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Google Alerts - What Are They and How Do You Get Your Site Included?

How Google Alerts Can Keep You Informed and Bring You Traffic

By

Google Alerts - Example
Google Alerts Email Screenshot

Many of you may be familiar with Google Alerts and may have subscribed to one or more alerts to provide ideas for blog content. Others may not know that Google Alerts are available and aren't sure how they could benefit by subscribing to one or more Google News Alerts. Finally, those who are familiar with Google Alerts wonder how they can get their blog included in the listings.

What are Google Alerts?

Google describes its news alerts as:

Google News Alerts are emails automatically sent to you when there are new Google News results for your search terms.

While it's not impossible to get a website page listed in Google Alerts if it's newsworthy, most of the listings you'll find within the Alerts are blog posts. Why? Because Google sees frequently updated blogs as more newsworthy than static websites.

Why Sign Up for Google Alerts?

Here are three very good reasons to sign up for Google Alerts:

  • If you sign up for an alert using your name, business name, or website URL, you can see who's talking about you or your site, almost as soon as it happens.
  • If you sign up for topics that relate to your business, website or blog, you'll be aware of news that may be of interest to you or your visitors.
  • You can drive traffic to your website from people who subscribe to Google Alerts on your subject. By signing up, you can see if your site or blog is included.

How I Use Google Alerts

As part of my duties for About Home Business, I personally subscribe to Google Alerts for "home business", "working from home" and telecommuting. As part of my business I also subscribe to Google Alerts for my business name, my full name (in quotes) and my website URLs. This way, I'm advised of news items that pertain to topics I'm interested in and I can keep tabs on mentions my business or I get on the Web.

How to Sign up for Google Alerts

You can sign up for Google Alerts at: http://www.google.com/alerts. Once you have a Google account, you can log in and manage your alerts, which allows you to make changes and specify how often you want to receive Google Alerts on your topics of interest.

An Important Tip Before You Sign Up for Google Alerts

Note that I've used quotation marks on most of my subscriptions discussed earlier. While it's not necessary to do that with a one-word term like telecommuting, it's very important on multiple word terms like home business. It took a while for me to learn that without the quotes, I was getting bombarded with stories about funeral homes, old age homes, home mortgages and a lot of other topics that I would otherwise not have been looking for. Most of the Google Alerts without the quotes were a waste of my time. Once I went back in and added the quotes to my subscriptions, the topics were narrowed down considerably.

How to Get Your Site or Blog Included in Google Alerts

Google provides the following advice:

Submitting Your Content: Google News Alerts
In order to be included in Google News Alerts, an article must be included in Google News and appear in the top ten results of Google News for specific search terms.

Articles sent out as a Google News Alert must be within the top ten Google News results for specific search terms (the terms that triggers the email alerts). This means that if an article appears in the top ten Google News results for the search term [ ocean ], anyone who's signed up for the News Alert [ ocean ] will receive that article, along with the nine other articles in the top ten.

So there are two requirements: First, that Google considers your site or blog newsworthy and has included it in its index as such, and secondly, that your site (page) ranks in the top 10 for the term when they conduct a search that day.

The first thing you need to do is make sure your site is considered. Here are the instructions, again, direct from Google:

To see if a site is included in Google News, use our "site:" operator. Type the site's domain, for example [ site:url.com ], into the search box and click "Search News." If a site isn't currently included in Google News, click here and we'll be happy to review it for inclusion.

Of course, there's no guarantee that Google will find your site sufficiently newsworthy to include in its Alerts. If not, you should keep trying, by creating more newsworthy content.

Here's the link to the Google Alerts page that includes a link to submit your site:

http://www.google.com/support/news_pub/bin/answer.py?answer=40316&topic=11662

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