your searches to new content areas as you see your results and get more ideas of what you need to watch.

Time of set up is minimal. As long as you don’t do incredibly general search requests, the reviewing of results is fairly minimal, too. But the benefit can be quite important.