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Missing Your Google Alerts? Read This!

Google can be more than annoying sometime – I mean, as Leo asks, what would you do if you woke up one day and all your rankings had disappeared?

But that’s not what happened to me today. Instead I was talking to Dave – who runs the awesome travel blog GoBackpacking which allows old backpackers to guest post about Google Alerts – and I noticed something had changed…

Waterfront, Wellington, New Zealand

But first rewind: you do use Google alerts don’t you? Its the fastest way to keep an eye on what the great web is saying about you. I have alerts on my name e.g. “lis sowerbutts” my blog’s names e.g. But I also have some more subtle alerts:

  • – tells me every time Google indexes a url on my site;
  • – tells me every time Google counts a link to my site.  NOT Yahoo – Google

Now most of you know probably all know that and have had the alerts for years. But today I noticed there is a new column  in the Manage my Alerts screen. As well as “type” and “how often” there is a new column “Volume” – the default of which is “only the best results” – I turned it back to “all results” .

I thought about it and realised I hadn’t  been seeing many alerts for the last few weeks – suddenly they are all back. So what does this new feature tell me about Google:

  • there are sites and there are sites – Google trusts some more than others – and PR has very little to do with that.

25 replies on “Missing Your Google Alerts? Read This!”

Awesome post Lissie!

I’ve began some implementation of the Google Alerts from one site. Thanks for the tidbit of info (and coding) to augment this neat little Google devise!
Not to mention the gratitude for the “KeywordLuv” Love as well 🙂
My bosses site needs some backlink love!

Have a Great day!


Curious, my default was still on ‘all results’ as I checked after having read this blog post. A sort of Google glitch in New Zealand only? 😉
And, btw, there seems to be a typo, you wrote: ‘and realised I had been seeing many alerts for a few weeks’, I am sure you meant either ‘I had’nt been seeing many alerts for a few weeks’ or ‘I had been seeing fewer alerts for a few weeks’, SY

thanks for the post, I’ve been using Google alerts for keeping up to date with snow leopard conservation news for my website but wasn’t regularly checking the links etc, you’ve reminded me to do that.
BTW, according to an SEO consultant I’m working with, backlinks only work if your site doesn’t link to the other site, it has to be one way. Is that your experience?
Keep up good work,

Hi Sibylle – one way links are the best – but reciprocal can look more natural – I have lots of reciprocal links from sites owned by friends – they don’t hurt …

Well my friend Grizz – says hey Lis wrote about this – check it out here. And then I as an innocent blogger who knew nothing about SEO would probably write a post in a day or 2 thanking him for the shout out and referring people to his blog as well

Thanks for the info. Being a newcomer I haven’t actually played around with any of this so very useful for me Lis! I’ll report back once I’ve had time to play.

Never knew Google alert existed Lis! Still I’ve only been online about 20 years!

I feel very dumb about now, but at least I have made some alerts. This is a great little device. Boy am I famous! Kidding, but there is one helluva lot of me on the net that I had not seen.

LOL – its how the gubbuerus hear about little ole me talking about them – google alert on your name, business name, blog url etc. Its sometimes educationala and often hilarious!

Hi Lis,
Interested to hear what your views are on using a feed reader versus alerts Lis.
I am ready to start experimenting with a decent site, starting from scratch, good generic domain name, etc.
My site wasn’t thought out with a view to SEO and it’s just sitting there, but I use it to experiment with.
WPMU allows you to install multiple blogs, so when writing content I like to have things aggregated for efficiency
Is there a down side to an RSS feedreader, assuming you don’t sign up for everything and spend your day reading posts, a mistake I was guilty of.

I’ve not used RSS feedreaders much to be honest – I can’t see a downside though – and I know you can play around with feeds and use them for backlinks as well – but I haven’t done much except submit some to

I use Google alerts but have not use these strings. This will keep me up to date with my standing with Google. I’ll pay forward…

All the best Lis!

I read a recent blog post at Search Engine Roundtable noting that Google Alerts had had its algorithm tweaked and because of that fewer alerts had been going out. (There was also a pointer explaining what to do to loosen things a bit so more alerts go out.) I had noticed that I wasn’t getting as many alerts as I had been, but I was comfortable that I wasn’t missing too many stories.

very useful, Liz, some of my alerts were for “Everything” , others for “Best” so I changed all to “Everything” – wouldn’t have known about this except for your newsletter – awesome!

BTW, have you done a post on “no follows” – if not can you tell us your views? My SEO guy tells me I absolutely MUST use it!
cheers from Melbourne

It seems highly likely that Google ignores “nofolows” anyways- but I still trhow it on when linking to BIG sites which do nofollows themselves – places like facebook and amazon

Google Alerts provides you with partial or delayed information on the subject that you’re interested in. If you’re well aware of this fact, it is okay.
But not all Google Alerts users know this, and many users assume that they can get information collection done once and for all by setting up a few Google Alerts, mainly misled by Google’s misleading statement.

Choose which type of alert you would like to receive. Google Alerts can notify you whenever your name appears in a news story, blog article, web page, video or group. You can also choose “comprehensive,” which alerts you in all the previously mentioned instances.

I have alerts set up for “Website Grader” and “Press Release Grader”. This is a good way to stay informed about how many bloggers are writing about HubSpot’s products. If you have products with different names than your company, set up alerts for them too.

If your company, products of executives have more than one word names, you should use phrase search in the alert – just put quotes around the search term and Google will only match on the phrase. For instance, an alert for “Website Grader” works better with quotes, because without the quotes it would pick up an article with the line “websites built by fifth graders”, for instance.

Google Alerts will actually track new results for any search terms, including advanced terms. For instance, there is a political blogger named Mike Volpe, and to keep my email from getting cluttered with results that are about him and not me, I use the search “mike volpe -proprietornation” as an alert (the other Volpe’s blog is called proprietornation, so using the negative search term excludes almost all of the results about the other Mike Volpe from my alert).

I’ve found that many alerts are set up by people who are:
* monitoring a developing news story
* keeping current on a competitor or industry
* tracking medical advances
* getting the latest on a celebrity or sports team
* watching for new videos that match a specific topic

Another way I use Google Alerts is as a low maintenance way to find content stealers. I used to work for a company that had its entire Web site stolen on a daily basis.

Yes I use Google Alerts for all of the above! It works like a charm. I don’t know what I’ve ever done without Google Alerts. 🙂 I also use ‘Social Mention’ where it goes into a bit more detail in places like Facebook and Twitter.

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