SW - ArtPROTrackingYoursel
Originally published in PPC Magazine.

By Todd Bairstow, Co,Founder of Keyword Connects, a company dedicated to online lead generation for the home improvement industry.



THINK GOOGLE IS JUST a gigantic search engine that knows everything about everything? Think again. Turn Google to your advantage to track what customers and competitors are saying about you online.

Google Alerts is a great tool for any painting contracting company that wants to monitor how its name is used on the Web. It allows you to monitor online news, postingsor pages that contain whatever keyword or phrase you would like. When Google finds a new reference to your particular phrase, you'll get an e-mail alert.

I recommend you set up Google Alerts for phrases that include your company's name, your own name and even those of your direct competitors.

How to set up an alert

First, you need to establish a Gmail email account; don't worry, they're free. Just go to gmail.com and follow the instructions. Then follow these steps:

  • Go to the Google Alerts page at google.com/alerts. Enter the keywords for the alert or alerts that you want to set up (your company name, competitors' names, etc.).
  • Select the type of alert you want to receive. Choose the comprehensive alert to retrieve news from blogs, news sources, Google Groups messages and Web sites. Or choose to get results from only one of these sources.
  • Enter the e-mail address that you will use for your alerts.
  • Choose how often you want Google to send the alerts to you. Google can send your alerts as soon as it finds a match to your keyword, once daily or only once a week.
  • Enter the e-mail address that you will use for your alerts.
  • Click "Create Alert."

After you've been running for a few weeks, review your alerts and revise your settings if you receive too much or too little information. Log onto your Google Alerts page and choose "Manage Alerts" to edit or delete alerts you no longer need.

Also, use Google's search limiters, like quotation marks, to narrow the content of your alerts. Otherwise, you may get an overwhelming amount of information.

Over the course of time, you'll receive info about yourself and your competitors that you never would have known about, and certainly wouldn't have been able to respond to. Google Alerts are a no-brainer for any smart businessperson.