Google Alerts are a fantastic way to give yourself a heads-up on where and when your content appears on the Internet. Freelance writers can set Google Alerts using their name, their business name or key phrases related to things they've posted.
What happens when you set a Google Alert?
You'll receive an email that looks like this:
You can also choose to recieve a feed of each alert.
Google Alerts can also be used for:
- finding and detecting plagiarism.
- finding and detecting copyright infringement.
- keeping track of who mentions you on the Web.
How to Set Google Alerts:
1. Go to the Google Alerts homepage.
2. Enter your search term in the uppermost box (on the left of your screen). For an exact match, use quotes - just like you would on a regular Internet search. For example, I'd use "Angie Papple Johnston," "Unique Web Copy" and "Freelance Writing Tips."
3. You can leave "Type" at the default setting, which is everything, or change it according to your preferences. Of course, I recommend leaving at the default setting.
4. Choose how often you'd like to be updated. Once a day is enough; if there's more than one instance of your search phrase in one day, you'll receive an email with multiple alerts (see image above). You'll receive separate emails for separate search terms.
5. Select how many results you'd like to see when Google alerts you for each term.
6. If you'd rather subscribe to a feed of your alerts, you can choose that option from the drop-down menu in the "Deliver to" section.
7. Click "Create Alert" and you're finished; Google automatically handles the rest.
In the above image, notice the second entry; something about box jellyfish and synthetic motor oil. I didn't write an article about box jellyfish for an overseas lubricant company - I did, however, write it for another site.
When you click the links in your Google Alerts, you'll be taken to the page where your phrase appears. Those people - like many others who steal things on the Internet - are trying to grab search engine traffic based on other peoples' work.
Setting a Google Alert keeps you updated on who's doing what with your content - and if someone is plagiarizing or stealing your content, there are steps you can take to protect yourself (and your traffic). But that's another post.
Do you set Google Alerts for yourself? If not, why?
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"Vintage Alarm Clock" image courtesy of Hisks on RGBStock.com
© Angie Papple Johnston, 2010; if you are reading this anywhere but on FreeFreelanceWritingTips.Blogspot.com, it's stolen.