Google Alerts offer a powerful way to stay up to date with whatever interests you on the web - but they can also be used to uncover valuable SEO opportunities.
Here are the 5 main ways that SEO agencies use Google Alerts to support campaigns and build better client relationships.
1. Link opportunities
New brand mentions can potentially be turned into links.
If somebody mentions a brand or a product then they might be helping their readers by linking to a relevant page. Open a dialogue with the author or publisher and find out what it will take to turn the brand mention into a link.
Mentions of your client's brand name may also reveal newsworthy events or information that could be used for PR purposes to gain additional coverage or to fuel publicity campaigns, generating additional brand mentions to leverage for SEO.
Competitor brand mentions can be used to further expand the pool of potential link opportunities. If a site mentions a competitor then they might also mention your client - and those mentions might be turned into links too.
2. Talking points
By monitoring the web for the latest news about your clients and their competitors, you ensure a steady supply of opportunities to open conversations. Build your client relationships by opening meaningful conversations more regularly. Google Alerts provide a useful reminder service - continually prompting you to get in touch, as well as providing valuable and timely material for discussion.
If you know the latest industry news, possibly even before the client knows, then you create opportunities to enhance your knowledge. You can demonstrate your knowledge and interest to the client by opening a discussion about what is relevant to their business right now. Sometimes busy clients forget to tell their agency about something important or newsworthy - and Google Alerts can help you to stay in the loop.
If competitors are doing something that generates brand mentions then they are probably doing something that could generate links too. Borrow their ideas for publicity stunts, events, sponsorships and other activities that generate brand mentions.
5. Search Operators
Google search operators can be used to create incredibly powerful and targeted alerts that will notify you in specific circumstances - for example, when a brand is mentioned within a particular context, or on a specific domain.
The "link:" operator can even be used to identify new competitor links, in real time.
Understanding how, why and where brand mentions are emerging can generate a wealth of actionable intelligence for SEO campaigns. More than just ripples of text on the surface of the web, brand mentions are often evidence of something interesting that is happening offline.
By their very nature, Google Alerts provide the latest information available on the web. As such they provide opportunities to be the first to know.
Knowledge is power and first-mover advantage can provide a genuine source of competitive advantage. Not just on the web but out in the real world.