Google Alerts are an efficient and easy way to keep up to date on articles and other information on the internet and have it sent straight to your email. Use alerts for content curation and early awareness of breaking news topics in your niche.
There is a simple and easy way to set them up.
- Go to www.google.com/alerts
- Type in your search query eg. “football world cup” (see below on search query tips.)
- Using result type you can pick whether you want just news, video, blog posts, discussions or books.
- Select language and region to search in – useful if you only want news from your country.
- Update frequency – once a week, once a day or as it happens.
- Google allows you to choose whether you want to receive only the best results or all the results. We prefer to use all results so that you don’t miss out on anything that might be important.
- Finally you enter in your email address and Google will send you the latest updates on whatever you want. It’s as easy as that.
Tips on how to best utilise Google Alerts
Google Alerts shows you the new content that comes up when you enter in a search query. So use a search query that is specific enough to get you the results you want. You don’t want have to waste time reading through a big list of useless articles and not find anything relevant.
Use advanced search techniques
The first tip is to use quote marks to search for phrases. From my earlier search term in step 2 above I wanted to search for the phrase “football world cup” so it is in quote marks. This gives you only the search results that have all three words in that order without any other words. If you didn’t have the quote marks then google would give you pages that contain any of the words in the search term, in any order.
Use OR to find synonyms or similar information. I could use “football world cup” OR “Fifa world cup” OR “soccer world cup”. This will give me the information I am looking for that wouldn’t necessarily come up if I only used the search term “football world cup”.
Use the minus symbol “–” to exclude a search term that you don’t want to hear about. This can be useful when you are searching for something that is quite often associated with a term that you don’t want. So in New Zealand, rugby is sometimes called “football” or “footy” and so I could exclude all mentions of rugby football.
The last tip is one of Google’s lesser known search operators, intext:. This operator forces Google to use the exact word in all the search results and not any synonyms. So I could search for intext:“football world cup” and I wouldn’t get any synonyms of football and I would get the whole search term together in the search results.