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BellaOnline's Small Office/Home Office Editor

Use Google Alerts to Improve Your Business

If youíre running a small business, no matter what your reach (local, national or world market), it is easy to feel like a small fish in a big pond. One tool to help you understand where you fit in the big picture is Google Alerts. This Google tool allows users to monitor the web for new content published as related to your query.

Using the tool is simple. All that is required per each alert is the following information:

Search query (where you add a keyword or keyword phrase)
Result type (Everything, News, Blogs, Video, Discussions or Books)
How often (As it happens, Once a day or Once a week)
How many (Only the best results, All results)
Deliver to (select your Gmail account email address or Feed)

During set-up a preview of the results will show up indicating what links would be emailed to you or delivered to your feed reader. This is an important feature as it will help you tweak your search as needed.

The most obvious use for Google Alerts is to see what others are saying about you. So, the first Google Alerts you can set up immediately would be a query of your business name, your name and your website URL if you have one. Put each search phrase in quotes to bring in only the information you want.


"ABC Small Business Company Name"
"John Doe"

If something is too common about your business name or given name, you could do a search with location included or something specific about your business in particular.

Other uses for Google Alerts include monitoring news related to your business, checking out the competition, researching leads, finding new avenues of advertising or business networking.

If your small business or business niche is somewhat low profile, a weekly alert may be a sufficient update. If you have a lot of phrases to try out, start with once a week so that you are not inundated with emails. You may find them being relegated to the Bulk label in your Gmail account as well, so look there if you canít find them as expected.

Monitor your alerts and if there are any that are not worth your while, take the time to log in to your account, visit Google Alerts and select the Manage your alerts button. From there you can make changes and deletions.

Use Google Alerts to find out about you and your business and take advantage of the knowledge it delivers to make a difference in your online success.

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