Get alerts when names and topics appear on the web

Gathering insights

Time to complete:

5 minutes


Large corporations often have people who track news about their industry, competitors, target audience or customer feedback to produce regular insight reports. For small companies, it can be hard to find time to keep up. Even combing through major trend reports and key industry news sources can be a daunting task.

This lesson shares five ways to keep up with the news you need with Google Alerts, a free tool that can deliver the insights you want, right to your Inbox. You can sign up to receive an email whenever a topic your business is interested in shows up in Google Search. You can choose to get alerts as new content is found, once a day, or once a week. It’s the next best thing to having your own dedicated insights team.

Choose to get alerts as new content is found, once a day, or once a week.

Get an alert when people talk about your business

It’s important to know what people are saying about you. You could do a Google search for your company every day, even on weekends and holidays. Or you could spend just a few minutes setting up a Google Alert and get automated delivery of the results daily.

For example, if you run a pet store, your Google Alert might show you that a local blogger raved about your shop. After reaching out to say thanks, you could explore ways to collaborate with the blogger on promotions such as giveaways or events for the blog’s readers. Knowing that this influencer is a fan can become a smart part of your marketing strategy.

Catch chatter about your products or services

When you have top-selling products or signature services, set up Google Alerts to see when they pop up online. You can set up as many alerts as you want, and you’ll keep on top of anything that would turn up in Google Search.

If you owned the pet store, you might set up an alert for your best-selling toy, the “Rugged Tugger.” When a nationally-renowned trainer recommends the toy, you could post a short excerpt of the review on your store shelves, on your website, on social media, and in ads. You could also contact the trainer and ask to add a link to your e-commerce platform so people can buy it from you when they’re reading the trainer’s blog.

Keep tabs on your competitors

When you have top-selling products or signature services, set up Google Alerts to see when they pop up online. You can set up as many alerts as you want, and you’ll keep on top of anything that would turn up in Google Search.

If you owned the pet store, you might set up an alert for your best-selling toy, the “Rugged Tugger.” When a nationally-renowned trainer recommends the toy, you could post a short excerpt of the review on your store shelves, on your website, on social media, and in ads. You could also contact the trainer and ask to add a link to your e-commerce platform so people can buy it from you when they’re reading the trainer’s blog.

Stay up-to-date about your industry

Set up Google Alerts for common industry keywords to stay on top of the latest news. You can set the alert for any specifics you want. You can also filter for the country, language, and sources as well as adding additional keywords to narrow down your results just as you would in Google Search.

For example, if you wanted to get news about the local pet store business, you could set up an alert such as “dog toys Seattle.” With those keywords you would learn any time someone includes those words in their online postings.

Choose whether to track news, blogs, videos, or even books.

Check out what your business customers are doing

If your business works with other businesses, you can set up alerts that inform you when one of them is in the news. You might set up one for the company name, one for the names of key personnel such as a CEO, as well as alerts for the brand names of their products or services. Knowing what’s new in their businesses can help you provide them with customized service and offers.

Let’s say your pet store has a local kennel that buys their dog food, treats, and toys from you. Because they are a major customer, you might want to stay informed if they’ve won an award or are expanding their operations.

How to set up Google Alerts in minutes

Getting started with Google Alerts is easy with these steps:

  1. Go to google.com/alerts
  2. Do a sample search for the alert you have in mind to see a preview of the results you would get
  3. Click on “Show Options” to pick the sources, language, region, whether you want all the results or just the best ones, and the email address where you want the results delivered
  4. Click “Create Alert” and you’re all set!

Take a look at the results you get a few times. If you’re not getting what you want, tweak your settings or the search terms to improve the usefulness. You can make as many adjustments as you need until you get it just right.

For more help, here’s a helpful article: Create an alert

Setting up Google Alerts is a quick and easy way to get free business news and information delivered directly to you. It helps you stay on top of the latest results for searches about your company, customers, clients, competitors, industry, and products or services. You can put the knowledge to use in a variety of ways, from designing a promotion that’s on target for the times to posting the latest news about well-reviewed products to your social media accounts. The more you know, the savvier you can be about running your business.

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Learn more about Google’s small business tools and see how businesses are using them to reach their goals.

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