One such solution could be Google Alerts.
First of all, what are ‘Google Alerts’?
Google Alerts is a “content change detection and notification service”.
Google offers the service free of charge to its users, and for anyone interested in content, it’s a godsend.
Let’s say for instance you were a technology writer and you needed to keep up to date with what was happening in the cloud computing world.
Obviously, you will have your favourite websites to visit, but those sites might not be where all the current cloud computing news is being hosted right now.
This is where Google Alerts comes in.
All you do is set up an alert – an email that goes into your Gmail account
Click here to go to Google Alerts:
Simply type ‘cloud computing’ into the text area and click on ‘Create Alert’.
You need to set how often you want to get alerts – whether it’s daily or ‘as it happens’, etc. – and if you choose ‘as it happens’ you will start getting alerts within seconds:
So what do you get from Google Alerts?
Well, in my example the email I immediately received contained a link to a website page that Google Alerts recognizes and which offered a recent update of content that contained the words ‘cloud computing’.
This is the most recent item that Google knows about in hundreds of thousands (in fact probably millions) of scientific journal websites, research websites, blogs and newspaper websites that Google Search lists that contain those words in that order.
It’s quite a good service, isn’t it?
How long would it take you to find so many new content items yourself? Days? Weeks? Months?
Who uses Google Alerts?
The answer to this is obvious - anyone who needs current information on a particular topic would use Google Alerts - and you can imagine who these people might be.
Google Alerts is very much their lifeblood of writers, content marketers, bloggers, etc.
So why do I need Google Alerts?
The bottom line is Google Alerts caters to high value people that if you have a company website, you need to influence.
Let’s see how this might work.
You have a cloud computing company and you have a new product or service.
Of course, you send the news out as a press release, but if the press release company that you use has a website that is recognized by Google Alerts, then the information about your new options might be included in Google Alerts and sent to a blogger who rounds up new cloud computing offerings on a weekly basis.
This means a blogger, that you don’t know, will add information about your new product and services to his/her blog and because he/she has added a link, he/she will drive traffic and (potentially) new customers to your website.
Not too shabby.
But, if you could cut out the middleman (the press releases company) and have your content picked up by Google Alerts directly, that would be ideal wouldn’t it?
Is that possible? How they can get my site included in Google Alerts’ listings.
Yes, it is possible.
As soon as Google Alerts is aware of your website then it will be included in Google Alerts’ listings.
However, it’s not automatic, and can be hard work, but it’s really worth trying.
As with everything Google, content is king, and when a website changes its content on a regular basis then Google gets interested.
When you start to use Google Alerts as a receiver, you will note that the bulk of the links go to blogs. This is because blogs are agile and bloggers can create content quickly and efficiently.
Big corporate websites on the other hand are more difficult to manage – adding a news item means getting a coder involved.
So, if you are really serious about this, you need to add a WordPress or Joomla section to your site that can act as your “NEWS” section.
Once it’s there, you need to update your “NEWS” as regularly as possible.
However, there is more to it than just that.
To be listed in Google Alerts you have to have a site that Google determines as ‘newsworthy’ – and only they have the lowdown on what that means!
If you just have news about your company, you are less likely to be considered a ‘news’ site than if you have if you have a variety of news available.
So you have to find news that is not going to promote your competitors but which might make Google feel your site is newsworthy.
Adding reports about research and your industry in general can do this, as can adding news about your industry’s mega-names - the ‘Bill Gates’ equivalents in your field. Of course, collecting this type of news could be something you use Google Alerts for. Having Google Alerts coming to your inbox will also give you an idea of the types of stories that make it into the Google Alerts listings.
But aside from being ‘newsworthy’, there’s another problem.
Your site has to be in the top 10 websites for a particular set of keywords to be picked up by Google Alerts for those keywords.
This might immediately make you want to give up, but it shouldn’t.
Although the chances of your website being in the top ten for a Google search for ‘Cloud Computing’ are low, the chances of you being in the top 10 for ‘Cloud Computing Connecticut’ are much higher.
Likewise you might be number 5 for ‘Cloud Computing Hartford Connecticut’.
What are the chances that a blogger is looking for information using ‘Cloud Computing Hartford Connecticut’ as keywords?
Much, much higher than you might imagine!
How do I get my site into Google Alerts?
Well, you should click here for the precise information, but here is a rough guide.
Generally, first go to Google News. Then, type in your website into the search box using “site:” immediately before the name (i.e. site:yourwebsitename.com).
If your site appears you are already listed. If not, you have to register at the Google News Publisher Center.
In Google’s own words for “Getting started” you have to:
1. Verify ownership of your news site.
2. Review and update your news site details.
3. Review and update your site's news section URLs & labels.
The Google News Publisher Center page gives detailed instructions on all of this.
What do I do if my site doesn’t get listed?
Try, try and try again.
And every time you try, make your site look a little more worthy of the title newsworthy.
It really might be just a matter of time, and believe me – when you get in it’s worth the effort!
It could significantly increase the number of visitors you receive.
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